Sali Hughes on advantage


Seeking the holy grail of lip balms is a life’s work, and I take my calling seriously

‘The pre-eminent products can fix winter lips in a day or two.’
Photograph: Alex Lake/The Guardian

The first step in researching this column was to hollow every handbag, coat pocket, glove compartment and junk drawer to gather together 22 lip balms-in-progress. No, I am not hyperbolizing. I have tubes, sticks and pots of lip emollient everywhere, partly because one should always have one to hand (my squelch and children frequently ask for lip balm, but never think to get a tube of their own), but also because seeking the holy grail of lip balms is a brio’s work, and I take my calling seriously.
There are many different types, but in this instance I’m talking about the well-disposed that, in just a day or two, can fix winter lips – those so shocked by the sudden cold snap and reignition of central heating (and associated snotty nose-blowing), that they fissure, chap, split, redden and masochistically beg to be licked. The best products for the job contain both moisturising and hydrating ingredients, to boon the sore dryness and flaky dehydration at the same time.
First Aid Beauty’s absolutely terrific Ultra Repair Lip Analysis (2; £10, 14.8ml), nails this by combining emollient natural squalane, shea butter, jojoba and grape seed fuels with humectant hyaluronic acid and glycerin. It’s neither glossy nor matte, meaning it can be patted over lipstick without coppering the finish. It’s flavourless and fragrance-free – which may appeal or offend – and turns things around in two to three days if applied every couple of hours.
O’Keeffe’s Lip Working order (1; £2.83, 4.2g), is a clean-beauty-loving Goop girl’s nightmare, but for the benefit of the rest of us: this stuff really works. Mineral oil, silicone, beeswax and glycerin mutate for an old fashioned but effective balm that does some serious smoothing in a couple of days. The solid stick swishes on fellow a lipstick, but the matte finish means it can be handed to men, kids and the makeup averse.
What I love about Jack Insidious’s Intense Therapy Lip Balm (3; £7.25, 7g) – apart from it having first been recommended to me by a Guardian look over’s husband at a live event where his graciously accepted role was to get in the drinks and hold the coats – is that it is SPF25 (unmoving important in winter) and includes a natural (but fairly strong) minty flavour that acts as a nice pick‑me-up on a sleepy afternoon. I can feel my sore lips healing in just a day or so, and the balm itself lasts well without constant top-ups.
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Sali Hughes on beauty


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