By Lora O’Brien
We all know the pain and horror that comes from having sore, dry and cracked lips. They’re itchy, painful and downright unsightly. Most of us just slap on some lip balm, but guess what? Mainstream brands are usually packed with salicylic acid – an ingredient that feels good at first, but ultimately dries your lips out. It’s kind of like the bar putting bowls of peanuts out – the idea is to get you all dried out so you buy more drinks. Or lip balm, in this case. But you get the drift.
What you put onto your lips should be a conscious decision. Vegans won’t like using the beeswax that’s in many products, and I for one am allergic to some of the harsh ingredients in popular lip balms, and so have to use natural oils, otherwise I’m nursing lips 3x their natural size – and not in a sexy way, I can assure you.
Here are some simple steps we can all take to maintain healthy lips, all year round:
1. Use a lip scrub
To keep lips fresh and healthy, it’s vital that you scrub away dead skin cells just like you would your face and body. Once a week make your own DIY lip scrub using a natural exfoliant such as sugar mixed with something nourishing like almond or coconut oil. Gently rub across the lips to slough off dead skin, whilst moisturizing them. Alternatively, brush them with a toothbrush before cleaning your teeth, when your brush is still dry.
2. Hydration is key!
We all know we should drink more water, not only does it makes us feel good and help our bodies to run efficiently, it’s also good for the health of our skin! And if you’re hydrated, your lips will be too – as you’ve probably noticed when you’re super thirsty.
3. Opt for a natural ingredients
Don’t just buy a lip balm on a whim when your lips are sore and you’re looking for quick relief. What you choose to place on your lips will either improve or hinder their healing, so opt for a natural lip balm that uses nourishing oils such as coconut oil, shea butter, and avocado oil to help seal in moisture. ALWAYS avoid anything with salicylic acid; this purposely dries out the lips and eats through skin layers, resulting in product reapplication and a toxic cycle.
You’ll also want to make sure that your lip balm is paraben free; parabens have been known to interfere with hormone function, which can result in an increased risk of breast cancer, and can also reduce the sperm production in men.
4. Ditch artificial fragrances & flavours
I know it can be tempting to reach for a lip balm with a flavour that evokes childhood memories (Coca-Cola lip balm was a firm favourite of mine when I was younger), but those artificially flavoured lip balms are full of hidden chemicals. Cosmetic manufacturers can withhold the ingredients list when it comes to fragrances and flavours to ‘protect their trade secrets’ – hmm…super sketchy! The fragrances used can often contain high levels of phthalates, which disrupt hormones and can reduce female fertility. Natural lip balms will be scented from natural fruit extracts, no chemicals needed!
5. Block it out
Don’t forget – lips have no way of protecting themselves from the sun, and can dry out and burn easily from not only rays of sunshine, but also the wind. A natural SPF is essential if you plan on being outside in sunny climes a lot.
My Picks of the Best Natural and Vegan Lip Balm Brands
This lip balm comes in a tiny tin, making it perfect for your handbag. With an ultra-moisturising base of organic avocado, shea and cocoa butters, you can pull this out and revive lips at any moment, leaving them nourished and silky soft. Each lip butter is infused with vitamin-rich fruit pigments giving lips a subtle tint.
eLo Lip Care was crafted with one mission in mind: to provide only what is healthy for the lips. After discovering that a whopping 97% of lip balms on the market contain salicylic acid – that chemical that purposely dries out the lips – founder Timothy George created eLo, a brand that is both organic and vegan and made with no nasties! All products are handmade with just 6 ingredients in small batches in New York, and there are lots of gorgeous scents and subtle tints to choose from. Not sure where to start? The Berry Blast set is delish!
A lip tint is a great way to revive the health of your kisser whilst adding a subtle pop of colour. Pacifica’s Color Quench lip tints are packed with essential fatty acids from rich and amazing ingredients such as avocado and coconut oils, which help to leave lips luscious and healthy. These are 100% vegan, gluten free (handy to note if you suffer with an allergy – whatever you put ON your mouth ends up IN it, too!) and each comes in a 100% recyclable tube.
4. Hurraw! Balm
Hurraw! Balm are a brand that makes a range of wonderfully nourishing lip balms that soothe even the driest of lips back to kissably soft health. The brand was created out of a desire to create the perfect balm that was not only natural and vegan, but also made from raw and organic ingredients. Each lip balm is individually poured in Hurraw! Balm’s own facility, and there’s a flavour to suit everyone – even Earl Grey for those tea lovers amongst us (yes, it’s my fave).
If you love a fun lip balm, then you’ll go wild for Crazy Rumors. Crafted by a creative couple who grew fed up with lip balms made from purely synthetic ingredients, they vowed to source the purest, cleanest ingredients found on earth to create deliciously fun and unique lip hydrator for men and women. Each balm is 100% natural and vegan and made with certified organic ingredients. If you’re a Crazy Rumors fan then you’ll already be aware of the diverse range of flavours, all of which have been naturally derived and slightly sweetened with just a hint of natural stevia. Not sure which to sample first? Why not buy a handy 4 pack?
This lip conditioner is packed with nourishing ingredients such as coconut oil, rose extract, meadowfoam sea oil and orchid flower to create a simple yet super hydrating lip balm that has a light, rosy scent. Herbivore Botanicals make each pot in small batches in the USA, and each one isn’t only vegan friendly, it’s also free from parabens, alcohol, sulfates, artificial colours and fragrances and unnatural preservatives.
If you love coconut, this is the lip balm for you! Housed in a slim, easy to apply tube, the natural oils here (which also include olive as well as coconut) penetrate the lip’s surface to provide incredible moisture along with a unique cooling sensation thanks to the eucalyptus.
More a mask for your lips than a balm, really, this pot of goodness by Evolve is perfect for those prone to flaky lips. A nourishing and regenerating blend of organic plant oils and butters combine to create a really hydrating, nourishing, vegan-friendly treatment. And did I mention how yummy the choco-orange flavour is? It’s down to pure organic essential oils.
Once a small, humble company that started off with just 6 flavours, Fairypants has grown and they now sell about as many flavours of lip balm as Baskin Robbins has of ice cream! Stored in a cute little tin, a little goes a long way with this stuff, meaning your tin will last you ages. The balms are all vegan and cruelty-free, and use few simple ingredients: shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba wax and flavoured oils to get their delicious scent. Fairypants also sell lip scrubs, so why not buy them both to keep lips soft and supple?
Sometimes, the best things come in small packages, and these lip balms by Sun Bum are your lip’s best buddies if you live in a warm climate or are going on a skiing holiday. They boast an all natural SPF 30 to protect you from UV rays and their vegan formula consisting of cocoa butter, aloe vera and vitamin E will save you from wind damage and dryness. It’s also water & sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes – AND they come in an array of yummy flavours, ranging from Key Lime Pie to Watermelon.