What's really in your lip balm?

Many of us use lip balms regularly, to repair our lips, protect them or even simply to perfume them. Most of the time, we buy these lip balms in supermarkets or drugstores, without even taking a look at their composition. At the same time, the names are very complicated, we do not understand much and moreover it is written very small! So we take things in hand to better understand what makes the ideal lip balm.

Back to the beginning: focus on the skin of the lips

The skin of the lips is one of the thinnest on our body. And yet, it is subject to many constraints! Between the acidity of saliva, food and drinks, makeup for some, wind and sun, sometimes cigarettes, and also kisses (lots of kisses!), the lips undergo a good number of aggressions from the direct environment. The skin of the lips does not secrete sebum to protect itself, because it is devoid of sebaceous glands; thus, its protective barrier is very fragile. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly give a little help to the lips to protect them, nourish them and repair them. And when we think we are doing well by moistening the lips with saliva, we see the appearance of small chapping, due to the acidity of saliva, which dries the lips even more. That's why it is necessary to use a lip balm: this fatty body can nourish and protect the lips from aggression.

The classic lip balm: what is inside?

Do you spend hours in the cosmetics aisle trying to see the difference between two lip balms? You are not alone! In fact, the differences are often very small. The vast majority of lip balms are composed of a compound with a barbaric name: paraffinum liquidum, more commonly known as paraffin oil (yes yes, like what Grandma Jeannine puts on jars of jam to keep them longer). Its function: emollient, meaning it softens and smoothes the skin. It is also moisturizing, and keeps the skin soft and smooth. The catch: it's a mineral oil, meaning it comes from the petrochemical industry. In short, it's a petroleum derivative that you smear on your lips. Not very disgusting all that! Moreover, and what poses the most problem, it is an occlusive ingredient: it will put itself in real barrier between the skin of the lips and the environment. It will therefore certainly prevent any infectious molecules from entering the skin, and water from leaving, but it will also block the skin's breathing and the elimination of toxins. Our lips are therefore blocked with all the waste products they are trying to eliminate. The result: the lips are softened and relieved in the short term, but in the long term we can no longer do without paraffinum liquidum lip balm, because our lips are assaulted by their own waste! A vicious circle, which it is time to break. [Editor's note: this passage is a key moment in the article: you now know, after so many years of questioning why you were becoming lip balm addicted!]

For the rest of the ingredients, manufacturers play the note of naturalness by highlighting raw materials such as shea butter, Argan oil and so many others, while they represent only a very small proportion of the finished product. It's up to you to be wary: look at the list of ingredients,it's ranked from the most concentrated ingredient to the least present, in trace form. For an effective, natural and healthy lip balm, you need the first three ingredients to be vegetable or essential oils, or beeswax (ideally, paraffinum liquidum should be completely absent!).

What's stopping me from making my own lip balm?

Well nothing, of course! It is very simple to make your own personalized, homemade lip balm. It requires few ingredients, and just as few materials, for a double benefit: your lips are moisturized and repaired durablyt, knowing what you put on your skin, and the price of the lip balm is reduced! The little extra we're well aware of: waste is limited, by not using secondary packaging and by recycling the primary packaging containing the product. What do the people ask for?

OK, here we go, I'm going for it! But how do I do it?

The process is simple: take Shea butter, vegetable and essential oils to vary the properties sought or simply the tastes and smells, and mix it all! We explain.

The Shea Butter is an excellent repairer and skin protector, which helps protect the skin of the lips while letting it breathe. In fact, it's a widely used ingredient in lip balms! Moreover, its solid texture at room temperature, and melting when heated to body temperature, makes it very practical: you can make your lip balm and carry it everywhere in your bag, without the risk of it spilling into it (pretty convenient!), and its use is easy since you just have to heat it a little with your finger to take some material, to spread then on the lips.

The vegetable oils and essentials added to Shea will allow you to add very specific properties to your homemade lip balm, to vary the pleasures as you please. In addition, the antiseptic properties of the essential oils help repair and protect lips from possible infection.

There you go, you've made your own lip balm! Easy, right? Check out all the Lip Balm Recipes offered by The company of the senses, to help you find more inspiration.

To go further :

  • Paraffinum liquidum, the Cosmetics Observatory; http://www.observatoiredescosmetiques.com/ingredient-cosmetique/paraffinum-liquidum-557
Deodorized Shea Butter Organic vegetable butter

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