When I was sent some Carmex lip balm products to test, I was intrigued because it was a brand I'd never heard of. The packaging claims that it has been the number one pharmacist-recommended lip balm for 9 years running, which is pretty impressive. The other claim, "helping lips since 1937", is equally impressive. So how come I've never heard of it before ? Well, I would have done if I lived on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean because it's been a top American brand for decades.
The blurb on the back of the packaging explains, "Suffering from dry, chapped lips, Alfred Woelbing invented Carmex lip balm in the USA in the 1930s. The Woelbing family still runs the business today and Carmex has become one one of the world's most loved lip balms with over 130 sold every minute". Hmm I've still never seen them in France or the UK but maybe I just haven't been looking in the right places !
8-year-old Sophie immediately got all excited and asked if she could have one, selecting a tube of cherry flavoured lip balm to try. She squeezed a little on her finger, rubbed it all over her lips, grinned at herself in the mirror (thinking she looked all grown up) ... then jumped around the room yelling "owww owwww my lips are on fire" ! After helping her wipe it off and wiping tears of laughter from my eyes, I decided to try it myself. It doesn't burn but there is a distinct tingle, that reminds me of DuWop lip venom - it's not unpleasant if you're expecting it, but it's probably not as kid-friendly as the non-tingly brands.
Intrigued, I went to the website for more information and it all clicked into place. As well as moisturising your lips, Carmex helps relieve the symptoms of chapped lips but also, according to the American website, cold sores. I was really impressed that it can be used with cold sores but, strangely, it doesn't mention this anywhere at all on the UK packaging or website. I wondered if there were two different varieties available but no, they're one and the same, so it's good to know, even if presumably these claims haven't been proved sufficiently to be added to the labels according to UK guidelines. It contains germ-killing menthol and phenol which have antiseptic qualities and they say on the website that the tingle shows you it's working. If you're prone to coldsores, it's good to have a lipbalm that you can use every day that will possibly help stave them off - especially as the cherry flavoured lip balm is SPF 15 so it offers great protection for your lips.
I tested the original and cherry flavours in both jar and tube format but they are also available in sticks. I love the fact that they are colour-free so if your husband needs to keep his lips soft in the winter, he won't look like a clown or a transvestite with badly applied lipstick, as is the case with certain brands I've lent to Mike in the past ! It's also much more discreet if you need to put balm in the very corner of your mouth if the chapped skin has cracked painfully.
Sophie may not like the tingle but I'm really impressed and now have a tube constantly in my handbag.
star rating : 5/5 (but only 1/5 from 8-year-old Sophie !)