It took me quite a while to try Glossier’s Balm Dot Com lip balms. The main factor that kept me away from them for so long was that I was constantly seeing naysayers online declaring that you were better off just sticking with plain Vaseline. I wanted to test them for myself because I saw lots of other happy users singing their praises of the product, and they seemed entirely convinced of its effectiveness.
So what was happening? Was Glossier truly pulling wool over the eyes of thousands of Balm Dot Com customers?
My First Balm Dot Com Experience
I decided to start small by getting a sample size of the rose flavor through a seller on Poshmark. Just in case I wasn’t satisfied with the product, I didn’t want to be stuck with a larger tube of it.
I’ll start off by saying that the rose flavor is not my favorite. Unfortunately, they didn’t pull off that particular scent/taste well, and it comes off as something you might find in the garage. Eventually, I got used to it and it didn’t bother me much anymore, so there’s that.
In terms of effectiveness, I was quite satisfied with how it worked. My lips felt well-protected from the elements, especially in the cold. On top of that, they felt soft and conditioned.
I decided that I wanted to get some more for the long winter ahead, but before I invested more money into these balms, some research was in order. Were they truly no better than the lowly tub of Vaseline?
Deciphering Glossier’s Ingredients
The ingredients of each of the Dot Com balms are essentially the same, save for some flavorings and colors that might be added at the bottom of the list. To keep things from getting too confusing, I’ll just reference this list for the Original Balm Dot Com.
Petrolatum, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Beeswax/Cera Alba/Cire d’Abeille, Lanolin, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, BHT, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol.
Just for the sake of comparison, let’s take a look at the ingredients list for Vaseline as well. Or rather, ingredient list, I should say. There’s just one ingredient!
White Petrolatum Usp (100%)
The Usp at the end indicates that the ingredient meets the requirements of the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, or USP, a nonprofit organization that ensures the purity and quality of ingredients in medicines and vitamins.
You’ll notice that the first ingredient on the Balm Dot Com list is petrolatum. It is this ingredient that causes many critical buyers to declare this balm to be Vaseline in fancy packaging. Glossier doesn’t provide a percentage level for this ingredient, and one can assume that it makes up a good portion of the product.
So what does petrolatum do, exactly? It’s an occlusive, meaning it forms a barrier to lock in moisture and keep out other elements. The only problem with plain Vaseline is if your lips have very little moisture to begin with, there’s not much it can do. There aren’t any emollient (softening and conditioning) or humectant (hydrating) ingredients to keep your lips feeling healthy. And this, right here, is where Vaseline falls short.
Balm Dot Com contains an assortment of emollient ingredients that serve to soften and condition your lips. The first is castor seed oil, which contains fatty acids and works to keep moisture locked in on your lips. Beeswax also serves to help keep moisture in your lips, as well as give the product its familiar balm texture. Lanolin is an oil derived from sheep that helps seal in moisture. Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter ( or Cupuacu Fruit Extract as it is called on the Glossier website) is a powerhouse ingredient that penetrates the skin quickly and retains moisture extremely well. On top of that, it contains Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids that help protect the skin. And finally, there is Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, which helps soothe skin and repair the skin barrier.
Rice Bran Extract, Rosemary Leaf, Extract, Tocopherol, and Tocopheryl Acetate are all antioxidants. They help protect your skin from aging and fight damaging free radicals. BHT is a synthetic antioxidant that generally acts as a preservative.
A Side Note: Potential Irritants
It does stand to mention that there are a few ingredients present in the Dot Com balms that can be potentially irritating to some users. It’s possible to have a reaction to any of the colorants added to some of the flavors. Speaking of flavors, the menthol in the Mint Balm Dot Com can be an irritant for some. In the main formulation, some people will need to watch out for the lanolin and rosemary extract, both of which can be sensitizing.
Which Works Better? Balm Dot Com or Vaseline?
After doing my research, I decided to jump in and get the trio of balms. I chose Berry, Mango, and Mint. I was a little nervous about the Berry and Mango flavors potentially tasting weird and fake, but they’re both delicious! The mint is sweet and perfectly balanced in its minty-ness level as well. So taste aside, how do they perform compared to Vaseline?
Putting Vaseline to the Test
I used to wear Vaseline to bed every night, and I wore it during the day as well. I can tell you from a long and storied history of Vaseline use that it only seals in whatever moisture might be there already. It does not impart any sort of moisture to your lips. I tried using it again recently to have a fresh comparison to draw from, and let me tell you, the choice was clear!
I could feel the dryness of my lips under the Vaseline, which is an extremely strange and uncomfortable sensation, to say the least. Yuck!
With all the Glossier balms, on the other hand, my lips stay soft for hours! I generally reapply every couple of hours or so, mainly because I like the feel of having something on my lips. If I remember during my morning routine, I like to use the Glossier Bubblewrap Eye+Lip Plumping Cream to hydrate my lips, and then seal it in with Balm Dot Com. This combo keeps my lips soo soft, and that is the best feeling!
There are other equally effective balms out there with both occlusive and emollient (and even humectant!) ingredients that beat out Balm Dot Com in terms of price. One 15mL Balm Dot Com clocks in at $12, which compared to other name brand balms isn’t a terrible price. You can also buy three balms for $30, bringing the price for each one down to $10. However, other more affordable drugstore alternatives can be explored!
So there it is, my friends! Plain Vaseline is NOT going to be as effective because it does not have the additional ingredients that Glossier Balm Dot Com has to soften and condition lips. Vaseline isn’t a better alternative to Balm Dot Com, especially when used on its own. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this is a worthwhile purchase that you would feel comfortable investing in. As always, shop wisely!
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