Lip Lubrication?

Hi has anyone got any suggestions for lip lubrication? I lost my saliva glands to radiation so it’s impossible to lick and slide with the harmonica. I tried lip balms (they don’t last) I tried vaseline ( lasts a bit longer, but, messy).
Glyserin was suggested I havn’t tried it yet. Both stores I went to were sold out. I’ll let you know if it works once I get some incase anyone else has my problem.

I would like to find something that works and won’t bung up the harmonica.

I’ve only been playing about 1 month. JP’s new course with Stephanie is great.

Except for the radiation part, Dry lips is common when starting the harp. try rolling the lips out more so the part of the lip that is usually against the teeth and stays more moist is what is riding on the harp covers. Another helpfull hint is to relax the lips they should not bind or grip the harp at all, they just seal the air flow.
When I get occasional dry mouth/lips I eat/suck on a few olives. I’m not sure if it is activating the saliva glands or if it is the olive oils, but it seems to help me without drowning my harp or putting chunks in the reeds.
I’ve come to the conclusion it’s just activating the saliva glands.

I’ll try your suggestion, with the olives, & see how it works. Unfortunately for me when my lips are dry from practising my mouth usually feel like I’ve been sucking on a paper towel. Thank you for the suggestion.

I would say drink lots of water. LOTS. Or your favorite adult beverage, or a bottle of soda, or whatever your heart needs!

Thats all the advice I got!


Welcome, there is a trick or two that may work for us all in case we run into these situations, all the above comments sounds great, I will have to give that a shot next time I have dry mouth.

Vegetable glycerin works a treat! I just take a small drop and rub it on the cover plates, trying to keep it away from the comb. And sometimes I will dab a tiny amount in the corners of my lips, depending how much salty food I had that day. It really does the trick for me, and it’s not goopy like Vaseline or lip balm would be.

Just joined. My first comment is, try Throat Coat by Traditional Medicinals. It’s a herb tea that is in most stores which stock health food products (Whole Foods, your favorite local coop, etc.). It contains Slippery elm bark and licorish, natural lubricants. I used to sip it before I sang as it soothes and relaxes the throat., But the same effect “should” work on your harp lips as well. I play a Golden Melody and I have to keep it tilted or I get too much juice into the harp. If your new to playing harmonica it’s like learning to kiss for the first time. At first your all self conscious. Then you sort of register, hey, this is kind of fund and, hey she really likes it too. So, you find after a time playing that your lips find the right amount of lubricant naturally. In the meantime, try Throat Coat.

Howdy Dry,
Everyone watch out for licorice, sarsaparilla, yellow root and other related ingredients if there is any heart or blood pressure condition. I don’t know if it will work for harps, but when I was starting out as a jazz trumpeter, Blistex (hope the spelling is ok) worked where stick balms ruined the day. Of course this was for chapped lips, and later I learned to control the condition before it became a problem. BUT with a lack of saliva, you’ll need some lubricant, won’t you. Go very lightly on the application and add more if you think you need. Try to find the original formula, not one of the new flavored, souped up tubes.
I hope one of us has something you can use.


Didn’t’ know about side effects from licorice? I suppose though it is always a good idea to consult a Dr. if you are under care or at risk needing for a Dr’s care.

One thing to be aware of is getting mouth junk in the harp. Putting a substance with ANY kind of wax would probably not be a good idea. If I use a lip balm there is probably going to be some wax buildup. I am not the best at rinsing my mouth before I play but that, and avoiding munching on chips etc before playing, is probably going to serve you well as a good habit.

Avon Lip Balm and beer.

Maybe that last one will work because when you wake up, you’re lips won’t be chapped, and you can’t remember how you played…or if you played. LOL


Yeah…its a quality in it! lol


I m new here, have been playing 2 yrs and am a nurse too, I would suggest biotene which we suggest to patients with dry mouth and those especially after radiation therapy. It will lubricate your mouth even when not playing, also sugarfree candy to suck on or gum but not when you are playing, and frozen pineapple slices. Good Luck! striderrn

I have wondered about the Biotene after seeing the commercials. looks like a likely cure!
Seems like the candy and fruit would make the harp and/or reeds sticky after you play, causing it to collect lint and debris.

non stick spray doesnt have to be pam just any spray canola the cheap stuff spray on your finger wipe on your lips. goes in deep works wipe on for every song youll be fine.