Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
The first thing you should know if you're allergic to lipstick is that misery loves company -- contact reactions to lipstick are actually not uncommon. Lipsticks contain a plethora of sensitizing ingredients, from pigments and fragrances to sunscreens, lanolin, benzoin, petrolatum and saccharine -- yes, saccharin! Lipstick allergies can cause redness and blisters along the lip line as well as itching, peeling and sometimes even swelling. If you and lipstick are splitsville but you can't quite bear going bare, try some alternative ideas.
There are a handful of hypoallergenic lipsticks on the market that you might explore if you find you have a lipstick sensitivity. They omit the usual suspects such as lanolin and artificial dyes and substitute milder and more natural ingredients. Hypoallergenic lip glosses and balms are worth checking out, too, as they contain less pigment than traditional lipsticks. Note that "dermatologist tested" is not the same as truly hypoallergenic -- look for the latter on the label.
Try treating your lips with plain old food-grade olive oil. You don't need your fanciest gourmet extra-virgin bottle here. As long as it's 100 percent olive oil, it's good enough for cosmetic use. Olive oil keeps your lips hydrated and adds a hint of shine too. Plus it's all natural and low on the allergy sensitivity totem pole.
Another pantry alternative to use is coconut oil as a lip balm. Coconut oil has some advantages: It smells good, it tastes good and it's solid at room temperature, making it easy to apply. Like other natural oils, it will keep your lips shin, hydrated and soft.
If you want to achieve a temporary effect of plump, red, shiny lips, then eat some strawberries. Seriously! The fruit will impart a bit of natural red pigment to your lips. Plus, strawberries are great for hydration. Of course, only try this trick if you're sure you're not allergic to strawberries, since they, too, are a common sensitivity item. Bummer.