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How I Cured My Lip Balm Addiction in 3 Days
For anyone who has never experienced the lip balm habit, it’s hard to understand. Compared to other addictions, the economy, poverty, hunger, disease, and personal tragedies, this problem is a minor inconvenience and almost embarrassing to mention. But for those of us who panic when we can’t find our trusty lip balm and can’t leave home without it, it’s a habit most would like to break. This is my story of how I cured my lip balm addiction…and it happened by accident and in just three days.
Over forty years ago, I was introduced to Avon Dew Kiss Lip Dew in an innocent pink tube by a fellow high school student. I liked that. Not caring about colored lipsticks, I was delighted that this balm gave my lips a natural and healthy glow. Little did I know how long my love for this product would last or how important it would become in my life. It seemed like a nice thing to have on hand for the cold, windy days in Idaho where I lived. It was not expensive and easy to get. “Ding-Dong, Avon calling” meant that the Avon Lady in my neighborhood was delivering my Lip Dew order. Having moved around the US over the years, locating a local Avon distributor was at the top of my to-do list when I arrived in my new home. If I couldn’t find it right away and ran out of Lip Dew, I would have switched to Chapstick in the old days, but back then it was too waxy and boring so I was always looking for my next supplier.
How bad was my habit? If I had left the house without Lip Dew and had time to get home to get it, I would have driven home. If the drive back took too long, then I’d stop by the store and buy a Bonnie Bell, Carmex, or Chapstick. Later, the growing lip balm market gave me more options, such as Burt’s Bees and Neutrogena. Of course, when I was at home, I only used Lip Dew. It remains my favorite. When I ordered it, I would order 10 to 12 at a time and hide them all over the house and office. I put a tube in every purse I used most often so I wouldn’t leave the house without it. I usually also had one in my pants or jacket pocket, which I always missed when I was doing laundry and left little grease stains all over my clothes. If “ubiquitous” can describe a product, then it has described the Lip Dew in my life; he was indeed present everywhere. The reason I needed so many tubes on hand was because I reapplied every 15 to 20 minutes during the day, and if I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d grab my tube of Lip Dew on the nightstand. It was a bad habit for decades.
You can debate whether the ingredients in lip balm are addictive, and thanks to the internet, researching this topic is easy. Probably the best site is LipBalmAnonymous.com which lists many manufacturers and discusses the possibility that they intentionally include lip drying ingredients to make you want more lip balm. This site is not only informative but also entertaining as it includes humor to help lip balm addicts lighten up their habit. I wouldn’t say that lip balm ingredients are physically addictive like the nicotine in cigarettes, but there’s no doubt that repeating any action often enough leads to a psychological habit that’s hard to break. A physical attachment to lip balm can be a result of lip licking that you’re probably not even aware of. Licking loses the balm, so apply more. Why do you think manufacturers add flavorings? It tastes good so you lick it! You lick it off and your lips are dry, so apply more lip balm. Result: You run out of stock faster and have to buy more!
I would still be in the dry application cycle if it weren’t for a friend who is an independent distributor for Senegence LipSense and asked me to try this long-lasting lipstick and gloss system. She had never heard of lip balm addiction so she didn’t know what she was asking! I’m not big on makeup and rarely used colored lipsticks, so this wasn’t a purchase I normally make. Also, several “long-lasting” lipsticks I tried over the counter dried out my lips so I needed more Lip Dew. True, if my friend hadn’t insisted, I wouldn’t have bothered, but in the end I agreed to test this product in a neutral color for a few days. The first day I thought it was a bit heavy, not like any regular lip balm, but being very aware of this new sensation, I reminded myself not to lick or chew on my lips. This was undoubtedly what began to break the habit. I reapplied the gloss after meals and several times throughout the day, but I didn’t feel the need to reapply it several times an hour. On the second day, I was still aware of something different on my lips, but I was getting used to the feeling and my lips were not dry. On the third day, I had a real breakthrough. I realized late that afternoon that I had applied lip gloss right after lunch and had forgotten about my lips for hours. Hours! Imagine. In three days, I went from applying lip balm every 15 to 20 minutes to not applying anything for hours at a time. This means I could actually leave the house for 2 or 3 hours without carrying the “fix” with me. Only a lip balm addict could understand the sense of freedom I felt!
You don’t need this product to cure your lip balm addiction. I think any of the long lasting over the counter lipsticks or glosses could do the same thing if you stick with them. “Long-lasting” is a key characteristic to look for. There were three components to my success. First, because I was aware that something was different about my lips, I became aware every time I started licking them and stopped doing it. I read that lips need exfoliation, so I put that in and used a light exfoliator on my lips every night which probably reduced the feeling of dryness during the day. Third, because the lipstick I used is long-wearing and the gloss contains shea butter, my lips didn’t feel bare, dry, or unprotected for hours, eliminating the feeling of desperately needing to apply lip product several times an hour.
Have I traded one addiction for another? No. I actually got busy and forgot to use my lip balm and gloss for a few days and it was mid-afternoon before I knew it. In fact, I went whole days without anything on my lips and was comfortable, so I’d say my habit was successfully broken. Although I can go without, I prefer the moisturizing and protective benefits of LipSense since I live in an extremely dry climate in Arizona. I’m sure I could have chilled for a couple of days to break the lip balm addiction, but the fact is I wouldn’t even consider trying it, so this was the only solution for me. After having a serious lip balm habit for over forty years, I never imagined I would ever break it, certainly not in three days. I’m finally free!
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