I still refuse to leave home without this $7 cure-all salve I discovered at age 13


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At age 13, going to Urban Outfitters was the highlight of my weekend. My friends and I would stuff our shopping bags with trucker hats, graphic baby T-shirts to wear on “dates” to the mall, and thongs that we had to hide from our parents until we graduated from high school. It’s been 15 years since those legendary Saturdays, and while my “Everyone Loves a Jewish Girl” T-shirt is long gone (RIP), there’s one item from my UO glory days that has remained in my permanent collection: Smith’s Rosebud Salve ($7).

I discovered the iconic balm as in impulse purchase in the checkout line, it’s still the only one that I never, ever leave home without. Considering the stuff has been around since 1985, I’m clearly not the only one who’s realized how great it is. I initially bought it as a lip balm, and there’s no doubt that it’s one of the best of the best there is in that category. It’s intensely hydrating but not so thick that I don’t want to use it when it’s hot outside, and leaves behind the most perfect pink-tinted sheen that gives the subtlest glossy look you’ve ever seen. I usually have a weird thing about sticking my fingers into any sort of potted product, but am weirdly ok doing it with Rosebud Salve because the texture isn’t goopy or greasy. It comes in a squeezable tube, but I hate change so have only ever tried the good old-fashioned potted product that has been my beauty BFF since 2004.

smith's rosebud salve

Aside from being next-level for lips, though, Rosebud Salve has dozens of other uses. I think of it as the friend I want to have with me in any sort of crisis. I put it on my cheeks whenever I need a little extra highlight, slick it through my brows when they’re acting wild, and have even used it to tame frizz on a blowout. It’s also great for healing cuts, bathing your cuticles in when you’ve bitten them to a bloody pulp, and moisturizing dry elbows . Beyoncé also apparently uses it as an eyelash primer, so even if you aren’t going to take my recommendation for how great it is you should definitely take hers (because, you know, Beyoncé).

It also only costs $7, which was basically my entire allowance at age 13 but is now half of what I spend on a Sweetgreen salad—and it makes my lips (and cheeks, and brows, and lashes) look a whole lot better than a Kale Caesar ever has. I made a lot of regrettable beauty and style decisions in middle school, but falling in love with Smith’s Rosebud Salve wasn’t one of them.

This is the product that derms call “The Swiss Army Knife of Skin Care.” Plus, the one common ingredient you should stay far, far away from in your lip balm formulation. 

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