At any given time, I’ve got at least 4 different lip balms stashed in various locations like some kind of squirrel with perpetually chapped lips. One in my purse, one in the top drawer of the nightstand, a half-melted tube in the abyss that is the center console of my car, and a backup cache under the bathroom sink. I’ve been using the same ‘natural’ lip balm for more than a decade, but when I realized I had developed an actual addiction to the stuff, I decided to look into just how safe my chapstick actually was.
Is My Chapstick Toxic?
Maybe. Like other cosmetics and personal care products, lip balm could be harboring harsh chemicals and toxins that are hazardous to your health. And considering you’ll ingest at least some of whatever you put on your lips, it’s important to be aware of what’s in it. So when trying to get your bathroom cabinet in tip-top shape, here’s what to look for in a natural lip balm:
What to Avoid
If you’re trying to extend the shelf life of cosmetics, parabens are great. But if you’re trying to steer clear of toxins? Not so much. These preservatives can imitate hormones in the body and disrupt the endocrine system. Paraben-free equals worry-free.
Check the Label For: Methylparaben, Butylparaben, or anything ending in -paraben
These moisture magnets are intended to draw water out of the air and pull it into your thirsty skin. But in a dry environment, humectants may pull moisture from your skin rather than the atmosphere, leaving your lips drier than when you started. If you feel the need to reapply your lip balm over and over throughout the day, humectants may be to blame.
Check the Label For: Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin
Linked to a variety of potential health and societal risks, synthetic fragrance should definitely be on your watch list. But ditching chemicals doesn’t have to mean abandoning your sense of smell altogether! Opt for lip balms with pure essential oils that are individually listed on the ingredient list - you never know what could be hiding in a ‘blend’.
Check the Label For: Fragrance, perfume, parfum, essential oil blend, aroma
Although “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, propylene glycol (a synthetic skin conditioner) should be approached with caution due to its potential as a skin irritant. The skin on your lips is delicate and more sensitive than the rest of your body; treat it kindly!
Check the Label For: 1,2-dihydroxypropane; 1,2-propanediol
Everyone’s favorite crude oil-derived substance, petrolatum is widely used as a topical emollient. While this may be ok for some, ingesting it is another story entirely. So think twice before putting it on your lips.
Check the Label For: Petroleum jelly, mineral oil
Artificial Flavors & Colors
Remember, applying balm to your lips is as good as eating it. So if you wouldn’t eat artificial colorants or flavors, don’t use a lip balm that contains them either.
Check the Label For: FD&C, D&C
What You Want
- Natural, organic emollients like coconut oil and shea butter that will deeply nourish and protect your lips.
- Ingredients you can recognize, pronounce and eat.
Made with only real, natural and organic ingredients, Pucker Paste is a paraben/propylene glycol/petroleum free lip balm that delivers long-lasting moisture for soft, nourished lips. And with 10 delicious flavors made with stevia leaf extract, your kisses will be that much sweeter. I swapped my stash, and I’m not looking back. Mwah!