In this world of barely legal claims of effectiveness, I just love it when I find stuff that works as advertised, or better yet, better than advertised. Here are two things like that: UltraSwim and Burt’s Bees Lip Balm.

If you have a pool, or a kid who swims a lot, and that kid has hair, you probably want UltraSwim. We have a pool, and two kids who swim a lot. One of those kids has like three kids’ worth of hair. Every summer, I’d have to trek to the beauty salon and beg to purchase one of those stupid, expensive packets of goo that you have to mix up, slather on the child’s head, and then cover with plastic while she sits under a hair dryer. (Okay, we don’t actually own a hair dryer. I made the poor kid sit in the sun for an hour while her head steamed.) And even then, although it got rid of the greenish cast, her hair still had a weird texture.

But then, we discovered UltraSwim! Ahhhh! (In case you couldn’t tell, that was a chorus of angels trumpeting.) I’ve only found it at Meijer’s, but we’ve been blessed with it for several years now so I’m relaxing into thinking it wasn’t one of those short-lived test-market-town trials that we see so often here. The thing about UltraSwim is that I have never seen it advertised. I was just looking for something, anything, that would get rid of that greenish cast and that nasty feel. Her hair would look greasy when it was dry, like we hadn’t rinsed it well enough; it was nearly impossible to get a brush or comb through; when I’d try to shampoo it, I could use a whole bottle and it would barely lather; and it never seemed like it was rinsed all the way.

But the copy on the UltraSwim bottle said that it would remove chlorine in a single shampooing, and that it was safe to use every day. Hmm, I thought, (and I’m pretty sure I quirked my eyebrow), we’ll just see how good it is. The stuff from the salon claimed it worked too, and it was not only a pain in the butt, it also failed to remove all of the chlorine. So I took it home, tried it out that night on my daughter’s slightly green head, and Ahhhhh! (angels again) It lathered beautifully! It smelled wonderful! It rinsed thoroughly! Her hair dried and didn’t look like I forgot to rinse it! It looked and smelled clean! And I managed to drag a brush through it! YAY!!!! I went back and bought like three more bottles in case they quit selling it here, and told everyone about it. Yes! It works!!!

Another thing that works? Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, the kind with pomegranate oil. The same daughter that had the green hair has developed a habit of licking her lips compulsively if they get a little chapped. I’ve been buying all those Bonne Bell Lip Smackers that I loved so much as a tween (although I don’t think we were called tweens back then) and my husband gave her Chap Stick (ouch–that stuff’s hard) and nothing seemed to do anything. The Lip Smackers, I think, tasted too good, and encouraged the licking. David gave her his Burt’s Bees regular lip balm with peppermint oil, and that seemed to work okay, but she lost it immediately. So the other day I got her another one, but saw that they had one with pomegranate oil that was supposed to be smoothing. I opted for that one, since by this point she looked like she had been plumping her lips with a curling iron (can’t believe I found that–it’s after the 3 minute mark).

So anyway, she put it on, said “Mmm, that smells good, and it doesn’t sting like the other kind.” and went out to play. I swear, she hadn’t even put it on a second time before her lips looked like they were healing! Another day and you couldn’t tell they’d ever been chapped and crusty and nasty. Woo hoo! I love it when stuff works!

So there you have it. There are at least two things in this world that actually work. And I don’t recall ever seeing an advertisement for either of them.