Thursday, February 17, 2011

Currently in love with ...

... Smith's Menthol and Eucalyptus Balm.

Smith's Rosebud Salve has long been a cult-favorite beauty product. When I first heard about it several years ago -- that makeup artists were using it to gloss everything from lips to cheekbones to eyelids, and all the fashionable Girls In The Know were dabbing it on everything from dry cuticles to razor burn -- I knew I had to get hold of a cute little tin of this wonder product. When I finally had it in my hot little hands, eagerly but gently removed the lid of the tin, and dipped a fingertip into the product, I thought I had been punked.

Let's face it, people. This stuff is nothing more than fancy, expensive Vaseline. I mean, it's tarted up with a nice flavor/fragrance and a little tint, but it's essentially petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly for which one is expected to pay $6 to $7 per ounce, which I'm pretty sure will buy you a lifetime supply of Vaseline at Costco.

I hooted and hollered about this ridiculous product. I trumpeted throughout the land that the emperor has no wonder salve. I marveled over the fact that rich people were willing to pay through the nose for this stuff when it was just petroleum jelly! Which is cheap! Unless you buy this fancy version of it because you have nothing better to do with your money!

And then I somehow acquired two more tins, one of the strawberry lip balm and one of the Brambleberry Rose lip balm. Heh. I'm not sure how that happened. The tins are SUPER CUTE, okay? I'm kind of a packaging whore. That's something you should know about me.

ANYHOW, here's how I happened to get my hands on and fall in love with (completely against my will, you understand) the mentholated version of this product: I Googled "mentholated lip balm".

Wait, that probably requires a little more backstory ....

Hi, I'm Kathy and I'm a menthol junkie. (Hi, Kathy!) I first started using back in childhood, when my parents would smear me from clavicle to sternum with Vicks VapoRub every time I got a cold or cough, which was often. And not only would I wear it, I would breathe it, because the hot-mist vaporizer they'd set up in my room to ease my breathing overnight had a little reservoir for a dollop of Vicks right there next to the steam port. It was mentholated heaven. I was hooked.

Eventually I graduated to the Vicks VapoInhaler, a little tube of crack wonderfulness that I loved/craved/needed so much, I wrote a sonnet to it which I will share with you now (some of you have seen this before, but for those who have not, behold the glory of my four-year liberal arts education).

Your quasi-phallic shape should not deter
Those seeking nasal comfort. Nay, it serves
Only to ease the passage, to deliver
Sweet, sweet menthol past the rhinal curves.

Your vapors stir my senses. And my snot,
It flows from deepest caverns in my head.
At last the remedy I long have sought
Enfolds me like a gentle lover's bed.

O, Vicks VapoInhaler! Your name
Lends itself not to iambic pentameter.
And yet, I sing your praises just the same.
Your comfort tube is the perfect diameter.

I'd wear one in each nostril if I could.
If only my septum were made of wood.

So, you see the problem here. I've got it BAD for menthol. Real, real bad. And it's not like I can go around huffing Vicks 24/7, either. For one thing, that would look weird and kind of creepy. For another, it might kill me, or at least cause some moderate brain damage.

HOWEVER, eventually I discovered the perfect way to get my fix. Coty used to have a line of aromatherapy products called The Healing Garden, and within that line was a sub-line of products called Cold Comfortherapy, and within THAT line was a lip balm that was wondrous and miraculous. It was a stick lip balm -- larger than Chapstick, but smaller than the old 70s-style Bonne Bell Lip Smackers -- that was scented with menthol and eucalyptus. Both the fragrance and the product itself were very long-lasting. I'd slather my lips with it before bedtime, and when I woke up in the morning it still looked, felt and smelled freshly applied. This lip balm fast became my drug of choice. All I needed was that one little hit at bedtime, and I was happy.

However AGAIN, this product had its drawbacks. For one thing, it was only available in a rather expensive gift set that contained other products in which I was not at all interested. For another, eventually even that gift set disappeared from stores, which meant I could no longer get my hands on another tube of crack lip balm. I managed to make the tube I had last for YEARS, but the smaller that little column of balm got, the more I panicked. I resorted to scraping the last bits of balm out of the tube with the bent end of a bobby pin, but eventually I managed to use every last speck of this stuff. My supply dried up. I was bereft.

So yeah, I went Googling for mentholated lip balm. OKAY? And I found out the Rosebud people made one. OKAY? And I bought it, and now I love it. Yes, it's still fancy, expensive Vaseline. But it's MENTHOLATED fancy, expensive Vaseline. It gives me that little hit of menthol that I need in order to sleep, but it's milder than straight-up Vicks, and it keeps my lips hydrated all night long.

Plus, have you SEEN that little tin in which it's packaged? ADORABLE.


  1. Oh, I'm a Tin Tart, too.
    I cannot resist them. They work so well in purses.
    Where did you find this; Sprouts? Online?
    Do tell.

  2. Ok, what's next---Bengay? Tiger balm?!
    I wish your new blog had a scratch n' sniff sidebar a la John Waters.


  3. I'm a Tin Tart too(love that name MsCellania)! Sadly I will buy almost any product as long it's packaged in a tin. ;-)
    Have you tried the menthol rub (in a tin, natch)by Watkins? My mother LOVES it!

  4. Yo, you had me @ "Hi I'm Kathy", so no need to be so defensive and explanatory. Really.

  5. Those childhood memories? Totally stolen from me.

    The addiction to mentholated products? The vaporinhaler? ZOMG we really ARE sisters. Or blood relatives. Somehow.

  6. You're adorable. I would buy that stuff in a heartbeat on your recomendation alone, except I am allergic to BOTH camphor and eucalyptus.

  7. My mother was one of those that believed Vicks in the humidifier cured EVERYTHING!

    Also? I swooned when you rhymed pentameter and diameter.

  8. I've been using the Rosebud Mint Salve since I saw them in their tiny, adorable tins at Sephora a few years ago. I've presently got one in my purse, one in my bed side table drawer and several unopened--in case of emergency. Each summer I also give them away to my daughter's summer camp counselors--who love them. They make awesome little gifts.

    In short, like a junkie who needs her fix several times a day--I can relate to your obsession. (And I have used it on severely dry skin on my hands before, too.)

    Great post...Love the blog!

  9. There are 10 of those cold comfort gift sets on ebay this very minute.


  10. OMG! What a flashback Bonne Bell Lip Smackers just caused!!!!!

    I, too, was a Vicks-child. Now I want to try that stuff!

  11. omg i am trying to type and put my pants on at the same time so i can go out and wander around looking for this stuff.
    i can't live without blistex medicated lip balm BUT its oh so ugly packaging is enuf to give it up.
    kby.......f the pants am googling............
    love the new blog.


  12. I'm in love with your new blog, just as I've been for years and years with your old one. Thank you!

  13. I don't have a problem with $7 mentholated vaseline, kay?

  14. Bonne Bell Lip smackers in "Gotta Date" was the best colour lip stick for me ever and they don't make it anymore. I try and find a substitute but it may never be done. Not even after begging BB to reissue.

    I bet we have some awesome mentholated stuff here in Oz. I shall look around!

    (You know, some folks use vaporub as a clitoral stimulation aid)(Not me though! Stingy!! Bad!!)