Alba Tangerine Lip Balm with SPF 18 — Sunscreens
Owner Review — Hollis Easter
26 March 2008
Alba Botanica Tangerine Lip Balm with SPF 18
Name: Hollis Easter
Height: 6' 0" (1.8 m)
Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Lip toughness: minimal
Email address: backpackgeartest(a.t)holliseaster[daht]com
City, State, Country: Potsdam, New York, USA
Backpacking Background: I started hiking as a child in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. As a teenager, I hiked my way to an Eagle Scout award. I love winter climbing, and long days through rough terrain abound. The peaks have become my year-round friends. I hope to return to multi-day backpacking.
I am a midweight backpacker: I don't carry unnecessary gear, but neither do I cut the edges from my maps. I hike in all seasons, at altitudes from sea level to 5,300 ft (1,600 m), and in temperatures from -30 F (-34 C) to 100 F (38 C).
Manufacturer: Avalon Natural Products
Year of manufacture: 2008
Listed weight: 0.15 oz (4.2 g)
Actual weight: 0.17 oz (5 g)
MSRP: $2.49 US
Product features (from product website):
- Moisture-rich olive and jojoba oils soothe and soften the lips.
- Fresh tangerine flavor blended with soy and evening primrose oils, natural waxes and vitamin E to heal, soothe and protect.
- With SPF 18 sun protection, our plant powered lip care contains healing vitamin E, protective jojoba oil and naturally soothing plant extracts.
- For all skin types.
- 7.5% Octyl Dimethyl Parabenzoic Acid (Padimate 0)
- 5.0% Oxybenzone
- Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil
- Euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax
- Natural flavor
- Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil
- Copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax
- Oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil
- Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil
- Ammonium glycyrrizate
- Tocopheryl acetate and tocopherol (vitamin E)
- Echinacea purpurea extract
- Glycine soja (soybean) oil
I wear the Alba Tangerine lip balm (hereafter the lip balm) pretty much everywhere I go, so it's seen a lot of travel. Although location matters little to lip balm, conditions are of paramount importance. The list of occasions would be many pages long, so I've selected a few representative samples.
Hiking locations used: Almost every time I've been outdoors in the last couple of years. I wore it when bushwhacking up East Dix Peak in the Adirondacks (4012 ft / 1223 m), where the wind blew so fiercely I feared it would rend the flesh from my bones, and where the ambient temperature was below 0 F / -18 C. I wore it during the many days I spent rock climbing last summer on Azure Mtn in the Adirondacks, with bright sun and 90 F / 32 C temperatures. I wear it everywhere.
Non-hiking locations used: Among other things, I'm a bagpipe and flute player, and I use this lip balm before and during performances.
Description of locations: trails and forest bushwhacks, mountains up to
5,100 ft (1500 m), suburban sidewalks, aircraft holds, etc. Highly varied.
Weather conditions: Equally varied. Everything northern New York, southern Florida, and the spaces between can throw at me.
Larger view of Alba lip balm tubes, old and new
Lip balm is, at its heart, some sort of oily or waxy substance usually crammed into a tube, applied to the lips for the purposes of skin defense. Simple, unpretentious, unremarkable. Something that does its job and is set aside again, without regard for its lipid-filled complexities.
What would stir a grown man to, ahem, wax rhapsodic about a lip balm?
Alba Botanica's Tangerine Lip Balm, that's what. From Alba's "un-petroleum: plant powered lip care" line, it is a killer app in the lip balm world. It meets my three skin-care criteria, too: effective, available, and affordable. My tubes come from Potsdam's Food Co-op, but I've seen the lip balm available many other places.
The Alba lip balm comes packaged in a standard plastic lip balm tube, with an attractive orange cap and label. I mention the bright colors because they ensure that I find the tube easily if it ever slips from my fingers or gets lost in my bag. The screw mechanism functions smoothly, and the lip balm never seems to "detach" from the screws the way it sometimes does with other lip balms.
I am enraptured with the Alba Tangerine lip balm in part because I am a man of many allergies. Too many to count, actually, and it makes cosmetics and skin care products a nightmare. Most scented products provoke severe asthma attacks for me, and I spend a lot of time trying to find unscented versions of things. Some small grace is still allowed me: most citrus scents are safe for me, and I am not allergic to the small amount of lanolin present in this balm.
I've tried many lip balms over the years, and most of them make me physically ill. I find myself short of breath soon after application, and if I don't wash them off, it gets worse. There's a very short list of lip balms I can use, and I was overjoyed to add the Alba lip balm to it.
I rely on my lip balms to do three tasks. They must protect my lips against chapping, guard against sunburn, and soothe my lips if they've managed to chap in a moment of inattention. This happens more quickly than I'd like, because it seems that I inherited very fragile lips.
The Alba lip balm is great. It does all three tasks perfectly, in fact. When I apply the balm, it leaves a thin-but-noticeable layer on my lips, protecting them and lubricating them for a long time. I haven't received a sunburn on my lips since I've begun using it, and I've found that it makes a chapped or split lip much more comfortable in a hurry.
The Alba lip balm seems to be effective against severe winds, too. I've been out in some pretty fierce gales, and my lips have been fine. I wish I could say the same for the rest of my face!
I'd like to spend a bit of time talking about what the Alba lip balm doesn't do. It doesn't melt, even when tucked against my body or when left in the sunshine. It, therefore, doesn't leak out of its tube, nor does it melt and reform up inside the cap where I can't reach it. Even in the depths of winter, when it's so cold that boiling water inside my insulated bottle parka freezes in a few hours, the balm remains soft enough that I can apply it to my lips. It performs well at any temperature.
A small thing that's nice for winter climbing is that the cap fits just perfectly. It never comes off accidentally, but it's loose enough that I can get it off while wearing liner gloves or real gloves, so I don't have to endure cold hands in order to treat my lips.
There are a couple of tiny flies in this ointment, of course. When it's been riding around in my pocket for a few months, the label begins to tear, leaving the occasional white plastic shred in my pocket. It can also leave a bit of a whitish residue on my lips if I've been using it especially heavily, though this is easily removed by wiping my lips on something. I don't find either of these issues problematic, but I include them for completeness.
I have the sense that a tube lasts me about three months of daily use, with the understanding that my daily use involves reapplying it many times.
One last selling point, in case any ladies are reading this: Alba Botanica's Tangerine Lip Balm with SPF 18 is so effective that my lips are always, always kissably soft.
These luscious lips are protected by Alba
I'm really happy with the Alba lip balm. It does a good job in a quiet way, protecting my lips against whatever nature chooses to throw their way. It's cheap, available, and really effective.
I carry a tube of it wherever I go, and others hold permanent residence on my desk and next to my bed. It's probably the personal care item I use most often, whether on the trail or at home. I love it!
Read more reviews of Avalon Natural Products gear
Read more gear reviews by Hollis Easter