For anyone who’s never experienced the lip balm habit, it’s hard to understand. Compared to other addictions, the economy, poverty, hunger, disease and personal tragedies, this problem is a minor inconvenience and it’s almost embarrassing to mention. But for those of us who panic when we can’t find our trusty lip balm and can’t leave home without it, it’s a habit most of would like to break. This is my story of how I cured my lip balm addiction…and it happened by accident and in only three days.
Over forty years ago, I was introduced to Avon Dew Kiss Lip Dew in the innocent looking pink tube by a fellow high school student. I loved it. Not caring for colored lipstick, I was thrilled that this balm gave a natural and healthy looking shine to my lips. Little did I know how long my love for this product would last or how important it would become in my life. It just seemed like a nice item to have handy for cold, windy days in Idaho where I lived. It wasn’t expensive and was easy to get. “Ding-Dong, Avon Calling” meant my neighborhood Avon Lady was delivering my Lip Dew order. As I moved around the U.S. over the years, locating the local Avon distributor was at the top of my to-do list when I reached my new home. If I couldn’t find her right away and ran out of Lip Dew, I’d substitute Chapstick back in the old days, but it was too waxy and dull back then so I was always looking for my next supplier.
How bad was my habit? If I left the house without Lip Dew and had time to go back home to get it, I’d drive home. If making the return trip would take too long, then I’d stop at a store and buy Bonnie Bell, Carmex or Chapstick. Later on, the growing lip balm market gave me more options, such as Burt’s Bees and Neutrogena. Of course, when I was home, I only used Lip Dew. It remained my favorite. When I ordered it, I’d order 10 to 12 at a time and stash them all over the house and office. I’d put a tube in each of the purses I used most frequently to ensure I didn’t leave home without it. I usually had one in a pants or jacket pocket, too, which invariably got missed when I did laundry and left little grease stains all over my clothes. If “ubiquitous” can describe a product, then it described Lip Dew in my life; it was indeed present everywhere. The reason I needed so many tubes handy was because I reapplied it every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day, and if I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d grab my tube of Lip Dew on the nightstand. This had been a bad habit for decades.
You could debate whether or not the ingredients in lip balm cause an addiction, and thanks to the Internet, researching this topic is easy. Probably the top site is LipBalmAnonymous.com which lists many manufactures and discusses the possibility that they deliberately include ingredients to dry your lips so you crave more lip balm. This site is not only informative but entertaining since it includes humor to help struggling lip balm addicts lighten up about their habit. I wouldn’t say lip balm ingredients are physically addicting like nicotine in cigarettes but there’s no doubt repeating any action often enough results in a psychological habit that’s hard to break. The physical attachment to lip balm may be due to licking your lips which you’re probably not aware you do. Licking wears off the balm so you apply more. Why do you think the manufacturers add flavors? It tastes good so you lick it! You lick it and your lips feel dry, so you apply more lip balm. Result: You use up your supply quicker and have to buy more!
I would still be in the dry-apply cycle if not for a friend who’s an independent distributor for Senegence LipSense and asked me to try this long-lasting lipstick and gloss system. She had never heard of lip balm addiction so she didn’t know what she was asking! I’m not big on makeup and have rarely worn colored lipstick so this wasn’t a purchase I’d normally make. Plus, the few over-the-counter “long-lasting” lipsticks I tried had dried my lips so I needed even more Lip Dew. Truly, if my friend hadn’t persisted, I wouldn’t have bothered but I finally agreed to test this product in a neutral color for a few days. The first day, I thought it was a little heavy, not like any regular lip balm, but since I was very conscious of this new feeling, I was reminded not to lick or chew on my lips. This was undoubtedly what started to break the habit. I reapplied the gloss after eating and a few times during the day, but didn’t feel the need to reapply it several times an hour. The second day, I was still aware of something different on my lips, but I was getting used to the feeling and my lips didn’t feel dry. On the third day, I had the real breakthrough. I realized late that afternoon that I had applied gloss right after lunch and had then forgotten about my lips for hours. Hours! Imagine. In three days, I had gone from applying lip balm every 15 to 20 minutes to not applying anything for hours. That means I could actually leave the house for 2 or 3 hours without carrying “a fix” with me. Only a lip balm addict could understand the sense of freedom I felt!
You don’t need this product to cure your lip balm addiction. I think any of the over-the-counter long-lasting lipsticks or glosses might do the same thing if you stay with them. “Long-lasting” is the key feature to look for. There were three components to my success. One, because I was conscious there was something different on my lips, I became keenly aware each time I started to lick them and I stopped doing that. I had read that lips need exfoliating, so I threw that in, too, and used a light scrub on my lips each night which probably reduced the dry feeling during the day. Three, since the lipstick I was using is long-lasting and the gloss contains Shea butter, my lips didn’t feel bare, dry or unprotected for hours which ended the feeling that I desperately needed to apply some lip product several times an hour.
Did I trade one addiction for another? No. I’ve actually gotten busy and forgotten to use my Lip Sense and Gloss a few days and it was mid-afternoon before I realized it. In fact, I’ve gone entire days without anything on my lips and been comfortable, so I’d say, my habit is successfully broken. While I can go without anything, I prefer the moisturizing and protective benefits of LipSense since I live in an extremely dry climate in Arizona. I’m sure I could have gone cold turkey for a few days to break the lip balm addiction, but the fact is, I wouldn’t even have considered trying that so this was the only solution for me. After having a serious lip balm habit for over forty years, I would never have imagined that I could break it ever, and certainly not in three days. I’m finally free!