There’s no smooth way to include this information on my blog, so I’m putting it at the beginning of a review of some expensive lip balms. A week and a half ago, my dad had a heart attack that caused cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest has a staggering 92% death rate, and those who survive often have neurological damage from the lack of oxygen to the brain. My dad had his heart attack in the hospital, which increases survival rate to a bleak 24%. Those statistics are beyond grim, which is why I am overwhelmed by how lucky I feel to be able to say that my dad was released from the hospital today, with no neurological damage and very minimal damage to his heart. I’m still processing a lot of complicated emotions about how lucky we are and how differently things could have turned out, and I know it will take some time before I can truly wrap my head around the gravity of the situation. There’s a lot more I could say, but let’s leave it at this: my dad stayed in the hospital for ten days and his total bill was $0. He is self-employed, without insurance, and when he started feeling strange he took a cab to the ER without having to worry that it would be staggeringly expensive. If comprehensive universal health care were not a reality (as it isn’t in his home country), he may have decided to hope for the best and stay at the office. But he didn’t have to think twice: he went to the hospital, and that decision saved his life.
Anyway, here’s another story.
There was a period about five years ago when every YouTuber was talking about the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments. During that period, I thought going to Sephora for a tinted lip balm was outrageously bougie. I was also all about high-pigment, dramatic, long-wearing lip colours. Now that I’m fully an adult, I can both appreciate the benefits of a subtle, comfortable lip colour and justify the occasional splurge. On a recent Sephora trip, I was inexplicably drawn to the Fresh gondola and ended up trying to decide between Rosé – a very subtle berry MLBB – and Petal, which is slightly deeper and dustier. Then I saw that Fresh was selling holiday sets containing minis of Rosé, Petal, and the bright pink Tulip, and I was immediately sold.
There are very few makeup products that I immediately make up my mind about. I like to test things in different ways, see how they wear, and take my time deciding whether or not something is to become a staple in my routine. But I knew from the moment that I put Rosé on that I loved it. And because I’m me, and I’m incapable of experiencing pure joy untempered by negativity, I was like “WHY DID I NOT LISTEN TO ALL THOSE YOUTUBERS FIVE LITERAL YEARS AGO WHY HAVE I BEEN DEPRIVING MYSELF OF THIS FOR HALF A DECADE.”
Now, $29 for a tinted lip balm is expensive. I am not here to argue with that or even to say that this product is definitively better than much cheaper tinted lip balms. It’s probably not. But it applies so smoothly, feels plush and comfortable, and instantly soothes dry lips. Over the past week, I have spent my waking hours visiting my dad in the hospital and working full time, and a simple, easy, comfortable lip product is exactly what I need when I am stressed and short on time. You know when you’ve been out all day and you get home and take off your bra and put on sweatpants? Applying this product is the equivalent of that.
The actual product is pretty soft, which makes for a luxe and comfortable feeling on the lips but does make it susceptible to breaking off. I find that it is particularly sensitive to heat: don’t keep these in your jeans pocket and try to apply them, and don’t nestle them next to your travel tea mug in your backpack. Definitely don’t wind them up too far when applying – especially the minis, which are so thin. (Do those sound like lessons I learned the hard way?) Obviously, this is a fairly substantial design flaw for a pricey product. I will not make excuses for this. I will simply say that I have learned to work around it and enjoy the product enough not to mind. Others may feel differently.
Wear time on these is… not great. I mean, it’s a tinted lip balm. As such, I vastly prefer the two lighter colours, Rosé and Petal. While there are some nice brighter colours in this line, the need for constant touchups would drive me crazy, so I don’t see myself dabbling in them.
On my lips, Rosé adds the slightest tint. It doesn’t necessarily look like I’ve added any colour, but it makes my lips look healthier and fuller. I’ve used this one the most, because it’s the lowest maintenance and I can apply it without a mirror. I’ve taken to carrying it around in my coat pocket for moments when I just need a hit of soothing hydration. I’ve already gone through about half the tube because I’ve been using it nearly daily and applying liberally.
Petal is similar to Rosé but slightly more saturated. It has a greater impact and looks a bit more done, whereas Rosé is very casual and doesn’t look jarring when worn on an otherwise bare face.
Tulip is a lovely bright pink, and I think it does very flattering things to my complexion. I like this colour in a glossy finish: it feels very fresh. Hot pink is typically seen as a summer colour, but I really like it in winter too. It mimics the pinkness of cold cheeks and adds some life to a very dull, grey, and generally depressing time of year. (I may be struggling through the start of Canadian winter after spending last winter in the comparatively balmy UK!) Obviously, this colour requires some maintenance, so it’s not a day-to-day one for me – I just don’t have the time or inclination to reapply lip colour at work all day. But this is a nice one to pop on for a dinner out or some other relatively time-constrained event.
All in all, this is an unnecessarily priced tinted lip balm formula (which is probably why I spent five years not buying it), but goddammit it’s really nice. Sometimes you have to buy yourself unnecessary nice things. If you’re in the mood to treat yourself and you like your lips to feel like they are being hugged by something so soft and gentle, maybe put one of these on your list.
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