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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lip balm versus lip gloss - the difference

It seems to me after looking at many different recipes, the difference between a lip gloss and lip balm has been very blurred.  A lip balm is a balm designed to be used on the lips.  So what does the term balm mean?  The traditional use of the word balm is something that is soothing, comforting  and/ or healing.  Unfortunately like so many other words in the English and even other languages, the term can have more than one meaning.  The word balm can also refer to a herb that is part of the mint family (lemon balm), and some aromatic resins that certain trees and shrubs exude.  Plus it could refer to an aromatic salve or oil (but then you have to look up what a salve is) or even a pleasing fragrance.

Personally I have always thought of a lip balm and soothing and healing.  After all Chap stick is the king of lip balms, as in we may refer to a lip balm by saying chap stick (similar to calling a tissue a Kleenex).  That is why my lip balm recipe was carefully researched before I created any lip balms.

You may not be aware of this fact, but many commercial lip balms contain an ingredient that actually dries your lips and that adding a flavor to a lip balm may cause you to lick your lips which defeats the purpose of putting the lip balm on your lips in the first place.  This is why I do not put flavors or colors into my lip balm recipe.  However, I do add wax because that is the only way I know of to keep the lip balm stick well in the shape of a stick.

Now lip gloss on the other hand is meant to be a fun item.  It makes up lips look lusciously glossy and tantalizingly flavorful.  But that doesn't mean you want to put just any old crappy ingredients into your lip gloss.  At least I don't.  But you should be aware that flavor oil ingredients can be kept as a secret (as defined by the FDA).

Since the purpose of my lip gloss is to be tasty and glossy, I didn't use moisturizing oils nor did I use the highly protective shea butter.  However, I did think of it as also possibly being a fun Valentine day present so I thought glossy, tasty and soft,.  Which for glossy it's castor oil (also used a bit of Meadowfoam), for soft it was pumpkin seed butter (hydrogenated pumpkin seed oil) and for tasty, I ran and contest and let people vote on which flavors that wanted most.

I received some of the flavor oils today and I am expecting the rest of them soon.  So now it's off to design the labels and double check my recipes (some oils have to be used at a lower percentage than others).  Oh and of course let's not forget the photography and the listing.


  1. Oh I'm so going have to get some! My lips are so dry this time of year! Sounds great.

  2. In never knew that Lip Balm was so complicated, will certainly be thinking twice before we get any more from the high street.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I love learning what really goes on behind the scenes so to speak and since I prefer to be educated as to what i am putting on my body, posts like these are highly prized!

  4. Great post Laura and very informative. You're the "balm" girl!

  5. Oh thank you ... I didn't know the difference between balms & glosses.

  6. Very informative article, Laura and I'm looking forward to your new flavored lip products. :-)