The Chemical Chronicles | How Toxic is Your Lip Balm?

I can guarantee that every single person who reads this blog post has at least 3 different lip balms tucked away in numerous spots to be used in the moment of a dry lip crisis. Come on. You know it's true. It's a universal truth that lip balm is required in any and all life moments. Tucking one away in every possible location is just a smart practice to get into!

A Scary Look at a Common Lip Balm

But I bet you haven't thought about just how toxic these lip balms are. They're made of chemicals after all...but have you thought about what those chemicals are? Take Chapstick, the OG lip balm we've all used before. The brand that has become so synonymous with the idea of a lip balm that we all call any brand of lip balm we use "chapstick." Have you ever considered what's inside? A quick search on Think Dirty reveals some scary ingredients. Things like Octinoxate 7.5% which is connected to breast cancer and Fragrance which is a catch all term used by companies to hide any number of chemicals that are used to mask unpleasant odors or add a synthetic scent. These "fragrances" are heavily linked to allergies and no one likes being an itchy splotchy mess.


That may not seem like a lot of toxic ingredients, but they're hard to justify when there's so many natural alternatives you can turn to. I'm not expecting any of you to become a natural lip balm expert after a single blog post...but it's important to know which ingredients to avoid and which ingredients to look for when you're trying to pick out a lip balm to have and to hold, til death do you part.

Ingredients to avoid:

Fragrance - Any fragrance put into a lip balm should cause you some concern as these artificially created chemicals often come with a nasty collection of allergic reactions. Not to mention a tasty lip balm can cause you to lick your lips more, a bad habit that can cause even more lip dryness.

Chemical SPF (Oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3), octinoxate, avobenzone, octisalate, octylcrylene, etc.) - If an ingredient is impossible to pronounce, you probably should keep it far away from your lips (or any body part for that matter). These ingredients may block harmful rays, but they also cause allergic skin reactions and dryness, which is pretty unhelpful when you're trying to fight dryness in the first place.

Phenol & Menthol - These ingredients may come with a fun cooling sensation, but they can cause lips to become irritated and more sensitive.

Vitamin E - While Vitamin E can moisturize your lips, some people can have an allergic reaction to a topical application of the vitamin, so it might be better to avoid this ingredient. If it's moisture you need, beeswax is a natural ingredient that does a better job of sealing in moisture.

Ingredients to love:

✔️ Zinc Oxide - We try to put SPF on our face daily, but often our lips are neglected. That's not so good when our lips are even more sensitive to the sun! But an ingredient like zinc oxide in a natural balm will do wonders to protect your lips from the suns harmful rays. Keep in mind that zinc oxide is a mineral SPF which is far safer to use than a chemical SPF.

✔️ Natural Oils (Coconut oil, Olive oil, Jojoba oil, Almond oil, etc) - So many lip balms in the world use petrolatum as a moisturizing ingredient which is such a shame when so many natural plant-based ingredients would do a much better job. These oils derived from different plants contain fatty acids that moisturize more deeply into our lips and are accepted more readily by our skin. They contain antioxidants and protect our lips from environmental stressors. Doesn't that sound nice? Much nicer than spreading petroleum jelly all over your lips?

✔️ Essential Oils (Lavender, Orange, Peppermint, Grapefruit, etc) - Everybody loves a tasty smelling lip balm. But when artificial fragrances are involved you can't know what you're putting on your lips. That's why essential oils are so important. Asides from the countless benefits and they have, they also give any lip balm a wonderful scent that is far better (and more natural) than anything cooked up in a science lab.

✔️ Natural Dyes (Beetroot, Carrot Juice, or Pomegranate) - I get it, we all want a little color on our lips from time to time. But why reach for something full of artificial dyes to add that color when there are far safer alternatives out there. Not to mention these natural juices act as a stain that can last much longer on your lips than a lot of artificial dyes.

It can be a lot to take in, but the more you pay attention to the ingredients in the products you use every day, the better you can decrease the amount of harmful chemicals you come in contact with. Trust me, your lips will thank you!

A World of Natural Alternatives

Never fear! There's a wealth of natural alternatives out there for you to enjoy. As more and more natural and organic brands pop up, the options for natural lip balm continue to expand. I've personally only gotten to try a few myself (including making my own!), but I've found a few favorites:

Young Living's Cinnamint Lip Balm - This lip balm smells like YL took Big Red and melted it down with some beeswax. It's AMAZING. I'm a huge cinnamon lover and I cannot get over how good this lip balm smells. Not to mention its crazy nourishing without too much slip that's common in natural lip balms. I cannot get enough of the essential oil goodness! If you're interested in learning more about YL products comment below or go to this link to become a member!

Skin Balm Apothecary's Lavender Orange Lip Balm - After entering an instagram contest, I won this lip balm and I kinda can't stop talking about it. In part because I've never won anything before and also because this lip balm SMELLS. SO. GOOD. I kid you not. I'm not the biggest lavender fan but I took a risk choosing this balm flavor. Boy am I glad I did! It smells so so sweet. Like sweet tarts minus all the artificial sugar. I can't stop reaching for it just so I can have another whiff! I'm also super impressed with this brand. They're an awesome small business specializing in organic products and I cannot wait to try some more.

EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Summer Fruit - Guys.. I'm not here here to burst all of your lip balm bubbles. Don't worry! The cult favorite lip balm in the iconic sphere packaging is a wonderfully safe option! It scores a 0 on Think Dirty! That's a pretty big deal. It's full of awesome ingredients like peach extract and the always popular beeswax. The website states that it's 95% organic, 100% natural, and paraben and petrolatum free which is pretty dang good. I may have ruined chapstick for you, but you can continue using your EOS balm without worry!


I know I've given you a lot to think about. Once you start paying attention to the ingredients in products, there's really no turning back (sorry not sorry). But a few small changes can lead to a world of difference for your health and lips. Check back later, I promise there will be more posts like this to come!