Vegan Lip Balm: A Review and Confession in Three Parts (Part 2)Posted: February 28, 2014
Here’s the first part of the story: https://elizabethly.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/vegan-lip-balm-part-1/
And now, I’ll introduce you to the Orange Thyme segment of our lip balm adventure.
The Etsy shop format made it a little more difficult to navigate through and see what all the Orange Thyme varieties were, compared to the Crazy Rumors website. Being so small-scale, some of the products either weren’t available, or the shop owner hadn’t updated the number of units available on the product page.
Even so, I found a whole lot of flavors I wanted to try, and had to really rein myself in. I had some questions about ingredients, and the owner, Rachel, was very responsive and friendly. I enjoyed my interaction with her, and she answered my questions very much to my satisfaction.
Chris was overwhelmed by the selection — there are so many, and they really all sound good, unlike some of the slightly odd flavor combinations that Crazy Rumors has come up with. He asked me to choose two for him that I thought he would like. I picked out a Pistachio Cream and a Sweet Strawberry for him, as he is a big fan of both of those foods, but he ended up not liking the strawberry as much as the Blackberry Jam that I got for myself. That worked out well, since I liked the strawberry and was ambivalent about the blackberry.
The Sweet Milk and Clove is amazing. It smells like perfectly spiced carrot cake with a decadent cream cheese frosting. I can’t get enough of it, which is why it’s almost gone. It’s also the balm I had questions about, being that there is milk in the name of it, and the website’s description also mentions honey. The maker assured me that those were just the effect of the (vegan) flavor oils she uses, and there is no milk or honey in the product. Yay! I wasted no time in ordering it. I was very tempted to try the Meyer Lemon Cupcake balm, but I already had five picked out, and I didn’t want to be too greedy.
I also really like the Rosemary Mint flavor. There is a hint of vanilla in it as well, and though the rosemary is subtle, it’s there. Again, this is one that Chris isn’t crazy about, so I haven’t gone through it as fast. I also don’t always want something minty on my lips when I go outside into the bitter cold. I think this one will be very refreshing once we have hot weather again.
One of the things that the Orange Thyme shop owner is passionate about is the lack of soy products in her balms. I found that interesting, and was willing to try her alternatives. She uses candelilla wax and avocado oil. I’m happy to have more avocado in my life, so I pulled the trigger on the order.
What Chris and I both found to be the case is that while these go on very smooth, they are not as long lasting as the Crazy Rumors balms, and are rather more slippery on the lips. That means a bit more gloss, which is fine, but it also means they don’t have the staying power that we both would like. I keep my lip balms in my purse for the most part, but Chris keeps his in the pocket of his work pants, and his Orange Thyme balms have gotten much softer in their tubes than other balms. They lose their shape, and once melted, they never really become fully solid again, which makes them difficult to apply. It’s just a big mess.
One upside is that he sent his blackberry jam tube through the wash, and I didn’t notice, so it went into the dryer as well, and the tube stayed perfectly sealed. No water got in, no balm came out. Anyone who’s ever had melted chap-stick ruin a load of laundry can appreciate my relief.
Other positive aspects of the Orange Thyme experience: quick shipping, cute but responsibly minimalist packaging, and a free soap gnome with our order! I wish I knew where he was, so I could have included a photo of him. I did find a picture of the same gnome on the Etsy shop, as a part of a little gift box.
Overall, Rachel’s great selection, great customer service, and very good product mean that I would absolutely recommend her shop to others in search of vegan lip balms. Unfortunately, the balm’s failure to fully recover from its liquid state means that Chris’s heat-treated (courtesy of both clothes dryer and his own body) lip balms retain their shape about as well as a tube full of Vaseline would. It’s not a problem everyone would have, and not a deal breaker, but it’s ultimately why we decided to either go with Crazy Rumors again for our next order, or try something different.
Stay tuned to find out what we chose!
[Part 3 of the lip balm review and confessional is here.]