Are you addicted to lip balm?
Be honest, now: Are #KylieJennerLips your secret #InstaBeauty goal? Plumping up your pout means pretty meticulous makeup prep – and a boatload of lip balm to keep things soft and supple.
Which leads us to a potential problem that may leave a bad taste in your mouth: Could we be addicted to lip balm? Speaking as an unabashed lip balm devotee, I can attest to the shocking ease with which one can quite literally acquire a taste for the stuff; I cycle through a tube every fortnight. (Don’t judge!)
Here’s the thing. Could this chapstick compulsion be counter-productive – and the cause of our shrivelled-up smackers in the first place?
Is your “addiction” a cause for concern?
We’ll get to the billion-dollar beauty answer in a bit, but first a quick primer on the peculiar properties of our puckers starting with the fact that your lips are markedly thinner in thickness compared to the skin on your body, making them especially susceptible to drying out – the very same qualities that compel us to seek solace in our trusty tube of lip balm.
Okay, we’ve established that our lips are fragile folds of tissue that deserve tender loving care, but the question remains: Could lip balm be addictive? Short answer: A qualified yes.
Take it from an expert, who suggests that our “addiction” stems from a toss-up between the reassuringly repetitive swiping action and an actual need for relief: “Lip balm in itself isn’t addictive, but we may become accustomed to the feeling of a constant coating on our lips and therefore feel uncomfortably ‘naked’ without it,” says Dr Karen Soh, medical director of Prive Clinic.
Then there’s the fragrance factor to take into account, too. To wit: “You can get hooked on the fruity flavours and tingly menthol sensation of some formulations,” notes makeup artist Larry Yeo. “What’s worse, these ingredients may irritate the mucous membranes and lead to flakiness and inflammation.” Bummer.
How to apply lip balm the “right” way
Happily, the solution isn’t too bitter a pill to swallow, so to speak. Simply switch to oil-based formulas that are thicker in texture; these occlusive products provide better barrier protection so your lips don’t dry out quite so fast.
“This two-step process is a tad bit more troublesome, but try layering a heavier vegetal oil-based salve under your go-to stick product,” recommends Larry. “Press it in with clean fingers to lock in the moisture, then finish by slapping on your lippie of choice for colour.” Incredibly intuitive and easy enough to execute, right?
Right, then. Key takeaway for fellow lip lovers: You don’t have to be armed to the teeth with tubes and tubes of product. Instead, select a “stickier” oil-based ointment so you don’t have to reapply every other minute. Remember, everything in moderation – even something as seemingly innocuous as lip balm!
Text: Eugene Quek, Her World Plus / Additional reporting: Arissa Ha