Monday, 12 April 2010
For those of you who don't know, Carmex is essentially a lip balm. It is also lip care crack in a yellow pot. It has long been a cult product in the USA, recommended by pharmacists and make up artists alike and as a cosmetics junkie as soon as it became available in the UK, I absolutely had to get my hands on it. I stalked Boots the Chemist for weeks until the prize was mine.
I started off gently with a cute looking squeezy tube rather than the forboding pot with its hardcore message that boasted 'for cold sores'. Somewhat like my first alcoholic drink I didn't like it very much to begin with. Brought up on a diet of The Body Shop Morello Cherry lip balm and Blistex, the super soft creamy texture and heavy doses of camphor and menthol were intimidating in their tingliness. My lips didn't know what had hit them.
But they did feel so soft and smooth and look so deliciously naturally glossy that it wasn't long before I had discarded my previous products and embraced the much more expensive Carmex tube full time. Then almost without noticing, I began hitting the pots as the tubes seemed to run out very quickly. I revelled in my hardcore tolerance as I dared other newbies to dip their finger in my proffered pot as they experienced the eye popping tingle for the first time.
I was no longer gettting that feeling of actual shock from each application, and I noticed that the little yellow pot was never more than arm's reach from me at any time. The small 7.5g size was lasting me around a fortnight at a time. I began bulk buying just in case but I was confident that I could handle myself.
Then shortly after moving to London, I had a serious scare. Chivvied out of the house too quickly I left my fix behind in a different handbag. Upon discovery of this there was screaming on the South Bank and frogmarching to the nearest branch of Boots. A new pot was purchased with sweaty palms and my terrified brother seemed to forgive me. I remained shaken though. My dabblings had become a full blown habit.
The advent of the internet allowed for escalation. Being able to surf the web alerted me to the fact Carmex now came in flavours and different containers in the US of A. Soon the USPS was bringing the delights of click sticks in Cherry, Strawberry and Mint to my door along with SPF30 lipstick styles. I slathered on the sickly fruit flavours but found them sadly fussy and inferior to my previous teen love of Lip Smackers, while the SPF product just tasted revoltingly of suncreen. The mint however blew my mind. It was about five times stronger than regular Carmex and I re-discovered the now elusive tingle.
Unfortunately this new lease of life for my lips simply encouraged me to up the ante with my regular pots. They were getting too small for me. It was a serendipitous day when I discovered the double size 15g Carmex pot on Ebay. It was even more life-changing when I found out that ordering 12 pots at a time, even with international shipping, worked out at £1.75 a pot compared to the smaller pots costing around £2.49 in Boots or Superdrug. It was like discovering Cava is cheaper than Buckfast. I threw myself down that rabbit hole with glee.
A recent dose of Roaccutane gave my habit the dermatologist's stamp of approval. Everyone became used to always seeing that trademark flash of yellow in my hand. I started keeping a tube or pot of Carmex in every handbag or coat I used. I even coped with the new flashier packaging that toned down the cold sore-tastic aspect of this wonder product, but did find myself saving the less glamorous lids from old pots to show my die hard user chops in future.
I accepted my addiction as fully functioning and under control until a recent Google search to stock up my stash brought up the existence of these Carmex Keds and I found myself actually considering them. After 10 years and several hundred pots of lip balm later, I finally have to admit I might be out of control...