Lip Balm's Origin
Lip balm has been a top-selling beauty product all over the world since the 1800s! This sweet-tasting cosmetic is relied upon for keeping our lips healthy and happy.
The Egyptians were first credited for using lip balm and it was Cleopatra and other pharaohs of Ancient Egypt that used beeswax, olive oil, and animal fat as the ingredients. These naturally occurring components were used for skin and lip care.
Believe it or not, the first modern mention of a treatment for cracked lips comes from the 1800s when a lady called Lydia Marie Child wrote a book called ‘The American Frugal Housewife’.
In her book she recommended using earwax! Seriously!
An interesting history
It wasn’t until 1865 when Robert Cheseborough invented and patented a new type of petroleum jelly called ‘Wonder Jelly’ that the modern version of lip balm material was developed.
The jelly didn’t take off until Cheseborough changed the name to ‘Vaseline’ and it paved the way for the world’s first official lip balm which is credited to Charles Brown Fleet.
The balm was wrapped in tin foil and resembled a candle without a wick, unfortunately, the product didn’t prove too popular and in 1912, John Morton bought the formula for a whole $5.
It was his wife’s idea to melt all the ingredients (petroleum jelly and flavours/scents) into brass tubes to mould the balm into sticks and lip balm as we know it was born.
Today the global lip balm market is worth nearly $1BN and a lot of brands are still made with petroleum jelly and come packaged in plastic which often can’t be recycled!
Can you see where this is going – yes you have guessed it, lip balm has an environmental impact and it’s a big one.
The environmental impact of lip balm
As an individual the impact of your lip balm use will be small, but when multiplied by the billions of people that do the same and you have an issue.
The Petroleum Jelly used in many lip balms is a by-product of the petroleum process and using products from this process, if you pardon the pun, fuels the fossil fuel industry.
Petroleum has a negative environmental impact because it is toxic to almost all forms of life and its extraction contributes to climate change.
Did you know that it only takes 26 seconds for 80% of what you put on your skin to be absorbed into your bloodstream, completely bypassing the liver and Petroleum-based products are no different?
If that isn’t enough to think about, the plastic packaging that lip balms generally come in is often not recyclable as they are contaminated by the petroleum jelly and end up in landfills.
Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down and can break down into microplastics which contaminate waterways, oceans and the life in them.
Who would have thought that something as innocuous as lip balm could have such an environmental impact?
Reducing our impact
So what can you do to reduce your impact?
You can check the labelling to make sure the ingredients are all natural and that they are cruelty free.
If you are vegan, check that the product doesn’t contain beeswax as a lot of natural lip balms contain this ingredient.
Finally have a look at the packaging and if you can and try and go for plastic free, refillable or recyclable packaging.
If you haven’t got time to research, Play It Green has done some for you and here are some of our favourite brands for you to try.
Some of our favourite Lip Balms
Ethique recently released a line of plastic-free lip balms made with vegan, fair-trade, and sustainable ingredients sourced from Rwanda and Samoa.
They’re also free of palm oil!
They have a variety of flavours to choose from, including decadent chocolate, pink grapefruit & vanilla, and a tinted or unscented lip balm.
All of these are packaged in 100% plastic-free, compostable material.
Another of our favourites is Sweet Orange Superfood Lip Balm by The Glowcery which is made with cold-pressed carrot, orange, and ultra-nourishing mango butter.
It is free from petroleum, artificial fragrances, beeswax, and animal products and is packaged in a recyclable and reusable tin, so no plastic at all!
Our final sustainable lip balm and a great discount
Our final lip balm comes from The Funky Soap shop and is their Grapefruit and Cocoa Butter flavour.
This is a luxurious lip balm made entirely of natural ingredients.
It is made of candelilla wax and is completely vegan and contains pure cocoa and mango butter, as well as avocado oil and the zesty Grapefruit Essential Oil, which will keep your lips soft and moisturised.
The icing on the cake is that It is packaged in a biodegradable cardboard tube.
To help you take your next step to a more sustainable future, you can head over to The Funky Soap Shop right now and get 20% off their amazing sustainable lip balm using the code FLASHSALE at checkout.
That’s it for this week – hopefully you enjoyed the article and enjoy your new sustainable lip balm with the knowledge that switching has helped lower your footprint!