Botanical Babes

If you wouldn’t be happy to spread it on your toast, why stick it on your lips?

Women can eat their way through about four tubes of lipstick in a lifetime – so make sure that what you pucker up to is truly good enough to eat!

Credit: Fotolia

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While the debate continues to rage about how much of products such as moisturisers, toners or sunscreens are absorbed through the skin, there is no question where our lip products end up: the same place as breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Conventional lipsticks may contain paraffin, saccharin, mineral oil and synthetic colours, as well as that nostalgic ‘mummy’s lipstick’ fragrance that can be very drying to the lips – so it’s a wise move to go natural with lip balms, sticks, glosses and liners.

After all, it doesn’t make much sense to spend time and energy tracking down organic lettuce, strawberries and champagne, only to be munching your way through lip products laden with synthetic chemicals! If you wouldn’t be happy to spread it on your toast, why stick it on your lips?

Blissful balms

Even if you don’t wear lippy, chances are that you rely on lip balm to keep your lips comfortable – and kissable! It’s often said that lip balm is addictive, but there’s no conclusive proof of that; it’s the feeling of lip balm we get hooked on, and it’s just as possible to get hooked, psychologically, on the lip-cocooning sensation of a natural product as a synthetic one.

Conventional lip balms are based on petroleum because it’s a great barrier. But the advantage of natural, sustainably produced ingredients is that they offer skin-caring benefits above and beyond a protective barrier function.

Plant-derived oils such as avocado and jojoba, shea and cocoa butter, as well as hemp seed, are
rich in essential fatty acids that can actually nourish the very fine lip skin. To create a solid texture, these oils and butters are usually blended with natural beeswax, which helps liquids ‘set’. Herbal ingredients such as calendula and aloe vera may also be added for their healing properties.

If you are going to be outside a lot, pick a formulation with a sunscreen protection factor (SPF) – one that’s based on a physical sunblock such as zinc oxide, rather than a chemical one (see “Sun sense” G17, p30). Remember, too, that dry, chapped lips are a response to dry conditions in your body as well as your surroundings. So to keep your lips silky smooth, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

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