We often discuss "niche perfumery," but what about niche toiletries? Lip balm, for example. Who doesn't own a lip balm of some kind? It might just be a basic ChapStick or Blistex picked up at the drugstore. On the other hand, it might be a lip-care item with a carefully honed image (and a matching scent), designed to appeal to a very specific user group. Here's a selection of quirky lip balms that have caught my attention over the past few months.
For the traditionalist-with-a-twist: Burt's Bees Revitalizing Lip Balm with Blueberry and Dark Chocolate. This new iteration has the same ideal consistency as the original Beeswax formula, with natural flavoring from extracts of antioxidant-rich (and tasty) blueberries and dark powdered cocoa. (about $3.50 at drugstores)
For the bohemian: For Strange Women Absinthe Lips (not shown). This natural perfumery also offers a few lip treats, including this decadent little tin of medium-weight balm flavored with anise essential oil. If you like black licorice, you'll like this. ($6 at For Strange Women; also offered in a traditional tube for $4.50)
For the home-brewer: Atlantic Farms Double IPA Lip Balm. This waxy balm is infused with essential oils from organic hops flowers and sweetened with stevia. It really does smell like hops: a little grassy, a little banana-like, with something floral-herbal in the mix. Other flavors are also available. ($6.50 at Atlantic Farms)
For the ayurveda enthusiast: Hurraw! Vata, Pita, and Kapha Balms. Once you're figured out your dosha, you'll know which of these vegan balms to choose. I'm a Kapha, so my blend is warm and spicy, with plenty of aromatic ginger and hints of citrus and eucalyptus. ($4.29 at Hurraw!)
For the sun-and-surf type: Sun Bum SPF30 Balm. Sun protection plus fun, fruity scents---a day at the beach. I've sampled Pink Guava, which packs a real punch of pulpy, citrusy-sweet flavor. Also available in Mango, Banana, Coconut... ($3.99 at Sun Bum)
For the classic movie fan: Skull & Sparkle Hollywood Balmshells (not shown). These glittery, decorated tins have a handmade feel, which adds to their charm. (I chose the Clara Bow "Starlet" design.) The balm inside has a light texture and a lemon-sugar "champagne" flavoring. ($5 at Skull & Sparkle)
For the nature-lover: Noya Vanilla Lip Balm. Simple and sweet, this balm is kosher and all-natural, with a smooth texture and a creamy vanilla taste and scent. ($3.99 at Noya; additional flavors also available)
Have you recently come across any unusual lip balms? Feel free to share in the comments!