Tuesday 16 January 2018

Beauty - The Panel: Why not get... A bit balmy

If your lips are blitzed and broken, you'll need a balm, says Sarah Caden, and we can help you pick a pretty one

Pictured, from left, Burt's Bees Lip Shine in Blush; Mac Mineralize Tinted Lip Balm in Pure and Tender; benefit posiebalm; Kiehl's Lip Balm SPF15 in Hue No 30G; Lanolips Lip Ointment SPF 15 in Sunshine
Pictured, from left, Burt's Bees Lip Shine in Blush; Mac Mineralize Tinted Lip Balm in Pure and Tender; benefit posiebalm; Kiehl's Lip Balm SPF15 in Hue No 30G; Lanolips Lip Ointment SPF 15 in Sunshine

There comes a point in the long stretch of cold and dark weather when our bodies reach a tipping point. This is the point at which some physical symptom of your need for spring makes itself known, and for many people, it's the lips that have it. Chapped, broken, bitten and raw, our mouths silently tell a tale of torture, and it's balm you need to make things right.

Obviously, there is an abundance of medicinal-like lip products, that feel, smell and look like they're doing good work. And, in most cases, they are. And you should use them if you're in dire need. But if it's extra comfort for your soul that you're after - ­the kind that comes of using something that's as pretty as it is effective - then we're here to help.

There's something defeating about catching a glimpse of yourself all chapped and raggy-mouthed, so a slick of something nourishing and appearance-improving is a real saviour. When it comes to choosing a coloured lip-soothing product, we recommend that you avoid very dramatic colours that will only emphasise a red, sore mouth. Keep it sheer or pale and go for shine, as you let the balm itself soothe your sorry lips.

Best overall

Burt's Bees Lip Shine in Blush, €9.95, Avoca; selected pharmacies and health stores nationwide

The balmy stuff in this product is apricot wax, which tastes and smells nuttily sweet. It's also a good lip moisturiser, as good as the regular Burt's Bees lip balm, but prettier, particularly in this nude-pink shade. This makes a good insulating gloss layer over lipstick, or is a nicely 'your lips but better' shade all by itself. We like the squeeze-out tube, which is very coat-pocket friendly. "This gives a gloss that's as good as any make-up product, but it's a terrific healer, without looking pharmaceutical," said one panellist.

Best Almost Gloss

Mac Mineralize Tinted Lip Balm in Pure and Tender, €20.50, Brown Thomas and BT2

There's a shimmer to this lip balm, so it's a good choice for those with thin lips, as light-catching particles lend an illusion of fullness. Not trout-pout fullness, just not so mean-mouthed, perhaps. The balm has that distinctive Mac hyper-vanilla scent - which people either love or hate right under their nose - and, in texture, it is closer to a proper, sticky gloss than any of our other favourites. "I love the vaguely shimmery nude colour," said a panellist. "It has decent staying power, and my lips felt pampered, too."

Best Pink Pleasure

benefit posiebalm, €21, benefit, Sth William St, D2; Brown Thomas and Debenhams nationwide; Clerys; Arnotts; larger Boots; selected pharmacies

In a nutshell, this tinted balm is a companion to posietint, which is from the benetint family of liquid paint-on tints that can be used on lips and cheeks. And, yes, there's a red benebalm, too, as well as a coral chachabalm, and all of these can be worn over a layer of tint - or a regular lip colour - for a soft effect. Oh, mango butter and hyaluronic acid do the lip-healing work. "Pretty, and pretty effective," said one panellist.

Best Sheer Soother

Kiehl's Lip Balm SPF 25 in Hue No 30G, €11.50, Kiehl's, 35 Wicklow St, D2; Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Arnotts

Cotton-seed oil is the key emollient ingredient in this lip balm, the basic, colourless version of which is an award-winning best-seller. The basic balm has many spin-offs, into tints and even tastes, ranging from reds and pinks to mint and mango. We particularly like the slippery texture, which sets it apart from more waxy balms or tacky glosses. "It's a very bright red in the tube," said a panellist, "but it's far more sheer on the lips, and it soothes effectively."

Best Attractive Unguent

Lanolips Lip Ointment SPF 15 in Sunshine, €10.99, Boots

We absolutely love this range of balms, all of which are based on pure lanolin, a waxy substance found in sheep's wool, but don't let that put you off. The plain Lip Ointment is fantastic, but it tends to get very solid and difficult to squeeze out of the tube in cold weather, which is not a problem with the coloured varieties. This Sunshine shade is what it suggests: cheery, bright and pretty. And the ointment is a healer, we promise. "I wear this when I go running," said one panellist. "It's a great insulator, in that it withstands weather and my open-mouthed gasping for air. And it makes me look half-decent, too."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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