Product Review: Winter Lip Care for Brass Musicians

It’s January.  It’s cold.  It’s dry.  The time of year that many brass musicians in my climate are struggling to maintain lips in good working condition.  I don’t know what it was, but overnight from De 31 to Jan 1 my lips were on fire and started cracking.  I quickly reached for a product I bought a year earlier:  Chop Saver Gold.  It was doing an “ok” job, but then I thought of asking around on Facebook about what other people use.  Then I thought of blogging a review about them.  Here we go!  (I’ll be expanding this post as I try out more products, so return now and then to check for updates)

Chop Saver Gold

I found this at Long and McQuade, a chain of music stores across Canada.  Lip balm at a music store?  It’s gotta be good then.  Better than the run-of-the-mill ‘chap stick’ products at the local drug store.  Its price point is mid-range compared to the variety of brands out there.  It had a neutral odor.  It seemed to give me some decent minor relief.  Though, it fell flat in harsher humidity conditions – I found myself having to frequently re-apply.  This left a thick, waxy residue on my lips as it dried.  I definitely needed to wash it off before playing tuba.  It also tended to get messy and smooshy with constant opening of the stick.

I originally liked and trusted Chop Saver Gold because of its marketing focus on “musicians with lips”.  The ingredient list is mostly waxes and oils with the two “active” ingredients only being useful as sunscreen.  I’m finding better products out there quickly, so my review on this is a “no”.

Carmex

Carmex was recommended to me by the Toronto Symphony tubist, Mark Tetreault.  I thought, coming from a fellow tubist, I’d give it a try first.  You can get Carmex at your local drugstore and it comes in either a little squeeze-tube, or a small screw-top tub, meant for application using your fingers.  The price point was about $4.50 where I got it – nicely affordable – and I prefer the squeeze-tube so that my fingers don’t get messy.  The product’s consistency is really thick so I felt I needed more than a dab to spread it around.  It is virtually tasteless (which I like) but it has a slight mediciny smell – likely due to one of its active ingredients, camphor (also present in Vick’s VapoRub – you know that smell eh?).

So far, I like it.  Its no-nonsense packaging and labeling tells me it’s ready to go to work.  It absorbed nicely into my lips too without leaving a waxy finish.  I’ll see how it does throughout the day today and update this later…

Blistex DCT

I gave this a quick try last night on my partner’s suggestion (cuz I was bitching so much about my dry lips – which were also starting to peel a little) and liked it.  DCT comes in a mini tub for finger application.  A little messy for the fingers, but compared to Carmex, it’s a little nicer to apply because the product is a little more moist.  I felt like I didn’t need as much to get some instance moisture relief.  To its credit (unless the humidity levels are changing), my lips felt better this morning.  The dry, burning sensation is just about gone and the peeling has virtually disappeared.

Blistex has a wide range of cheap candy-flavoured products and this gave me the impression of a flashy product line with no real relief.  DCT, though, is serious stuff and works well.

Blistex Lip Medex

Another serious Blistex product, this one is next up on my review.

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