Cast as the bachelor on the hit franchise’s 20th season, Ben Higgins knows a lot about lips.

But it was his fiancé, Jessica Clarke, who convinced him that all lip balms are not created equal.

“Jessica took the time during COVID-19 to become an aesthetician and showed me how important ingredients are,” Ben said, adding he was astounded to learn the average person ingests about a pound of lip balm a year.

A quest for better-for-you formulas brought Ben to industry veteran Michael Kaplan who has been working for the past five years on a new brand, Qür.

Not only did Ben host a kickoff Zoom press conference to introduce Qür’s new lip balms, he is also expected to help the company develop a full lifestyle brand. In addition to lip balms, there are hand sanitizers and an array of other products in the pipeline.

The new Qür lip balms became available direct to consumer March 1 on the brand’s website priced at $15 for a bundle of two.

The lip balm category is getting attention in COVID-19 as mask wearing creates a greater need for moisturization. The most recent 12-week ended January 24, according to IRI, show lipstick sales plummeted 45 percent, while industry experts said lip balm volume is up in the high-single digits.

Michael, President of Qür, thinks the time is ripe to expand on growth with innovation in the commodity category.

Qür brings two clever packaging ideas to market. First there’s Clip Balm, a clip-on container to avoid constant searching in bags or pockets. Then, there’s Qür 360, which requires no cap removal or twist-up mechanism. The latter is not only convenient, but a more sanitary option.

“During the pandemic, people are very concerned with where their hands have been,” explained Michael, noting that the self-closing mechanism can be opened with the flick of one hand.

“The beauty industry was in need of a reboot when it came to lips,” said Michael, who has been behind blockbuster launches for almost 30 years, such as licensed Hello Kitty personal care items, and a collaboration with Pepsi’s Aquafina for lip oil.

The Qür team includes female leaders, whom Michael said exemplify the brand’s ethos of balance. They dug into the category looking for avenues to reimagine a simple product that works in today’s new reality.

“It’s a very different world, and by examining and understanding today’s consumer we were able to differentiate our collection by developing a lineup that offers a better user experience,” said Jacquelyn Levy, who helped create the line. “Gone are the days of the tired tubes and paltry pots.”

Beyond the packages, the company looked for formulas to take lip balm to the next level. “We spent a lot of time with formulas,” said Lisa Hill, Senior Merchandiser for the brand. “We came up with four very clean favors for each we think will offer something for everyone.”

Jacquelyn added that Qür balms feature shea butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil and SPF 15. There are no parabens, PEGs, phthalates, silicones or sulfates, and the products are not tested on animals.

Ben’s presence is more than just a figurehead, said Michael. “He’s involved in every aspect and not just a spokesperson.”

Having a social figure is becoming more prevalent in beauty and personal care launches, as consumers take stock in what celebrities use and wear. Most recently, Will and Jada Smith revealed a line of sustainable personal care called Hey Humans, while influencer Mindy McKnight expanded her Walmart exclusive hair care line with 18 new items.