Lip Balm Smack Down
firmness, payout, friction, smoothness, slipperiness,
Lip balm was first marketed in the 1880s by the creator of ChapStick, Charles Browne Fleet. Over a hundred and thirty years later, there are hundreds of brands on the market. From petroleum-based products such as the original ChapStick product to natural beeswax-based products such as Burt’s Bees, consumers have a wide selection to choose from. With so many options on the market, what do consumers typically look for in a lip balm? Is there a “winner” or does the existence of so many options simply suggest that consumers like a wide selection of lip balms with different features? We conducted a “lip balm smackdown” on four popular lip balms to analyze a few of their physical characteristics including firmness and friction and how these characteristics impact their payout. We purchased four popular lip balms: ChapStick Original Lip Balm, CVS’ ChapBlock, CVS’ Kiwi Lime, and Burt’s. The two CVS products had “compare to ChapStick” on their packaging, inviting the direct comparison. We tested these products using the TA.XTPlus Texture Analyzer in conjunction with the TA-317 Vertical Friction Rig and the TA-52 2 mm diameter puncture probe. The firmness, payout, and friction were successfully measured for all samples. These metrics provide valuable insight into the behavior of these lip balms.