The lip-balm low-down

Don’t you hate carefully seeking out a vegan lip balm–and paying good money for it–only to discover that it sucks? I certainly do, and because I care for you, dear readers, I’m going to try to help you avoid this fate and instead shop confidently for your next lip-care needs.

Which one to choose? Read on!

Here’s the scoop on seven vegan lip balms I’ve purchased recently in Washington and Oregon. Did I miss your favorite? Please let me know in the comments!

Crazy Rumors Fresh Squeezed, Pink Grapefruit flavor (Based in Kennesaw, GA; Purchased in Portland at Back to Eden Bakery. Click for a Store Locator, or order direct online.) I love the texture and flavor of this lip balm. It goes on smooth even at room temp but avoids the oily feel that is tricky to avoid without using beeswax. The flavor is a delicious, authentic-tasting grapefruit flavor with just enough sweetness. Crazy Rumors makes a remarkable assortment of flavors and also has a line of tinted balms if you want some color. All of their balms are vegan.

Eco Lips Bee Free, Lemon-Lime flavor (Based in Cedar Rapids, IA; Purchased in Seattle at Whole Foods Market, Westlake. It was actually the only vegan lip balm carried in the store, among many containing beeswax). Click for a Store Locator, or order direct online.) The website says “We’re serious about the lemon-lime factor in this vegan lip balm.” They are not kidding. It is intense, which is a bummer for me because I rarely like lemon-lime flavor, and this was no exception. It tastes like cleaning products to me. But If you tend to like that flavor/scent, you’d probably love this, and the texture was also very good. This one “bee free” flavor is the only vegan product in their line.

Hurraw!, Chai Spice flavor (Based in Whitefish, MT; Purchased in Portland at Food Fight! Grocery. Click for a Store Locator, or order direct online.) There are a few notable things about Hurraw! One is that they use an oval, rather than a round tube. I love this because it prevents the tube from rolling around, which immediately nominated it for keeping on my nightstand, from which I’ve knocked many, many tubes of lip balm. It would also sit a little flatter in your pocket or purse, if that mattered. The other is that the company seems unusually dedicated to sourcing their products (including using almost entirely raw ingredients, for those who appreciate such things) and being thoughtful with packaging waste. Once again, there’s some excellent texture on this balm–possibly the best of the lot. I find the chai spice flavor just a tad sweet, but it is an extremely faithful rendering of that flavor–when I’m wearing the balm I feel like I’m smelling a fresh cup of chai in front of me. Hurraw! does make a balm with SPF 15 sun protection, which I’ve found in only one other vegan product (see below), as well as some tinted balms. I will definitely try their Sun balm next time I need one with SPF.

Lavera Sun15 (no flavor given) (Based in Germany; Purchased in Seattle at Madison Market. According to their website, it looks like this product may have been discontinued). I grabbed this because it was the only vegan lip balm I’d seen with any sun screen in it. The flavor is a mild vanilla one. The texture is ok, though a little dry/waxy/sticky, and the titanium dioxide has a noticeable whitening effect on your lips. Not ideal, but probably not too big a deal if you’re out skiing or on the water. Maybe not what you’d want to wear around daily, but if this product isn’t for sale much longer, that might not matter either.

The Merry Hempsters Vegan Hemp Balm, Natural flavor (Based in Eugene, OR; Purchased in Seattle at Madison Market. Click for a Store Locator, or order direct online.) The Merry Hempsters have been making vegan lip balm in Eugene for many years, and it’s a good product. I do find it a bit on the oily side, which is most noticeable when it’s been in your pocket. With all the other flavors I’d bought I decided to go unflavored with this one, but in the past I’ve bought and enjoyed their flavored products. It has the shortest ingredient list of the products I tried, with only six ingredients, and it is also the least expensive (listed on their website for $2.99, but I paid just $2.49 at Madison Market). Note that this company also sells a very similar-looking line of non-vegan lip balms, so be sure to read the label closely.

Moxie Organix, Lemon-Lavender and Coconut flavors (Based in Walla Walla, WA; Purchased in Walla Walla. Click for retail locations, or order direct online.) I am completely hooked on the lemon-lavender flavor of this stuff. The coconut is good also, but I love the uniqueness of the lemon-lavender and the interesting blend of fruit with floral flavors. I find the texture of this one just slightly oily as well, comparable to the Merry Hempsters, but not so much that it’s a problem. The company is all vegan, and also produces wonderful lotions and other body-care products.

T.M.B. (That’s my balm!), Cinnamon-Ginger-Mint flavor (Distributed from San Marcos, CA; Purchased in Seattle at Madison Market.) This one’s a bit of a mystery. I can’t find any trace of the product or brand online, and the distributor mentioned on the label, Valana Minerals, makes no mention of anything like this on their website. But that’s ok, because it’s a lousy product, and you should not buy it. The flavor sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, only after removing the crumbling end of the stick could I begin to taste even a hint of any of those things. Mostly, it tastes faintly of stale oils, and of little else. This is especially odd since the tube was not just sealed with a sticker like most of them, but was entirely shrink-wrapped as well. Further, the texture is dry, waxy, and a little gritty going on. It’s a little softer when it warms up, but then it goes from waxy to sticky. Adding insult to injury, this was also the most expensive one I bought, at $4.99 a tube. Oh well. At least you know better now.

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One Response to The lip-balm low-down

  1. Pingback: Portland’s Vegan Street of Dreams: Alberta « Northwest Herbivore

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