Just in case you didn't believe, lip balm addiction is real. I may get loving ribs from friends and family on the fifth application every hour, but the physical dependency is no joke, as some of the chemicals in it actually rewire your biological balance not too unlike how — in an extreme example — regular heroin use strips your body's ability to produce its own dopamine flow. Physical symptoms aside, though, people can develop an emotional dependency on lip balm.
I vividly remember one winter getting snowed in at my grandmother's rural home tucked in the North Carolina mountains. Our mother's strawberry Lip Smacker tapped out and I felt reluctant to smear straight Vaseline across my lips, so instead I stared in the mirror at the papery lumps that stood where my mouth once was. I watched a hairline crack race down the center of my bottom lips before blood pooled on my chin. I succumbed to the petroleum, of course. (Or maybe got it involuntarily — I was very young and my mother likely made the call on that one.)
That physical dependency spiraled and deepened to hold an emotional connection in my life so intense I've been late to work more than once because I forgot lip balm and had to buy a new stick or go home to retrieve some. It's not the best, but it's ... there, and ultimately, as far as additions go, lip balm's gotta be more of the most benign options. Here's some signs you might also be emotionally dependent on lip balm:
You Strategically Place Tubes All Over The Place
One on your nightstand, a tube at your desk, one at your S.O.'s, one in your car, one in your backpack, several in your purse, more than two emergency tubes. Seriously, if you have to sprinkle these little lube tubes so widespread and aggressively, that could be a meaningful gesture.
You Feel Legit Panicked Without It
Part of why you have all those emergency tubes spread everywhere is to avoid instances like this. Without the real deal handy, you risk slipping into a panicked state — possibly an anxiety attack.
You Have Run Late Because You Forgot Your Lip Balm And Went Back To Get It
As previously mentioned, sometimes this dependency can spread in ways that straight-up affect your life (the trademark of a problematic addiction). Luckily this has only happened to me while holding down less serious jobs (record store clerk, barista, hostess of a very empty pub), but the spiked nerves resulting from this realization that you just don't HAVE any lip balm—it's no joke. So you run to the drug store to buy a replacement—ANY replacement. You aren't picky, even if you have your preferred brands, because this is an emergency.
Without It, You Can't Think Of Anything Else
It's pretty much impossible to direction attention any place other than where you could score a replacement tube.
You Designate Special Pockets To Carry It
Each of my most frequented bags have their very own lip balm zippy pocket, because in a time of crisis, I don't wanna guess where my slick savior rests. I want that junk on my mouth immediately. The urge is dire.
Your Clothes May Show Signs Of Dependency
When I regularly wore jeans, my back right pocket bore a bright white wear mark where my Softlips lived. It became so iconic friends teased me regularly. Boyfriends, however, would wordlessly help themselves since they could see exactly where the tubes lived.
You Always Leave Rings On Glasses
Sure, it's usually clear (save your ~fancy nights~ when you don the tinted stuff), but it's always evident which glass is yours thanks to this sticky lip prints.
... And People
Partners have complained or at least commented on the direct transfer of lip balm. Regardless, you suspect they appreciate the lip moisturizer (plus your baller smooches, of course).
You Have A Ride Or Die Favorite Brand
In recent years I started favoring Aquaphor — which actually comes in like, a small lotion bottle sort of situation. I used it in a fit of panic when it was the only thing in my purse (conventionally, it's used to treat extra dry winter skin or aftercare for new tattoos). It's the best of the best, IMO, but that doesn't mean I won't enthusiastically apply ChapStick OG brand if that's what's closest.
You Will Use Literally Anyone's If You Have To
I'm not stoked to drink after strangers, but I risk the exact same germs when thoughtlessly using literally anyone else's tube if I don't have my own on my person. Mouth herpes potential be damned (but hopefully, still, please don't happen).
When You Have No Other Option, You Will Improvise
Like I said, this is how I came to start regularly using Aquaphor (or more realistically, the CVS generic knockoff of Aquaphor). I have used sunscreen, actual lotion, freaking conditioner — a mess of alternatives when it's come down to that or nothing. The struggle can be very real when presented with no straight-up lip balm.
You Apply Generously Before Bed
Gotta prepare for beauty rest sans lip balm anxiety. It's just sound planning, TBH.
... And When You Wake Up
How else would someone expect you to start your day with any trace amount of success?
...And When You're Done Eating
Surely you ingested some while noshing it up and obvs you gotta replenish.
... And Drinking
You're Thrilled When Your Christmas Stocking Holds Nothing But Tubes
Twelve more to add to your designated drawer? Too perf.
Actually, You Love More Lip Balm On Any Gift Giving Holiday
Birthday? Valentine's Day? Columbus Day? Tuesday? Whatever, I'm game and SO thankful.
There's No Greater Feeling Of Relief Than Thinking You Forgot It, Then Finding It In Your Bag
You Couldn't Quit If You Wanted To
And only garbage people will pressure you to attempt this. But again, there are way worse addictions to develop and if the most sticky of yours is a $3 pot of lip balm, consider yourself lucky. Apply well and apply often. It aint' so bad.