Lip balm might have a low price point, but it's high on many a shopper's list.
Balm's rise in popularity is tied closely to the increase in attention people are paying to their skin care, particularly women. Natural or organic skin treatments without chemicals like sodium laureth sulfate or aluminum are making inroads in alternative channels, and lip balm might be a good place to start testing natural skin care sales in conventional supermarkets.
“A lot of people have one in their pocket or purse, one in their winter coat, one their car,” said Steve Shriver, founder of Eco Lips, an organic balm manufacturer. “It's also something you can experiment with, because it's a low-cost, low-risk item. If you buy one and don't like it, it's not that big a deal.”
As a part of the face, lips have become their own marketing magnet, offering specialized treatments and unique flavors. Dr. Andrew Weil and Origins created a conditioning balm with turmeric; All Terrain offers one without paraben; MyChelle Dermaceuticals sells Love Your Lips, a large, half-ounce tube in flavors like cherry-raspberry-pineapple.
Lip balm has also emerged as a preferred fund-raiser and awareness builder. A current partnership between Kiss My Face and Whole Foods Market is using sales of a special line of balms to raise more than $100,000 for Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection.