When I say I have a lip balm addiction, I don’t say it in like a funny way. Saying you have an addiction to a beauty product probably always seems a tad bit hyperbolic — I love my Harry Josh dryer but I’m not really addicted to it, you know? — but this time, I’m being dead serious.
Chapstick tubes litters the pockets of all my purses, coats, jackets, pants, and hoodies like some sort of balm-y infestation. I’m constantly finding them under my pillows, in my dryer, and — in the worst kind of lip balm travesty — melted everywhere inside of my backpack after a hot day at the beach.
But the worst thing about my lip balm addition is not the fact that I spend a lot of money and sometimes make a big mess, it’s the fact that the feeling I get when I have chapped or dry lips is so all-consuming—I literally cannot focus on anything else.
Basically, if you’re telling me an awesome story about the time you were kidnapped trekking through the Andes with a celebrity eco-tourist, and my lips are chapped, I’m staring blankly at you while mentally rummaging through all of the places I might have left a tube of the good stuff. Sadly, it’s true.
I am a lip balm fiend.
About two months ago, after being in an absolutely torturous meeting with no lip balm and completely Sahara lips for two and a half hours, I snapped.
I knew I had to do something to break the cycle or I was going to be all alone, riffling through garbage cans looking for chapstick tubes (okay, it'll probably never be that dire, but I did realize that 27 is far too old to completely lose focus regularly over a glorified tube of wax). With that breaking point in mind, I present to you, my 12 step program for breaking my lip balm addiction. If you follow these steps, and you keep following these steps, you will not need to use chapstick (unless you really, really want to).
Disclaimer: I don’t claim to be fully in recovery, as I’m currently side-eying a tube of blistex on my countertop. But I’m definitely, 100% doing better.
1. Drink more water. All the time.
This seems like a no-brainer, but I guarantee you, you are not drinking enough water. Use flavoring, add lemon, get addicted to seltzer; do anything you can to ensure that you’re consuming water on the reg, no matter how annoying it gets.
2. Buy a humidifier.
Before I got a humidifier, I thought they were something that only moms bought for their sick little kids. Now, I’m a convert. I no longer wake up feeling like my face and lips are stiff and dry from the air of my heater, and I’m a better person for it.
3. Distract yourself.
The fact of the matter is, using lip balm all the time stops your lips from self-regulating their own moisture. If you want to habitually reach for the ‘stick, and you’re lips are barely dry, distract yourself with a cool article about brow maintenance (or Game of Thrones and Star Wars crossover fan fiction, do you).
4. Don’t sticky or super sour candy.
It’s bad for your teeth, and it dries out your lips. Adios, sour straws.
5. Oh hey I think you forgot to drink more water. Do it again.
6. Invest in a really good lip treatment.
Now that I have worked tirelessly to halt my addiction, I use treatments like Cle de Peau’s The Lip Serum and By Terry’s Baume de Rose to help my lips stay supple and retain moisture, but they’re so pricey that I’m not tempted to use them every single day.
7. Don’t wear matte lipstick.
I know, matte lipstick looks so hot though. It really does. But it dries out your lips like WHOA. If you absolutely must go Matte, I recommend Bite Beauty as the least drying brand I’ve used.
8. Protect your lips from the elements.
But do it without lip balm Hey you know that awesome scarf you just splurged on? Don’t just protect your neck, protect your mouth, too.
9. What time is it? Oh right, time to drink more water.
10. Those salty foods you like? That hot sauce? Those are also no Bueno.
You know that feeling when the corners of your mouth hurt from eating too many salty chips in a row? That’s salt and spicy leeching all the good moisture right out of your lips. And yes, it’s not a good thing.
11. Don’t use petroleum jelly.
People debate the truth to this, but apparently petroleum jelly is a protectant, but doesn’t necessarily moisturize your lips, which means once it’s gone, you’re lips have ultimately lost moisture, leading you to use more petroleum jelly, and enter into a dangerous addiction cycle. Though some people swear up and down by petroleum jelly, when I cut it out of my lipcare routine, my lip balm cravings noticeably lessened.
12. Congratulate yourself, you did it! Why don’t you have another drink of water to celebrate?
What beauty habit can you just not quit? Have you or someone you know stopped the lip balm cycle of addiction? Tell me in the comments!