Hell hath no fury like a woman with chronically chapped lips... Ever since moving to the east coast for college, my lips -accustomed to California climate- have truly suffered from this cold and dry weather. After having been on the prowl for two brutal winters, I am proud to say my arduous and extensive search has come to an end. World, I present to you (drum roll, pleaseOLIO E OSSO lip balms!

Tara Ghandour

   These little tinted sticks of hydration have been a complete game-changer for my smacker situation. They are unlike any other lip product on the market, and I would know... Before randomly hearing about Olio e Osso, I had tried every single lip moisturizer you can think of. Ever since I can remember, my mom would buy Aquaphor to apply to everything from dried lips to ashy elbows. And, as much as I love me some Aquaphor, the oily texture always made it look like I slathered grease on my mouth. I soon got sick of the slimy finish when using Aquaphor and decided to start my quest for an alternative. As a novice, I began with the popular lip balms- the Nivea Milk & Honey balm, the Carmex original, and the classic tinted cherry Chapstick. After trying out each product for a week at a time, I noticed my lips were only getting worse. This is when I decided to do a bit of research.

       Turns out, Camphor, a famous ingredient in both Chapstick and Carmex, is a counterirritant which distracts from pain by causing irritation. It is also a toxic chemical linked to seizures and respiratory issues when ingested. And no, I don’t plan on ingesting a tube of Chapstick anytime soon. Nevertheless, I’d rather not apply harmful and irritating synthetic chemicals near my mouth.

    As this shocking investigation pursued, I learned about all the counterintuitive effects of petroleum jelly. As a child, my mom had always told me to avoid Vaseline because “it contains fossil fuels!” Perplexed, I never bothered to look into it, and just obeyed her orders. In actuality, my mom’s seemingly nonsensical warnings were based on truth. Petroleum jelly, supposedly purified of PAHs (carcinogenic hydrocarbons), is an occlusive agent that creates a nearly impenetrable hydrophobic shield. This means that although it forms a good physical barrier (think of harsh external forces such as wind), it does not allow hydration to penetrate either. Not to mention, its barrier-like properties can trap in unwanted visitors such as dirt and bacteria, basically acting like plastic wrap on the lips. 

     And get this: It’s not just drugstore Vaseline that uses this ingredient. Petrolatum is the first ingredient in the notoriously boujee, infamously overpriced, 60 dollar La Mer lip balm. Scandalous!

       All this experimenting took place in the fall of my first year at Wesleyan. However, when the winter started creeping up, I decided to put the guinea pig trials on hold because the blizzards were coming in full force and my lips were inflamed and chapped from all the irritating products I had tested. Ironically, with all my googling, I had actually found that Aquaphor generally seemed to be the most recommended amongst celebrities and beauty editors alike. Therefore, I decided to stick to trusty Aquaphor while braving my first east coast winter. By the end of winter 2016, Aquaphor had done such a good job of hydrating that I resigned the lip balm quest, accepting my fate of boring, greasy-looking, untinted lips.

      It wasn’t until late December 2017, while I was binge-watching my favorite beauty blogger, Matilda, that I randomly stumbled on a video of hers reviewing lip balms by the name Olio e Osso. Mind you, by that time, I had experienced my share of disappointments and had grown very skeptical of all these lip balms with their claims and promises. However, something about Olio e Osso intrigued me.

    Maybe it was the splendidly charming Italian name, the aesthetically pleasing packaging or the fact that it was homemade. Either way, I paused Matilda's video and immediately opened a new tab to check out their website. The first thing I did, of course, was hunt for the ingredients list.


I couldn't believe my eyes. The list for the clear balm had only four ingredients and there was no hard-to-pronounce, ominous looking chemical in sight. Camphor and petrolatum be gone! 

Bubbling with joy I ordered four lip balms right away. I would have ordered more had it not been for the price. I'm going to be honest, at 28 dollars a balm, these were not cheap. Nevertheless, I saw on the site that they were all natural, homemade, and reasonably sized (0.35 oz), and I was willing to pay a few extra dollars for the sake of my lips. A few days later, my four balms were delivered in the most adorable little box that came with festive black streamers, individual index cards for each tint, and a practical mini mirror. 

Tara Ghandour

After snapping the obligatory Instagram pic, I ripped open the balms and tested them all out. I had ordered the Clear, Persimmon, Currant, and French Melon tints. 

Tara Ghandour

     It has been over two months since this discovery, and let me tell you, my lips have never been happier. These little sticks are killing the game in every way- texture, color, sheen, smell, and moisture. They glide on super smooth (unlike greasy Aquaphor) and leave this gorgeous subtle shine on the lips. Also, the zesty smell of grapefruit essential oil floats up to your nose and gives you the most pleasant and refreshing feeling. The colors are absolutely wonderful: they are sheer and buildable so there's no messing up. What I do is I switch between the purple-bordeau Currant or the burnt orange Persimmon for my lips, use the light pink French Melon for my cheeks, and then apply the Clear balm before going to bed.

    Finally, what really blows me away is the moisture these little sticks pack. The healing powers of olive oil have worked wonders on my lips, leaving them supple and hydrated all day long. Thanks to this amazing brand, I was able to survive my second east coast winter completely untouched. Wind? Hail? Snowstorm? Hell froze over? Didn't matter because my lips were tinted and silky soft. 

If you have 28 dollars to spend, I really do hope you get yourself an Olio e Osso lip balm! Take it from a skeptical girl who tried almost everything else!