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Why does this lip balm cost $15?

woman applying an organic lip balm It’s a question I lobbed at the founders of She Essential Beauty Beth Hooper and Laura Kauffmann when I spied their new Herbal Lip Balm. Sure its “all-natural butters combined with organic essential oils and Chinese herbs create a powerful cure for dry chapped lips.” But why did it cost more than twice the going rate of regular lip balms? To my surprise, the two NYC acupuncturists, Chinese herbalists, and organic beauty product formulators had a pretty good answer.

The main ingredients
The skin-nourishing base ingredients are organic shea and olive butters and organic jojoba. A far cry from your typical Chapstick ingredients made of petroleum. Add to this herbs and essential oils and the balm comes to 76 percent organic and 24 percent natural; no synthetics. Organic ingredients cost way more than chemically derived ones. Which you know if you shop at Whole Foods.

The packaging
Glass instead of a plastic stick. Lip balm ingredients are heated and poured into the packaging. When companies fill a plastic tube this way, they risk leaching chemicals like BPA and phthalates into the lip balm. “It doesn’t make sense to use great organic ingredients for the balm then potentially contaminate it,” says Hooper, who says a plastic lip balm tube costs about a third of the glass pot.

organic lip balm She Essential Beauty
Priced right? She Essential Beauty's organic lip balm sells for $15, twice the cost of most

The size
Most lip balms come in 0.15-ounce sticks. This pot is a deceptive 5 times bigger at 0.85 ounces.

The essential oils
The essential oils like Frankincense and myrrh (don’t ask me for their Chinese medicine names) are therapeutic grade, meaning they can have a beneficial effect, not just provide scent. “Most of what’s out there is commercial grade, and used for scent in Tide laundry detergent,” explains Hooper. “We don’t use fragrance or diluted oils; just the pure plant oils.” But for this, a beauty company can pay through the nose: organic lavender essential oil from France costs $173 for 16 oz.; non-organic French lavender from the same supplier costs $75 for the same amount, says Hooper.

The preservative system
High-quality essential oils like peppermint and tea tree oil in this product do double duty as an anti-bacterial and preservative system, which I look for since this is a finger-dipping balm.

Given the ingredients, the careful packaging, and the size of the product, I can gloss over the $15 price tag for this balm.

She Essential Beauty Herbal Lip Balm, .85 oz. $15,