Everyone needs a good “all-around” balm. In the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a whole family swore by the healing power of a window cleaner: “Put some Windex on it.” It could be used for ailments large and small. I, too, wish for an all-arounder for emergencies and other aspects of daily life. A scratch? Put some balm on it. Dry lips? Put some balm on them. Rough elbows? Put some balm on them. Rough shaving? Put some balm on it.
I set out on a search and tested tubes and jars of balms, ranging from cult favorites to drugstore brands to pharmaceutical products. These are my three favorites:
1. All Purpose Skin Cream from Egyptian Magic
As soon as I read the word magic, I was curious – of course. And the box containing the so-called “Egyptian magic,” makes you want to try the contents out: next to the inscription “The Ancient Egyptian’s Secret – Magical Cream,” the red, white and blue jar is decorated with a small pyramid, an ankh symbol for the afterlife, as well as a star, a sun with the word peace in it and a moon with the word love.
So, what is this face and body cream that is supposedly good for everything?
The consistency: as soon as you touch your body heat transforms the ivory balm into a velvety smooth cream for easy application.
The smell: almost non-existent, or at least very pleasantly neutral.
The ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, propolis (bee resin), bee pollen, royal jelly and honey – that’s it.
Is that what’s supposed to make the magic? Yes. It’s known that the simplest things are often the best. And the delicate cream makes elbows soft, conjures away little scratches and inflammations, nourishes lips, hands and feet and was immediately on my list of “simple but good” favorites. And part of our Top 3 Beauty Balms!
2. Skin Balm from Pot of Gold
Supposedly, a long-kept family secret is contained within this Pot of Gold. A golden yellow balm made from 100 percent natural ingredients such as beeswax, gently recovered organic palm oil and citrus fruit extracts. The formula originates from the Crow family farm in New Zealand. Perhaps 120 years ago someone wanted a household product for mosquito bites that wouldn’t heal and blended the tincture out locally found ingredients.
From small wounds to sunburns to skin irritated by shaving, the balm relieves inflammation while nourishing and disinfecting. And it makes dry lips butter soft. The slightly bitter taste might come from the orange zest oil within, but once you’re used to the natural flavor, it almost seems like perfumed lip care.
But this family wonder cream is good for more than just lips. Cracked cuticles massaged with it are suddenly happy and a few dabs on the eyelids imparts them with a fresh, glossy sheen.
3. Rose Balm from The Organic Pharmacy
The balm in the white box with a pharmaceutical design has a subtle smell, naturally of rose. The soothing scent comes from geraniums and pure rose oil, for its balancing, disinfecting and purifying qualities. Also contained within the skincare cream are sunflower, argan, calendula, rosehip, and olive oils, St. John’s Wort, beeswax, shea butter, farnesol (extracted from essential oils, it has antibacterial properties) and vitamin E.
Practical: On the Organic Pharmacy website there’s a complete list of ingredients. It’s worth taking a look at to find out what is contained in the different products, where it comes from and how it is obtained.
Upon contact with the skin, the solid consistency of the Rose Balm becomes creamy, smooth and easy to apply. Effective against chapped lips and dry skin, the pale yellow cream is a balm for the skin and soul.
Good to know: Mineral oils are in many creams, especially in so-called skin creams with oil. The artificial substances are derived from, among other sources, petroleum and not always recognizable on the list of ingredients. But when you know that, for example, vaseline, mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffinum liquidum, microcrystalline wax, ozokerite and ceresin represent products derived from petroleum, you’re better equipped to choose your products.
The idea of applying a cream with a petroleum derivative isn’t very nice anyways. Artificial oils are foreign to the body and do not penetrate deeply into the skin. The skin can no longer breath and only a short-term improvements are achieved but there’s no long-term support for the activation of the skin’s self-healing abilities.
Especially when it comes to lip balms, which one gets in their mouth from time to time, you should be careful to avoid mineral oils. There are plenty of alternatives from natural oil sources.
Originally from Hamburg, Julia Alfert moved to Berlin from Paris in 2010. After completing her studies in Art History and trying out different jobs, her path led her to Harper’s Bazaar, where she worked as Fashion & Beauty Assistant until mid 2015. While she’s harboured a love for all things beauty-related for as long as she can remember, her discovery of the written word is recent. When Julia isn’t busy trying out different creams, oils, and sprays she writes and styles for an assortment of magazines and websites.