Review: Kiehl’s Lip Balm

What is the hype about Kiehl’s? I had never tried their products but I know I’ve heard people talk about their products as being “gentle” and with “fewer” chemicals. I know they don’t outright come out and say their products are natural though. My first impression was that I like their minimal packaging and the old-timey pharmacy vibe.

Kiehl's travel set

Kiehl’s travel set

Anyway like I said, I know a lot of people who swear by Kiehl’s so when I saw this 3 piece set at Nordstrom Rack for only $13.50, I scooped it up. I forgot about my blog and ripped through the packaging, so it’s not looking cute anymore. It came with:

The first thing I tried was the lip balm. It was on the oily side; I usually like my lip balms waxy because it stays longer. Then I flipped it over and looked at the ingredients: 90.8% petrolatum, 1% oxybenzone (sunscreen). Petrolatum, aka petroleum jelly aka “just buy yourself a tub of Vaseline for 99 cents”. The bottom line is that this is 91% Vaseline. Of course, on the product page they hype up the remaining ingredients which make it sound rather nice and fancy: lanolin, sweet almond oil, vitamin A, vitamin E, wheat germ oil, and aloe extract. Sounds good but remember that it’s less than 8% of ingredients.

Kiehl's Lip Balm

Photo: Kiehl’s website

The majority of commercial lip products out there are petroleum-based. With the amount of lip balm I apply every day, and the fact that it is on my lips and ends up in my belly, I want to cut petroleum lip stuff out of my life.  To put it bluntly, there is no reason for me to use this Kiehl’s Lip Balm. There are so many natural alternatives out there to try that are based on cocoa butter, shea butter, beeswax, etc.

I hate throwing stuff out though so I think this lip balm will live in the pouch of my fuel belt for long runs.  I have read that you should put vaseline on areas as soon as you feel chafing, and people even hand out popsicle sticks dipped in vaseline during marathons and such, so it would be handy to have a multi-tasking balm just in case problems arise.

If you like the feel of this as a lip balm and you don’t mind it being all petroleum/vaseline, just get yourself some Smith’s Rosebud Salve. Rosebud Salve is almost all vaseline too, but a much larger amount for a dollar less.


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