GreenYour Sun care
Choose natural lip balm
Keep your lips luscious and healthy while avoiding the petroleum-based undesirables found in conventional lip balms. Instead, go natural and soothe your lips with botanical ingredients.
What to look for when choosing natural lip balm
- Avoid petroleum-derived ingredients: Conventional lip balms contain petrolatum or mineral oil. These are derived from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource, and can trigger allergic skin reactions. The European Union (EU) has petrolatum listed as a probable human carcinogen in its Dangerous Substances Directive. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, also derived from petroleum, has been shown to cause intestinal discomfort when ingested.
- Avoid dangerous chemical ingredients: If you opt for a lip balm with Sun Protection Factor (SPF), stay away from:
- benzophenone-3, also known as oxybenzone. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found oxybenzone in the urine samples of almost 97 percent of the 2,500 people tested. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 111 lip balms (including some natural lip balms) sold in the US contain oxybenzone, which has been linked to skin irritation and allergies. Studies on cells and laboratory animals also show that it may cause hormone disruption. A review done by the EU in 2006 found there wasn’t sufficient data available to access oxybenzone’s safety in sunscreens.
- octinoxate, also called octyl-methoxycinnamate which has shown estrogenic effects in test tube experiments. The EWG contends that similar effects were demonstrated with laboratory animals at concentrations of octyl-methoxycinnamate close to those experienced by sunscreen users.
- Look for mineral sun protection lip balms, containing zinc dioxide or titanium dioxide: These have broad-spectrum effectiveness, don’t break down easily in the sun, are well tolerated by skin, and cause few allergic reactions. They’re often contained in sunscreens formulated for babies and are found in most of the EWG's top safe and effective sunscreen picks.
- Find lip balms labeled as paraben-free: Natural lip balms often come without parabens (which includes methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, and butyl-parabens) a family of preservatives which can affect the endocrine system that produces the body's hormones. Studies have shown that some parabens can mimic estrogen in the body, though the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) asserts that parabens are safe because their estrogenic activity is much lower than the body’s own estrogen.
- Go organic: Because the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spends only a tiny portion of its budget investigating the chemical composition and toxins in skin care products, lip balms can tout their use of organic ingredients and still have up to 30 percent synthetic materials, even the ones labeled "organic" or "made with organic ingredients." The only way to be sure that the product you are purchasing is organic is to look for the USDA Organic Seal on the label. This seal guarantees that every ingredient is organically produced as defined by the National Organics Standards Board, which bans the use of harmful pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and genetic engineering.
- Look for lip balms that do not employ animal testing: While you're contemplating green attributes, you may also wish to join the cruelty-free movement. Just keep in mind: a company may claim that they don’t employ animal testing for their products, but without third-party verification, it’s hard to know whether these statements are in fact completely true. So stick to those products certified as cruelty-free by looking for products with the Leaping Bunny Logo or the Certified Vegan Logo. You can rest assured that no bunnies (or monkeys or cats for that matter) were harmed in the making of these non-animal-tested products.
Find it! Natural lip balm
We've got a bunch of lip balm recommendations for you to help you achieve a dewy lip look, but if you're more of a DIYer, you’ll find instructions on Not Martha, The Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe and wiseGEEK.
This chemical-free lip balm gives your smackers broad spectrum protection from el sol with micronized zinc oxide. No Badger product contains less than 70 percent certified organic ingredients and this lip balm contains organic jojoba oil, cocoa butter, extra virgin olive oil along with essential oils.
Body Time uses a combination of natural waxes and oils to protect lips without a waxy feel. Ingredients include organic unrefined beeswax, jojoba oil wheat germ oil, and essential oils of blood orange, vanilla, tangerine, clementine, and ylang ylang. Also available: Pure Minty Clove lip balm.
Beeswax, coconut, sunflower seed, and peppermint oils, plus comfrey root and rosemary extracts are some of the ingredients that combine along with titanium dioxide (a mineral sun block) to shield your lips from the elements. Feel free to dab some on your nose, ears, cheeks, and any other exposed skin.
Java lovers and tea drinkers will flip for this collection of coffee and tea flavored lip balms made with natural waxes, oils, and butters. Don’t expect a jolt from these balms; they don’t contain caffeine but you will find shea butter and avocado, jojoba, and grapeseed oils.
Dr. Bronner’s lip balms are certified organic by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) with their moisturizing organic oils (avocado, hemp seed, and jojoba seed), organic essential oils for fragrance and beeswax to treat your kisser. They also come in Orange Ginger, Naked, and Peppermint flavors.
Eco Lips features an assortment of lip balms but the high amount of jojoba oil in this balm offers top-of-their-line moisturizing properties. This balm has 99 percent Certified Organic ingredients and is cruelty-free and sans gluten and petrolatum.
These lip balms are made with beeswax, cocoa and mango seed butter, sweet almond, avocado, and coconut oil, and vitamin E. Vanilla, peppermint, lemon lime, sweet orange, and coffee flavors available and made possible by all natural essential oils—no synthetic flavors or colors used.
Tamanu oil, shea butter, jojaba oil, and hempseed oil (offering natural sun protection) are the key ingredients in this carefully crafted, moisturizing lip balm. You will not find petroleum, synthetic preservatives, GMOs or artificial colors and fragrances.
This lovely lip balm is vegan (also no ingredients have been tested on animals) and contains 73 percent organic ingredients. What is unique about this company is that PeaceKeeper gives all of its after-tax distributable profits to women’s health advocacy and urgent human rights issues.
Handmade at Soaptopia’s store in Mar Vista, California, this lip balm contains wild crafted shea butter from Senegal, coco butter, beeswax, plus moisturizing hempseed, coconut, carrot, avocado, and macadamia nut oils. It is petroleum free, synthetic free, and fragrance free.
The Merry Hempsters’ mission is to promote the benefits of hemp seed oil (Canadian Certified Organic) in its environmentally friendly lip balms and other products full of natural ingredients.
Tom Jack’s gives you an old fashioned, general store feel with its assorted balmchaps in tins. The company handmakes the balmchaps at a farm in upstate New York with petroleum-free, natural ingredients. The Peppermint Lip Balm contains beeswax, almond oil, coconut oil, and essential oil.
Choosing natural lip balms helps you go green because…
- They use water- and plant-based ingredients—such as jojoba oil, avocado oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and hemp seed oil—in lieu of combinations of chemicals that are harmful to the environment and may pose various health risks.
- Many makers of natural lip balms also follow green business practices, such as using recycled packaging and supporting organic agriculture.
- Business Week - Most Sunscreens Aren’t Up to the Task
- Chaptastic: Blog for those addicted to lip balm, committed to finding (and reviewing) the best balms around.
- The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics - Signers of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics: Check to see if your fave lip care maker has signed the compact.
- Environmental Working Group - Sunscreens: About Active Ingredients
- Chicago Tribune - Concern rises over effects of parabens
- Consumer Reports GreenerChoices - Personal care products: Buying guide 2/06
- The Green Guide - Oil Slicks for Chapped Lips?
- Leaping Bunny - Member lip care companies: See what lip care companies sport this cruelty-free insignia.
- Salon - Lip Balm Anonymous: When you put it on in your sleep, you have a problem