Brief History Of Balm
When I was small and on the school bus, I would take out my Chapstick and put it on over and over again, pretending it was makeup. It felt thick and smelled thick, but plain or cherry, it was mine and I loved it.
Later it was Bonne Bell lip gloss, the kind you squeezed out of a clear plastic tube or applied with a wand. Girly and shiny, it was also gooey and messy. When we figured out that Blistex achieved the same or even a better shine, and was way cheaper, we converted, and enjoyed the satisfying masochistic burn.
In high school we felt cool with little pots of gloss from places like The Body Shop, which you had to stick your finger in to use. This made it harder to share (an important ritual) and harder to maintain one's nails (also important), so while cute, these little pots got little use.
Softlips was my favorite in college, because it combined the convenience of Chapstick with the tingle of Blistex and the shine of gloss, while still feeling light and non-sticky. I thought I had met my lip balm mecca, but it was expensive and each tube ran out quickly. After graduating I shifted my allegiance to Burt's Bees, which was also expensive and came in lots of tantalizing, but ultimately weird-looking, "tints." It made me feel virtuous.
Yesterday I found an old tube of Chapstick and put some on. It didn't smell like chocolate or tingle or shimmer. It smelled thick, and felt thick, and incredibly satisfying.