It has been well over 2 years now that I have worn any kind of lipstick and boy I cannot tell you how good that feels. To not have any caked-on chemicals on my lips, feel free to lick them or eat food knowing I am not ingesting harmful chemicals is so freeing.

What I do, however, use on my lips when needed or wanted is some kind of natural lip balm or chap stick. I have been thoroughly impressed and greatly enjoying Wedderspoon’s Manuka Kiss the most. Mountain Sky and Made from Earth were great second choices. However a few months ago, while on a trip, I had the need to purchase a new lip balm and decided to try a new one, this being the Desert Essence Lip Rescue with Tea Tree Oil.

Desert Essence is a company that was founded in 1978 and prides itself on providing natural and organic personal care products. They state that their products are based on “nutrient-rich desert botanicals revered in native cultures for their healing properties” and that their “naturally effective products work in harmony with your body to soothe, nurture, and restore.” They also claim that they “use natural and organic ingredients from around the world” and that they do no animal testing on their raw ingredients or finished products.

They provide a wide selection of personal care products from lotions, body washes, shampoos, sunscreens, lip and dental care. They have 3 varieties of lip the Lip Rescue lip balm/chap sticks: Moisturizing, Hydrating and Therapeutic.

I bought the Therapeutic variety. However when I got it in December 2010, the health food store I bought it from was still selling the old formula. It was then called the Lip Rescue with Eco-Harvest Tea Tree Oil (as pictured on the left). As the toothpaste I tried from Desert Essence seems to have changed as well, I decided to look into this further and indeed the company underwent a re-launch of their product lines in the middle of 2010. This included some new products added to their line, a new look, some new names as well as re-formulating of some of the products.

The chap stick glides on smoothly upon applying and offers a cooling effect on the lips. Scent and flavor wise I detected what seemed like menthol, however it must be the tea tree oil, as there is no menthol or mint ingredients. I found this to be pleasant, however I would not recommend it for children as the scent/flavor may be too strong for them or unpleasant.

I enjoyed using it for the most part, but was not compelled by how it worked or the ingredients to switch to this product or buy it again. For starters, the product is based on soybean oil. With soy being one of the most genetically modified crops, even though I am not technically eating the product, I still do not want to use it. I prefer lip balms based on coconut oil, for example. Secondly, the product uses at least two ingredients which I would not want to use on my body, or especially around the mouth, those being propyl gallate and ozokerite.

Propyl gallate is a synthetic preservative which has been linked in some studies to cause cancer, as well as being an estrogen disrupting substance, among other things. For more information on this see the Cosmetic Safety Database, which rates this chemical as a 4 or moderate hazard. Ozokerite on the other hand is a synthetic beeswax-like substance, which has its basis as a petroleum product. Cosmetic Safety Database rates this as a 1, or low hazard.

To me these types of ingredients do not equate to a quality, natural product. The product may thus be cheaper than similar lip balms from competitors, but there is good reason why when cheap oils and synthetic wax fillers are used.

The balm is vegetarian and although claims not to use any animal products, strict vegans may not approve of the beeswax.


In conclusion, although this lip balm works well and does what one would expect it to, it is not natural enough. There are many other more natural and beneficial lip balms that can work just as good and even better.

It is definitely a step up from many commercial lip balms, but nowhere near the top of the line when it comes to optimally natural products.


Old Formula (My Tube) New Formula
Glycine soja (Soybean oil) Soybean Oil
Beeswax Eco-Harvest® Tea Tree Oil
Ozokerite Beeswax
Euphorbia cerifera (Candelilla Wax) Candelilla Wax
Copernicia cerifera (Carnauba Wax) Ozokerite
Aloe barbadensis (Aloe leaf extract) Carnauba
Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba Seed Oil) Aloe Vera
Tocopherol (Vitamin E) Jojoba Oil
Propyl Gallate Vitamin E
Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil) Propyl Gallate


The lip balms come in a typical plastic tube, that is fully recyclable when product is all finished. The size is also of standard lip balm – 0.15oz/4.25g.

Price (as of this posting)

  • Around $2-3 per tube at various health food stores
  • $2.49US per tube from Desert Essence
  • $2.26US per tube from


  • Widely available at major health food stores across US and Canada
  • Widely available at various online stores (US, Canada & International)

The Good

  • Great moisturizing/nourishing properties
  • Offers excellent protection against the elements
  • Provides cooling effects on lips
  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial flavors
  • No SPF ingredients
  • Made with a good variety of natural
  • Naturally moisturizing
  • Not tested on animals
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Vegetarian Friendly
  • Good Price

The Bad

  • Scent or flavor may not be suitable to everyone’s likes
  • Ingredients are not optimally natural or healthy