Long-haul foreign holidays feel like something from the past these days, but I used to travel all the time. In fact, in my previous career as a travel specialist for a global holiday company I was abroad at least once a month (anything from a weekend city break in Europe to two weeks travelling around Cuba). Despite all this, I was always a last-minute packer, doing a manic dash to my local Superdrug on the way home from work. (Did I really want to cart a huge bottle of shampoo to another continent with just a centimetre left in the bottom?) Grab and go was the name of the game, often with the store shutters already on their way down.
On one such evening, hunting for some travel-size shampoo, and trying to find a third item to complete my three-for-two, I came across the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Swivel Stick. Palmer’s is a brand I’ve used for decades — my mum used to buy its famous lotion in bulk to stop me and my brother from walking around with ashy legs — so I felt confident taking a risk on something new. The packaging told me it would moisturise my chapped lips. Perfect for a long-haul flight, I thought.
That was four years ago — and I reckon I’ve bought at least six tubes since my original impulse buy. The consistency of the swivel stick is similar to the original Palmer’s solid formula (with the same gorgeous cocoa-butter scent), but it works so much better in stick form compared to having to scrape it out of a tub — it just slicks straight on rather than having to be rubbed into the skin. It’s also less greasy than most cheaper lip balms (like Carmex, my former go-to) perhaps because of the cocoa butter. The Swivel Stick just leaves you with soft lips, ready to go bare or as a prep for lipstick or gloss.
At around a fiver, it’s marginally more expensive than your average high-street lip balm but it also lasts longer — a tube lasts me a year, with almost daily use. And unlike a regular lip balm, its Pritt-stick size means it’s multipurpose. Been out all day and realise you’ve got ashy elbows or knees? Sorted. Don’t have room in your bag for hand cream? Help is on its way. I’ve never been skiing myself, but fans online swear by it for winter holidays as it doesn’t freeze.
I used to collect lip balms like they were going out of fashion, spending £3 here and £10 there (and subsequently losing the tubes). No more. The Swivel Stick works better than anything else I’ve tried, and it’s cheap enough to keep a few on the go — in my handbag, in my bedside table drawer, on my office desk. I’d go as far as to say I couldn’t live without it.
Some other Strategist-recommended Palmer’s products
Writer Nikita Richardson picked up this hair mask in the shops and thought that, for £2, it was worth a try. She was more than impressed by the results: “Immediately after styling my hair, I could see the difference. Most of my split ends seemingly disappeared before my eyes, and the frizzing on my twists was minimal. My hair was stronger than it’d been in a very long time, and it felt, for once, like a cohesive unit rather than 100,000 strands with separate agendas.”
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