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3 February 2016

“Little egg-shaped treasures”: Why teens online are obsessed with a lip balm brand

EOS lip balms have conquered the internet, thanks to their smooth spherical shape and the passion and imagination of teenagers.

By Barbara Speed

The video opens on a vista of multicoloured orbs. The little plastic balls are lined up in rows, according to their colour: pale blue gives way to dark blue, pink, dark pink, green, magenta, yellow. In a voiceover, the video’s creator, “99Choca”, explains that this will be an “update on my EOS lip balm collection”. The video is four and a half minutes long and has, at time of writing, almost 5m views.

99Choca, a US highschooler who also posts on Instagram as @eos_bbw_and_more and has a combined following of 67,000, is at the forefront of an internet subculture dedicated to the worship of lip balm. And not just any old lip balm: while other brands pop up on the Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards of fans from time to time, the vast majority of posts focus on EOS, a brand of organic lip balm sold in distinctive spherical packaging.

EOS was founded in 2009 in New York, and is now making its way to the UK via retailers like Urban Outfitters and Topshop. At first glance, EOS’s branding doesn’t seem tailored to teenagers at all: the balm is made with 95 per cent organic ingredients and the range has an emphasis on pastel colours and simple packaging. Even the high price point (anywhere from $5-$8 for a single balm in the US) seems geared more towards beauty-obsessed twenty-somethings, not high schoolers.

But the teens have bent the balms to their creative wills: their photos feature complex designs made up from scores of lip balms, or balms wearing handmade outfits and decorations. ’s “head”:

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A photo posted by eos collector (@eoscollector) on