I’ve been addicted to lip balm as long as I can remember. Not in that dirty-ingredients-suck-the-life-out-of-you-so-you-need-more-product way either, I just really love the feel of a great balm. And my sensitive lips need a layer of protection.
Last fall I discovered what is, so far, the best balm brand I’ve ever tried. And I try a LOT of balms. The big brands, the little practically unheard of brands—everything. I even try some that use peppermint, though I never like that flavor.
I tend to favor a shea-based balm. I find they have a nicer texture, are thicker, and stay on longer. I like beeswax in the base too, though in all other facets my balms are vegan. I haven’t found one I really love with SPF, but many balms have ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil that have a bit of natural screen. Taste is key in a lip balm. Unflavored is good, or something mild and tasty. But never, ever that “wax with added flavor” thing that is so common in balms. My favorites are all super clean, low-shine, untinted, and come in a tube.
Here’s my favorite:
Ganache for Lips: Beeswax, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, and shea butter form the base. The texture is perfect, with awesome staying power, and the flavors are amazing. The various chocolate combos are delicious, and I have to give Chocolate Orange a special mention. Oh, and Chocolate Raspberry, and Chocolate Hazelnut, and…yeah, they’re all good. The Vanilla Mousse is a great neutral flavor, and lately Lemon Mousse is blowing me away. It reminds me of the Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd I used to eat before I cut out processed sugar. These are very moisturizing, but never overly shiny. It just looks like my lips are naturally moist. They work well alone, or under/over a lip color. ($3.75 for a standard size .15 oz tube at balmworks.com)
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
- S.W. Basics (formerly Sprout Wellness) offers beeswax and vegan versions. The citrus flavor has that lemon curd thing going on, with a lighter texture.
- Bubble & Bee has some unique flavors. I like Karma Apple.
- Stark Skincare makes a very light, vegan, rose-flavored argan lip treatment.
- Skinnyskinny’s unscented balm is great if you prefer little taste to your balm (just a hint of honey and cocoa butter).
- Stewart & Claire makes Coconut, another nice unscented (if a bit expensive) balm that just has a hint of sweet beeswax scent.
- Peacekeeper’s Chocolate Dream tastes like a Tootsie Roll and comes in an extra big tube.
- Badger’s Cocoa Butter Balms also come in extra big tubes. Vanilla Bean is a great one, and Mocha Cocoa is fab for coffee lovers.
What’s your favorite lip balm?
Did anyone else grow up spending a considerable part of the summer purposely frying in the sun? I was always after the ever-elusive tan. I can’t get very dark, and was jealous of friends who tanned easily. I always got very pink before any sort of golden set in.
My role model was my mother, who would slather herself in baby oil and iodine and lie very still in the yard for hours, flipping when her timer went off.
It was my job to bring iced tea periodically, and while she was an attentive mom most of the time, I had better not bug her while she was out in the sun. As a teenager, my girlfriends and I would be off to the beach to “lay out,” meaning bake as long as possible. Never mind the bad grammar, it was a stupid thing to do. Well, now I know better, and I am always on the lookout for good sunscreens.
EWG’s 2013 Guide to Sunscreens has been out for a few weeks now. I was very happy to see that my new favorites earned good ratings. EWG does a great job of talking about issues that I often hear come up in any discussion of sunscreen – the problem with high SPF, chemical vs. physical screens, nanoparticles, vitamin D, etc. Just check out their pull-down research menu. One of my biggest concerns with sunscreen is the UVA/UVB balance. A sunscreen’s SPF is based on its UVB protection (the rays that burn and contribute to certain types of cancer). UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, causing aging and cancer. The FDA has pretty weak standards for UVA (“broad spectrum”) protection, so you may not be very well protected in spite of what the package says. EWG’s rating system includes UVB and UVA protection as well as the stability of the sunscreen. Though I don’t think EWG is perfect, I do trust what they have to say about sunscreens.
Now, you might say, why not just avoid the issue altogether and stay out of the sun, or cover up? I do those things as much as possible, but it’s not always possible or desirable. And I spent too much of my life not being careful, so I’m very careful now. Recent research showcased in Prevention indicates diligent use of broad spectrum sunscreen can slow or prevent photoaging. I certainly know that going without sunscreen will quickly undo the good my DIY brightener does. I reviewed my favorite face sunscreen a while back, and I still use this one for face too. But this year I was on the hunt for a great body screen, something in a non-nano zinc. Here’s what I’m loving…
Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Moisturizer: This is absolute perfection for me. It’s fairly thick and moisturizing, yet easy to spread, plus it’s water resistant. There’s a very light citrusy scent that fades quickly. I find it leaves me with a nice glow, without being sticky at all. When I first applied it, I was surprised that it is tinted. There’s not enough pigment to leave a visible tint on my skin, but it completely eliminates any whiteness that one can get with zinc sunscreens. I was concerned that it would leave marks on clothing, but I’ve had no problem with it at all, even if I get a little sweaty. ($16/3.75 oz, EWG rating)
Badger SPF 30 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Lotion: I find this unscented lotion very easy to spread, though you still have to do the standard rub into palms, pat onto skin and rub in thing that is necessary with most physical sunscreens. The spreadability (is that a word?) makes it great for squirmy, impatient kids (and husbands). If I’m careful not to overapply, I don’t get the white cast, but it’s a delicate balance. This one is drier than the cream versions I’ve used from Badger, almost too dry for my skin. But if I’m going to do something in the sun that will kick up dirt, this is excellent. Nothing will stick to it. And if you have oilier skin, this could be the ticket. ($17.99/4 oz, EWG rating)
Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen Cream: This is actually what got me through last summer without a hint of color added to my skin. It’s a gem. It’s unscented but smells stronger than the lotion, basically like its sunflower oil base. The thickness makes it harder to spread, but when done patiently it looks good and is a top performer. I love the very short and simple ingredient list. It’s moisturizing, so I love it on my hands, and the water resistance is a great feature. ($15.99/2.9 oz, EWG rating)
What are you doing for sun protection this season?
Meet Alicia, a young mom who keeps her routine clean and simple! We love it.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Current Weather: Cool one day, hot the next – humid
Hair: Just past the shoulders, wavy, fine
Skin: Fair, Combination
Favorite Actress: Ava Gardner
Working mother, and almost 30!
Before I had my daughter I had no idea that there were clean products out there because I didn’t know my products were dirty! After reading No More Dirty Looks, I really started to change things up for my 6 year old daughter as well as myself. (I’ve even got my husband to change a few things)
In my teens I had acne and have some scaring on my temples. After I had my daughter it all seemed to just clear up on its own. I will have a few break outs here and there but nothing like the past. I love Hylunia’s Grape Seed Exfoliating Scrub. I used it once and week and it makes my skin feel great! I am also a fan of pretty much anything Badger. Ok, on to the routine!
In the shower…
I normally only wash my hair once a week and when I do I use Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell shampoo and conditioner. I wash my parts with Dr. Bronner’s sometimes lavender other times citrus. When I need to shave I use coconut oil and wash my face with Hylunia Cleansing Lotion. Sometimes I use Jane Iredale’s Magic Mitt to clean my face if I am in a hurry.
Out of the shower…
I spritz my face with Hylunia Colloidal Silver Spray and apply their day lotion. I then rub my entire body down with grape seed oil + sweet orange. After that I take my hair out of the towel and put a drop of the grape seed oil then about half a pump of Dr. Bronner’s Coconut Lavender Hair Cream. I am sorry to say that I dry my hair on a low heat setting because if not it’s just out of control. Oh, and I brushed my teeth at some point with some type of Tom’s toothpaste.
I use baking soda on my pits. Then apply Iredale Pressed Powder in Bisque, Jane Iredale Blush, Physicians Formula Organics mascara, and sometimes I fill in my eyebrows a bit with Silk Naturals Brown Cream. I use Acure Organics Lip Balm occasionally, if I remember.
Then, it’s time to wake up my daughter, wait for her to get dressed (this can take a while), fix her hair, and help her get ready for her day. (She loves Badger Body Oil when her eczema is bothering her)
Well that’s it!
Happy Monday, everyone! Meet Stephanie and her sweet-as-honey routine. She swears by Manuka for her skin. She also has been getting a lot of mileage out of spiritbeautylounge sample items. Annnd..she makes her own (edible!) DIY brozer. Read on!
Current Weather: In the 70s-80s and humid-ish. I just moved home from the North so I am loving the warmer weather despite the humidity.
Hair: Long, brown, and sort of curly/wavy. Definitely not straight. The oiliness has become non-existent since my switch to natural products and reduction in showers. Which is great because it saves me a ton of time, I find showering to be a pretty grand and involved event in my life. 23 year old problems clearly.
Skin: I have always been acne prone :( I was on a strict regimen of prescription topical stuff which worked, but I got completely fed up with how dry they left my skin. Right now, I just got off birth control but things are still OK. Residual scarring and the odd small breakout are all I have to worry about now with no dryness!
Favorite Star: Miranda Kerr. Was she already chosen? I just love her values and personality! Image via
Before the shower…
I try to do oil pulling with coconut oil (I use the nutiva brand) which is an ayervedic technique that consists of swishing the oil in my mouth for twenty minutes then rinsing with warm salt water. It’s hard to last the full twenty, but I’ve found it is a great way to naturally whiten the teeth and make my whole mouth/gums feel supple and healthy. I will then usually eat breakfast and workout and also take some skin supplements which I thought could be applicable. I take fish oil or flax seed oil, black current oil and evening primrose oil which are GLAs which are supposed to be beneficial for skin and regulating female stuff as well as Indole-3-Carbinol which I saw was recommended in an article for women coming off the pill again to regulate hormones. I also only brush my hair before I shower with a wide toothed comb.
In the shower…
I’ve usually had a Wedderspoon Manuka Honey 16 strength mask on my face for at least half an hour before my shower and leave it on until the end (this was inspired by Siobhan) which I use as a facial cleanser. If I don’t have time to do a mask I will use the Tata Harper cleanser or the Dr Alkaitis cleanser I have from the samples I purchased on spiritbeautylounge. I like them both and find them super gentle, but prefer the manuka for its anti-acne fight. Manuka honey/honey in general for the face has been a godsend for my skin! Next I shampoo with either Desert Essences lemon and tee tree shampoo for oily hair or Alaffia neem shampoo (both of which I like and find wash away build-up, which was my biggest difficulty when looking for a natural shampoo) followed by either John Masters Lavender and Avocado Intensive Conditioner, the John Masters Honey and Hibiscus conditioner, or the Alaffia neem conditioner. I have recently begun washing my body and shaving with Moksa soap in Abbey Road. It smells amazing, is gentle (I loved Dr. Bronners tea tree bar soap, but then it become too harsh for my skin) and the company is amazing and donates to so many great charities! After that I may spray my hair with the Aubrey organics Nustyle Organic Detangler and Shine Booster (which smells like limes) as a heat protectant or Intelligent Nutrients leave-in conditioner which kind of makes me smell like a pizza, but I like it anyways. (Ed. Note: Pizza?!?!?! We need more info on this! Ha!) Then I wrap my hair up in a t-shirt which I’ve also heard is better to prevent frizz and keep curls intact.
Outside the shower I don’t really towel off because I find the extra moisture super beneficial for the rest of my routine. I spray my face with the Acure Organics Rose toner for oily skin which I LOVE it smells so good especially after reading that article about rose scents on here, then I mix my beloved Aubrey Organics aloe vera with whatever moisturizer is tickling my fancy. I use the aloe because it is such a great base to cut/preserve products which we know can be quite expensive. As I mentioned, I purchased the sample packs of Tata Harper and Dr Alkaitis so I basically pick and choose which moisturizer I feel like mixing in with my aloe. At the moment, I love the Tata Harper Serum and the Dr Alkaitis soothing gel and nourishing oil. Both companies products smells sooooo good and honestly make my skin look so plump and incredible. I never thought I would be able to treat myself to such luxurious moisturizers during my prescription days; it has been one of my greatest revelations of going natural! After that I spray my body with a DIY toner of Aloe Vera gel by Lily of the Valley (which is edible quality that I sometimes add to my drinks) and Witch Hazel followed by a DIY combination of coconut, argan, and jojoba oil, my Acure Organics unscented lotion, or my Bubble and Bee or Moksa body butter. I’m really into body moisturizers. Or moisturizing in general.
As far as makeup goes, I probably wear it once or twice a week and try to keep it really simple. Again, I am all about the samples! I recommend it because they are all quite sizable and I have yet to run out of one and repurchase. I use the Vapour organics concealer on my eyelids and the Alima Pure satin matte foundation on my under eyes and any other imperfections. I line my upper water line with Korres brown eyeliner, apply RMS living luminizer to my eyelids, brow bone, cheekbones, nose, and cupid’s bow and have been loving revolution organics in blush for my cheeks! I also love RMS lip2cheek in Modest. I sometimes finish that up with a DIY bronzer made of cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder, and some other stuff and 100% mascara in black tea as well as my Bubble and Bee lip balm in pomegranate or my Badger Organic cocoa butter lip balm in cocoa.
Thanks, Stephanie! I’m having a hard time not making a “good enough to eat” pun about this routine…