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Best Beauty Buys - Lip Balms

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Must we say it again... The 'recession' is forcing the more luxury items in our bathroom cabinets to be replaced with much less expensive items. Many of us are not familiar with these brands/ products and so before we go out shopping for new hand creams, we find out what the real people made of them.

If you've had to replace some of your more luxurious beauty products for less expensive alternatives- stay tuned to see which of our lusciously lower priced lip balms came out tops!

Suzanne Walsh - Beauty Therapist Extraodinaire and Queen of the Roadtest!
Suzanne has been the resident beauty expert on The Afternoon Show since season 1 and continues to give expert advice to the show's viewers on a regular basis. Suzanne is also proprietor of two salons in Co. Kildare, in both Clane and Prosperous

Are you considering swapping some of your more luxurious beauty buys for something easier on the pocket? Well before you go spending your hard earned cash, we sent beauty expert Suzanne Walsh out to road test four of the most reasonably priced lip balms on the market.

Why should we use a lip balm?
More attention is often given to making our lips up with lipstick than to actually caring for them. Lips need specific attention as their outermost protective layer is very thin. The lips contain very few sweat glands and so are prone to dryness and chapping. This is why using lip balm is so important in protecting our lips.

What can cause dry lips?
1. Dehydration: Too much coffee and alcohol can cause the body to dehydrate and the first symptoms manifest in dry lips.
2. Extremes in temperature both hot and cold can cause lips to chaff.
3. Over work and stress weaken our immune systems and the effects show up quickly by drying out our lips.
4. Irritation and allergic reactions possibly from lipsticks and foods. Look out for D & C reds in lipsticks they can cause congestion around the lip line. Allergic reactions should be seen by a GP.
5. Some medications can cause dehydration which causes the lips to dry out.

And what are the key ingredients we should look for in a lip balm?
Try to avoid lip balms containing petroleum or paraffin oil from the petroleum industry. Instead try to use balms containing natural fats and waxes i;e beeswax, cocoa butter shea butter, olive oil, aloe vera oil. Waxes protect the lips and natural oils soften the lips. Also sunscreen which might be listed as Oxybenzone or Padimate. If the lips are infected try a lip balm with tea tree which is a natural anti-septic.

Are there any ingredients in expensive lip balms that aren't in the more reasonably priced ones?
Essential oils such as lemon mandarin etc are found in lip balms and can increase the retail price. Also dual purpose lip balms i;e a lip balm that exfoliates and moisturises are more expensive. In general a more expensive lip balm does tend to contain higher percentages of active ingredients than the cheaper brands.

How often should we replace/throw out the lip balm?
1. Never share your lip balm
2. If you have experienced a cold sore or infection dispose of your lip balm straight away.
3. Check life expectancy of your lip balm but the general rule of thumb is to throw your lip balm out after two years. The fear is that old lip balms may cause allergic reactions and dry out your lips.

How did each of our four products fare?
1. The Body Shop, Satsuma Lip Balm, 10ml, €5.95 (or 2 for €10)
Everybody loved the flavour of this balm. However Suzanne suggests opting for an unflavoured balm as the flavour encourages you to lick your lips more often, then drying them out. This was more a favourite with the younger testers.

2. Blistex Daily Lip Conditioner, 7ml, €3. 57
This Lip Balm certainly appealed the most. It appeared to be the medical nature of the packaging that appealed to people and it was smooth in its application also. The downside is that you have to stick your finger in the tub, this can cause bacteria to form in the tub. The great thing is that it contains SPF 15- something Suzanne says is essential in a lipbalm.

3. Tesco Lipbalm, 4.5g, €1.09
Unfortunately the Tesco one didn't fare too well. It didn't go on well, seemed to be a bit lumpy and didn't apply smoothly. It was just very solid and nothing seemed to come off the stick.

4. Nivea Lipcare, 4.8g, €1.95
The Nivea lipcare seemed to be quite thick- but this one certainly appealed to men more than the others - (just so happened to be a photo of a man on the packaging, so this must have helped!) Also, the brand name was well recognized.

So if we absolutely had to crown a winner based on the public's opinion, which one would it be...?
In terms of brand recognition, like last week, it would have to be Nivea- which surely the people at Beiersdorf cosmetics will be thrilled about. However, in terms of the actual product it would have to be the Blistex- generally the most appealing and appeared to have the most kiss factor, particularly with the added SPF!
**NOTE** Public were asked to comment on packaging, value for money, smell, texture, consistency, effectiveness and result.

Pure Beauty
Main St
Contact 045 840 054
If you fancy making your own home-made lip balm, here's a great recipe:-
Home Made Lip Balm

You will need:-
. 1/2 tsp beeswax
. 3/4 ts shea butter/ mango butter
. 1 tsp of aloe vera, olive oil
. 2 Vitamin E capsules
. 30 - 40 Drops tea tree oil
. Microwave safe container
. Small sterile lip container

1. Combine all ingredient except tea tree
2. Melt in short bursts in the micro wave until everything is completely liquid. Should take one to two minutes.
3. Add tea tree oil
4. Quickly but carefully pour melted ingredients into sterile lip balm container. Usually sets in about ten minutes.