I am sick of mediocre lip products. Lip glosses that are more gooey than glossy and chap sticks that exacerbate rather than relieve chapping (see: Kiehl's Lip Balm #1) are for me routine roadblocks on my path to a perfect pout. Pur-Lisse Pur-Lip Comfort daily lip nourisher fell short of my rather low expectations right from the start....and then continued to fall. Once you get past the glaze of good stuff (and there is plenty of that to go around), you can't help but think "Eh, I could do better."

Pur-Lisse is French for "pure and smooth." The brand aims to marry time-honored Chinese beauty rituals with modern French skin know-how (which, as readers have pointed out before, tends to know more about commercial chemicals and less about how to incorporate nature into cosmetics, but that's a separate subject). Pur-Lisse tries to make the most of its pure and natural posture by pointing out that all its products are free of parabens, petrochemicals, propylene glycol, and synthetic colors/fragrances. So why doesn't Pur-Lisse just come out and call its lip nourisher organic?

Because then it would have to wipe out nearly half of its formula. Beyond the mango butter, shea butter, castor seed oil, rice brain oil, wheat germ oil, algae extract, squalane, vitamin E, sugar and spice and everything nice, something naughty lurks about. Under the shadow of  bis-diglyceryl-polyacyladipate-2 (the very first ingredient), Pur-Lisse's purity quickly withers. The Organic Consumers Association blasts this ingredient, a synthetic oleochemical of the glyceryl ester family, for containing adipic acid. Manufactured from either cyclohexane (a petrochemical) or phenol (a hazardous chemical), adipic acid may be a mild irritant to skin and to the upper respiratory tract when inhaled or ingested, not to mention that production of adipic acid may account for the largest source of industrial N2O emissions.

And so, the bulk of Pur-Lip is not entirely safe for your body or the environment. Next up is ethylhexyl palmitate (a derivative of palm oil), which, in spite of a robust safety profile, may produce irritation in high concentrations. With the given information, it is impossible to know whether Pur-Lisse's doses of its first two ingredients are high enough to do harm. If those don't give you pause, then a potentially carcinogenic PEG and possibly cytotoxic linalool and limonene might change your mind. Still not leery for your lips? How about if Pur-Lisse adds the harmful-if-swallowed preservative phenoxyethanol?

Surely, Pur-Lip is not all bad, especially with the anti-aging antioxidant palmitoyl oligopeptide thrown in the mix. Pur-Lisse's secret sauce is a patent-pending "Lotus Lupine Peptide Complex," which contains five key ingredients: lupine peptides (protect collagen), blue lotus extract (antioxidant), white tea extract (another antioxidant), sea silk extract, and soy proteins.  Though blue lotus and sea silk sound exotically skin-softening, there is no evidence that they have cosmetic benefits. Scientific tests conducted by YON-KA Paris have found that peptide technology from white lupine flower help skin fight against sagging- not really an issue when it comes to your lips.

Less than 20 minutes after applying Pur-Lip, the buttery, soft feeling somehow vanishes from my lip surface. In its place, I sometimes detect a faint prickle- not in a lip plumping kind of way. What irritates me more than the mild tingling is knowing the foul components that could be causing this sensation. I'd never want to coat Pur-Lisse's balm over an open sore or cracked lips. In spite of its noble effort to incorporate nourishing botanicals, Pur-lisse's lip conditioner isn't pure enough for my pout.

 

Ingredients:

Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Synthetic Beeswax, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Di-C12-15 Alkyl Fumarate, Bis-PEG-12 Dimethicone Candelillprylic/Capric/Myristic/Stearic Triglyceride, Squalane, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Hydrolyzed Lupine Protein Octenylsuccinate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Hydrolyzed Algae (seasilk) Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Jojoba Esters, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Nymphaea Coerulea Flower (Blue Lotus) Extract, Glycerin, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tribehenin, Sorbitan Isostearate, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene *, Linalool *, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil.