July Favorites: A Whole Lot of Hydration (& Silk, Shimmer, Mint, Honey)

Happy Aug – holy shit, it's August??? Summer??? Didn't we just have the Solstice???

I'm panicking too – but I'm also reflecting on some of my favorite products I've used this July. Most of them are brand new & were wonderful surprises – some are old favorites. There should be at least one that fits your budget! I hope you enjoy a little tribute to the month of July. I'm ready to start testing things for August.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – $25

I heard about Laneige (the brand) thanks to KathleenLights. She'd been raving about their lip mask in several of their videos. I immediately checked them out on Sephora & was shocked by the low prices – & high ratings. I didn't get the lip mask right away, but I was in need of a sleeping mask – this water one looked amazing, & compared to most overnight masks, this was practically pennies to pay.

I was 100% NOT let down by this product. You get 2.3 fl. oz. for $25, & the jar comes packed full to the brim. It's also sealed air-tight – like a yogurt cup, you have to peel off the top – & includes a little spatula for application. Major points for the hygienic packaging & the large amount of product for the price paid.

The first time I applied it, it sank in very easily, felt extremely cooling & hydrating, but didn't feel tacky or sticky – it also didn't stick to my pillowcase, which is a problem I often have when using sleeping masks. I woke up with extremely glowy, bouncy, hydrated skin that had little to no redness (big problem of mine waking up, especially around the nose area).

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Definite repurchase – & a reminder that KathleenLights always puts me on to good products with low price tags. The success I had with this mask led to my next purchase:

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask -$20

Okay – the success I had with my first Laneige product was a direct cause of my next purchase. Now that I knew that Laneige's other products were good, I was ready to try the lip mask that everyone – Kathleen, Instagram beauty bloggers, & the people reviewing on Sephora – was raving about. This has an almost full 5-star rating on Sephora, which is incredible…so I was excited to see what the hype was about.

Again – massive amount of product compared with other brands like Bite or Dior (both have overnight lip masks). A little product goes a very, very long way; it feels a bit like a gloss, just a little creamier. It could be worn during the day – you'd just get some shine, so if you don't mind that, I'd go right ahead & wear it during the day (I have done it!). It smells like cranberries & strawberries, & the consistency surprised me – I thought it would be a harder, balm-like texture. It's very soft, similar to the Dior Creme de Rose balm if we're looking for comparisons. This also comes sealed & with a spatula – again, major points.

According to Laneige, the mask's "exclusive Moisture Wrap™ technology boasts hyaluronic acid and minerals to form a protective film over the lips to lock in moisture and active ingredients. A generous layer of this soothing mask at bedtime helps reduce flakiness so you can wake up to lips that feel refreshed, supple, and soft to the touch." This includes Vitamin C, antioxidants, & fruits like…you guessed it! Cranberries.

The first night I used this, I didn't exfoliate my lips, I just used this product, & this product alone. I woke up for the first time in months with extremely soft, plump lips. I tried it again the next night, this time using the Herbivore Coco Rose Lip Polish first. The results were even better – lips looked healthy, hydrated, full of color, & plump without looking fake (I hate that look).

As someone who's continually dehydrated (thanks, chronic illness!) it's hard for me to find balms/salves that work really well on my lips. Glossier's Balm Dotcom in Rose (or Birthday if I'm feeling fanc) is my go-to for the day time, but it doesn't always work perfectly as an all-night lip mask. This Laneige mask is now a staple in my night routine – & I think it'll stay that way for a long, long time.

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Lip Balms

Now that we're talking lips, let me share with you the three balms I've been using this past month during the day that have been life-savers.

First off – Fresh Beauty Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30 – $25. I know $25 is a lot for a lip balm – but this isn't "just" a lip balm. It can be used on other areas of the face (like the eyelids or cheekbonees or nose) that sunscreen might not settle into so easily. The SPF made a big difference on my lips – protecting them from the sun makes them less chapped, & using this treatment was proof of that. I talked about using this in my post about being at an amusement park for the day, which you can read here, in a lip balm post which you can read here, & also in an SPF post, which you can read here. Just know: it's great. & it is very cute, too.

Secondly – Glossier Birthday Balm Dotcom – $12. This was released in June, but I developed new appreciation for it over the month of July. I've been using it as a balm – of course – a highlight, & a lid gloss. The shimmer in this product makes it very multi-purpose. Think of it as a cream highlight, but cheaper. Yes – this balm is permanent collection! The special Milk Bar sticker it comes with, however, only lasts for the summer…so if you're all about collecting limited edition stickers/pins/products I'd hurry up & buy this, since I do believe the sticker is gone by September. Also – remember that Glossier changed their shipping policy! Now you can buy any 2 items or more & get free shipping. That means that you can get two Balm Dotcoms (which is $24) & still get free shipping. The minimum previously was $30. Good stuff! Oh, I almost forgot. This smells like birthday cake, of course – it also tastes like it. 10/10, will continue to use.

Finally – Caudalíe Lip Conditioner – $12. I also included this in my lip balm post, & I mentioned that it's a great little luxury to have. $12 is practically pennies if we're looking at the price range of most other Caudalíe products, & it's a lovely alternative to Balm Dotcom for those of you who live in areas where Glossier is not yet shipping. This smells like champagne, has a waxy texture – which I personally like – & is a lovely little luxury. It looks chic, works very nicely, & is available internationally! Win win.

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WINKWINK CALM Mask – $40 (*PR-gifted)

WINKWINK is an indie brand that's gotten some attention on Instagram lately! They were kind enough to offer to send me a mask, & asked if I had a preference. I told them my skin type (dry-sensitive) & asked them to pick one for me! They sent me their CALM mask. The key ingredients are olive green clay (helps rebalance oil flow, strengthen skin & aid scar-healing); matcha powder (powerful detoxifier); & peppermint (eases swelling, reduces redness and calms itchiness. Also a source of salicylic acid).

Basically, this is a clay mask that detoxifies – but is gentle enough for dry, sensitive skin. I was a bit apprehensive when I saw a main ingredient was peppermint; my skin doesn't always love that "minty feeling" (I know, I'm weird) & I was worried I might get a rash or something. It's a reaction I had (unfortunately) to Lush's Mask of Magnaminty several years ago. It's a me thing, not a brand thing.

Surprisingly – this was incredible!!!!! Truly…incredible. I've used it three times now, & always feel detoxed & clean. I also feel hydrated & cool – but in a good way. This is probably the only minty mask that I actually love & want to keep using – the results are lovely & it really does feel good, to my surprise & delight! Check out their range – there's some other great detox masks. But especially check out CALM. You won't regret it.

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The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – $6.80

I spoke about this in my brand review of The Ordinary (read it here) & talked about how I think it's the only serum that can truly be a dupe for a Glossier serum (as of right now, anyway). This one is a hyaluronic acid serum, so it's a dupe for Glossier's Super Bounce Serum. Both have plumping, hydrating, soothing qualities – this one just has those qualities for much less.

I love the cooling sensation of this product,  & my skin has been a lot calmer since I've started using it! Even when I did a bit of a product detox, I made sure to keep this one in my routine. I'm glad I did, because my skin looks & feels more balanced thanks to it. Also – order through Beautylish! Faster shipping, comes with cute stickers – & also, you often will get unexpected samples (ex. I got tiny Bioderma bottles with my last order).

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Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask with Echinacea GreenEnvy™️ - $56

Okay – expensive, I know. But also – there was a sale when I bought it (a $15 off special & I was curious!) so it wasn't only a good deal when I bought it…it's an old friend.

I used this on & off throughout the winter but didn't really pay it much attention. It was the first "warming" mask I'd ever used, & I was confused on how exactly to use it. I put it in the back of my cabinet & didn't take it out much.

When I was straightening up this month, I found it again, & decided to give it a serious go. The goopy, honey-textured mask (it's called Honey for a reason) is golden-yellow, until you start massaging it into your cheeks. It melts into a creamy white, & warms your skin; not uncomfortably…just right.

The mask contains "honey (a natural humectant used since ancient times), propolis (an antiseptic found in beehives), and amino acid-rich royal jelly. Echinacea GreenEnvy™ is a unique variant of echinacea purpurea, which contains a high concentration of the phytochemical cichoric acid—a potent, natural antioxidant that enhances hydration and the purifying benefits of honey. Glycerin attracts moisture to the skin and provides hydrating effects for a suppler appearance. " Basically, it's a product sourced from honey & derivatives of honey. It's supposed to plump, clarify, hydrate, & renew – all at once.

In my opinion, this mask is a 2-3 day process. In fact, Farmacy recommends you use it 3 times a week. It's detoxing, so you might see some small breakouts the first day after using it. After I used it three times, however, I could see that my skin was clearer & more transluscent. It's not drying, either – so it's great for dry-skinned people. Just be aware that warming masks don't work well with some skin. Patch test a mask like this if you're not sure how you'll react to it!

Personally, I now adore this mask & will be getting a refill – even though this time it'll be more expensive. Farmacy's released a whole honey line since this mask was put out, & it all looks beautiful & worth a try. This mask, however, will be purchased first.

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Dr. Jart Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel – $39 (*PR-gifted)

I don't have many water-based moisturizers or masks. Well, not until this month, anyway! Dr. Jart was kind enough to send me their Hydro collection (this moisturizer as well as an eye gel & sleeping mask) so stay tuned on a complete review of those products.

I do know already, however, that this Hydro Gel is my favorite of the trio (that's why you're seeing it here). I've only tried one other water-based moisturizer, & that was the Sunday Riley CEO. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it – I only had a travel-size, & I definitely didn't feel like it was worth getting a full-size. I felt like I wasn't maintaining hydration; the gel sank in, but was I getting anything out of it?

With this one, I know I am. It's incredibly cooling & soothing – "hydro" is right. It truly feels like a second face wash after I've put this on. I've been using this as a day cream ever since I bought it; it pairs beautifully with my daily sunscreen: Glossier Invisible Shield. Both are incredibly lightweight & invisible.

This product made me reconsider water-based moisturizers! It showed me that they do work; you just need to find the right one. I know that this was gifted, but I will be purchasing this myself if it continues to work so beautifully.

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Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in "Mars" - $28

Milk Makeup's been around the block a few times – but they really started getting hyped after they released their first Holographic Stick: "Supernova," a holographic, purple-y opal highlight that caught the eyes of YouTubers, Refinery29, & beauty blogs amass. Everyone wanted that holographic shade. I never ended up getting it – I own the Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glow Kit & didn't feel as though another silver-purple highlight was necessary.

My interest in Milk's Holographic Stick became a bit more intense when Milk announced their addition to the collection: the shade "Mars," described as a golden pink. It was said to be universally flattering, great on the deepest & lightest of skin tones.

I looked at the shade online, in videos & photos & decided that this highlight was targeted for those with deeper skin – that's who mainly featured this product, anyhow (I'm not trying to say that marketing is a bad thing; on the contrary I support & try to highlight brands & products that market to all skin tones).

When I swatched it in-store this past month, I decided to take the plunge. It felt very smooth, & I figured I could use a little fun in my life.

Happy ending! The stick is extremely soft, doesn't pull on the face (it might take off foundation if you're applying it directly & have a heavier amount of face makeup) & leaves a duo-tone, peachy-pink sheen. It's not oily, it doesn't smear – it looks dewy yet unique; subtle enough for my cheekbones but cheeky enough for my eyelids. I love this & was shocked on how well it worked on my skin tone – just as beautiful, but very different from some of the swatches I'd seen on deeper skin tones.

I think this is a great product if you're looking for a bit of a fun highlight that's easy to apply, travel with, & can be multi-purpose!

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The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil – $9.80 &Mario Badescu Rose Hips Nourishing Oil – $22

Clearly, I'm on a rosehip oil kick. Why? Well, it's because rosehip oil is one of those oils that works on every skin type – it does a lot of things, & none of them are bad. It reduces redness & inflammation, soothes skin, reduces texture, clears pores (which reduces acne) & a whole lot more. Basically: if you have oily skin, use rosehip oil. If you have normal skin, use rosehip oil. If you have…you get my point.

So, these are the two options I have tried. I first tried out rosehip oil with the Mario Badescu Nourishing Oil. It was good! It reduced redness & cleared pores – it always felt a bit runny, though; hard to pat onto my face or even mix into creams.

This past week, I got The Ordinary's Rosehip Seed Oil…worlds of difference. This oil's vial is UV-protected, so the oil doesn't lose potency over time due to light. This oil is extremely pigmented & rich in texture…just two or three drops is all you need for your face.

The Ordinary's version of rosehip oil is less than half of what the Mario Badescu one costs…& it's been changing my skin in the most positive of ways: more hydrated, less irritated or red, clearer, too! Even though it's only been a week, I know this one's the winner. This is a great example of cheaper product being much more effective than a higher-end product. They're the things we all want & strive to obtain! This is one of them.

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Saturday Skin Featherweight Daily Moisturizing Cream – $47

I have raved about this product before, & for good reason: it's extremely hygienic (similar air-tight packaging to Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Cream), extraordinarily hydrating, & beautifully soothing.

This was a cream I used during the day during my skin detox. Only a cleanser, a toner, a serum/oil, & a cream…this was my day cream! Chaology Beauty (the company behind Saturday Skin) has developed a special formula: one that is in every single one of its products. According to Chaology, Saturday Skin's effectiveness is from "the Cha-7 es Complex, an exclusive peptide formula that promotes skin's natural regeneration process…increases collagen and elasticity while reducing melanin production for a flawless, stress-free complexion."

Basically, every Saturday Skin product ever makes you glow, lifts your face, & keeps infections & irritation away. This is how I've felt using this product. It does the job just well enough that absolutely nothing is imbalanced. Definite repurchase, definite old friend.

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Slip Silk Pillowcase in "Pink" – $79 (*PR-gifted)

I know, I know!!!! This is definitely not one of those things you just casually go to pick up. But silk pillowcases are amazing for your skin, hair, & scalp – especially for those with compromised or sensitive skin. Slip was so kind to send me their (very luxurious take) on a silk pillowcase! There are cheaper options (still wonderful, too) on Amazon for those who can't take this kind of purchase plunge.

Hate being that person, but yes: I really do feel more refreshed. My skin is softer & more relaxed – no pillow wrinkles anymore! My scalp is softer but not rubbed to redness – something I might notice more accutely, now that I'm you know…bald. I'm not sure about the anti-aging claims – remember I'm still just 20 – but my skin does feel softer, looks brighter, & feels more pampered. Going to sleep feeling like a king won't hurt your skin – ever.

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That's all for this month! Things were brought back, new things arrived – I was surprised by new & old products, several times! I'm excited to see what August will bring.

What have your July favorites been? Let me know in the comments!

Love,

Sof ❤

The Lip Balm Post (About Every Lip Balm You Could Possibly Think Of. Seriously)

Okay. I said I’d do it. I said I’d make a post about lip balm…lip balm only. Since I like to overdo things, this turned into a post about lip balms…but also lip scrubs & lip masks. Because, like I said, I overdo things.

Just for some reference, though – I truly am always on the hunt for lip balms. I’m dehydrated a lot!! (I drink water, don’t worry) That means that I’m always reaching for or digging for a lip balm to save my smile…or just my mouth in general.

So, here’s a post about lip balms. A lot of them. Throw in a couple scrubs & treatments/masks, & I feel like by the end of this post you’ll have found a balm that sounds good, is available in your country, & that you can’t wait to buy. That’s what I hope, at least. Enjoy!!!

Before we get started let me address the thought that might be running through some of your minds: “just use Chapstick, for god’s sake!” Let me be clear: Chapstick is easy, it’s accessible, & it…doesn’t really work on me. Most times that I’ve used Chapstick, I’ve ended up with flaky, dry lips with a bunch of product sitting on top of my lips. No product absorbs into my lips when I use Chapstick…that’s why I’m not a fan! Some of you may feel differently…but my lips always say “no” when it comes to using Chapstick.

This isn’t like I never have used it – I absolutely have, & I still do if I’m in a pinch! It works, but it’s not a long-term solution to chapped lips, in my opinion. Don’t worry: there are a lot of options waiting for you right after this introduction, & no matter your budget, you should be able to find a balm that works for you.

 Lip Balms

 

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Smith’s Rosebud Salve ($6)

Okay, we’ve all heard of this baby (probably). You know: the retro, almost pharmaceutical metal packaging, the one that’s casually scattered on someone’s bed along other skin care products in those effortlessly elegant Instagram posts you may come across (seriously…how do they do it?). But if you haven’t, here’s a little info:

The Rosebud Salve was first sold in 1892. That’s right…1892. So, yeah, it’s been around a while. For good reason – it’s simple, elegant, delicately fragranced, & multi-purpose. It was the first lip balm I ever bought (age 14) other than chapstick – that’s when I decided I wanted to be fancy.

I’ve used this off & on throughout the years. It’s not my favorite, but it is a good balm, no question about it. Rose-scented? Yes. Grandma-scented? No. But seriously…I know that’s often a fear. Who wants to smell like Grandma’s potpourri bowl? Don’t worry. With this one, you won’t. The scent is very light & fades quickly, even if you don’t like it. It’s a shiny balm, & melts into your lips – more oily than waxy – therefore, it’s a great multi-purpose product. My cuticles & elbows always feel softer & more delicate after using this baby on them.

Only $6, a cult-classic (that even makeup artist use) & you’ll find it in the checkout line of any Sephora, most Ulta Beauty stores, & even places like Urban Outfitters. Easy to use, easy to get your hands on, easy to grab on the go.

Still not a fan of rose-scented products? The Rosebud Perfume Co. has exponentially expanded their line: there’s Strawberry (which I love), Rose & Mandarin, Minted Rose, & many more. Prefer your lip balm(s) to be in tube packaging? Again, they have your back: the original rose one & several others are available in squeezable tubes (that’s the version I have in the photos above). This way, you don’t have to carry around little spatulas for hygiene (like I sometimes do) or make yourself sick because you forgot to wash your hands after applying that one time.

Is this balm my favorite? Nope! But it always hangs around. I might not use it on an extra dry day, but it’s a product I have a lot of fondness for. Plus, my elbows are always silky soft after using it. It’s cheap, effective, & easy to find – even outside the U.S.! Also, that packaging! Retro, elegant, & a cute accessory to keep in your bag when out.

All the salve products in this collection are cruelty-free. Some, but not all, are vegan, too.

Milk Makeup Hero Salve ($12/$20)

This salve is a much more recent purchase than the Smith Rosebud Salve. In fact, I didn’t really have interest in buying it – I do have a lot of balms, after all – until I decided to make a post about lip balms! Milk is an up-&-coming, hyped brand, & a lot of people are talking/posting about Milk products because of this. So! I took the plunge.

I really like the scent of this product; very fresh & a bit herbal. It contains ojoba, grape seed, orange peel, & lavender oils, shea butter, & candellia wax. The combo of oils ensures that the balm doesn’t sit on top of your skin; rather, it sinks deep down. This means that the ultimate amount of hydration is thrown at your lips. It also means that this is more of a shiny balm, & less of a matte one. Just be aware! Like the Rosebud Salve, it’s also multi-purpose…hence the product’s name: “salve,” rather than “balm.” I’ve been using this on off days as a highlight (just gently dab & pat into cheekbones) as well as an eye gloss (slide it right over your lids). I thought I’d see a lot of slippage – balms don’t usually have much staying power as a face or eye gloss – but nope! My glossy lids stayed on for more than 4 hours (I’d probably retouch after then if I wanted to keep my shine as good as when originally applied) & the salve on my cheekbones stayed put, for the most part.

Yes, it’s not what you’d call a “cheap” balm – but the packaging is minimalist & elegant, the jar is sturdy (no dents here!), the smell is lovely, &, best of all, it really does work. I like using a heavy layer of Hero Salve at night as a “lip mask,” or a lighter layer for a dewy-lipped, minimalist look. Either way, it works – no flakiness, chapped spots, or redness. It works at its best when I do a lip scrub, wash that off, then apply this salve. Results: plump, exfoliated lips, receiving the ultimate dose of hydration. Still unsure? Don’t get the $20 full size pot! Go for the $12 travel size, & watch your lips thrive. Then go to pick up full size.

This salve is cruelty-free, but not vegan.

Glossier Balm Dotcom

Okay…can’t not mention my favorite balm in the universe.

I know, you might think I’m biased, & I get it – I do rep for Glossier, after all. But…I’d been using this balm way before I even know what a Glossier rep was. It was one of my first Glossier purchases, & I have never been out without a tube (or three) since my first order.

Again, this salve is multi-purpose, so you can use it on other areas of your body. There are flavors! So. Many. Flavors. I love them all, but my favorites are Birthday Cake, Rose, & Cherry. Original, of course, is a given.

Don’t like scented products? Go for Original. In love with anything rose, like me? Get Rose, of course! Want a tinted lip – & cheek? Grab some Cherry. Want a highlight, lip shimmer, & eyeshadow all in one? Get Birthday Cake! It’s my current favorite, as well as Glossier’s newest flavor. I’ve used this on my cheekbones, lids, & brow bone. No sliding, no melting – just beautiful, holographic shimmer wherever I want it to be. Oh! It tastes like birthday cake, too. Glossier really outdid themselves on this one; it’s the amped up Balm Dotcom I never knew I needed but now have 3 of.

Why’s this my favorite lip balm? Well, it’s because although the texture is a bit stiffer than some of the other balms I’ve mentioned, it’s not too stiff that it won’t sink in effectively – but not oily enough that other lip products don’t sit well on top. I use thick layers at night, thin layers underneath my lipstick during the day, & a medium layer if I don’t want colored lips that day. No chapping – ever. For me, that’s truly what it comes down to. Does ____ lip balm ever leave you feeling chapped? With any of the Balm Dotcoms, the answer has always been a firm “no.”

The packaging is adorable, too. Each one is themed on a different color: the color of the flavor! Mint is a pale blue-green, Cherry is a bright…cherry…red, Birthday Cake is cream & holographic. This is one of those balms that never leaves my bag or bedside table – so, yes, I have (way) more than one. It’s something I can run out the door with if I forgot to put on lipstick. It’s something I can pull out casually at a restaurant or lecture without having to dig my finger into anything. Most importantly, it’s something I know will always work on my lips, no matter how parched they may be.

If you’re a Balm Dotcom addict like me, you can purchase Glossier’s Balm Trio – that way, you get three balms (flavor of your choice) for $30, so you can cop that free shipping, too.

100/10, always. Balm Dotcom, I love you!

 Dr. Pawpaw Original Balm ($10)

Dr. Pawpaw’s multipurpose balm is to Australians what Balm Dotcom is to Americans. Celebrities & models like Miranda Kerr, Rose Byrne, & Duckie Thot call it their holy grail balm. They have good reason to, too. The original balm is fragrance-free, multi-purpose, & extremely soothing. The two most active ingredients are fermented pawpaw fruit (a huge factor in making the balm so soothing) & pharmaceutical-grade petroleum. This is a step up from regular old petroleum – you know, the kind you find in Vaseline. It’s milder & non-comedogenic; that means you’re less likely to break out from it, & less likely to get clogged pores from it.

On the back of the tube (which is a bright, eye-catching yellow), Dr. Pawapaw claims to “soothe dry cracked skin,” adds “finishing touches to hair and smoothing brows,” & even “helps with insect bites & minor abrasions,” finishing with: “don’t leave home without it!

I’m going to say that this is a step up from the Smith Rosebud Salve. After rubbing the tiniest amount onto the back of my hand, I felt within moments that my skin was softer & smoother. Major plus! Since getting it, I’ve also used it on a scraped shin & on my dry elbows. Again – great results. I have nothing bad to say about this one! I’ve seen it in magazine spreads for ages, heard buzz about it for the longest time, but finally decided to give it a serious go after seeing Duckie Thot’s interview with Into the Gloss. I have a huge crush on Duckie (who doesn’t?) & if she uses it, it must be good…her skin is flawless, after all.

To put it simply: it’s a good product, it’s a cheap one, & it feels great on the skin – not just your lips! I love multi-purpose salves, & this one has taken the place of Smith’s Rosebud Salve when I want my cuticles or elbows to have a little extra hydration. Don’t worry…they have a U.S. website! They also have tinted versions now, too. There’s a Peach Pink, an Ultimate Red, & even a limited edition Red Sparkle one. You can also purchase a pack of three for $30, or get a mini travel size for $6. In other words – this company has it down. There’s one for everyone, & none of them will break the bank.

 Dior Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm ($33)

Before I get into the product, let me just say that yes, absolutely, this is an expensive product & you can get one just as good (or better!) for cheaper. That brings me to my (kind of?) point: sometimes, packaging makes a product worth it. Obviously, that’s subjective, & not everyone may feel the same way. That’s fine! To me, however, packaging can be worth it – not always, but sometimes. You just need to know what you’re looking for.

This balm’s packaging is classic Dior: translucent tinted plastic with a silver knob at the end. The silver knob is a trademark for most of their products (like the It-Lash mascara & their lipsticks). This shiny, silver-against-pink packaging makes this balm an accessory as well as a beauty product. It’s something you can carry in a fancy clutch to a red-carpet event; it’s also something you can casually whip out in front of friends (or enemies) to impress them. So: yup! Packaging can be worth the while. Sometimes, however, it’s not. We’ll get to that, don’t worry.

About the balm: these balms are, as the name suggests, tinted. There are four shades: Lilac, Pink, Coral, & Berry. All four adjust to your skin to make it look good on you, personally. It’ll look different on everyone, which I think is pretty neat. I have Pink, which seems to have the most buzz surrounding it. When applying, I definitely see a bit of color – but if you’re expecting a lipstick-like coverage, you won’t find it here. It’s more of a color enhancer, less of a color provider. Again, don’t expect full coverage! I like using this on off days as a lipstick. It’s pretty, it’s subtle, but it also lasts all day, keeping my lips plump & hydrated. The color fades after a few hours, but a light reapplication will rectify that.

The scent is pleasant! It’s also a classic Dior scent (their lipsticks smell this same way): minty, but not too strong; vanilla, but not too sweet. I’m not quite sure how to describe the scent balance, but I think vanilla-mint is the best description I can provide.

All-in-all, it’s an effective tinted balm. Can you find a good one for less? Absolutely. It’s the name & packaging that prompts this product’s high price tag. I still love it, though. I know!! I’m sorry!!!!

Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Lip Conditioner ($22)

I’m quite a fan of Herbivore in general; I haven’t tried any of their products that I actively dislike, which speaks volumes!

I’ll admit it! I don’t usually like the smell of straight-up coconut. I know…I’m sorry! For whatever reason, it’s just not my thing. I find the scent a bit heavy & overwhelming for my nostrils. So, I was a bit doubtful when I first got this baby.

Not to worry. The coconut scent isn’t a pure, coconut oil kind of coconut scent. It’s combined with Moroccan rose absolute, resulting in a scent that is sweet yet fresh, delicate yet lasting, feminine yet masculine. So, if you’re a coconut hater like me, don’t worry about not liking the scent of this product. It’s not the stereotypical coconut scent – & even if it were, it fades gently & gracefully. You won’t smell this all day long!

As for the product: when first opening the pot, I found the texture a bit hard & waxy. Don’t worry…give it 10-15 seconds. The heat of your finger will warm up the product, making it easier to scoop out of its container.

The main ingredients in this balm are virgin coconut oil & Moroccan rose absolute. The coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, lauric acid & proteins. These aid in providing intensive hydration, replenishment and nourishment to the lips. The Moroccan rose absolute also provides hydration – & acts as an anti-inflammatory (if you’re a rose junkie, like me, you know that rose products are super soothing/help with reducing redness & irritation). Not only are both ingredients safe to taste…they taste good, too! According to Herbivore’s site: the coconut oil has a light, natural, vanilla taste – not too coconut-y! The rose absolute tastes like it smells: “light, floral & sweet.” These two combined results in a fresh, floral, sweet scent – & taste.

The best way I can describe the texture of the balm/conditioner/whatever you want to call it is: “buttery.” It leaves my lips pillow-soft, plump, & isn’t too greasy or waxy. It’s truly a Goldielocks consistency. I will say that it takes a bit of work to warm the balm when first using it. After a few uses, there will be a slight dent in the product. That makes it a lot easier to scoop it up & apply.

I love this as a lip primer! Like I said, this balm has a buttery texture that isn’t too greasy or waxy. This makes it perfect to layer lightly under a lip liner or lipstick. The product on top of the balm won’t bleed through – but it also won’t dry your lips as the day progresses. I’d describe this as a dewy finish…kind of strange to refer to a balm in that way, but it’s true! The texture is unique, & I mean that in the best way possible.

This is great for daytime use, whether it be by itself or with another lip product. Also: the small, compact container makes it super easy to carry! That makes it perfect for your bag – or back pocket. I don’t find this moisturizing enough to use overnight. If I had a day where my lips were especially chapped, I don’t think this is the first one I’d reach for. But…there’s a balm for every need! This one fulfills many, & it’s a great product.

This product is vegan & cruelty-free.

Dior Crème de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm ($30)

Remember when I said that some things are expensive just because of the packaging? This is one of them. It’s basically Smith’s Rosebud Salve, but in a more elegant container with the Dior logo. I will say that it does not contain petrolatum (a filler ingredient in many, if not most, lip balms), so that might be a reason for the higher price point, as well. Instead, key ingredients are: Rose of Damas essential oil (anti-aging); Vitamins A & E (energizing); & shea butter (smoothing & hydrating).

The scent is very pleasant, but very faint. It’s rose-scented – like the Rosebud Salve, though, it’s not an “old lady rose” smell. It’s fresh & floral, not cloying & not too sweet. This product also contains SPF 10, which is…okay, I guess! SPF 10 doesn’t really do anything to protect skin from the sun, so I’m not sure why this was included in the ingredients. I guess better some protection than none, right?

The goal of this balm is to plump, smooth & hydrate. I will say it smooths & hydrates; I don’t, however, see much of a difference in my lips if we’re talking about plumpness. I wouldn’t buy this if your only goal is to find a plumping balm; it doesn’t live up to that claim well enough, in my opinion. The product is also described as having a transparent shine – I agree. The pink color of the balm doesn’t carry over to your lips. Just like the Rose Salve & the Glossier Rose Balm Dotcom, the slight pink tint of the product doesn’t do anything to change the color of your lips. I’m not mad about that – they do call it transparent, after all! Just know that you won’t be getting any color from this balm.

At the end of the day, however, this is Dior – it’s going to have a higher price point. It’s a very pretty balm (the color is gorgeous) & the packaging is elegant & looks chic on your vanity or in your purse.

Caudalie Lip Conditioner ($12)

What a breath of fresh air: a Caudalie product that won’t make your wallet cry! As many of you may know, Caudalie’s products aren’t what anyone would call cheap. I love all the Caudalie products I’ve tried…but my budget forces me to leave it on the shelf when I’m at Sephora. I will occasionally treat myself to the Beauty Elixir (travel size) which is probably my favorite product of theirs. Other than that, I keep my distance.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see that Caudalie’s take on a lip balm was so (relatively) inexpensive. I was even more pleasantly surprised to see the amazing results I got from the balm: oftentimes, luxury lip balms don’t really…do anything. Not the case with this one!

The texture of the lip conditioner is more of a waxy one – like Chapstick. Grape oil and organic fair-trade shea butter nourish, renew, and repair; ceramides moisturize & protect; plant waxes provide a rich, creamy texture.

You saw the grape oil right at the top, right? Caudalie is famous for incorporating grape oil/water into their products. This is amazing because it makes them smell a bit like champagne – a breath of fresh air from the rose or vanilla-scented balms on the market. This one is very fresh & clean. Due to its waxy texture, I prefer not to wear this at night; it’s more of a daytime balm for me.

I’d say that if you’re looking for a “bougie” product to treat yourself to but don’t have much money, go for something like this! The packaging is elegant, the brand is high-end, but in the end, you’re only paying $12. Could you get the same effects from a different, cheaper balm? Yup! But the champagne scent, pretty packaging, & buttery texture on your lips makes you feel like you’re really treating yourself. It’s a nice little luxury that won’t break the bank.

Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30 ($25)

I hold quite a bit of fondness in my heart for Fresh’s lip balms. I received a few of them years ago for Christmas (I was a tween!) as a stocking stuffer. The classic scent (citrusy yet sugary) always prompts a wave of nostalgia if I whiff it in my local Sephora.

As much as I love the Fresh lip balms, they’re not a staple in my balm collection – because, as amazing they are, a $25 price tag for a lip balm that’s not a “high fashion” brand is quite a bit. I’ll get one from time to time, but it’s not a product you’d count on seeing in my bag, my room, or on my makeup table.

However: I was browsing the “New at Sephora” page a few weeks ago & came across the Sugar Sport. I immediately noted the SPF 30, & took a liking to the sturdy yet whimsical packaging. I went back & forth for a bit, but finally decided to go for it.

Boy am I glad I did!!! Firstly, this balm smells like the original Fresh Sugar Lips, which I love. Whenever I wear it, I’ll pucker up my lips, closer to my nose, to get an extra whiff of the scent. There’s a reason Fresh made a fragrance inspired by the scent of their Sugar Lips – it’s that good.

Fresh named this balm “Sugar Sport” for good reason: it’s water-resistent, safe to use all over your face – even your eye area – & is ultra-hydrating. The SPF 30 obviously protects your skin/lips from UV rays; it won’t come off with water, either (as mentioned above).

Besides the chemicals used to incorporate SPF into the product, the main ingredients are Moisture-preserving sugar & a blend of various oils, including avocado & black current. The sugar is a humectant – that means it retains & preserves moisture. The cocktail of oils allows the product to sink more easily into the skin/lips. This ensures a long-lasting, effective wear.

I’ve also noticed that my lips are never chapped when using this balm. I chart it to the SPF. The sun dries out your face & body – so of course, it would dry out your lips, too.

I’m a big fan of this product. I’d never tried an SPF lip balm before, & I’m glad I gave this one a go. Yes, it’s pricey; it’s also water-proof & moisture-retaining…& it smells great. The bright-orange, sturdy packaging makes it easy to find, even if you’re carrying a big tote or a backpack. I’ll be taking this with me on “outside” days, like a trip to an amusement park, a strawberry-picking outing, or a day by the pool. This makes sun protection chic! No gross smell or stickiness – just the classic Fresh fragrance with some amped up protection. I love it!

Lip Scrubs

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Lip scrubs are a must for me, especially before putting on a heavy-duty lip product, like liquid lipstick. Okay, I’ll admit it – I kind of stopped using liquid lipstick because 1) the trend is a bit dead now 2) it would take a day & a half of lip prepping for me to know that my lips would look good in a liquid to matte lipstick. Despite quitting on the liquid lips, I continue to use lip exfoliators. That’s because I still need to get rid of old skin cells – & I like the plump, soft, fresh feeling my lips have right after a good scrub. It’s been hard for me to find ones I like; I’ve had a lot more difficulty finding a decent/good lip scrub than I have had finding a balm. At this point, however, I have at least two that will stay on my top shelf permanently. If you’re also frustrated by your inability to find a good lip scrub, keeeeep reading!

 Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub ($33)

Okay, I’ll be the first one to say it: this is not worth your money – even if you like pretty packaging! Let me defend myself by saying that I saw a lot of posts (& ads) talking about how versatile & travel-friendly this scrub is. The theory is that you can rub it across your lips, rub your lips together, & then go on with life – the sugar will simply sink into your lips; no need to wipe it off.

Well, Dior really played me on that one. This does not sink into your lips. I’ve had to wipe sugar off my mouth every single time I’ve used it. Also, the stick formula doesn’t work for a product like this. There’s not enough friction if you’re applying it in gentle sweeps – & I’m scared to do it stronger than that, in fear of breaking the product.

Packaging: the same as Dior’s Addict Lip Glow Color Revival Balm: the pale pink tube with the silver knob. The scent is also the same: vanilla-mint is the best way I can describe it.

 So…yeah. Save your money on this one. I’ll keep using it until it’s gone, but I won’t be re-purchasing. Even as I type “I’ll keep using it” a part of me wonders if I really will keep using it. It’s so ineffective that I usually forget I own it.

Cute? Yes. Effective? Not even a little. I’m all here for pretty packaging, but the product must at least be decent. This one, in my opinion, is not.

Bite Beauty Agave Sugar Lip Scrub ($18)

Most of us know Bite for its “edible” lipsticks & its versatile multi-sticks. I didn’t really know about their three-step lip collection until I saw the pretty, bullet-shaped tube of lip balm at the checkout line at Sephora. I went home, did a little research, & decided to try the scrub, since I didn’t need more lip balms.

According to Bite, this lip scrub is a three-in-one product: a cleanser, exfoliator, & conditioner. Why a cleanser? Well, rub the product into your lips for however long you feel is necessary, then add water. The scrub will turn into a milky foam, dissolve, & leave your lips free of product. That’s the cleansing & exfoliating taken care of! The conditioning comes from the oils left over from the lip scrub (even after it’s washed off). Let them sink in overnight, & you’ll (theoretically) wake up with soft, smooth, conditioned lips.

This all sounds amazing! But let me say this: while it’s entertaining to see the dark, molasses-colored product melt into a transluscent foam, & cool to think of your lips being “cleansed”…it really isn’t all that. I tried using it once all by itself, with no follow-up product. I woke up with kind of dry lips. I don’t think that the oils from the lip scrub work by themselves; they need another product to truly be effective.

I don’t hate this product, but I also don’t love it. I use it, sure! But there’s other scrubs I prefer; ones that I think work more effectively.

This product is vegan & cruelty-free.

 Lush Honey Lip Scrub ($9.95)

Oh, Lush! The first skincare brand I ever was introduced to – I started poring over their (very cool) catalogs around 10 years old, & begged for their limited edition shower gels for Christmas (still love them). I’d tried one of their lip scrubs years ago – the Bubblegum one, which is still available – but ran out long ago & never thought to replace it. Once I saw they’d come out with a new flavor, honey, I squealed. I love honey-scented/honey-themed products, so this one already sounded amazing.

The packaging is classic Lush: you know, the slanted, white font against a black background. The amount of product you get is outstanding for the price you’re paying – I’d say this is the best deal, if you’re looking for something cheap.

Not only is it the best deal…it’s also one of my top two lip scrubs. The grains of sugar can be a bit large (size varies) so use the product carefully…you don’t want to scrape your lips. A little goes a looonnngggg way, which is another plus for someone on a budget. Of course, honey is the main ingredient. This softens the lips & draws moisture from the air to continue the hydration process even after you’ve washed (or licked) off the sugar. It also contains white chocolate, vanilla, & peppermint oil. The peppermint oil leaves your lips feeling cool & tingly – & makes them look plumper, too. The base ingredient is jojoba oil, which conditions, leaving lips soft, pillowy, & moisturized.

I love using this scrub before bed, with a lip mask on top, or in the morning, before applying a bright lip. The plumping effect is subtle – you won’t look ridiculous. It just will bring a bit more attention to your cupid’s bow…like a highlight on that area might do!

I love Lush, & always have. They have a great message, great products, & great customer service. I was elated when they announced their Honey Lip Scrub – & I wasn’t let down.

This product is vegan & cruelty-free.

 Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Coconut Oil Lip Polish ($22)

Okay…out of them all, this is the one – the one that I love most, the one that works best, the one that I’ll continue buying until I die (or until they run out).

Like the Coco Rose Coconut Oil Lip Conditioner, this product contains virgin coconut oil, shea butter, & rose oil – it smells just like the conditioner because of this. All three of these ingredients are ultra-hydrating, so you’ll end up with soft, smooth lips.

The best thing about this product, however, is the texture of the sugar. Raw sugar is used, but the granules are incredibly fine & delicate. This makes the exfoliation gentle; it also lets you get into every crevice of your lips. When my lips are at their most chapped, I reach for this one before putting on a lip mask. This is truly my holy grail lip scrub. Delicate but effective – & it smells like roses. Absolutely no complaints here!

This product is vegan & cruelty-free

Lip Treatments

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Okay, so what’s a lip treatment? It’s basically a lip balm, but a goopier formula, usually containing more oils. The oils & liquidy texture are what makes these treatments like face masks for your lips. They’re ideal to use after a lip scrub – your lips will be exfoliated & ready for a punch of hydration & essential oils. They’re best used in the evening, right before bed. That way, your lips have a solid 6-8 hours (hopefully you can sleep that long; I can’t) to absorb all of the good stuff.

Can you use a plain old lip balm as a lip mask? Definitely! I certainly have. Lip treatments aren’t a must, but they’re a nice thing to have if you suffer constantly from chapped lips. There are some really expensive ones…& there are some very affordable ones. Let me share my favorites with you!

 Milani Moisture Lock Oil-Infused Lip Treatment ($8)

You can find these babies everywhere. By everywhere, I really do mean everywhere. Check your local pharmacy, Ulta Beauty, or even the beauty aisle at your grocery store. Chances are you’ll find a whole row (or two) of these.

There are eight “shades,” or flavors. Each contains a base formula of jojoba, avocado, & tsubaki oil – all three of these are healing & hydrating. Then, you get to choose your flavor. Each treatment is infused with a different oil. For example, Peach Mango is rejuvenating, Primrose is repairing, Lemon Honey is healing, & so on. I’ve tried Peach Mango & Primrose; I currently own Primrose. What’s unique about these treatments is that they work very well as a gloss, too. They’re great for overnight repair & healing – but look amazing during the day, whether by themselves or on top of another lip product. Depending on which one you choose, you’ll be getting a tinted – or untinted – product. Flavors like Pomegranate & Raspberry will give a bit of color as well as the shine that each of the treatments has; if you don’t want any color at all, I recommend you try either Almond Coco or Lemon Honey; those are the most translucent. You shouldn’t get any color at all from those…not even a little!

What’s most unique about this product is the applicator. It’s hard to describe; I guess I’d go about saying that it’s enormous! It’s a doe foot applicator, like most lip glosses; it’s just about ten times bigger. Milani describes it as a “plush, extra soft applicator that hugs the curves of your lips, locking in moisture.” I agree with this: thanks to this strange, pillowy applicator, these treatments are extremely soothing & easy to apply. I do have one complaint: the applicator is so large that product is used up quite quickly. If the wand was a bit smaller, I think the product would last longer. Regardless…it’s a very cool, innovative

If you’re looking for a super affordable, super effective lip treatment that doubles as a gloss (&, if you choose the right one, a tint, too), these Milani treatments are perfect for you.

This product is vegan & cruelty-free

 Complex Beauty Co Pout Protector ($22)

I’ve made a post about Complex’s products before – some of my favorites, & why they’re so good! I really like supporting indie brands – if they have good products – & this brand is one of those. This lip mask is surprisingly effective. I say surprisingly because I see results within 48 hours or less! Like most lip treatments, I find it most effective to use in the evening, after an exfoliation.

Out of all the lip treatments/masks I’ve tried, I’ve found this to be the most “goopy.” It’s not a product I’d wear in the day time – if I were to go out, that is. I’m all good wearing this on an off day in my bedroom! It just means more moisture & nourishment for my lips.

Like I mentioned, this product is “goopy.” That’s mostly because of all the oils it contains. Oils are a good thing!! The two primary ones are castor seed oil, which soothes, moisturizes, & protects; & coconut oil, which moisturizes, heals, strengthens skin tissue, and protects skin cells from damage over time. Other key ingredients: a peptide blend, plant stem cells, & an amino acid blend. Together, these work to plump, hydrate, regenerate, firm, & heal skin cell damage over time. You’ll see short-term & long-term results with this product.

I mentioned that I liked using it after a lip scrub – Complex’s site says that this product “works best with exfoliated lips,” so we’re on the same page here! The site also says that it works as a lip balm for daytime, which I think could work for some – it’s just not my style! Remember, skin care is different for everyone. I’m not telling you it’s bad to use in the day time, & it won’t hurt you if you do use it in the daytime. It’s just not my balm of choice when going out somewhere.

I love love love the smell of this product. It’s a sweet yet not overpowering vanilla: closer to vanilla bean than grocery store vanilla cake. The one thing I actively dislike about the product is the way it’s dispensed: it works like a soap bottle; you push down to pump out product. I think it’s fine for using at night when your hands are clean, but when out & about, it’s probably not the most sanitary way to apply a lip product. Like I mentioned previously, however: I use this product exclusively at night, so I have no problem with the way it dispenses! When I have clean hands, there’s no wrong way to use a lip product.

Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade ($33)

Okay…out of the whole Dior Lip Glow collection (I have everything but the liner, which I didn’t get because of the less-than-stellar reviews), this is the one that is absolutely, 100%, without a doubt, worth your money.

Looks like a gloss, right? It is! That’s what I like about it. This product doubles as a gloss & a lip mask/treatment. The packaging is gorgeous (that millennial pink tube) & the product has a subtle, minty scent like the balm & the scrub from the same collection. The product dispenses very evenly, thanks to the odd but effective way the product comes out of the tube: instead of one large hole in the middle of the applicator, there are 6 smaller ones scattered all over the top. This makes it extremely easy to effectively coat your lips with an even amount of product. Also – comes in a tube, not a pot or a pump dispenser. This makes it great for on the go, great for at home, great for whenever. Did I mention it’s gorgeous? This is most definitely an accessory as well as a beauty product – & it’s one that’s extremely effective as both!

This whole Dior Lip Glow collection has been getting a lot of hype lately, thanks to Bella Hadid becoming a brand ambassador. I was curious – it’s hard not to see Bella Hadid wherever you go, & her ads appeal to a younger crowd…someone like me. I think the Lip Glow collection is okay. The balm is alright, the lip scrub is not, but the pomade is truly amazing. If you were to choose between one of the three, I’d say get the pomade. I won’t be repurchasing the scrub, I miiighttt repurchase the balm in a different shade (the berry one looks pretty), but I will, without a doubt, continue to buy this pomade.

My favorite thing to do with this product is exfoliate with the Herbivore Lip Polish, gently wipe off excess sugar, then apply a thick layer of the pomade right before bed. I wake up with soft, glowy, full lips every single time. If we’re talking dream combos, this one is mine. It continues to blow my mind each time I use it.

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Dream combo
Well…that was a shamefully long post about one of the simplest products out there: lip balms. Still – I feel like this post is something that’s necessary! Everyone has their holy grail lip balm…some, however, are still looking for it. There are good options at every price point, & you will be able to find something that works well for you, looks cute, & feels great, too! If you feel like I missed one that you can’t live without, let me know in the comments.

Love,

Sof ❤