Lip Balm Review: Nuxe, Bite, Laneige, Chapstick, Burt’s Bees…

Lip Balm Review: Nuxe, Bite, Laneige, Chapstick, Burt's Bees...

I have large lips so they tend to dry out quickly, so effective lip balms are one of my obsessions. I’ve been trying out some products to try to keep my lips moisturised overnight – here’s a review of:

  • No Frills Budget Options
    • Chapstick Cake Batter
    • Chapstick Dual Action Hydration Lock
    • Nivea Pure and Natural Lip Care with Chamomile and Calendula
  • More Fun Options
    • Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
    • The Face Shop Lovely ME:EX Dessert Lip Balm
  • “Natural” Lip Balms
    • Nuxe Rêve de Miel Baume Levres
    • Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask
    • Moogoo Tingling Honey Lip Balm
    • Burt’s Bees Moisturising Lip Balm with Mango Butter

Lip Balm Review: Nuxe, Bite, Laneige, Chapstick, Burt's Bees...

No Frills Budget Options

Chapstick Cake Batter

Chapstick Cake Batter (around $4 for 4 g) is a limited edition lip balm from Chapstick that’s now part of their regular collection. I’m a huge fan of their menthol-free lip balms, and having it in a delicious vanilla flavour just takes the cake (ha!). It’s also reasonably hard so it lasts quite a while. This has been a staple of my routine for a while. The only complaint I have is that if my lips are dry and aren’t hydrated, it doesn’t work so well, so I put some face moisturiser or toner on my lips first – I’d much rather have both steps in the one product though.

Ingredients: Petrolatum, Paraffin, Mineral Oil, Octyldodecanol, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacryladipate-2, Medium-Chain Triglycerides, Arachidyl Propionate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Beeswax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Isopropyl Myristate, Flavor, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Benzyl Benzoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Triacetin, Titanium Dioxide, Methylparaben, Saccharin, Alumina, Propylparaben, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Silica.

Chapstick Dual Action Hydration Lock

Chapstick Dual Action Hydration Lock ($5.25 for 4.4 g) (now rebranded as Day & Night) would’ve potentially answered my prayers above, but it fell short because it still ended up being a two-step product, and while it was better at hydrating my lips than the plain Chapstick, the lack of humectants was still noticeable. I did really like the design of the double-ended tube though!

I find it a little strange that it’s been rebranded from a two-step layering product to a separate day and night use product – I think they weren’t really sure where they were going with the product, which may be why there was that lack of humectants. Interestingly the Moisture Lock end has sunscreen ingredients in it, and in the US it’s labelled SPF 12.

Hydration (Night) Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Jojoba Esters, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Beeswax, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Octyldodecanol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Tocopherol, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Flavor, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate.

Moisture Lock (Day) Ingredients: Petrolatum, Paraffin, Isocetyl Stearate, Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Oxybenzone, Beeswax, Isocetyl Lanolate, Isocetyl Myristate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lanolin, Carnauba Wax, Mineral Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Methylparaben, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Fragrance, Propylparaben.

Nivea Pure and Natural Lip Care with Chamomile and Calendula

I’ve been a fan of Nivea lip balms ($4.49 AUD for 4.8 g) for ages (see e.g. , and they all tend to work really well for me. My lips just seem to love heavy occlusives! This version is unfortunately discontinued, but I really liked the fragrance – it was very floral and soapy, which was great for making me snack less.

Ingredients: Octyldodecanol, Microcrystalline Wax/Cire microcristalline, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Cetyl Palmitate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Polyisobutene, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Myristyl Myristate, C20-40 Alkyl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glycerin, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cire de carnauba, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Beeswax/Cire d’abeille, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract, Calcium Carbonate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Water/Eau, Neohesperidin Dihydrochalcone, BHT, Fragrance/Parfum, Titanium Dioxide, Blue 1 Lake.20

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Cleansing Make-up Remover Wipe Review: Bioderma, Philosophy, Neutrogena, Burt’s Bees, Wotnot

Cleansing Make-up Remover Wipe Review: Bioderma, Philosophy, Neutrogena, Wotnot

I recently tried out a whole bunch of different wipes when I got my eyebrows microbladed (review coming soon) and couldn’t wash my face for a week. I generally prefer a proper cleanse to wipes because it feels less wasteful and polluting, but I do find them handy when travelling, and in situations like these! I tried wipes from Bioderma, Philosophy, Neutrogena, Wotnot Naturals and Burt’s Bees They all tested at a skin-friendly pH 4-5. Here’s what I thought of the individual products.

Cleansing Make-up Remover Wipe Review: Bioderma, Philosophy, Neutrogena, Wotnot

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Wipes

Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water is a huge hit in Australia, so there’s been a lot of buzz around their new Bioderma Sensibio H2O Wipes ($20.99 for a pack of 25) too.

The Sensibio line is designed for sensitive skin, and these wipes have a very short ingredients list which is good if you need to scan for your specific allergens. I thought it would be just the micellar water in wipe form, but it’s a completely separate product: the surfactant in the wipes is polysorbate 20, while the micellar water contains PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides.

I found these a bit of a mixed bag. They didn’t sting my eyes, but they were a little weak in the make-up removal department. My skin felt a bit tight after cleansing with these, but paradoxically it still felt plump and hydrated with that slightly sticky humectant feeling. The regular Micellar Water works better overall in my opinion, although these are a bit more convenient. It has a stronger fragrance than the micellar water as well.

(This is probably a good time to mention my pet hate – when people write H20 (with the number zero) instead of H2O (with the letter O). H2O is the formula for water and means 2 hydrogens + 1 oxygen, H20 is twenty hydrogens bonded together against the laws of physics. I know it’s a super petty thing to get irritated by, but I needed to get that out of my system.)

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Polysorbate 20, Pentylene Glycol, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Allantoin, Cetrimonium Bromide, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum).

Philosophy Purity Cleansing Cloths

Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleansing cloths ($18 AUD for a pack of 30) are notable because unlike most other wipes, they don’t contain a standard surfactant in the top ingredients – there’s solvents (butylene glycol and water), oils (meadowfoam seed oil is the main one) and gluconolactone (a PHA exfoliant).

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Humectant Waters and Sprays: A Quick Fix for Dehydrated Skin

Humectant waters and sprays: a fix for dehydrated skin

Dehydrated skin is very common in winter, when cold dry air speeds up water evaporation from skin. It’s also made worse with air conditioning and recirculated aeroplane air. Exfoliants, moisturisers and masks help, but sometimes what your skin really needs is a targeted humectant product that will give a hardcore hydration boost.

What is dehydrated skin?

Dry skin occurs when you don’t have enough oil in your skin, while dehydrated skin occurs when your skin is lacking water. Dry and dehydrated skin are related issues, but they don’t necessarily appear together – your skin can be dry and hydrated, or it can be oily and dehydrated (like mine).

(This post has more on dry and dehydrated skin, how to tell the difference and how to treat them.)

What are humectants?

Humectants are one of the three classes of moisturiser ingredients (the other two are occlusives and emollients). Humectant ingredients are good at holding onto water, a bit like a sponge. Applying a humectant moisturiser essentially means you’ll have a bunch of teeny tiny wet sponges sitting on your skin, keeping it moist.

(The more technical version: Humectant ingredients tend to contain lots of oxygen (O) and hydroxy groups (OH), which can form strong hydrogen bonds with water. This means it’s harder for water to evaporate and escape once it’s on your humectant-covered skin.

Humectant waters and sprays: a fix for dehydrated skin

Glycerin, a common humectant ingredient, also has the advantage of being able to travel and take water through small channels in the skin called aquaporins, so it can hydrate more deeply.)

What are the benefits of humectants?

Humectants, occlusives and emollients are found in moisturising creams and lotions, which are a must for your morning and evening routines if your skin is dehydrated. However, in dry weather, your skin might dehydrate between moisturiser applications, or your regular skincare routine might now be enough.

Here’s where humectant sprays come in! Unlike occlusives and emollients, humectants are water-based. Since makeup and sunscreen is oil-based, applying oils during the day will mess up your makeup and sunscreen. The beauty of a humectant mist is that they will hydrate your skin with as little disturbance as possible.

Humectant products

Unfortunately, water-based humectant products usually don’t come in spray form! They’re commonly designed mostly to be used after cleansing and before serum in a skincare routine, so they come in toner-like bottles with a small hole so you can apply them using a cotton pad or your fingers (they’re sometimes labelled as toners too). I transfer these into cheap spray bottles from the variety store, and watch out carefully for signs of rusting (you can also get spray bottles from eBay or Amazon). It also makes them a lot more portable for hydration when you’re out or in the office.

Humectant waters don’t have a common name, so to find them you’ll have to look at the ingredients lists! You’re looking for a product that is quite watery, with a humectant near the top of the ingredients list. Common humectant ingredients include glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

Here are three products that I’ve been using:

Humectant waters and sprays: a fix for dehydrated skin

Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water

Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water is the first product I’ve seen that’s specifically designed to be a humectant water, which I reviewed a while ago. It’s mostly water and glycerin with some fruit extracts thrown in for antioxidant effects and to make it smell nice. It’s $12.99 for 118 mL (4  fl oz) in the US, and $24.95 in Australia.

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Burt’s Bees Lipstick Swatches and Review

Burt's Bees Lipstick Swatches and Review

Burt’s Bees have launched a new line of lipsticks. I’ve never had much luck with “natural” lipsticks – the ones I’ve tried don’t glide on well and end up patchy, or have poor pigmentation, or some other issue – but these are surprisingly nice!

Burt's Bees Lipstick Swatches and Review

Burt’s Bees Lipstick Swatches

There are 14 shades available – I tried 7 of them:

Burt's Bees Lipstick Swatches and Review

  • Nile Nude – pale caramel nude
  • Blush Basin – light dusty rose
  • Tulip Tide – pastel lilac
  • Fuchsia Flood – rose pink
  • Scarlet Soaked – deep bright red
  • Juniper Water – plum
  • Russet River – maroon

There’s also Sunset Cruise (orange-rose), Iced Iris (pale warm pink), Suede Splash (caramel brown), Lily Lake (purple-toned pink), Magenta Rush (magenta pink), Brimming Berry (berry pink) and Ruby Ripple (dark red).

They all have a glossy lip balm-like finish.

Ingredients: Diheptyl Succinate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Candelilla Cera (Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Behenyl Alcohol, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, C12-18 Acid Triglyceride, Lanolin, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Cera Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax), Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Sorbitan Tristearate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Aroma (Flavor), Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Lauroyl Lysine, Citric Acid, Linalool. May Contain [+/-]: Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77491/CI 77492/CI 77499 (Iron Oxides)

What I liked about Burt’s Bees Lipsticks

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Burt’s Bee Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water review


I am a huge fan of layering skincare products to solve dehydration issues. Put a humectant (water-grabbing) product on, then seal it in with an oilier product – it’s been the absolute greatest discovery I’ve made for rehydrating my skin!


The problem though is that there are very few purely humectant products on the market. Yes, you could mix up your own glycerin/water mixture, but without a preservative it goes off quickly. Pure water is good and cheap but it evaporates quickly and gives you very little time to moisturise on top, and I like to take my time with my evening skincare routine (I know I sound like a loony but I find it relaxing to do just before I sleep – it’s like an incredibly vain form of meditation).

Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water is DESIGNED for layering. It has glycerin as the second ingredient, and while I know everyone’s on the hyaluronic acid train these days, I still find that glycerin hydrates my skin faster, and it’s so much cheaper to buy a glycerin-containing product.

Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water also contains various botanical extracts like willow bark and kiwi, which potentially contain decent amounts of salicylic acid (exfoliating and antiinflammatory) and vitamin C (collagen-stimulating and lightening). Of course, like with any product containing natural ingredients, the actual active ingredients in a natural extract will vary based on how the extract was treated before getting into the product, so it’s hard to say for sure. It’s at a skin-friendly pH of around 5.


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July & August Empties



I went on holidays in the middle of July, so I didn’t have enough empties to post about. Here’s my last two months of beauty stuff:

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Sulfate Free Shampoo* – I was pleasantly surprised by this shampoo! It’s the first sulfate-free shampoo I’ve used that made my hair feel clean and didn’t leave me with an itchy scalp.

Biore Charcoal Pore Strip* – I haven’t used a pore strip in years, but I had to try one (for science). It did pull out a few sebum plugs, and it was satisfying seeing all the bits sticking out from the strip afterwards, but I’ve noticed some broken capillaries around my nose recently (from other stuff like horrific allergies), so this paranoid vain freak won’t be trying another strip anytime soon.

Covergirl Lash Blast Waterproof Mascara – This was my favourite mascara for a long time – it hold a curl like nobody’s business, but it’s really hard to get off, even with oil and two-phase makeup removers. I’ve now moved onto Maybelline Full and Soft Waterproof, which is a bit easier to remove.

Bioderma Sebium Purifying Foaming Cleansing Gel – I really love Bioderma’s skincare products! This is foaming and cleanses really well, but somehow does it without stripping your skin of moisture.

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Winter lip care regimen

Winter is coming to Australia, and even though it’s still unseasonably warm in Sydney (thanks, El Nino) it’s starting to get a bit dry. My lips are dehydrated and flaky at the best of times, and need extra nourishment, so I’m a little obsessed with finding the perfect lip balm combo. Here’s what I’ve been trying: Burt’s Bees Coconut and …

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Winter dry skin skincare regimen

Since coming to Switzerland and experiencing my first European winter, my skin has simply freaked the fuck out. Lots of little bumps, dry patches, full on pimples that wouldn’t go away. Being super smart, I’d forgotten to bring my thickest winter creams, but I managed to work out a decent skincare routine with what I had and what I could …

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