So this may be a very odd thing to talk about and please don’t think I am being flippant but I was addicted to Chapstick. When I was a teenager I had really bad eczema and suffered from recurrent cold sores which was quite unsightly, especially once I got braces as well.
When I was 15 I discovered medicated Chapstick and it really helped with my dry lips. However when the eczema, cold sores and braces went I was about 17 but I still kept on using Chapstick or Lypsyll ALL the time! I always had a tube with me whatever I was wearing and I had stocks stored all over the place – coat pockets, car doors, drawers, handbags….you get the drift – everywhere!
Over the last 30 years I must have gone through hundreds of lip balms, usually Chapstick, and the “addiction” has just always been there. I got panicky if I didn’t have a tube near me and I probably was applying it every hour at least. I used to wake up in the middle of the night to put it on. If it had fallen down the back of the cabinet I would be there in the middle of night putting the light on and moving the drawers to get it.
I started a new job last May and in the middle of a really long meeting I got into a panic as my Chapstick was outside and I couldn’t get to it. In the end I actually got up and left the meeting to get it.
After a little research I realise I am not alone in this – there are loads of blog posts and there is even a Lip Balm Anonymous – I kid you not!! It seems it isn’t a physical “addiction”, it is more of a learned habit and feeling of security. This is a link to one of interesting articles I read – https://www.salon.com/1999/04/23/lip_balm/
The crunch point came for me when I set up the Sustainably You market stall at events. There I was selling plastic free, vegan products and from my pocket I would produce my plastic tube of lanolin and smear it all over my lips. I did get a few funny looks and it made me realise I needed to try to something new.
In December 2019 I went cold turkey and didn’t put anything on all day – it was very uncomfortable to say the least. I felt very exposed and anxious all day – I told myself to “Get a grip – it’s only Chapstick!”. However by the end of the day I found a secret pot of lip balm and caved in.
Since then I have totally stopped using Chapstick and I have moved to using a shea butter lip balm in a metal tin. I don’t use it anywhere near as often – maybe three times a day and I am getting used to my lips feeling different. I can go all day without even thinking about putting anything on my lips and I don’t get the panic I used to get it if I couldn’t find a tube near me within 10 seconds.
I realise this is a relatively minor issue in relation to world events but I do wonder how many other people are experiencing the same thing. In our drive to reduce plastic can we break our addiction to these little plastic tubes? Can the cosmetics industry help? What is most the sustainable way to use lip balm if we need to?
Do get in touch if you have any comments to make – I would be really interested to hear other people’s experiences.