So we’ve hit mid February (ugh), otherwise known as the season of cracked, chapped, and ice burned lips. It’s a -25 degree (Celsius) lip-hell out there and our sweet puckers are begging for trustworthy protection to see them through to sunnier days. Splurging may be the answer to our wind-chilled smile but deep pocket prices may leave you feeling overly frosty at the cash. So, we’re dying to know, are expensive lips balms really worth the money? We’re plotting three high-priced lip balms against three of their lower-end doppelgangers in the battle of the balm. In our very scientific rating system, one star was awarded for each test successfully completed: The Polar Vortex (obvs we’re talking about ice burned lips here), The Bite (massive amounts of food were consumed), The Kiss Test (lucky us) and The Vibe (the overall feeling of the balm). Let’s see which balm rose to the top!
The Lip Balm, La Mer, CAD $60.00
La Mer or Crème de La Mer lip balm is basically what you find in a treasure chest full of gold at the bottom of the ocean. It’s the top. Made using the company’s trademark Miracle Broth ™ (it sounded gross to us too at first), which mixes Brazilian Malachite, Lime Tea extract, AscophyllumNodosom (algae), Bio-Ceramic White Algae (another algae), and tourmaline, The Lip Balm from La Mer has all its lavish ingredients covered.
The Polar Vortex: We tested this balm in a real polar vortex and it survived. As the artic wind blew The Lip Balm from La Mer worked like a cashmere scarf placed over our faces. It was soft, warm and comforting. Its rich texture meant we only had to use a small amount to reach maximum results.
The Bite: Four vegetarian tacos with avocado, black beans, tomato and sour cream were devoured with The Lip Balm lathered all over our lips. We even used extra hot chipotle to see if it would penetrate the balmy layer. The balm won.
The Kiss Test: The Lip Balm from La Mer, is deeply penetrating so when it was time for The Kiss Test our lips were soft, smooth and undeniably kissable. Not gooey or sticky.
The Vibe: We loved this balm with a capitol L. What we didn’t love was the dent it left in our cash flow. Since you only need very little to survive, this balm might be able to last you all year, which would be truly cost effective. That’s if you don’t become a double dipping balm addict.
Final verdict: 4 Stars
Deep Sea Hydrability Moisturising Lip Balm, Shu Uemura, CAD $48.00
Shu Uemura is the underdog in this category, but came recommended to us by an industry expert, so we decided to give it a try. At a whopping $48 bucks, the Uemura balm promises to repair and protect lips by melting upon each application. They weren’t kidding. This balm definitely melts. It pretty much evaporated into foreign lip territory upon first touch.
The Polar Vortex: This balm faired well in a windstorm, although we did have to reapply as soon as we reached shelter.
The Bite:There was hardly a fight. The 20 piecemaki and sashimi dinner won at first bite.
The Kiss Test: Ultra fail. Nobody likes to see their partner wipe their mouth after a long soft kiss. Its meltytexture is like a diluted sticky lip glass.
The Vibe: Meh. We didn’t love it or hate it. The Deep Sea Hydrability Moisturising Lip Balm is the tube you keep in a drawer at work because it’s good enough in pinch but not great enough to graduate to your make-up case.
Final Verdict: 1 Star
Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care, Chanel, CAD $50, .35 oz
Chanel’s Nourishing Lip Care would be better described as lipsilk or lip velvet. It boasts the refined scent of a lush English rose garden, which is awesome if you’re into flora. This lip balm made us want to have tea and scones brought to us on a silver tray on a rainy day. Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care is uses Camellia as a flowering plant extract found in eastern and southern Asia to give this balm a botanical boost. As sumptuous as it sounds there is a large question mark behind this luxury brand’s lip protector. “Polyfractioned Active” is the other ultra-pure, ultra powerful main ingredient in Nourishing Lip Care balm. Excuse us, Poly what? PFA is a purification process developed and trademarked by researchers Chanel. Sounding slightly ominous we gave this floral lip remedy a try.
The Polar Vortex: Its main focus is to hydrate and nourish so we didn’t have high hopes for a snowy survival, but it passed the test after a 20 minute walk in sub-degree weather. But we reapplied it anyway because it was so luxurious.
The Bite: The Chanel lip balm, kind of survived an A&W burger with Onion Rings. But we couldn’t really tell because we reapplied it anyway. #addicted
The Kiss Test: Very smooth and subtle if your partner likes flora. If not you might hear “what’s that smell?”
The Vibe: We’re pretty sure this lip balm cast a spell on us. We’re not sure if it was so luxurious that we wanted to reapply it all day, or we needed to reapply it all day because it wasn’t working. Either way, we reapplied it all day. At $50 a pop, it started to become an expensive habit. The scent is also very particular, if you don’t like flora, walk away. It’s that intense.
Final Verdict: 2.75 Stars
Original Lip Balm, Lypsyl, CAD $1.99, 4.2g
FYI people, Lypsyl still exists. With so many other competitors out there, let’s be honest, who knew? Let alone who knew you would score Lypsyl Original. Lypsyl is owned by the Connecticut companyLornamead, which lists this lip contender as being very popular in Europe. Umm, ok. Two main ingredients in Lypsyl are petrolatum (so basically Vaseline, which you also can use to clean your leather boots)and paraffin (wax like substance). Lypsyl/ Chapstick stick formula has been around for over a hundred years so it definitely has the most history.
The Polar Vortex:As a rule any product that is proud to fall under an Original flavour is going to be the real deal. No messing here. When you first apply Lypsyl it feels like a wet piece of waxed paper that has been blow-dried to your mouth. It’s not sexy. Regardless, you’ll want Lypsyl on your side. That fat, thick, waxy feeling quickly disappears to leave a protective seal over your lips. It’s totally legit inside the Polar Vortex. In fact, we think Lypsylcan spread clouds. It was that powerful.
The Bite: A sesame seed bagel and cream cheese with a large caramel macchiato was consumed right after application. Lypsyl didn’t even notice.
The Kiss Test: Quick absorption let’s you linger a little longer.
The Vibe:Lypsyl doesn’t care what you think. It’s going to do its protection thing regardless of your lifestyle. It’s your true best friend. Lypsylminds its own business until you need it, then it’s totally there for you.
Final Verdict: 4 Stars
POLYSPORIN® Visible Lip Health, Polysporin, CAD $5.99, 10g
For the record, Polysporin goes on bleeding cuts, bad burns and new tattoos. Polysporin has never ventured near the lip area until now with their Daily Lip Health Protection. Because we’re willing to try anything once, and because the three main ingredients in this lip protector are beeswax, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, which is totally doable, we faced our fears and threw it into the mix. At $5.99 this is the highest-priced in product in its league.
The Polar Vortex:POLYSPORIN faired well in the cold. The protection was there but a lot of lip smacking was happening to make sure the whiteness of the lotion seeped in. Who wants to be a smack machine?
The Bite:We had to reapply it 15 minutes after eating a warm quinoa salad.
The Kiss Test: Its light texture slid right off the lips during a good-bye kiss. POLYSPORIN Visible Lip Health seems to be the type of product that you use in preparation for a night of locking lips,not necessary right before you are about to land one.
The Vibes: When they say it’s visible, they weren’t kidding. It’s literally white. You may very well feel like a sunbather from 1949 with this lathered on your lips.We still can’t overcome the mind bender that this product exists for daily use in the lip area. Or maybe we’re just still scared to put POLYSPORIN anywhere near the face.
Final Verdict: 0.5 Stars
Lip Medex, Blistex, CAD 2.99
Blistex really has the market cornered where chapped lips are concerned. With 19 different balms to choose from their whole existence is contingent on your lips being in dire need of moisture. Let’s face it we all have a Blistex product stuck at the bottom of our purse that we’ve completely forgotten about. From medicativebalms to those that revive and restore (they even have a Cold and Allergy balm) Blistex is to lips what 6 inch heels is to your wardrobe – a staple.
The Polar Vortex: We chose to test Blistex Lip Medex product for this exact reason. The minty soother in Lip Medex is supposed to relieve sore lips that have suffered from the cold weather. But to our shock Lip Medex totally failed this test. In a gust of wind, not only did we feel like our faces were being swallowed by a giant iceberg, the menthol ingredient in Lip Medex was so strong we felt like our lips were suddenly sucking a Zamboni. Not to mention that the menthol mixed with prolonged exposure to the cold made us feel like our lips were plumping into a large ‘Joker’ smile.
Recommendation: Use Lip Medex indoors to simulate the refreshing feeling of outdoor weather. Don’t go outside!
The Bite: Lip Medex survived a very messy Cobb salad lunch and 3 cups of coffee.
The Kiss Test: We were told our lips were soft and felt conditioned. No mention of the menthol transfer for this peck.
The Vibe: We liked Lip Medex because it’s famous. It’s like the Carey Mulligan of lip balms, true to its form and reliable. It’s a standard and we can respect that.
Final verdict: 3 stars
After many days and nights of kissing, eating and braving the cold weather, our lips were exhausted, but thankfully we got to the bottom of the balm. Our scientific tests proved that middle is mediocre. All the products stuck in the mid range, were very similar, so why pay $50 when you can score the same deal for $2.99. Mid is not worth it. The best products were in the extremes: The Lip Balm from La Mer at $60 or Original Lypsyl at $1.99. Adjust your wallet accordingly. From top, straight to bottom, your lips will remain protected.