History of Lip Balm Timeline
Explore the history of lip balm, from beeswax in Egypt to the Chapstick we use today. People have been coming up with ways to prevent lips from getting dry and cracked for centuries!
Updated: July 31st, 2021
People have always had a need to treat cracked skin and chapped lips. That's exactly why, from the 1800s to present day, lip balm has been a top-selling beauty product around the world! We rely on this sweet-tasting cosmetic to keep our lips healthy and happy.
Whether you need it for your first kiss or that unwanted cold sore, lip balm will be there to help you out. Let's learn about the history of Chapstick, EOS, and more!
A woman by the name of Lydia Maria Child wrote a book called "The American Frugal Housewife." In the book, she recommended using, no kidding, earwax to treat cracked lips!.
Robert Chesebrough invented, patented, and distributed a new type of petroleum jelly called Vaseline. Before the name Vaseline, Chesebrough used the term "Wonder Jelly" for his invention. It didn't kick off until the name was changed.
Charles Brown Fleet is credited for the world's first official lip balm. It looked like a candle without a wick and was wrapped in tin foil. The brand was called Chapstick, though it didn't sell nearly as well as the Chapstick we know today.
Countries all over the world, such as Japan and Sweden, started developing lip care products. These products were made from ingredients like yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit), camellia oil (tea seed oil), and beeswax.
John Morton bought the Chapstick formula for lip balm for $5! It was his wife's idea to melt the ingredients together and pour them into brass tubes to mold the balm into sticks. The new packaging was a hit and Chapstick finally made a profit.
Alfred Woelbing created Carmex lip balm in his home to soothe his cold sores. Before he founded Carma Laboratories, he sold his invention out of the trunk of his car.
Charles Arch founded Blistex lip care products and advertised it as a medicated lip balm. Not only does it prevent your lips from getting dry, but it also includes external analgesic, a numbing agent to relieve pain.
Bonne Bell introduced Lip Smackers, the world's first flavored lip balm, to the public. They marketed specifically to young girls with their slogan "all the flavor of being a girl."
Dr Pepper collaborated with Bonne Bell in one of the most iconic co-branding partnerships of all time. Lip Smacker and Dr Pepper have continued their partnership for over 40 years.
A brand named Kiehl's sponsored a Mt. Everest expedition where climbers relied on their products to heal their chapped lips along the way. This clever marketing strategy showed that their balm would shield your lips from the even the coldest weather.
Roxanne Quimby perfected a recipe she found from an old farmer's journal and created Burt's Bees Lip Balm. Burt's Bees sold candles prior to lip balm, however, their new product instantly became a bestseller.
Abreva® is the first pharmaceutical over-the-counter lip treatment cream approved by the FDA. This is used for more serious lip conditions such as cold sores.
A company in Australia named MooGoo had the genius idea of creating lip balms that are "as edible as possible." Founder Craig Jones originally created the formula to help out his mom. The end result was the start of a new skin care company!
A company in Canada called Sweet Leaf Bath Company launched the first lip balm that is packaged in a waste composable eco-tube. Their mission is to choose ingredients that will benefit your skin and Mother Nature.
EOS® blew everyone away by switching form the typical tube to a spherical orb. At the time, this was the only brand to ever switch up its packaging from tubes or jars. People loved the shape so much, EOS patented their design and took off in popularity.
As cannabis continues to become legal or used medicinally, companies are beginning to chemically add it to lip balm. Some lip balms contain low doses of THC to be used as a pain-relieving additive. Others contain CBD oil for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-aging properties.
According to historians, the ancient Egyptians were the first to discover the natural oils, beeswax, and honey used for lip balm. Only the elite wore cosmetics as a way of showing their power and prestige. Cleopatra, born in 69 B.C., is perhaps the most well-known Egyptian to use beauty products like lip balm.
Beeswax, almond oil, and roses were some of the ingredients in Cleopatra's arsenal for timeless beauty. She would bathe in milk and rose petals, then rub on a lotion primarily made of beeswax to keep her skin and lips looking young and smooth.
The Egyptians in general were resourceful when it came to cosmetics. They figured out that using natural, antibacterial, and moisture-locking ingredients improved their overall lifestyle and could also be used to treat minor injuries. We took inspiration from their example, and now the beauty industry is worth a staggering $49.2 billion dollars in the United States.
Chapstick was the first lip balm on the market in the early 1880s. A physician named Charles Browne Fleet made it at home for his patients, and it was described to have looked like a wickless candle wrapped in tin foil. It didn't sell very well due to the lackluster packaging.
Fleet eventually sold his rights to Chapstick for only five dollars to a former colleague named John Morton. It was Morton's wife who had the idea of melting down the wax and using brass tubes to mold it into sticks. The new product was a hit and Chapstick became a multi-million dollar company!
Back before Chapstick was invented, ancient civilizations would use pure beeswax, honey, and natural oils to moisturize their lips. However, we've also used some other crazy substances over the years, not limited to glycerin, petroleum jelly, and even earwax!
Glycerin is a natural moisturizer that was used in the 18th century to deal with chapped lips. It comes from plants and is commonly used in skincare products like lotions, facial creams, and soaps.
Before lip balm, we had to be creative to take care of our dry lips. That's why a woman named Lydia Maria Child recommended using earwax in her book "The American Frugal Housewife." The best part about earwax? It's totally free!
The most well-known brand of petroleum jelly is Vaseline, which came on the market in 1865. It was created by Richard Chesebrough, a young British chemist who had previously worked making kerosene from whale blubber.
EOS lip balm started in New York City in 2006. It was founded by Jonathan Teller, Sanjiv Mehra, and Craig Dubitsky. The trio was set on coming out with beauty products that were fresh, unique, and trendy.
In the end, they decided that their lip balm should engage all 5 senses when you use it:
The spherical orbs fit perfectly in people's hands and give fingers comfortable grips when opening the container.
The bright, pastel colored eggs appealed to people's eyes and are more unique than the tubes and containers that were previously on the market.
The formula contains strong aromas that are released as soon as you open the container.
You can get EOS lip balm in a variety of tasty flavors like vanilla bean, toasted marshmallow, and mango.
Once you're done applying, you'll know the lip balm is sealed tight as soon as you hear the click.
With the help of celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, and Hilary Duff, it didn't take long for EOS to quickly climb the charts. They were granted a patent for their design in 2013, and now the company is worth over $250 million.
Lip balm is a wax-like substance that is used to help heal dry or chapped lips and lock in moisture. Every lip balm is different, therefore the brand you use will determine the ingredients. For example, Vaseline contains purified petroleum, whereas Burt's Bees contains beeswax.
Here are the most common ingredients found in lip balm:
A natural wax that is produced by honeybees. Honeycombs and beehives are made from beeswax, which serves as a natural moisturizing agent.
An edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. It contains natural antioxidants and is used for its moisturizing properties as well as treating mouth sores.
Natural oils help add moisture or flavoring. Common oils found in lip balms are coconut, sunflower, peppermint, or canola.
Although honey and beeswax both come from bees, they are entirely different. Honey has nutritional value as well as antioxidants, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory qualities, not to mention it's delicious!
Fat that is extracted from the nut of an African shea tree. Shea butter is rich in vitamins, offers natural UV protection, and has essential fatty acids necessary to restore skin.
Without these ingredients, which are rich in vitamins or antioxidants, your lips would always be chapped. They also help add a delicious flavor to your lip balm and are definitely much better than earwax!
One of the first brands to advertise with flavored lip balm was Dr Pepper, who joined efforts with Bonne Bell in 1975. Soon other soda companies followed suit, including Coca-Cola , 7up, A&W Root Beer, and Orange Crush. This was followed by candy brands like M&Ms and Skittles. Now a variety of companies in and outside of the food industry are advertising with lip balm.
Take a look at some other popular companies that have advertised with promotional lip balm:
The candle store released limited edition lip balm shaped like their candle jars in 2009.
Who doesn't love ice cream? That was Ben & Jerry's thought when they advertised with lip balm shaped like their containers.
America runs on Dunkin' flavored lip balm. These adorable Munchkin-shaped containers were a huge hit for the fast food brand.
Go to any Victoria's Secret store, and you'll see kiosks near the registers that house all kinds of fun cosmetics. This includes branded lip balm in stylish pink tubes and containers.
Nickelodeon has offered some wonderful kid's programming over the years, like "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Paw Patrol." Lip balm printed with their popular characters are excellent stocking stuffers for the holidays!
The Disney brand are pros at advertising to a wide range of people. It's almost impossible to resist these adorable personalized lip balm in the shape of their popular characters.
It isn't just the big brands that are advertising with lip balm. Great Lakes Brewing sells these organic custom lip balm at their brewery in Cleveland, Ohio.
Betty Crocker came out with a variety of promotional lip balm modeled after their iconic cake and icing flavors. You can get confetti, whipped cream, yellow cake, caramel, and even molten chocolate cake!
The purpose of lip balm is to moisturize your lips when they dry out. It's important to protect your lips from external exposure, whether it's dry, cold air or the harmful UV rays from the sun.
You can also use lip balm on other areas of your body. Try any of the following lip balm hacks:
Soothe dry skin - Lip balm can soothe more than just your lips. If you're out of lotion, or it's just not doing the trick, try lip balm for your dry skin.
Protect your skin from hair dye - Whether you color your own hair at home or go to a salon, add lip balm along your hairline. This should prevent the hair dye from also coloring your skin.
Soothe nose irritation - Cold and flu season as well as allergy season are really the worst. Help ease the irritation around your nose and prevent further dryness by adding lip balm.
Tame fly-aways - Those baby hairs can get annoying and hairspray can really weigh your hair down or make it sticky. The next time you have fly-aways, tame them with lip balm.
Stop a cut from shaving - Ever nicked yourself shaving? Been there, done that! Instead of reaching for the toilet paper, try lip balm to stop minor cuts and start the healing process.
Shine up your eyeshadow - Are you tired of applying eyeshadow and it disappearing by lunchtime? Try rubbing lip balm across your eyelids as a base to make your eyeshadow last longer.
Make a candle - Keep Q-tips and lip balm in a first aid kit or your travel bag the next time you hit the road. If you ever need a light source in a pinch, you can create a makeshift candle by creating a wick with a Q-tip inside a tube of lip balm.
Highlight your cheekbones -If you ever want your cheekbones to stand out and shimmer, try adding a little lip balm. This acts as a natural highlighter and can save you money.
Groom your eyebrows - Just like fly-aways in your hair, sometimes eyebrows don't want to cooperate. Instead of plucking out that strand that won't lay flat, try clear lip balm to weigh it down.
Repair cuticles: Can't afford to go to the nail salon every month, but still want flawless nails? Instead of buying cuticle oil, add moisture by applying lip balm to your nail beds.
Lip balm is for everybody. It’s been a must in the world of cosmetics since ancient Egypt. Make sure you always have a good lip balm in your bag. Bonus points if it has a tasty flavor!
Kyrsten's vast knowledge of promotional giveaways and marketing has led to several hit articles. She has also published work for PPB Magazine, a publication from the Promotional Products Association International.
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