If you are aeronautical and systems engineer and your day job is designing aircrafts, you need a process to help you deal with the complexity of the task. Kelly Johnson knew that probably better than anyone else. Having started his work at Lockheed, an American aerospace company, as tool designer, in the course of his career he worked through assignments as flight test engineer, stress analyst, aerodynamicist, and weight engineer to eventually become Vice President of Lockheed ADP (Advanced Development Projects), aka "The Skunk Works" (the term coined by one of ADP workers due to proximity of their offices to a foul-smelling plastic factory). So how did he make it work?
In contrast to the complex nature of his workload Johnson applied and became known for his “down-to-brass-tacks” (i.e. get-down-to-basics) management style and his association with the KISS principle: when things get complicated – ”Keep it simple, stupid”. These must have worked a treat. In over four decades at ADP, Johnson led the design of over forty aircraft and is widely recognised as one of the most prolific aircraft design engineers in the history of aviation.
The KISS principle has been applied in many professions since (think Steve Jobs), so when we started working on our new Lip Salve we decided to put it to test and try to come up with the simplest solution to what for many men becomes an insolvable problem and their worst enemy: dry, chapped and sore lips.
Your lips are unique. In fact just like your fingerprints – no two lips are the same. They are also the thinnest part of your body. So thin, that the blood vessels underneath give them their reddish colour (or blue, if you’re reading this in Oymayakon, Russia). Lips have only 3 to 5 cell layers, compared to 16 that make up the rest of your skin. That, and over a million of nerve endings make them incredibly sensitive to the touch but also susceptible to damage from sun, wind, cold weather or hot dry air inside. Unlike your skin on the rest of your face, lips don’t have any sweat or oil producing sebaceous glands, leaving them even more prone to dryness and vulnerable to the elements. So no matter how tough a guy you are, your lips are still sensitive and in need of the right care. Not least, because they get a lot of attention. Whenever you talk to someone it’s your eyes or your lips that listeners tend to focus on. So look after them.
If your lips are already chapped, sore, or uncomfortably dry, you don’t have to grin and bear it. This often-neglected area in male grooming can be treated easily with the right, soothing ingredients, which we have packed into our protecting and healing Lip Salve. True to the KISS principle, our barbers’ formula is simple: a non-sticky and no shiny residue blend of healing and protective plant oils (Avocado, Cranberry) with moisturising and soothing plant butters (Cocoa, Shea). Topped up with a natural mint extract for an extra shot of freshness every time you use it. All housed in a smart, masculine blue metal tin, that is smaller than a matchbox, travels well and is now your new best friend.
Keeping it simple also meant intentionally avoiding certain ingredients. As with the rest of our CLEAN LABEL range it meant no parabens, artificial colours etc. but also, importantly for a lip salve, no petroleum or lanolin. Commonly used, in the long run they can make your lips even drier, trapping you in a vicious circle of reapplying the product, so best to be avoided altogether.
So there you have it – our new Lip Salve. Admittedly creating it was less complex than designing and building supersonic, single engine Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. But it gets the job done in no time – KISS style solution at its best. Kelly Johnson would be proud.