Ingredients: Beeswax, sunflower oil, coconut oil, lanolin, comfrey root, fragrance, tocopheryl acetate & tocopherol (vitamin E), honey, rosemary leaf oil.
Not long ago I read something about the appeal of organic beauty products. The upshot was that women and dapper gentlemen often preferred organic items, whether or not they went in for the hippie bullshit that inspired them. There was a time when companies like The Body Shop (the San Francisco catalog store - now called Body Time - not the mall chain) catered mostly to vegetarians who baked their own pot brownies to take to bra-burnings, but now plenty of mail order brides in Lexus SUVs have turned on to the same stuff. There's a simple reason: yumminess.
Traditional drug store beauty products reek of the laboratory. If you've ever bought anything from cheapest-of-the-cheap kingpin Wet'n'Wild, you'll know the unmistakable odor their products carry, like a teenage Halloween. Maybelline Great Lash mascara smells like goop. Noxzema smells like something you should scrub grout with. These products offer a very pragmatic approach to beauty, but there's no glamour factor there.
If you want glamour, you can run into Sephora and plunk down hundreds on makeup made to work and also made to look gorgeous on the Louis XV dressing table you inherited along with your great-aunt's millions. Or you can explore ancient beauty secrets that predate peroxide dyejobs, pancake makeup, pretty much everything except the weird, exclusive tinctures sold to rich ladies at Sephora. But modern organic products ain't your mama's weekly regimen of dousing her head in beer. Like the hybrid car under your yoga-sculpted behind, they're a marriage of science and available materials. They work better than snake oils past and they're more appealing than the drugstore old guard.
Case in point is this little tube of miraculous sitting on my desk here, Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm. Burt's Bees is itself a drugstore brand, and has been for years. At $3.99, it's pricier than Chapstick, but I continue to pay the price because of the yumminess factor and the downplayed glamour it imparts.
It works wonderfully, of course, or I wouldn't continue to buy it. I'm guessing this has something to do with the lanolin and rosemary it contains, both of which have long been used to moisturize various human parts. But plenty of things work. This is worth special attention not just because of its lip-softening properties, but because of its smell.
Now I know it says it has fragrance in it, so don't jump all over my shit for making a point about organic products when the overwhelming "organic" sensation may the result of something more akin to the vials of juicy hamburger smell in Fast Food Nation. I choose to believe, and that's the crucial aspect of the marketing of organic beauty I'm trying to discuss here. I believe because when I was a kid we had some bees and I've smelled raw honeycomb fresh out of the hive and warming up in the sun. This lip balm smells almost exactly like that, with just a hint of muskiness, probably the result of the two natural moisturizers called out above. It's amazing. Something so simple should not smell so alluring, yet it does.
Beauty products exist because we believe we can buy beauty. And to some extent we can (feminists, hold your tomatoes). Beauty is more than just visual. Smell and texture, things that can be altered, can also be beautiful. And confidence, of course, is more beautiful than anything. Beauty products sell us confidence boosts packaged up as temporary glamour. If glamour is the egotistical sense of being irresistable, what is more glamourous than being dipped in fucking honey?
Boy or girl, hour-long beauty routine or wash-and-go, I recommend you get yourself a tube of magical organic lip balm. I obviously have my own favorite, but there are lots out there in flavors Bonne Bell was never able to accurately reproduce. A little aromatherapy in your pocket, a little instant Brigitte Bardot to clutch like a talisman when things are falling apart. Get with the yumminess.