Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What's in Your Lip Balm?

As the saying goes, you are what you eat!

Petroleum is the active ingredient in many drugstore "name brand" lip balms. It’s estimated that the average woman consumes over 1 pound of lip product per year, by eating, drinking and licking her lips. One study even claimed 4-6 pounds of lip product per year, but unless you're Paris Hilton, I can't fathom it's that excessive! Do you really want to be ingesting a petroleum based lip balm? There are many natural alternatives that make it possible to soothe, condition and heal chapped lips without harsh ingredients.

When looking for a natural lip balm, it’s important to select one with quality ingredients. The first question to ponder is, “Would I eat that?” Many natural carrier oils, also referred to as vegetable oils or base oils, are derived from fruits and plants, such as avocado, coconut or grape seed. Carrier oils have different grades, so it’s important to educate yourself on the differences between food grade, expeller-pressed, organic and solvent extracted carrier oils. Solvent extracting is a process that requires the use of chemical solvents to remove the oil from the plant or fruit. Even some food grade oils are solvent extracted, so look carefully into what types of oils the manufacturer uses. If you are seeking the most natural choice, expeller-pressed and organic oils are the purest form.

Flavor and fragrance come from two different sources in natural balms, either essential oils which are naturally steam distilled from plants, or synthetic flavor oils. For safety precautions, essential oils should not exceed 0.3% of the total formulation in lip balms. Flavor oils can be used safely up to 1% of the formulation. Most flavor oils are not natural, but are a very small percentage of the formula and provide more flavor options than essential oils. So if you see a mango or pina colada natural lip balm, chances are it's made with a flavor oil. Since it's probably only 1% of the formulation, this may not concern most folks, but is something to be aware of since many natural balms do contain synthetic flavors.

Ironically, while researching this topic for an article I'm writing, I received a phone call from my sister-in-law. She was frustrated by a need it now lip balm she purchased in desperate need of soothing her chapped lips. April is a die hard eco-warrior who will only shop and surround herself with the greenest of the green. She bought this balm from a well known "natural store", only to find out upon closer examination of the label... it contained petroleum.

Read your label, what's in your lip balm?

The Grapeseed Co. uses only expeller-pressed and organic carrier oils in ALL of our products. They cost a bit more, but in our opinion, it's worth it! It's what our brand stands for. Our lip balms contain only pure essential oils. I do not want to eat chemicals, and I don't want our customers to either. You can learn more about our truly natural lip balms here


  1. Great article and very important news to share.

  2. Your article is another example of how important it is to be intentional about what we think, feel, and even purchase. Thank you for raising our awareness of yet another potential health hazard.

  3. This was a great article. Thanks so much for posting.

  4. This was a great article. Thanks so much for posting.