Tasty Bite's Indian-Inspired Lip Balms Review: Heating Up Those Parched Lips

Bucking the tradition of working sweet flavors into lip balms, Indian-American food producer Tasty Bites is applying the intense spice blends of its prepared Indian dishes to a spicy lip balm line that aims to add a savory dimension to skincare. The idea is innovative enough to garner attention and out-there enough to warrant a second look. After all, it's not every day that a food company specializing in traditional flavors from India and Southeastern Asia applies its seasonings to a non-edible product. These balms are gender-neutral, inviting everyone with a taste for adventure to crack open a stick and give it a try.

If all you've ever experienced from your lip balm is a kiss of fruit, candy, or dessert essences, these culinary blends are bound to be surprising. But do seasonings created for lunch and dinner dishes translate into a lip balm palatable enough to please? And how perceptible are the specific flavors when merged with sunflower oil-based wax? With an intriguing factor that was off the charts, we knew we had to try them for ourselves to see just how hot these lip balms get.

Tasty Bite is selling these semi-organic lip balms for a limited time

Planning for a quick burn with these spice-inspired sticks, Tasty Bite is launching its Spice Balms for a limited time. Customers hoping to get their hands on these flavors can look for the link to go live on Friday, November 17, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Though there's no end date given, the lip balms will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, which means they won't last forever. Anyone interested in jumping online when sales start can check the Tasty Bite Spice Balms page when sales go live. The full set of three lip balms is priced at $4.99, making them just a bit higher than comparable sweets sticks from Burt's Bees.

The labels for Tasty Bite Spice Balms call out the carrier substances as a combination of sunflower oil and coconut oil, both of which are listed as organic, as well as beeswax and cocoa butter. Though these moisture-rich elements are all natural substances, the inclusion of beeswax in the formula prevents them from being fully vegan. The formula also includes vitamin E, a helpful ingredient used to soften skin. Taking such care to create a quality base for its flavors scores Tasty Bite a point in the "yes!" column.

Tikka Masala Balm

Aiming to replicate the flavor notes of its Chickpea Tikka Masala, Tasty Bite adds essential oils from traditional curry, tomato seed, and hot chili to create a convincing food essence. And quite a convincing essence it is, too. As soon as the lid comes off, the scent of curry wafts through the air. There's no mistaking the warm umami notes as one of the most familiar Indian seasonings in the spice rack. It's a powerful aroma that makes us hungry for soothing dishes with wonderfully exotic tastes.

So what would a dab of this savory salve provide when swabbed on? It turns out Tasty Bite has captured the flavor of a curry-filled tikka masala to a T. The sensation is a bit off-putting; this is a taste that usually alerts you to the fact that you have food on your mouth that needs attention from your napkin. Putting it on your lips feels wrong ... but the taste is something so right that making sense of what you've just done takes a minute. Thankfully, the curry dissipates pretty quickly, leaving the peppery burn of chili behind. The blend of oils is silky soft, so your lips feel both smooth and on fire at the same time — a strange mix, to say the least.

Vindaloo Spice Balm

With tantalizing Vindaloo spices added to the lush oil-and-wax base, Tasty Bite conjures an even more powerful flavor for its savory lip balm. This time, the curry is even more present, made more complex with the presence of tomato seed and harissa chili essential oils. Vindaloo lingered on the lips, throwing off both the scent and the flavor for a few minutes after application. The urge to take a taste was oddly exciting, like the feeling of having one last bite from a well-made dish.

By the third lip-smacking taste, a salty undertone appeared to replace the spices, which was strangely disappointing. How does an unexpected food flavor in lip balm form turn out to be something worth tasting? It struck us that licking your lips to pick up the fascinating tasting notes defeats the purpose of lip balm; if keeping your lips soft is the intent, then licking off the balm will only make your lips more chapped. Still, the idea of having warm kitchen spices worn as a scented and flavored smoother was convincing enough for us to try several applications.

Hot and Spicy Spice Balm

Though Hot and Spicy flavor only lists harissa chili and hot chili oil as flavor essences, this stick has a distinctly curry-friendly scent as much as the others. What it also has is heat in the form of lip-burning that starts as soon as the balm is applied and settles in for a slow burn. The scent is more powerful, tickling our noses with the pepper-and-curry aroma that made us hungry for something more than just a swipe on the lips. It isn't just the scent that's more powerful; the flavor carries through forcefully for the fullest taste experience of the whole set. The more you smash your lips together, trying to put the fire out, the more you taste and smell the rich combination.

The biggest issue here is the pepper oil. While it's a fun one-off experience, the burn lingered long past the point of curiosity, becoming irritating the longer we kept the balm on our lips. Ultimately, we had to wipe it off, which is the opposite of the reaction a lip balm is supposed to inspire. There was an unexpected benefit of a sinus-clearing effect, having pepper oil so close to the nose. But it wasn't worth the discomfort of essentially setting our lips on flavor-based fire.

These balms are a spicy curiosity that just doesn't catch fire

There's no doubt that Tasty Bite knows how to translate its food-based spice mixes into a lip balm without losing heat. Whether you're looking for a balm that soothes your lips or wakes them up may determine if these sticks are a worthy purchase. Usually, you're trying to avoid the lingering lip burn that comes from spicy foods, a sensation that's exciting when eating but distressing when trying to protect tender skin from becoming parched. Add to that flavors that are too powerful for repeated use, and you have a one-off item that's not likely to set consumer hearts aflame.

It's not advisable to wear these balms when perking up your pucker before kissing your boo. The idea of picking up the flavor of lunch during a make-out session is thoroughly unappetizing. With a list price of $4.99 for the set, it's not a costly affair to give them a test run just to see what spicy lip balm tastes like. But the limited-edition status puts them cleanly in the category of novelty products, enticing enough to draw attention but too unusual for long-term enjoyment. This is one food crossover creation that's destined to burn out.