My Changing Tastes in Lip Wear

Winter is brutal. So is Summer. In fact, weather or any extreme can wreak havoc on your body, and people with CF often have additional challenges during every season. One common complaint I have is the state of my lips.

Lips are delicate. They provide gentle kisses. They’re necessarily to smile. They help us eat, breathe and cough. They are the focal place of the face. Lips are responsible for so much, so they deserve lots of attention.

So many choices...

So many choices…

As a result, I am always aware that I must protect them from sunburn, windburn, and other elements. My lips get chapped very easily. Even when I’m doing all I can from the inside – dehydration shows up on the lips – I have to make sure that I’m doing everything I can on the outside.

I also have the unfortunate experience of carrying the cold sore virus, so whenever I get really sick, have fevers, get sunburned, or leave my face exposed on a windy day, within 24 hours, I start feeling that awful itchy tickle. I won’t cover treatments I’ve used in this post, but wanted to mention it because it plays a role in my need to protect my lips on a daily basis.

I’ve used every type of lip protectant out there, and wanted to share what I’ve tried, what has worked, and what I now prefer.


There was really only one choice back in the 1970s: Chapstick. Cherry only, please, not necessarily because I didn’t like the other (non) flavors, but because it made this little Catholic school girl with strict parents feel like I was waring makeup.

Old, reliable Chapstick.

Old, reliable Chapstick. Two of part of my personal stash.

For years, I’d hoard Chaptsticks – in my school desk, in my bookbag, in my dresser drawer. I know that there’s a theory that people can get addicted to the feel of the waxy substance on their lips, and perhaps that was behind my need to stockpile them, but I had an honest need to keep my lips from peeling. Off and on for the rest of my life, I’ve continued to use Chapstick. I’ve tried most of the flavors, as well as the newer “medicated” lip balm with SPF 20. I currently have a few scattered throughout the house, just in case.


Sometime in the early 80s, my mother brought me home some Blistex ointment, which came in a little tube too easily squeezed. It smelled really medicinal but didn’t feel too goopy, but after a few episodes of Blistex-stained homework, I abandoned the product all together except at night.

Sticky, sticky, sticky.

Sticky, sticky, sticky.

There’s a modern version of Blistex, which comes in a little pot that you have to stick your finger in to use, which can be a little messy. What’s with Blistex and the mess? It works well enough, and doesn’t sting like similarly-shaped Carmex, but I can’t get past the sticky fingers.

Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers

Along with my fellow pre-teen schoolmates, I discovered Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers thanks to “Santa Claus” leaving them in my stocking. I can’t believe that they are still around – ask any woman under the age of 45 and I’m sure they used these products at some point in life.

Too tasty to leave alone.

Too tasty to leave alone.

Lip Smackers are waxy lip balms known for coming in crazy flavors in multi-packs – Root Bear, Chocolate, 7-Up, etc. They smelled so good, and made my 11-year-old self feel pretty grown up because they were colored and therefore one step away from the nearly sheer Cherry Chaptstick. The only problem is that they also had a strong hint of flavor, so I used to lick them off, which dried out my lips even more than usual.


When I was a cheerleader, I learned that Petroleum jelly is not only for baby bottoms. In addition to softening dry elbows and knees, they smoothed out the skin around my nails before a home manicure, and helped prevent chafing when wearing a new pair of shoes.

Giant jars were passed down the bleachers from cheerleader to cheerleader.

Giant jars were passed down the bleachers from cheerleader to cheerleader.

I cannot remember who suggested it, but I vividly recall all of us putting Vaseline on our teeth during a cheerleading competition to keep us smiling. It also made your lips super soft and shiny. The only problem is that I found it really sticky. It got on everything, and it attracted my hair to my lips like static on a balloon.

CoverGirl Lipslicks Lip Gloss

Throughout high school, now that I was old enough to wear makeup I’d experimented with various lipsticks and glosses. The matte-looking lipsticks popular in the late 80s always felt too dry, and within an hour, my lips would start to crack and peel.

One of my three favorite colors.

One of my three favorite colors of CoverGirl Lipslicks Lip Gloss.

I was constantly worrying and having to fix my lips, so once I got to college and nobody wore much makeup during the day, I happily threw away almost all of my lip products. I found some amazing soft, sheer lip color – a “drier” gloss – by Covergirl. I just looked these up and cannot believe that they still make them! I rotated through three colors – a bronzy color, a pink, and a burgundy.

Real Lipstick and some product that the manufacturer has discontinued

I’ve grown up, but my lips’ needs haven’t. I still can’t wear “real” lipstick unless I layer Lip Pencil and Lipstick, blot, cover with powder, and reapply lipstick, and then swipe on some Vaseline. Despite all that work, the lipstick lasts nowhere near the advertised “all day” timeline. More like an hour. My lips just scream out for something sheerer, softer and shinier.

Soft, sheer, just a little plumping.

Soft, sheer, just a little plumping.

During my last head shot session, my acting coach was really impressed with the condition, color and look of my lips. It was my go-to for when I want a “little more than natural” look. It was a Bath and Body works product that plumped the lips and gave them a soft tingle and softened them into fluffy pink pillows, but B&BW don’t make the particular line I liked anymore.

Baby, Baby, Baby!

I’ve heard of “soft as a baby’s bottom,” but Baby Lips? Maybelline has created a lip product cutely named and packaged “Baby Lips.” They are amazing. I love, love, love them! The word that best describe my lips after using Baby Lips is “dewy.” It’s smooth without being slimy, offers a hint of scent and flavor but not enough to make you want to eat it, and at $3.99, a great bargain. Baby Lips also have SPF 20, which I need year-round.

Of course, because I love owning “collections,” I’m trying very hard not to buy ever flavor. So I’m limiting myself to two. One is a colorless flavor (Peppermint), and the other is the aptly named “Cherry Me,” which looks like Cherry Italian Ice.
Unfortunately (or perhaps a marketing ploy), is that some of the flavors are available for a “limited time only.”

This morning, I freaked out when I couldn’t find* my clear Peppermint balm, thinking that perhaps one of the cats had rolled it off the table, so I went online and bought a whole bunch on them, repeating my hoarding behavior so that I’ll never run out. That is, until Maybelline discontinues them.

*PS – I found it under the couch, where one of the cats had rolled it off the table. At least they had good taste!

What lip products do you use? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


One thought on “My Changing Tastes in Lip Wear

  1. sue helm says:

    I use burts bees stuff or something I got from a holistic medical seminar with as few natual real ingredients as possible. I was surprised at just how much crap they put into glosses and products that we regularly lick or eat off.

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