A little holiday throwback for us. These are over 15 years old now, aren’t they? They’re teenagers!  😛


  • Crystal Wintergreen
  • Golden Butter Cream
  • Kaleidoscope Candy
  • Strawberry Sequins
  • Silver Snowball Cookie
  • Berry Beads


The scents have turned on mine but I still remember loving Golden Butter Cream and Crystal Wintergreen. It’s a bit bittersweet thinking back to these old sets, isn’t it?


23 Thoughts on “Holiday Jewels

  1. Honey Bee on December 23, 2016 at 9:15 AM said:

    WOW!!! I never got to own this set- but they are soooo pretty! Happy Birthday Jewel Lip Smackers.

    ***Such a shame that Lip Smacker will never be this amazing again.

  2. Laura B on December 23, 2016 at 1:02 PM said:

    Thank you for continuing to update your blog. I am an avid lip balm collector.

  3. I loved the Sour Grape Amethyst and Butterscotch Topaz

  4. sooo beautiful

  5. I will never forget the deep love I had and still do for Golden Butter Cream and Crystal Wintergreen. Take notes Markwins, this is what dreams and holiday Lip Smackers are all about. Not the same flavors repeated for 3 years in a row.

  6. Honey Bee on December 30, 2016 at 10:43 AM said:

    I saw that Lip Smackers released the coffee house set- but naturally they can only be ordered online. Why won’t this company sell their products in stores? I know the Rite Aid stores by me only has the old stock still sitting around, Target just sells some stuff during the Christmas season and that’s it.

    Also, the are making a big fuss over their pink lemonade with the inside balm being yellow. It’s supposed to be pink- hence the name “pink” lemonade. Markswin is botching the company.

    • They’re brand new maybe they just haven’t made it to the stores yet. They do sell Smackers in the cosmetics section at Target but they cut back the last year on what they carried HOWEVER, good news! I did check today when I was there and all the cheap Hello Kitty and other stuff were all clearanced out and Lip Smackers were spread out all over that section which tells me they’re about to reset and it looks like they’re going to carry more.

      I wish Markwins were more grateful for the dedicated fans they acquired when they bought LS from the Bells. Seriously, the world doesn’t revolve around Disney branding. Also I saw that about Pink Lemonade–REALLY!?! If it’s not broke DO NOT fix it. Their new lemon flavor they use is disgusting and a smack in the face to all the amazing lemon formulas the original Bonne Bell chemist made. Just discontinue a flavor in that case, not completely change it and try to peddle it like it’s back. The people are Markwins are idiots.

  7. Wow, some of these flavors seem familiar, but I don’t remember the jewel caps at all. My memory must be getting pretty bad. Lol.

    Today I bought the 2 heart tin trios at Walgreens and even though I like them, I feel it was a missed opportunity to do a chocolate themed set. I’ve always wanted like a party pack or something of Chocolate Strawberry, Chocolate Banana, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Blueberry, etc. That would be awesome. My other dream was the coffee set, but I have yet to find it in stores.

    • On the later part- YES Tanya! Markwins sticks to about 8-10 flavors and renames them 20x’s. *Eye rolls* With all the money they’re making from the Tsum Tsums WHY aren’t they spending it on R&D for new and AUTHENTIC flavors!?! I would of loved a chocolate theme and even a proper Red Hots cinnamon type flavor. Markwins is SO LAZY.

      • Technically, Markwins isn’t going to cater to collectors. We’re a tiny fraction of the company. Here’s some proof for you.

        This question was raised on the cosmetic science forum and I thought it was so good that it warranted a full treatment here on the blog. Many of our followers here on Chemists Corner are people who are interested in creating formulas and possibly producing their own line of products. Almost every good cosmetic chemist that I’ve known has said they wanted to start their own line.

        But should they?

        Reality of the Cosmetic Industry

        Before answering this question, it is important to face facts about the cosmetics and personal care industry. Big companies have significant advantages over small and start-up companies.

        More money

        Big companies have more money than small ones. They can outspend you in every way from R&D to performance testing to safety testing to advertising and marketing. They can use the money to get their products in stores and get price breaks on packaging and raw materials. More money naturally leads to other advantages.

        Less expensive products

        Big companies can make less expensive products. Even if a small company copies the formula exactly from a big company they will not be able to produce the product as inexpensively as a big company. In fact, the product costs to a small company will be 2 or 3 times higher than a big company. This means that big companies can charge less for products that perform every bit as well as the ones you can create.

        More scientists

        The additional money available to big companies means they can hire more cosmetic chemists and create better formulas. A small cosmetic company just can not create a formula that will be as optimized and tested for superior performance.

        More advertising

        More money also means more advertising. Big cosmetic companies will buy TV commercials, magazine ads, and radio spots. They will host events for bloggers & beauty editors and they will have an advertising agency working to promote their brand. A small cosmetic company will not be able to outspend the big guys in advertising.

        More distribution

        Finally, the additional money and size of a big cosmetic company means that they will be able to get their products on more store shelves and in more locations than a small company. There is just no competition when it comes to mass market and drug stores.

        Are big cosmetic companies unbeatable?

        With all of these advantages, you might start get the feeling that Big cosmetic companies are unbeatable. You might also think that starting your own cosmetic line is a waste of time.

        Well, that isn’t necessarily true. Think of companies like Burts Bees and Aveda who started small and built huge brands. It can happen because small companies have a few notable advantages over big companies.

        Small markets

        An advantage small companies have is that big companies want to make big money. If a brand is not going to sell at least $100 million with the potential to reach $1 billion, the big cosmetic company won’t even investigate the idea. When I was working in corporate America we discontinued many products that were bringing in over $2 million a year in sales because it just wasn’t enough money. While $2 million in sales is nothing to a big company, to a small company that is huge! Small companies can dominate small markets because big companies aren’t competing. And if you are a small company you can make a great living in a small market.

        Niche markets

        One problem with big cosmetic companies is that they try to make products which will appeal to as many people as possible. This means that they are going to ignore niche consumers who have needs that are different from most everyone else. Just as a small company can dominate a small market, a small company can dominate a small consumer niche.

        Experimental products

        Big companies need successful products. They need to justify to their management why they are launching a specific sku and also need to show data supporting the launch. This means that the products they launch are going to be very similiar to other successful products in the past. This is why there has been only incremental change in the cosmetic industry in the last 20 or 30 years. New, innovative products are risky and most of them fail. Big companies don’t like to fail so they try not to.

        Small cosmetic companies are in a better position to try new innovations and off-the-wall products. Products like dry shampoos and no foaming shampoos would not be launched by big companies but small companies can do it. This is a big advantage.

        Faster development

        It takes a big cosmetic company at least a year and a half to develop an idea into a product and get it on the store shelf. Small companies can do this much more quickly. If they have a good idea, they can have a completed product available for sale in 6 months or less. A big cosmetic company can’t.

        Online distribution

        Right now the Internet has created an even playing field for small companies to compete with big companies. Big companies are good at traditional distribution but they are not good at online sales. A small company can compete and even beat the big guys on things like Search Engine Optimization, Social Networking, and online distribution. Big companies can not afford to put too many resources towards this area of distribution because they have to maintain their presence in big box stores and drugstores. This area is wide open for small cosmetic companies.

        Bonne Bell was a small company so they were able to target to a small niche group. They weren’t making a billion dollars a year like Revlon or Loreal Paris. Yes, Markwins is privately held, but they’re not going to target the minute 0.00001% of a company. They’re going to target the general public. I’m sure they’re laughing at us that we think we know better than them when they actually know better than us. A company wants to make money, and us collectors aren’t going to give them $200+ million dollars a year. So, just accept it and move on. The Bonne Bell era is done and over with, and it’ll never come back.

        • Heather Towry on February 13, 2017 at 3:33 PM said:

          EXACTLY! I don’t know where anyone has gotten the idea that a massive corporation is interested in the 0.001% niche. They have made it clear time and time again that they are not interested, yet we continue to act surprised when they do something stupid?

          I touched on this a bit here: http://bunnycookie.com/the-future-of-bunnycookie/#comment-330472

        • Claire on May 30, 2017 at 3:54 PM said:

          It’s true what Heather said. Companies don’t have to take orders from customers. Here’s an article I pasted below that deals with that issue from the Harvard Business Review.

          HBR’s fictionalized case studies present dilemmas faced by leaders in real companies and offer solutions from experts. This one is based on the HBS Case Study “Cirque du Soleil” (product no. 403006-PDF-ENG), by Thomas J. DeLong and Vineeta Vijayaraghavan, which is available at hbr.org.

          Natalia Georgio knocked on the door of her new marketing director’s office. Elizabeth Gardos hadn’t done much with the space yet. Aside from two chairs, a desk, a computer, and a picture of her daughters, the office was empty.

          “You need to get some art in here,” Natalia observed.

          “I know,” Elizabeth said. “It’s been a busy two weeks. I want to put up some photos of the dancers.”

          The two women worked for Delacroix, an avant-garde dance troupe based in New York that had five companies touring the U.S. and Canada. Natalia, a former dancer, was the organization’s executive director. She’d hired Elizabeth, another former dancer, for her decades of marketing experience, most recently at Violet, a fast-growing woman’s athletic clothing company. Despite the stagnant economy, Delacroix was growing at a healthy pace, in part because of its policy of keeping ticket prices reasonably low. Still, Natalia thought the company needed better marketing to support its expansion strategy. Elizabeth, who’d been keen for a new challenge and to return to the dance scene, had jumped at the opportunity.

          “So why did you want to meet?” Natalia asked.

          “I have some ideas I want to run by you—some things I’ve noticed in these first couple of weeks.”

          “Great, let’s hear them.”

          “I’m really surprised that Delacroix has never surveyed or gathered information of any kind from customers before,” Elizabeth said.

          “Yeah, that’s not really our thing. We take our lead from the dancers, not the audience.”

          “Then what you do here isn’t really marketing,” Elizabeth said cautiously. “It seems like marketing’s only responsibility is to decide how long shows should run, how to advertise them, and what to charge for tickets. You promote the shows and people attend, but you don’t really know who your customers are or why they come.”

          “You mean, we promote the shows,” Natalia said, smiling. “You keep saying ‘you,’ but you’re part of this company now.”

          “We. Sorry.”

          “You’re right; marketing’s role has been limited up to now. But part of the reason we brought you in is to give us some new ideas.”

          Natalia had a mandate from Delacroix’s board members to take the company in new directions: to explore international engagements and television and film opportunities. But she was nervous about formulating her strategy without any research upon which to build a case for risks worth taking. She’d explained that to Elizabeth during the interview process.

          “I think we should start, at a minimum, by doing a simple customer survey,” Elizabeth said, “just with people who have signed up on the website and clearly want to be in communication with us. We can gather some basic information and find out what they like best about our shows. That will give us some insight into other audiences and markets we should target.”

          “That’s certainly an idea,” Natalia said, choosing her words carefully, “but it would also be a big change for us. There are some people in this building who will resist.” She was referring primarily to Henry Delacroix, the company’s founder and artistic director. Although Natalia was technically in charge of the company, Henry still exerted a lot of influence.

          “So it won’t be an easy sell?” Elizabeth said.

          “No, I don’t think it will.”

          The Artistic Mission

          “Why do we want to ask what our audience thinks?” Henry said. “We don’t care what they think.” Elizabeth and Natalia glanced at each other across the conference table.

          “Henry, come on—we care that they come to the shows,” Natalia said.

          “Of course, I know our audience is important. But our business depends on the creative expertise of our artists.” Henry forced a smile and turned to Elizabeth. “When people come to our shows, they expect to have an unbelievable, unique experience—one that they’ll never forget. How can people tell you what they want if they haven’t ever seen it before? If we ask them what they want, we’ll end up doing Swan Lake every year!”

          Natalia shifted in her seat uneasily. She knew that many of the board members—not to mention the dancers—felt as strongly as Henry did about maintaining artistic control. If Delacroix were to adopt a customer-centric approach, it could lose some of its best people.

          Elizabeth cleared her throat and passed Henry a brief report. “Here are some examples of how my previous firm, Violet, used social media to better understand customers, get feedback on products, and test new ideas.” She paused as Henry gave the report a cursory glance. “This allowed us to make better decisions about how to price our products, how to go to market, and when to take risks with new offerings. I know the product in this case is very different: We’re a dance company. But there are similar benefits here. Take your fan website, for example—”

          “Yes, 90,000 people have signed up,” Henry replied.

          “Right, it’s great. But you—I mean, we—don’t really engage with those people. We have practically no data on which of them are coming to our shows and why. That means we have no idea which opportunities to pursue next, or how to present ourselves—to sell ourselves—to the media or to corporate partners. We’re feeling around in the dark. It may work for giants like Apple to tell customers what they want, but that won’t work here.”

          “It has up to now,” Henry said, smirking.

          “But the game has changed. You’re thinking about different ways to expand. I know we want to go international by the end of the year, but we know little about what, say, a London audience would really want to see.”

          “We will tell them what they want to see,” Henry shot back. “Many companies operate this way. Tiffany doesn’t survey the women of the world asking what kind of jewelry they want. The company has faith in its designers and their imaginations—and it gets a better product as a result. We can’t keep our artists inspired and innovative if we start letting customers tell us what to do.”

          Natalia looked at Elizabeth apologetically, but she recognized that Henry had a point. Delacroix hadn’t been founded to meet customer needs; its mission, from the beginning, had been to push the boundaries of modern dance. Henry’s relentless pursuit of that goal had brought the company much success.

          “What about what happened last year at the Joyce?” Elizabeth asked. Natalia looked at her new hire, who’d clearly done her research.

          Delacroix had invested a big chunk of its marketing budget in promoting the three-month run of a new show. Expected to be one of its best ever, the show featured dancers in huge masks. Unfortunately, the masks seemed to terrify all the children in the audience. There were walkouts at every performance in the first few weeks, and then parents flooded the website, as well as ticket and review sites, with complaints. After much internal deliberation, the company decided to put a note in the program warning that the masks might be scary for children under eight. Natalia had wanted to do more, maybe even remove the masks from the show, but a few board members held strong to the principle that they shouldn’t bow to customer dictates. They also told her, however, that they didn’t want to see that sort of mistake again.

          “It was an unfortunate incident, definitely a failure on our part,” said Henry. “But we learned from it: No more scary masks in our shows.”

          “But if we had an ongoing dialogue with our customers, we might know these things ahead of time—know that they want more kid-friendly performances, or that we need to market certain shows to certain segments of our audience,” Elizabeth countered. “We could avoid these sorts of failures. I know from my time at Violet that information is power. New ventures, new partnerships, more exposure—you can’t gamble with these things. You have to get it right. Customer research will help minimize our risk.”

          Henry shook his head. “You’re just not getting it—”

          “OK.” Natalia stood up. “We’re not going to resolve this today. Elizabeth, can you e-mail that report to Henry and me? We’ll discuss it offline.”

          Just One Survey?

          Natalia was in a cab and headed home when her cell phone rang. It was Henry.

          “You’re not really considering this, are you?” he said as soon as she’d picked up.

          “Yes, I am. Elizabeth has some great points. How are we going to enter international markets if we don’t know anything about the audiences there?” Natalia looked out over the water as the cab started across the Brooklyn Bridge. “How am I going to compete with every other company that wants a chance at TV if we don’t have the customer research? Those Hollywood execs will laugh us out of the room, never mind the corporate partners.”

          “And what will you do when our customers ask us to put our dancers in Smurf costumes? Will you order one for Sophia?”

          Natalia smiled at the thought of the company’s most famous—and most difficult—dancer dressed as Smurfette. “Stop being dramatic, Henry. They’re not going to tell us to do something ridiculous.”

          “Fine, not the Smurfs, but you know we’ll have to take fewer risks, to err on the side of selling tickets instead of pushing the creative envelope. You were a dancer, Natalia, one of our best. Remember the mission? Remember how energized you felt by it?”

          “Of course I remember. I also remember that it’s part of our mission to bring modern dance to as many people as possible.” Natalia tried to keep the frustration out of her voice. She knew as well as anyone how much Delacroix relied on the board members and dancers for innovation. “But I was brought in to professionalize this company, to expand on what you started. And customer research—real marketing—may be part of that. Elizabeth knows what she’s talking about. She ran the whole customer initiative at her previous job, and it was a huge success.”

          “She sold clothes, Natalia,” Henry said.

          “Fair enough. But what’s the harm in a survey or two? If the customers give us outrageous feedback, we don’t have to listen to it.”

          “But if we ask what they think and then don’t give it to them, we’ll alienate them,” Henry said. “We’ll damage the relationship. And you know there’s going to be resistance from the board.”

          Natalia was not surprised. The business types would be all for it, she knew, but the members with an artistic background—the ones who understood the creative process—would never approve it. She pictured each of the board members sitting around the table at their next meeting, only a few weeks away. Henry was right. They would probably divide on this issue, almost evenly.

          “Besides,” Henry continued. “We’re doing fine. Why rock the boat now?”

          “Now feels like precisely the time to rock it,” she said. “The board is expecting big things from us over the next year, risky things we’ve never tried before.”

          “And we’re going to be successful only if we trust our own creativity and our own instincts—not customer research.”

          Natalia looked out the cab window. She felt tired.

          “You still there?” Henry asked.


          “Well, think about this. We can’t have it both ways. Either employees come first, or customers do. You know where I stand. Where do you?”

          Should Delacroix launch a customer research initiative?

          What Would You Do? Some advice from the HBR.org community

          Delacroix’s performers, much like great composers, create the shows from what’s inside them—their own innovation—not from customer survey data. To expand into new markets, Elizabeth should leverage the company’s reputation for innovation and look to partner with other pioneering companies.
          Geoff Finken, project/staff support specialist, North Carolina Credit Union League

          Delacroix can maintain artistic control while engaging its audience. I worked for an orchestra where the music director selected six overtures and then asked concert-goers to vote online for the one they wanted to hear at the final concert of the season.
          Tim Pennell, MBA candidate, Boston University School of Management

          Don’t ask the customers what they want to see. Ask what stirred them emotionally, what they had trouble understanding, which show they wanted to bring their friends to. Throw in some demographic questions. This isn’t about restricting artistic freedom. It’s about better understanding the company’s true fans so that Natalia can find people cut from the same cloth in international markets.
          Beth Robinson, technical customer service engineer, Ahlstrom Corp.

          Before Natalia does any research, she needs to think through two questions: What will we do with the results? How will the data guide us toward our strategic goals? Customer feedback is just information. It’s what Natalia plans to do with it that matters.
          George Burton, operations manager, Accenture, Switzerland

          The Experts Respond

          Mario D’Amico is the senior vice president of marketing at Cirque du Soleil.

          Any innovative company struggles with how much to listen to customers. Most realize you can’t trust them to tell you what your next new product will be. IT’S LIKE HENRY FORD’S FAMOUS LIN: “IF I HAD ASKED PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANTED, THEY WOULD HAVE SAID FASTER HORSES.” The answer doesn’t lie with the customer.

          But companies that want to grow as they innovate often need to change the way they do things. When you’re small and local, you don’t worry about getting to know your customers better. When you need to sell 100,000 tickets a week and market to people who don’t know you or your product, it’s a different story. When I joined Cirque du Soleil, we had seven shows. Now we have 21. Our scale requires that we know our audience.

          Natalia should take Elizabeth’s proposal to the board. If the directors are smart, they’ll approve the idea of surveying customers. Then Natalia needs to be careful about what she does with the data Elizabeth gathers. As Henry, Delacroix’s founder, has made clear, creative people don’t react very well when you tell them what to make. Natalia needs to find devious ways to educate them about the audience without pressuring them to create a certain product.

          At Cirque, we use research to understand our customers in a general way—who they are, what other types of entertainment they seek out, and what they expect from the Cirque brand. We use the data to brief the members of our creative team, to help them understand who’s applauding when the curtain goes down. We don’t tell them to use a red dress or a blue dress in a certain scene, but we do educate them. Then we get out of their way so that they can create. The message is this: Although they have a huge sandbox to play in, it has a perimeter around it that is our brand expectations. We want them to be innovative while still ensuring that our product lives up to its promise.

          Our creative team has a huge sandbox to play in, but it has a perimeter around it that is our brand promise to customers.

          Customer research and brand reputation are especially important when entering new markets where you don’t know what potential audiences expect. Cirque doesn’t tailor its products to a specific group or culture, but we also don’t want to offend anyone—as Delacroix did with those masks. For example, when we designed our show for a Chinese audience, we took into account the meaning of certain colors and numbers. It’s not a coincidence that our first show in China opened on August 28, 2008, given the importance of the number 8 in that country.

          Natalia is right that Delacroix needs to start gathering customer data if it is going to grow. But she should tread lightly and use surveys in a way that is acceptable to the Henrys of the world. And Henry, for his part, needs to understand that Natalia is not trying to hand over the direction of his shows to the customers. She just wants to achieve the board’s goal of bringing the Delacroix brand to a broader audience. She needs information about customers to accomplish that.

          Jens Martin Skibsted is a serial entrepreneur and a cofounder of KiBiSi, a product design and design strategy company based in Copenhagen.

          Before Natalia does anything, she needs to identify Delacroix’s top priority. Henry says the troupe was founded to push the boundaries of modern dance, but it also seems to want to bring dance to as many people as possible. Those are two very different missions.

          If Delacroix wants to stay true to the former mission—and I believe it should—it can’t ask customers what they want. That would only stifle innovation. Creative and noncreative companies alike succeed when they are guided by a clear vision, a unique set of values, and a culture that no customer insights could ever change. If Delacroix needs to find new sources of revenue, it should add to the core, not change it.

          If someone had told the famous German modern dancer Pina Bausch that she needed to change certain elements of her performances because they might scare children, for example, she would surely have refused. She was pursuing her own vision, not crowdsourcing productions. Nokia has tried to innovate using several highly publicized crowdsourcing initiatives, which have done little to save the mobile phone company from its downward spiral. By contrast, Apple has been innovative—and hugely successful—with a closed, exclusive, “we know better than customers” approach.

          Relying on consumer input would only lead Delacroix into the sameness trap. Customers will invariably tell the troupe to do what other popular dance companies are doing. That won’t give Delacroix a competitive edge. Instead, Natalia should be asking her creative team, especially Henry, how to move forward. Or if the team is low on ideas, she should bring in new talent.

          If Delacroix wants to stay true to its mission, it can’t ASK customers what they want.

          Natalia and Elizabeth need to remember that it’s OK to be elitist. There is no shame in creating a product that not everyone will enjoy or understand. The Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton group has an entire portfolio of companies that do very well by serving niche markets. Of course, the NICHE needs to be BIG ENOUGH, but it sounds like Delacroix has found that.

          Natalia can let Elizabeth do a few surveys; there is no downside to getting to know the audience better. But the scope of the research needs to be limited. She might want to ask customers if they would prefer certain discounts over others or whether they would like food to be available at the shows. But it must be targeted.

          This is not really a question of whether to listen to customers or to employees. Every company needs to BALENCE the interests of its various stakeholders, and Delacroix can and should listen to customers on certain topics. But this is ultimately about setting a vision and executing on it. Delacroix won’t push any boundaries—creative or economic—if it lets customers drive its creative decisions.

  8. Emily on March 13, 2017 at 5:48 PM said:

    I found this on the web.

    “‘Oh my gosh, your office smells so good! How do you not get hungry?'” is often the first thing people say when they meet with Maritza Aispuro, Product Development Manager at Markwins International, she tells me. As the person who heads up flavor development for Lip Smackers, a large part of Aispuro’s day consists of sniffing donut-scented essential oils and licking vanilla-flavored balm off her lips, with the scents sometimes seeping through the glass walls of her workspace into the cubicles nearby. She keeps candy on hand to soothe her coworker’s cravings.

    In the world of nostalgic beauty products, there is arguably none more universally loved than the classic Lip Smacker. With just enough color to be considered makeup (which upped your middle school cred) and just enough moisturizing ingredients to be considered a lip balm (which upped the chances of getting your parents to let you buy them) Smackers truly were a winning combination for ’90s teens.

    Users’ passionate ties to the brand are only strengthened by the fact that the company was wildly successful in accurately replicating flavors and scents, like Dr. Pepper and cotton candy, with incredible accuracy. Psychology Today reports that familiar smells can trigger more powerful memories than visual stimuli, which could explain why a whiff of Watermelon Lip Smacker instantly brings you back to getting ready for a middle school dance in your best friend’s bedroom.

    Source: Courtesy Lip Smacker

    According to the Lip Smackers website, they became the first brand to launch scented lip balm back in 1972 when they released their strawberry flavor. But even in the ’90s and early ’00s, when when most competitors were sticking mainly to red fruit flavors, Lip Smacker stood out with their Dr. Pepper, Moon Rock Candy, Butterscotch Topaz, Birthday Cake, and other more adventurous scents. And they didn’t smell like “Dr. Pepper mixed with some weird plastic or chemical” — they smelled like pure Dr. Pepper, the soda.

    But while Lip Smackers is often considered a beloved brand from the past, especially for millennials, they actually continue to roll out new balm flavors every season. In January 2015, Markwins International acquired Bonne Bell and Lip Smacker from Aspire Brands, the same month Aispuro started sniffing her way through all those essential oils to create brand new Lip Smacker scents. The process is very elaborate. “I’m probably smelling and tasting and testing flavors a good three days out of the week, every week,” Aispuro says. “So it’s a lot of flavor, it’s a lot of formulas. We have tons of flavors, like over 400, that we make available.”

    Source: Courtesy Lip Smacker

    Turning familiar food and beverage flavors into a safe-to-use lip balm isn’t just a matter of pouring some coffee into a blender with a little shea butter. “Our team utilizes equipment such as gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers to isolate some of the ingredients found in the drinks to give an indication of the materials that may be present,” Aispuro explains, speaking specifically about Dr. Pepper’s familiar 23 flavors. Aispuro’s background is in more general beauty industry marketing — though she did take a course in fragrance before starting this job. That class gave her “a background on the nose and on what the top layer, middle layer, base layer of notes are.”

    It’s not a simple task, and not every treat has a corresponding essential oil, which is why a lot of other brands stick to those tried and true fruits. “The most difficult part in formulating scent that replicates an edible fragrance is that ingredients do not exist to create every food experience,” Aispuro tells me. “For example: Strawberry Shortcake is comprised of the smell of real strawberries, whipped cream, and fresh baked pound cake. There is no such thing as strawberry oil…so when a Scent Specialist is tasked with creating a Strawberry Shortcake scent they use their vast knowledge of aroma ingredients, what each smells like, and how they smell blended together, to recreate that same sensory experience.” Most scent specialists have a background in chemistry, so they know “which flavors can and can’t go into a lip balm format,” Aispuro explains.

    All that is to say: Aispuro is eating and smelling a lot of lip balm to make sure the final product comes out just right. She’ll submit a product development request to the brand’s flavor partners (which is where the chemists who know exactly which flavors are safe for your lips work) who will then send back three versions of the scent to test. Once Aispuro is happy with the way the oils smell, she’ll blend them with the base Lip Smacker formula. “That way we’re not just smelling the flavor out of a glass tube, but we’re actually putting it on our lips, we’re actually, like, licking to taste it.”

    Source: Courtesy Lip Smacker

    When I ask Aispuro if consuming all the lip balm and smelling all those oils ever makes her feel a little queasy, she laughs. “I mean, I lick it. I don’t technically eat it,” she says. It might technically be safe to take a bite out of a lip balm, but that’s not something Aispuro practices on the reg. “Again, having a bunch of candy around helps quell any urge to munch on a Smacker,” she says.

    Her nose often needs more rest than her stomach. “Sometimes I will get like, ‘Well my nose needs a break because now I can’t tell the difference between vanilla or like mango,’ like they smell the same. Which, you know, they shouldn’t,” she explains. Aispuro also keeps coffee beans at her desk to reset her palette, ensuring your vanilla frappe Lip Smacker doesn’t hit the shelves as a mango frappe due to any fatigued sniffers.

    Source: Courtesy Lip Smacker

    Aside from the coffee bean breaks, there are other roadblocks Aispuro and her team has run into. Lip Smacker’s tagline is “Best Flavor Forever,” she tells me, which means they’ll only put scents as authentic as that infamous Dr. Pepper to market. And there is one trendy flavor you might be disappointed to hear likely won’t ever make its way to the lip balm aisle: avocado.

    In 2016, Lip Smacker added Horchata and Sriracha to the brand’s Wacky Flavor collection, two flavors Aispuro cites as some of the most fun to create. During that testing period, they also tried to make a guacamole balm. Speaking about the process, Aispuro says that the final scent defintiely smelled like “something green with a little cilantro,” but that they ultimately couldn’t really get the smell of avocado. A rep from the Research and Development Facility for Lip Smackers explains that the distinct sensation you get from eating avocado comes more from its buttery texture than any real flavor, which made it difficult to replicate, even with their library of over 1500 materials.

    Plus, any flavor that’s made into a lip balm needs to be stable at a high temperature, so it can withstand being heated during the pouring process. “Avocado is a very mild flavor and would be heat sensitive so it would be technically difficult to achieve and keep stable in a lip balm,” the rep explains. Clearly, they’ve put a lot of thought into this.

    As for now, Aispuro is already prepping the yummy flavors Lip Smackers will launch for Holiday 2017. While she won’t give me any hints about what to expect, she assures me it’ll all taste exactly like the real thing.

  9. Honey Bee on March 31, 2017 at 3:27 PM said:

    Has anyone tried the newer flavors: Coffee House, Floral, and I can’t remember the rest?

    I’m kinda curious to try but I cringe at the shipping cost and stores stopped carrying them.

    • Tanya on March 31, 2017 at 5:02 PM said:

      I finally got around to getting the Coffee House party pack (had to order from Amazon), and I was mostly happy with them. I was most surprised that the Pumpkin Spice Latte one actually smelled like coffee this time. Green Tea Lemonade smelled very similar to Breezy Tea-zy, Watermelon Lemonade was somewhat like the Watermelon Twist Chillerz, but other than that, I thought the other flavors were a bit more unique.

      I’ve also been wondering about the floral flavors too.

      • Honey Bee on April 4, 2017 at 5:25 PM said:

        I wished they would have made a plain coffee flavored one. I have sweet ones that I wanted to be able to pair with it.

        I saw they are FINALLY making the oatmeal cookie one, not in a TSUM TSUM body. I’m waiting to hear from the Lip Smacker facebook page about people’s opinions on it before buying.

  10. Emily on April 5, 2017 at 5:41 PM said:

    I was recently searching through the instagram pictures of LS and came across this picture of the LS drink cup things that was named Cinnamon Churro. The username is syun10906.

    • OMG, ABOUT TIIIIME!!! Is Markwins listening??? We shall see…. If they make this accurate I’ll be one happy camper. There’s not one scent they could recycle atm that could smell like a Cinnamon Churro so this has to be a new formula. Hopefully this makes up for the 2014 Cinnamon’s Sugar fail.

      • Emily on April 7, 2017 at 10:30 AM said:

        Well, refinery29 just released a press release about the LS Frappe Coffee Flavors. It’s the drink-type balms they’ve been doing (like with the soda flavors). The flavor releases are: vanilla chai, cinnamon churro, caramel, mocha chip, and pumpkin spice.

  11. Emily on May 1, 2017 at 5:25 PM said:

    CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. — Lip Smacker­­­­ on Monday announced a product collaboration contest wherein fans have a say in what flavor gets made next. Dubbed the “Official Tastemaker 2017 Search”, the brand is highlighting their appreciation to its loyal followers as well as newer Lip Smacker enthusiasts.

    Fans can submit their suggestion – to include flavor name, three key ingredients, descriptors (salty, sweet, etc.) and #LStastemaker – via Lip Smacker’s Instagram page between May 1 and May 19. After narrowing down to the top five flavors, voting opens on May 30 and the winner will be announced June 28.

    The winning flavor will be made into an actual Lip Smacker lip balm and sold exclusively on the brand’s website, with credit to the creator. More importantly, winner earns bragging rights as Lip Smacker’s First Official Tastemaker – a tradition the brand plans to honor annually – as well as a personalized case of the Tastemaker lip balm and a custom, crystal-encrusted “Biggy,” which is four times the size of a regular balm.

    The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec).


    • Heather T on May 1, 2017 at 6:10 PM said:

      Yes let me rush as fast as I can to tell them good flavor ideas so they can continue making insane profits on poorly made products. They’ll just $#@! up the flavor anyway lol.

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