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The Reason Why I Love This $3 Lip Balm More Than *Anything* Else

Beauty, Skincare

I have a confession: my favorite beauty product of all time is less than $3. I have one on me at all times. And the number of times I’ve used up and repurchased is probably well near 20 by now. It’s not like I haven’t dabbled in trying other formulas and brands. Trust me, I have. But time after time, I always turn back to my good friend. Because — here it comes — my favorite beauty product of all time is Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment.

I know what you’re thinking: “Seriously? We all use lip balm.” But I’m here to tell you that this balm is hands down the best balm I have ever used, and most likely ever will. And in order to prove to you that I’m not crazy, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane and recount one (of the many) times I’ve suffered from an allergic reaction on my lips. You see: I have very sensitive skin and even the slightest fake fragrance or nasty chemical will disrupt it. Unfortunately, it took me one allergic reaction too many to consider the harmful effects of irritation on my lips.

It was right after I moved to New York City last summer when I was really getting into skin care. I was trying whatever I could get my hands on — and in particular, I was loving smaller indie brands. That’s why I was so thrilled to test out a lip balm from a small-batch brand that specialized in products with honey and propolis. Little did I know, after one day’s use of this magical honey lip balm, my lips would inflame and grow to almost three times their normal size. And, let me tell you, this was no sexy Kardashian lip. I desperately looked up every at-home treatment I could find on how to cure this irritation, and although I do find that ice helps, the one thing that cured my allergic reaction more than anything else was this Blistex balm.

And it’s been soothing my lips ever since. Sunburn? Blistex. Chapped lips? Blistex. Post-liquid lipstick dryness? Definitely Blistex. And I do happen to believe that there’s specific reasons this formula rises to the top.

For starters, there’s no artificial fragrance. Unlike those cherry, mint, and vanilla scented balms you see everywhere, this one doesn’t offer up a scent. And while, yes, that does mean you won’t have something yummy to slather on before giving your partner a kiss, it does mean that people with sensitive skin (like me!) are less likely to break out. Second, this lip balm is made mostly with allantoin and beeswax. Contrary to other formulas that are made with harsh chemicals, both allantoin and beeswax are safe moisturizing agents commonly used to treat dry, scaly sensitive skin. And finally: the formula isn’t addictive. Of course, I say that jokingly. But some brands, like Chapstick, actually make their products with ingredients like added fragrance, camphor, menthol, and salicylic acid that provide short-term moisture only and actually leave lips dry or irritated in the long-term.

So yes. You might be sitting their thinking, “This girl is crazy. Her favorite beauty product is a $3 lip balm.” But the evidence is here. And let me tell you, the $3 is well worth it.

Speckled Podcast: Snake Venom with Ed Myers of AMNH and Simply Venom

Podcast, Skincare

Welcome back to Speckled! This week we’re exploring the exciting world of snake venom. To help us learn a little more about this mysterious ingredient and the logistics of venom, we first chat with Ed Myers, a postdoc in the Department of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History. We then discuss snake venom in beauty with Simply Venom co-founders Dr. Monica Lilore and Dr. Milija Milic. Is this ingredient as dangerous as it sounds, or is it an anti-aging powerhouse changing the future of beauty? Listen to find out!

For more information about Simply Venom, check them out on social media @simplyvenom and at

Subscribe and listen to the podcast on iTunesSoundcloud, & Stitcher.

You can also check out Speckled on Facebook and Instagram @speckledblog

Produced by Jorge Estrada
Art Illustrated by Leyan Xu

April & May Beauty Favorites 2017

Beauty, Skincare

Phew! It’s been a crazy past few months. It’s been so crazy, in fact, that I forgot to write a monthly favorites for April! Oops. To make up for my lack of monthly favorites during April, I’m combing April and May for aa huge spring favorites post. And unlike my other monthly favorites, the following products have been carefully curated and much loved this spring (so much in fact, I have to refrain from sounding overly sing songy). Proceed reading with caution, some of these beauty products might be the best of the best (and you might not want to go back to your old standbys ever again).

Skin Laundry Gentle Foaming Face Wash

I’m on a constant search to find a cleanser that is gentle enough for my sensitive, dry skin yet powerful enough to remove my makeup. I’ve searched tirelessly, and yes I’ve tried all the brands you’re probably thinking of: Simple, FAB, Burt’s Bees, you name it. It’s not that these cleansers are bad necessarily, it’s just that they’re not the best thing I’ve ever used. But this one, this hidden gem, might just be the closest I’ll get. I got this deluxe sample in my Sephora Play, and I didn’t think anything of it. But after using it daily for a few weeks now, I’m happy to say that this cleanser is amazing. The formula is gel at first, but when you suds it with water it foams up on the face nicely. It’s very gentle and non-irritating which my skin loves, but it also takes off basically everything but a little bit of left over mascara. Color me impressed.

Belif Hungarian Water Essence

This is another goodie found amid Sephora Play. I really like essences, and I enjoy their weightless feel, but sometimes I wonder if it’s even making a difference. This essence has helped to change my POV. I feel completely different if washed my face and not followed up with this essence. It is very hydrating, like water (as the name aptly says), and it provides the most wonderful base for my serum. 100% worth it.

Tatcha The Water Cream

I think I might have an addiction to face lotions and face creams. At one point in time, I most likely have 10 different lotions and creams to choose from. I’m not complaining in any way, but it does get hard to formulate a concrete opinion when there are so many options. This cream is, hands down, one of the best I’ve ever used. It ranks up there with my First Aid Beauty cream, and that’s high praise. What makes this so unique is it’s consistency: it’s a cream, but it’s not too thick. It’s watery, so it gets absorbed fairly quickly (which is ideal for spring time). At the same time, it leaves behind a very faint scent. It’s no wonder this is the #1 best seller right now at Sephora. It’s phenomenal, and I highly recommend to any skin type.









Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner

I’d heard rumor that this eyeliner was good, but I didn’t image it was this good. This eyeliner blows other liquid felt-tipped liners out of the water. I first heard about the liner a couple months ago when Estee Lalonde talked about picking one up when she was in Japan. Estee happened to pick up the pencil version pf the liner. But when I was at Disney World Epcot earlier this spring , I found the Dolly Wink felt tip in Epcot Japan. TBH, I’m sort of obsessed with Japanese beauty right now (but more on that later – hint, hint, nudge). Since that day — literally — I haven’t stopped wearing it. This. Eyeliner. Is. The. Shit. Unlike other felt-tipped liners I’ve used and struggled with in the past, this liner applies in one flawless swipe, the pigment is true black, and it stays puts all day.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Lip Shine

I’m unsure why other companies don’t put Hyaluronic Acid in more beauty products. I think Neutrogena is onto something with this product. Unlike most glosses or lip toppers that feel sticky and heavy, this gloss is light weight. For someone like me who doesn’t wear lip glosses every single day, it’s ideal. I love having this in my bag at all times (similar to the Korres Lip Butter Gloss), because it’s an extremely sheer rose color that just adds the slightest something something. I’m also a huge fan of the applicator: it’s a large oval that makes it easier to cover more surface area quicker.