As winter drags on and the bitter cold outdoor air competes with our arid central heating, everything gets dry. Hair (that’s another post…) skin (that was last week) and of course, our lips. Stand in the Lip Section at your local pharmacy and you will see just how big a problem this is. Our favourite department store and niche cosmetic lines often have their own versions and some of them are just fantastic. I shared my love for Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm with Rose Wax here, but I have a few more faves to share, high & low, as well as a few misses.
My most recent obsession is Christian Dior Crème de Rose. It comes in the same little white bakelite Dior pot as their iconic Crème Abricot nail and cuticle cream. Ok, the pot is not the most hygienic packaging but this one is so pretty I will forgive. This cream gets very mixed reviews on my go-to site, Make Up Alley, so I was hesitant to try it (I use the mobile Make Up Alley site on my Blackberry when I’m shopping for cosmetics- really). I’m glad I did try it, because it is GORGEOUS. There is a faint rose scent, but it is very soft. The texture is smooth and velvety, slightly sticky, but it really sinks in beautifully. It smooths and soothes my lips and makes them soft and moisturized but the best part is the gentle plumping and smoothing of fine lines. Oh yeah baby. A shea butter base with Damask Rose oil and vitamins A and E make this a winner for me.
La Mer lip balm is one I have had ups and downs with. Just when I think I don’t like it, I end up using it (often because it’s the closest to my hand) and then I love it. Right now I love it. It is a more subtle effect and is more effective used for long term moisturizing. It is not thick so it doesn’t give the feeling of coating the lips. Used in the evening however, my lips are soft and smooth when I wake up. It is expensive but from what I am seeing, this stuff lasts forever. It has a subtle minty scent/taste and is again, in a little pot so you are dipping your fingers in it. It has a firmer consistency so I almost have to scrape a bit off with my fingernail to apply. That said, it then melts into your lips and works its La Mer Magic. Final verdict: now that I am not expecting a thick goopy balm, this is a love and serves its purpose. As with all things La Mer…less is always more…
Ok this is the big disappointment and even I am saying “I told you so” to myself. This year Lip Fusion came out with a balm and the thought of nice plumped lips a la Lip Fusion original plumper but in a soft matte balm sounded great. It seems to be a Sephora exclusive as I could not find it on LipFusion’s website. Maybe they have discontinued it… I read horrible reviews online but still felt the need to shell out $30 for their balm. It is in a shiny silver tube, with similar styling to the Fresh Balm, so it twists out like a lip stick. Lets just say that you can save yourself $28 and get a Chapstick instead if you are ever tempted to buy this product. Not sure what they were thinking…maybe because the first Lip Fusion was the most genius product ever make to plump our lips women will buy anything with Lip Fusion on the label. Boo.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment is a nice lip balm, maybe nicer and more luxe than Chapstick with gorgeous packaging but not nice enough for me to ever buy another one . Very pretty scent and effective moisture but at $25 it’s just not enough to wow me. How this made it onto multiple “Best Of” lists mystifies me. Meh.
Carmex is THE ONE when we talk drugstore lip treatments. Nothing really works as well to get rid of chapped lips and to protect when you are out the cold or wind. I think the salicylic acid is the key ingredient here as it exfoliates flakes and dry skin. This is a good one for guys too, the packaging is very utilitarian and the red and yellow colours don’t scream “make up” or “cosmetics”. The one issue I have with Carmex is the scent/taste. I find it so strong that I can’t smell my own perfume when I wear it. That may be because I wear it right under my nose but it’s enough to bug me. I do love it, it works, but I only wear it at home. It has proven to be the best for my younger daughter when she had braces and massive retainers that kept her mouth open at night giving her brutally dry and chapped peeling lips. Carmex was the one thing that saved her. I like the one in the squeeze tube for ease of application.
Blistex Lip Medex is the other ONE. My older daughter and I love this one- and we use the one in the little blue pot. It is medicated like Carmex, is nice and thick and is slightly less scented than Carmex. It is comparable as far as results go, however I don’t think it has salicylic acid so the sloughing properties are not quite the same. I remember reading years ago, before the Lip Plumper Revolution, that some make up artists used this as a plumper under lipstick. They would exfoliate the lip then rub in some Lip Medex for a nice healthy plump. Again, the gender neutral packaging works for guys and gals.
Another drug store fave is Blistex Deep Renewal Anti Aging Treatment. I bought this when I was cottaging and forgot my Lip Fusion (go ahead, judge me for wanting plumper at the cottage) and the only option for shopping was a drugstore. It has a lovely soft mint scent/taste, is not thick and seems to just sink into the lips nicely. Another nice one to use at bedtime it does seem to do a little to smooth lines and gently plump as well as moisturize dry lips. Bang for your buck is high here.
My other drugstore fave is not exactly low end at approximately $30 but I LOVE it- Olay Regenerist Lip Anti Aging Concentrate. This stuff is magic and works as well as one would expect an Olay product to perform. I love Olay and they really hit the mark with this lip product. It smooths, softens, and gently plumps, comes in a tube and is available everywhere. That said, for $30 I want more product as I go through a tube of this quickly, and some nicer quality packaging would also help. The cheapo plastic tube is ugly and belies the goodness inside. Speaking of packaging and Olay- can someone there please. Just. Stop. The madness. All the insane plastic packaging that is akin to electronics packages that need a grenade to open them…wasteful and you are almost guaranteed to break a nail prying them open. So, buy the Olay forewarned. Great product, but a bit of a rip off.
I saved the best, ultimate cheap and cheerful product for last- Aquaphor. Yes yes, its full of petrolatum. I don’t care. For under $10 I get a tube that will last me years, it is odourless, softens and smooths lips, cuticles and anything else you put it on. It will help heal hangnails and papercuts, and is a fantastic barrier lotion. I swear if I put it on chapped lips at bedtime, it is still on my lips when I wake up. I always have a tube of this multi-purpose stuffs in my purse and in my bedside table. Win.
What are your favourite lips products? Share! I love to discover new stuff!
Photo of my fave gorgeous clazy rady Joan Crawford