ChapStick: A Look Back at the World’s First Lip Balm

You’ve likely used — or currently own — a tube of ChapStick. You can likely conjure up the distinctive scent and moisturizing formula loaded with aloe and vitamin E. You may also recall the brand’s ads featuring empowering female athletes like Suzy “ChapStick” Chaffee, Dorothy Hamill, and Misty May-Treanor. And you’ve inevitably encountered pop cultures everywhere from Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” to Napoleon Dynamite. ChapStick is one of those products with universal appeal, but did you know that it was the very first lip balm ever? It’s over 125 years old! I was lucky enough to get to visit the ChapStick factory in Richmond, Virginia and make my own tube. Here’s what I learned about the iconic beauty brand.

Nowadays you can buy a plethora of ChapStick flavors in essentially any drugstore, mass retailer, and even on its own ecommerce site for $1.50 a tube. The original ChapStick actually came wrapped in tin foil and was created by Charles Browne Fleet in the 1800s. He sold the rights to the recipe for John Morton in 1912 for just $5 — around $120 today with inflation. Poor Charles must not have known how ravenous people would become for lip balm. Frank Wright created the now-famous logo in back in 1930. Since then, ChapStick has maintained a secure spot in the pockets and purses of consumers worldwide while it’s continued to evolve with a focus on skin care (like their most recent Total Hydration 100% Natural formula) as well as limited edition packaging and innovative, tasty flavors like candy cane, chocolate truffle, pumpkin pie, aloha coconut, and watermelon splash.

ChapStick has also enlisted an endless roster of cool spokespeople, the latest being Hart of Dixie star Rachel Bilson. “ChapStick has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, my dad would always pull out the black tube from his jeans pocket and I feel that ChapStick is a tradition that he passed down to me and my grandfather passed down to him,” Bilson tells Yahoo Beauty. “ChapStick has always been my go-to and there are definitely days when all I have on is ChapStick – it’s a part of me, especially now that I am a mom and try to keep my routine simple. ChapStick Total Hydration 100% Natural Soothing Vanilla is my current favorite. It really works and protects your lips and I love that it is all-natural.”

Here’s a look back at some of ChapStick’s coolest moments through the years.


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