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The True Purpose of Lip Balm

The True Purpose of Lip Balm

We love our lip balms. In fact, it’s likely one of the items you never leave home without, right along with your cell phone. When your lips begin to feel tight and dry, a simple swipe of your favorite hydrating lip wax is just what the doctor ordered… or is it?

Lip balms make our lips feel moisturized and can help heal and prevent cracking and chapping, but after you’ve applied your lip balm for the fourth or fifth time a day, you begin to wonder if it’s working and what its true purpose really is. 

We’ll cover those lip balm FAQ’s while explaining what lip balm is, how it’s different from lip gloss, and what you should look for in your favorite go-to lip product. 

What is Lip Balm?

Lip balm differs from other lip products in that its main purpose is to moisture the lips and offer healing and/or restorative properties. 

Another one of lip balm’s main purposes is to help your lips retain water. They’re effective in doing this because they contain a waxy substance that creates a seal on the lips, helping keep moisture in.

Most lip balms will contain a hydrating ingredient, either a natural ingredient like coconut oil, or a synthetic ingredient like petroleum jelly. 

You can also find lip balms that are medicated, but beware -- those types of lip balms often include ingredients that can be habit-forming

Before you put your lip balm on, however, it gets formulated, tested, and manufactured. Ever wonder where it all began?

When Was Lip Balm Invented?

While there are disagreements as to when the first lip balm was created (some even suppose that ear wax was used as a lip emollient), we do know that a Virginian pharmacist named Charles Fleet developed a recipe for a lip balm treatment that could help prevent dry, cracked lips during the 1890’s. 

Fleet was a pharmacist who developed this pink-tinted, waxy substance to help the people in his town avoid cracking, bleeding lips. That recipe was eventually sold, the product was redesigned, and lip balm as we know it today was created. 

What’s the Difference Between Lip Balm and Lip Gloss?

When we have a question about cosmetics, we go straight to the Queen of Clean Cosmetics herself. 

Our founder, Rose-Marie Swift, gave us her insight on the differences between lip balms and lip glosses. 

“Lip balm is more of a balmy moisturizer that is basically invisible on the lips, but adds healing properties to dry skin. A lip shine adds a subtle sheen or dewyness to the lips so they don’t look or feel dry. A lip gloss adds a very shiny, sometimes very concentrated super- reflection on the skin which looks almost oil-like.” 

Lip balms, lip shines, and lip glosses are three very different products. You’d normally use a lip balm as more of a lip care and moisturizing product, not for cosmetic purposes. Lip shines and lip glosses are used to enhance your lips and create a particular look.  

What Can Lip Balm Be Used For?

Obviously, your lip balm works great to keep your lips hydrated and smooth, but did you know that little tube or pot is also multifunctional? Here are some of our favorite lip balm hacks.

Cuticle Relaxer

We’ve all been there. You glance down at your cuticles and realize they’re a little rough and there’s no cuticle oil in sight. The ingredients in your lip balm will soften the skin of your cuticles making them easy to remove, or simply keeping them less visible until you can get to the salon.

Makeup Remover

Depending on the ingredients of your lip balm, you can use it in a pinch to remove stubborn makeup like eye color and mascara. The waxy ingredient in your lip balm (for instance, coconut oil) can help break down your makeup ingredients and allow them to slide off easily with a tissue.

Hand Lotion

If you find yourself with dry hands and no hand lotion, grab your lip balm and apply a dab to the fronts and backs of your hands. Gently massage the balm into your hands to bring relief.

Brow Gel

Frustrated by unruly brows and fresh out of brow gel? You can use a bit of your lip balm to help tame unruly brows and keep them in place. Lip balm will also nourish your brows and give a healthy sheen to them!

Flyaway Tamer

Nothing ruins your date night look quite like flyaway hairs. If your mid-date trip to the restroom revealed a few frizzies, smooth a little lip balm on them to keep them under control. 

Is Lip Balm Bad for Lips?

It’s moisturizing, it protects, and it feels amazing when applied, but if you’re using it too often, is it bad for your lips? The answer isn’t cut and dry. 

“It depends on the ingredients,” advises Rose-Marie. “The lips absorb whatever is applied to them, and you’ll also ingest those ingredients, so caution is of the utmost importance.” 

Do You Really Need Lip Balm?

If you drink enough water, do you really need lip balm? For most people, the answer is yes! Most of us can’t drink enough water to keep our lips fully hydrated all the time. Dry lips can also be a sign of a lack of essential fatty acids. Using a lip balm is a quick and effective way to deliver the hydration to your lips that they lack. 

Can I Become Addicted To Lip Balm?

Short answer: yes

Some lip balms add chemicals that can be habit forming, like menthol, phenol, and salicylic acid.  If you’re using your lip balm so many times a day it’s noticeable to you, you could be addicted to some of these ingredients. Switching your lip balm formula can help.

If you are applying constantly, then the product is not working. It is working properly when you aren’t constantly rushing towards another hit.

The good news is, you don’t need lip balms filled with those synthetic chemicals. You choose healthy, organic, healing foods for the body and you can choose healthy, organic, healing ingredients in your lip balm. 

How Often Should I Use Lip Balm?

This depends on your individual needs. If your lips are in bad shape (i.e. dry, cracked, peeling, severely chapped) you may need to use lip balm numerous times a day until your lips have healed -- you should also increase your intake of water and essential fatty acids in your diet.

Once your lips are healed, you would only need to apply your lip balm as needed, probably two to three times a day. 

What is the Best Lip Balm?

Look for lip balms that don’t contain synthetic chemicals, colors, fragrances, or addictive ingredients. Nature provides everything you need to keep your lips hydrated, protected, and encourage healing. 

Here are our favorite uber clean lip balms that are quick, easy, and safe for your lips. 

  • RMS Simply Cocoa Lip & Skin Balm. This hydrating balm is free of color and fragrances and is made with coconut oil and beeswax to keep both lips and skin soft and hydrated. 
  • RMS Tinted Daily Lip Balm. This balm is infused with jojoba oil and organic cocoa seed butter, making it incredibly hydrating. It offers a hint of color that can be used on both lips and cheeks.  

The most important factor to consider when selecting a daily use lip balm is what’s inside. The ingredients are important for your lips and your overall health. 

Our cleaner, greener, living ingredients are what sets RMS Beauty apart in the clean beauty industry, and you’ll find them in all our products, including our lip balms.


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