Balms Away: Scarcity Makes Things Cooler — Like These Lip Conditioners from Not Canada

by Liza Herz on 4 August 2011 · 18 comments

Janine recently and astutely pointed out that some fashion fans might not be happy with J. Crew’s arrival in Canada this month. After all, how stylish are you if your latest “get” is now accessible to everyone? In fact, does the cool-meter automatically reset to zero the second you can buy something without getting on a plane? Well, duh. Remember Krispy Kreme?

All this was on my mind when, on a couple of recent trips, I somewhat obsessively sought out lip balms that we can’t get in Toronto. Are they magical balms that are better than anything I can buy at home? Or I am I just seduced by the thrill of the new? Magical or not, I’m still in love with:

From Paris

• Creamsicle-flavoured Amilab. Done.
Planter’s Hyaluronic Acid Lip Balm. I love how this Italian understated, under-designed tube announces its serious pharmacy cred. So not Mr. Peanut.
Boiron Homeostick baume lèvres au calendula. Their Homéoplasmine salve is a staple in jet-setty makeup-artist kits.
Nuxe Rève de Miel, because over there it’s available in a portable stick, not just in the frosted-glass jar we get in Canada.
• Nourishing Honey Lip Butter from Sanoflore, which smells insanely great and is packed with vitamin E, shea butter and rock rose essential oil.

But no Apricoderm because I swear it does not exist. At least not in France. (Ebay is cheating. It’s about the legwork.)

From NYC

Intelligent Nutrients Lip Delivery Nutrition, which I picked up in Barney’s beauty basement, possibly the happiest place on earth. This balm comes with healthy-living hype, but I don’t mind because it’s from Aveda creator Horst Rechelbacher.
• From the massive Whole Foods’ Whole Body beauty section, Jurlique Love Balm because the tin is wee (adorbs) and well, who doesn’t need a little tangerine-scented love?
• Also from Whole Foods, a stick of pure cocoa butter and a beeswax disk so I can make my own lip balm at home like some beauty-crazed tween. (Who wants to come over and play microwave mad scientist with me?)
• Even when shopping for housewares at Canvas, the balm odyssey continued — they stock Mayron’s Goods Chapstuff, a fat swivel-up cocoa-butter laden lip and cheek protector from actress Melanie Mayron. “Not tested on animals. Tested on actresses’ babies,” proclaims the label.

And after looking everywhere for Eos balm (spheres of 100% natural ingredients that awesomely manage to retain their spherical shape even after you use them — try the Sweet Mint), I came home to a press release announcing they’re available starting this month for $4 at Loblaw’s, Zellers, London Drug, Shopper/Pharmaprix and Jean Coutu. Hooray!

Or not.

Multi-product photos via Fujifilm FinePix F300EXR digital camera.

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4 August 2011 at 5:39 pm
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5 August 2011 at 1:43 am
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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

rasilla 4 August 2011 at 10:30 am

haha! “Tested on actresses’ babies,” ?!
awesome marketing :P
But amusing that it is so big and bulky~
ps if you try and make your own lip balm, do share!

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Liza Herz 4 August 2011 at 8:28 pm

It’s not too bulky, really. And if you are going to use it on your cheeks (not that I want to even think of winter right now) the broad surface might make application easier. It smells divine.

I think I might save the DIY lip balm making til the fall. If i can keep myself from eating the cocoa butter that is. (Only half kidding there.)

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Joanne 4 August 2011 at 10:54 am

Why am I having an adverse reaction to a lip balm called Planters? I know it’s silly…Nuxe is a name I can get behind…but you had me at “Creamsicle-flavoured Amilab”. Mmmm

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Liza Herz 4 August 2011 at 8:30 pm

I know. Planters. Strange for an Italian brand. But look at that lovely typeface. So spare. So minimalist. Sigh. And the Amilab is pretty great too. A subtle creamsicle – not a ‘bash you over the head with fakery’ one.

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Susie 4 August 2011 at 3:04 pm

True Blood! Hard to find European lip balms! Are we sisters?

I’m heading to NYC at the end of the month. I’m going to find some Labello Soft Rose if it kills me! It’s probably not even that moisturizing, but I have to have it.

I’ve tried so many lip balms (even Clark’s Botanicals) but the only one that really works for me is the RoC Enydrial Repairing Lip Care. If they ever discontinue it, I’m in big trouble!

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Liza Herz 4 August 2011 at 8:33 pm

A fellow balm obsessive. Excellent. Do we need a support group or just more cosmetics storage? I like to keep them scattered throughout the house and tucked into jacket and coat pockets. I get anxious if I leave the house balm-less.

I haven’t bought the Clark’s (I’m guessing it’s ’spensive? His stuff is pricey) but nice choice on the RoC. French pharmacy brands rule.

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Janine 5 August 2011 at 2:13 am

The “True Blood” obsession is mine, Susie — so perhaps we three are half-sisters? I’m also LBD — lip balm dependent — but not as cool as Liza. *grin*

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Liza Herz 5 August 2011 at 6:06 am

Nonsense. Cooler. Much cooler.

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Trish 4 August 2011 at 4:02 pm

I’m so sad that eos lip balms are coming to Canada! I want to be the only one in Toronto with the weird lip balm!

I bought a ton of them in the US last year. As a lip balm, they’re okay, but the real treat is getting strange looks from people as you run a ball over your lips.

There is one downside to these: the packaging gets really discoloured as they roll around the bottom of your purse.

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Liza Herz 4 August 2011 at 8:38 pm

I know. After all that effort (and expense) you want to have it all to yourself. I totally understand. But we must be magnanimous, right? And share our balm-y love with the rest of Canada.

And I will take your advice and protect my pale green little minty Eos ball in a makeup bag so it doesn’t get colour transfer from heaven knows what that lurks in the bottom of my purse.

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Anne 5 August 2011 at 12:12 pm

That is a LOT of lip balm, girlie! And you’re talking to someone who sells the stuff, so has tubs of 200 sitting around, ready! I bet you have ME beat! Teehee.

I really, really love the look of the Eos one. And as I’m not traveling to the US in the imminent future, I am glad they’ll be here. I totally get you on having mixed feelings though. And in Quebec, we get it more than most, as we don’t even have a Sephora!! So scarcity is common.

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Liza Herz 5 August 2011 at 1:13 pm

Yup, the Eos is at Jean Coutu and for only $4, which is great for something so cool. You’re an addict too huh? Explans why you’re in the biz right? Do what you love, as they say.

So are there any balms that one can only get on Quebec?

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Debbie 6 July 2014 at 1:08 pm

I found apricoderm in Switzerland, Zermatt to be exact. It is made by phytopharma. It is the best stuff I have ever tried. My lips are constantly peeling and cracking and after a day a two using this on my trip my lips are super smooth. I love this stuff!

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Liza Herz 6 July 2014 at 7:37 pm

Good get. Makes sense to sell it in Zermatt. You’d need that kind of protection on the slopes. Cracked lips are the worst. And flying just exacerbates it, doesn’t it?

I finally got some last year in Zürich. No skiing, just too much fondue and chocolate. (Not that there’s such thing as too much of either of those, you understand.)

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