the taste space

The Best Vegan Lip Balms

Posted in Beauty, Favourites by Janet M on March 2, 2013

I should probably call this “My Favourite Vegan Lip Balms”. This isn’t an exhaustive review of all vegan balms, but I definitely feel like I have some winners I wanted to share. With this cold weather, I have been evaluating my lip balm stash.

As I investigated vegan beauty products while making my bathbomb cupcakes, I became interested in vegan lip balms. A recovering long-time lip balm lover, I thought about making my own. Then I reasoned there are such great products out there, why experiment with expensive ingredients when others have already made the perfect formulation? So I broadened my lip balm search beyond my long-time favourites.

First of all, why bother with vegan balms? As something you place on your lips, you are bound to ingest it, too. 7 lbs worth according to Dr. Oz. When you look at it that way, maybe all those chemicals aren’t the best option.

What makes balms NOT vegan? PETA has a good list of animals ingredients, but the worse culprits are lanolin (sheep oil), tallow (beef fat), and casein (milk protein). Honey and beeswax are controversial topics for vegans. I don’t eat honey because it is a high-glycemic sweetener but less antsy about using beeswax. However, in my research, I found I preferred the balms without beeswax. And the more I looked at the ingredient lists of my balms, I thought the same methodology I employed for my cooking (unprocessed whole foods) would be better than balms filled with wacky ingredients as preservatives and dyes.

Without further ado, here are my favourite vegan lip balms (pics courtesy of originating websites).

1. Orange Thymeorange thyme  vegan lip balm

Rachel makes possibly my favourite lips balms. They are homemade in small batches with natural ingredients. The balms literally melt into your lips and moisturize them for hours. I love these. She has a wide variety of flavours but so far my favourites are pomegranate chocolate, marshmallow hot cocoa and Meyer lemon cupcake (yes it smells like a cupcake). As a small, independent retailer, my only problem was receiving a balm that had melted into the cap, likely knocked over during productive, which was not replaced. Quality control beforehand would make this a fool-proof item.

Ingredients: avocado oil, cocoa butter, candelilla wax, shea butter, natural and essential oils.

2. Hurrawhurraw vegan raw lip balms

Raw and vegan lip balms. I picked up my first Hurraw balm at the Veg Fest after a stranger whispered they were the best balms ever. I agree, I love these. Luscious and moisturizing. A bit firmer than Orange Thyme balms, but long-lasting. I only put them as #2 since they cost more and difficult to find in Canada. My favourite flavour (so far) is the Moon Balm (extra thick with vanilla and undertones of chamomile).

Ingredients (Moon Balm): Persea gratissima (avocado) oil, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, Euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, Argania spinosa (argan) kernel oil, Rosa rubiginosa (rosehip) seed oil, Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, Tocopherols (vitamin e), Vanilla planifolia (vanilla) bean, Myroxylon balsamum (peru balsam) oil, Matricaria recutita (blue chamomile) flower extract

3. C.O. Bigelow (from Bath & Body Works)mentha vegan lip balm

While not all my (previous) favourite balms are vegan (the Lemon Balm has beeswax but still awesome), others are vegan like the mentha lip shine and the mentha ultra lip shine. I don’t always like all the goop, but these tend to be very smooth and moisturizing without being tacky. I find I go through them pretty fast, though, which sucks because they can be pricy. Check to see if each balm is vegan, YMMV.

Ingredients (Mentha Lip Shine): Polybutene, Petrolatum, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Menthyl Lactate, Octyldodecanol, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Saccharin Propylene Carbonate.

4. Crazy Rumorspeppermint crazy rumors vegan lip balm

Another all-vegan line-up of lip balms. They are a bit more solid than the other balms but slide on smooth. They have lots of flavours (which don’t particularly enthuse me) but some flavours are more mellow like peppermint twist.

Ingredients (peppermint twist): Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, Certified Organic Shea Butter, Candelilla Wax, Soy Wax, Jojoba Oil, Carnauba Wax, Natural & Organic Flavors and/or Pure Essential Oils, Vitamin E, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Natural Stevia

5. Bare Englishbare english vegan lip balms

A brand new entry into the vegan lip balm market, Bare English is local to boot. Meshell has a great review here. These balms are tea-infused and glide on smooth, but firmer than my favourites. I don’t find they last as long as my favourites, either.  The best part (other than this being a Toronto company) is that they are reasonably priced and definitely easier to find in Toronto (also in NYC) and they will ship for free anywhere in Canada. They only have 3 flavours for now: coco-mint, vanilla coconut and raspberry pear.

Ingredients (coco-mint): Candelilla wax, cocoa Seed butter, Peppermint leaf infused olive oil, castor seed oil, coconut oil, shea butter, mint flavour oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba seed oil, vitamin E

6. Aqua Blossomaqua blossom vegan lip balm

Another etsy shop with nice vegan balms. Again, all-natural, homemade in small batches, Ashley doesn’t make balms, though, she makes butters. They are very luscious, thick and glossy. I thought they would last longer but they seem to get absorbed fairly quickly. I am loving the vanilla mint and pumpkin cheesecake butters, though.

Ingredients: Shea butter, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, candelilla wax, coconut oil, kokum butter, soybean oil, essential and/or lip-safe fragrance (flavor) oil, vitamin e oil

Do you have a favourite lip balm? Is it vegan? Have you tried these balms yet?

Here are some others that I have been meaning to try:

Epically Epic Soap

PuurBody

Meow Meow Tweet Vegan Balms

None of Your Beeswax Lip Balm or Ultrabalm from Lush

Vegan Balms by Merry Hempsters

Peppermint Chocolate Balm from Canfield Crafts

Whipped Lip Butters from Live Beautifully Body (the all-natural balms contain beeswax)

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lip Balms

Long Winter Farm (all natural but contains beeswax)

Little Batch (all natural but contains beeswax)

Petite Threla (all natural but contains beeswax)

Country Blossom (all natural but contains beeswax)

La Curacio Lip Balm from La Bella Figura (all natural but contains beeswax)

This is my submission to this week’s Healthy Vegan Fridays.

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100% Guiltless Cupcakes (Homemade Bath Bomb Cupcakes)

Posted in Beauty by Janet M on November 25, 2012

Unlike my Chocolate Mousse Pie which is almost guiltless, these cupcakes are completely guilt-free! While they may have you salivating, you can make them guilt-free because you won’t be eating them. You’ll throw them into your bath instead. ;)

American Thanksgiving is over, which means it is ok to think about Christmas. Even though I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend (as a Canadian, mine was in October), I still find it taboo to think about Christmas too early. Christmas music has been blaring down St Clair West for the past week, and it was just too much for me. However, it did get me thinking.

Even though I am completely uncreative in the craft department, I got it into my head that I wanted to make a craft cupcake. I thought of making soap cupcakes, but realized it called for way too many ingredients I didn’t have (sodium hydroxide!). My attention next turned to bath bombs which uses many ingredients I already have, including many that I don’t plan to eat anyways (cornstarch, baking soda, citric acid) – perfect for guiltless clearing of my pantry, too! While searching for bath bomb cupcakes, I even came across a chocolate whoopie pie bath bomb made with oat flour, cocoa powder and milk powder. However, I only had 1/2 cup citric acid leftover from my chaat masala so I went with one recipe. Thankfully, this was perfectly timed. My mom was coming to visit this weekend and able to bring ingredients I didn’t have (Epsom salts, icing sugar, food coloring, cream of tartar, SPRINKLES!) and baking contraptions (frosting tips, cupcake wrappers) to frost my cupcakes. Plus, she has mad frosting skills.  I figured I needed a frosting tutorial from her regardless.

As soon as my Mom arrived, we got to work! I looked at her sprinkle collection and fell for the clear green ones. My mom suggested a pale green cupcake base so we were off!  This was definitely a team effort. I sifted and spritzed while my Mom mixed the cupcake batter. I originally used witch hazel to mist my batter but it didn’t seem to work at binding, so then we switched to water which was used in the original recipe. Once it was semi-solid, we packed them tightly into wrapper-lined muffin tins.

You can go as simple or as ornate as you’d like. You could stop right hear and have bath bomb disks. Or use ice cube trays with fun shapes for variety. I didn’t have any fragrances or essential oils (they need to be skin safe) so I went without. I can only imagine how much more awesome this would be with mint.

Next, we got to work on the frosting. For the real bakers out there, you may recognize this as royal icing. Icing that you can mold and allow to firm up solid. It can keep for years if properly stored. It is what you would use for gingerbread houses or pretty flowers on cakes. I decided not to experiment, so I stuck with the original recipe. I had to locate meringue powder, easily found at Bulk Barn, but nowhere else I looked. I know, this doesn’t make the frosting vegan. Only now did I realize there are vegan royal icings. I may try that next time.

So I whipped out my much neglected mixer and we made the icing together. Stuffed the icing into a bag and started piping. Pipe then sprinkled.

The frosting is edible but I don’t recommend eating the cupcake!  For now, you get a silky smooth skin after your glorious bath time. :)

I promise not to try soap making, but how about homemade body butter? I have a ton of coconut oil now… and I can only eat so much of it. ;)

Do you make your own beauty products? What gifts are you planning on making this holiday?

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