Two and a half weeks in the frozen tundra of New York City in February will give you a new perspective on the meaning of cold. It will also give you what my stepdaughter, Tina, use to call “owie yips”. As in shredded shards of skin peeling off your lips. Lip divots deep enough to look like suture tracks. Lips so chapped they could probably be hired out to sand down drywall. Really seriously chapped lips.
True to form, I’ve been following Einstein’s definition for insanity: you know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I long ago left behind Chapstick and Carmex, thinking I had evolved by using L’Occitane’s little tin of shea butter on my lips. For the past year. With painfully (and I mean that literally) meager results.
It really wasn’t working. I occasionally supplemented with Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour cream, which I have long sworn by for bringing in the big guns. But its heavy-duty camphor smell and the vague suspicion that you could also use it to lubricate a jet engine can be off-putting.
Last weekend my owie yips had had enough. I trudged through the NYC snow (uphill both ways, mind you) to a nearby drug store to check out the options. I bypassed everything on display at the counter and headed to the old-timey products way in the back of the store. I had consulted the Internet and come up with what appeared to be a winner in the high stakes game of chapped lip relief. You can thank me later but go get this stuff now: Smith’s Rosebud Salve
It does come at the princely sum of $8 a tin so maybe it contains actual fairy dust along with the listed ingredients of “aromol and cottonseed oil in a special petrolatum base”. I hesitated momentarily at “petrolatum” as there are wildly differing opinions on its use. Some say it is toxic; others that it is “as universally safe as any substance can be”. I suppose it depends to some degree on what you are selling. What I do know is that within just a few days, my lip divots disappeared completely. I can now apply lipstick without having to fill in craters and my days as a qualified drywall sander are happily behind me. You can order a 4-pack at a slight savings for $20.42 which I plan to do: one for the makeup kit, one for the nightstand, one for the purse and one left over to bestow on a friend, since this time of year, pretty much everyone has chapped lips. Update 11/15: Urban Outfitters is currently offering a packaged set of Rosebud Salve products for $16. If you are not a fan of the tinned configuration, you can also purchase it in a tube:
And if you are absolutely opposed to a petrolatum-based product, I have a runner-up option for you: Laura Mercier Lip Balm SPF 15.0. At $22, it is much more expensive than the Rosebud Salve and its lipstick case configuration may not appeal to macho males. It contains paraffin which I don’t happen to prefer, and I find the slightly honeyed fragrance to be less refreshing than the faint rose scent of the salve. But it does have the SPF benefit, and in the two days I have experimented with it, I think it is a worthy alternative to the Rosebud Salve.
The real cure for chapped lips, of course, is for winter to end. That wasn’t looking like a good bet as we left the city on Monday but hopefully there are some daffodils to look forward to soon!