Let's talk lip protection. Although we all know the merits of a good SPF, the lips are often a forgotten variable in the sun protection equation. That is, until you have a really nasty lip burn, ensuring that you'll never forget again. Still, learning the lesson the hard (peeling, itching, stinging) way isn't for everyone. Enter Vacation's new venture Lip Trips: Desserts ($25), a line of SPF 30 lip balms that make regular application as indulgent as an after-dinner treat.
The chapsticks come in five nostalgic scents/flavors: Pineapple Upside Down Cake ($5), After Dinner Mint ($5), Bananas Foster ($5), Bombe Alaska ($5), and Strawberry Jello Salad ($5). "We poured through old cookbooks and fine dining restaurant menus to land these flavors," Lach Hall, Vacation's co-founder explains.
Lip Trips: Desserts
And although making sun protection a delicious prospect may sound like a strictly amusing enterprise, there's a real purpose behind the playful extravagance. "Because the lips are exposed to the sun every day, year-round, they are one of the most common areas for developing a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma which is caused by cumulative sun exposure," Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Board Certified Dermatologist, an SVP of the Skin Cancer Foundation, and Chief Medical Advisor to the Vacation brand, explains to Byrdie.
And if you're choosing a non-SPF lip balm, you could be exacerbating that sun damage. "Certain lip glosses and balms which do not contain SPF actually attract the sun and can contribute to further damage," Dr. Hale adds.
Vacation's solution? Develop a lip product with SPF, but make it fun. "The development process for Lip Desserts was similar to the rest of our products: optimize for sun protection and optimize for the sensorial 'fun' side of using it," Hall says. That way, it won't be a chore to put on. Instead, people will be reaching for these lip balms the same way they gravitate toward the dessert table.
"The Vacation brand celebrates and encourages a life of leisure and indulgence, so we draw a lot of inspiration from an era which we think epitomizes such themes: the '80s," Hall explains. So when customers began requesting a Vacation lip balm, sourcing an idea for the launch wasn't too difficult. "It didn’t take long before we landed on lip balms inspired by the most indulgent and extravagant desserts from the most indulgent and extravagant decade," Hall adds.
As they continued brainstorming, the concept only made more sense: Why not transform the chore of applying SPF chapstick into something fun, instead? Hall explains, "We kept finding ourselves in fits of laughter thinking about fun (and delicious) flavors like Bombe Alaska, After Dinner Mint, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake, so we figured our customers would find them enjoyable too." They were right.
Make no mistake, developing the Lip Trips: Desserts wasn't all fun tasting menus. "When it came to the formula itself, alongside hydration and SPF protection we wanted the application to be smooth, lightweight, and to deliver a subtle shine while also being firm enough so it wouldn’t melt in your bag in warm weather," Hall says. "After dozens of iterations, we honestly think we landed on one of the world’s best vegan lip balms, and we’re excited for people to try it."
So what did they end up with? A vegan, cruelty-free, and water-resistant (up to 80 minutes) formula. But that's just the basics; the nitty-gritty is just as impressive. "Most conventional balms rely on beeswax as a natural emulsifier and moisturizer, but Vacation was able to use natural plant-based ingredients like Candelilla wax and Sunflower seed wax instead," Dr. Hale explains. "The result is a formula that not only uses incredibly fun, addictive flavors, but one that glides on super smoothly and hydrates while protecting your lips with SPF 30."
The result? A line of lip balms that are so enjoyable to apply and look so pretty on, it doesn't make sense to use anything else—least of all, a product without SPF.
First things first, Vacation aced it with their packaging. Opening up the box of Lip Desserts felt like opening an invite (not e-vite) to an 80s-themed pool party. And the lip balms themselves were just as fun to open up. Each had an unmistakable, dessert-inspired flavor, but my personal faves were Bombe Alaska and After Dinner Mint.
For each chapstick, I noticed (see: loved) the smooth application. I have a personal vendetta against lip products that feel really thick on my lips, and SPF chapsticks are a typical culprit. But these balms were nothing like that. They made my lips feel moisturized, not smothered. Plus, they smelled amazing, so I was constantly looking for an excuse to apply some more.