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Tinted Lip Balms Are The Only Makeup That Makes Sense To Me Anymore


I wouldn’t have considered myself a particularly selfless person before all this quarantining went down, but in the past two months I’ve had lots of time to reflect on old behaviors. What I’ve noticed, formally crystallized by the fact that I’m wearing a merch sweatshirt I got for free and the goopiest layer of white sunscreen as I type, is this: all those things I thought I was doing for myself? I was actually doing them for you! Count foundation, mascara, outfits, pants, thongs, plucking my eyebrows, dry shampoo, strapless bras, pre-dinner salads, shoes with backs, flushing the toilet every time I pee, and femininely stuffing candy wrappers into my pockets to disappear evidence of their consumption on the list of things I no longer do now that I’m alone. You’re welcome!! Now, I spend a lot more time trying to dredge up concepts from a freshman year intro sociology class (what was that about societal roleplay again?) than I do trying to make myself appealing to other people.

Even as businesses around my interim-home start to open up, I’ve continued to settle into what is essentially stream of consciousness living. If no one’s around to turn this monologue into a friendly, banterous debate, I’ll go back to eating slices of cheddar cheese on Trader Joe’s multigrain crackers until dinnertime. (Meals! Another now-obvious construct that means nothing to me anymore!)

"What about me?"

Huh? Did someone actually hear me type that last paragraph? As my mom suggested last night after I practically got on my hands and knees to beg for order when she put a tub of turkey meatballs on the vegetable shelf of the fridge, perhaps I’m losing it.

"No silly," comes the voice again. "It’s me, your tinted balms. You know, lip balm is lip balm—can’t fault me for being born with a tint," the balm notes convincingly. "You still have room for me in your life, right?"

The narrative device talking balm has a point. Though my new revelation about makeup still stands, balms aren’t quite makeup. They’re not quite skincare, either. But whatever the category, balms are definitely for me. Chapped lips are uncomfortable! They itch, they peel, they crack and then the cracks sting every time you move your face—even in a void, with no kissable folk in sight, I would still have the urge to soothe my lips with a little balm. So, why not? Why heckin’ not choose a tinted one? Lipstick against my bare face is too jarring; adding anything else makes me feel like I’m playing dress-up to hack away at the kitchen table, or worse! (It is impossible to take a nice selfie in my current environment without attracting some teenage side-eye.) But balms are practical. And tinted balm is practical in the exact same way, just a little more fun.

You’ve got your tubey ones, your stick guys, the ones that come in a pot… Whatever the format, you probably have at least one already. Break it out! And when the color inevitably fades or stamps off on your mug, eh, such is life. It’s there to hydrate, not outlast the pandemic.

—Ali Oshinsky

Shop some of Ali's favorite tinted lip balms:

Photo via ITG