Real Asses Test Out Chamois Creams

Post by Susan Lacke.

Send the NMA kidlets out of the room, folks. We’re about to talk about some PG-13, borderline NC-17 stuff. Actually, to my Mom and Dad: if you want to skip reading this article, too, that might be a good idea. I’m about to talk about my nether regions.

Yes. THOSE nether regions. The lady flower. The pink taco and muffaletta. The junk in my trunk. My humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps (Mom, Dad, SERIOUSLY. STOP READING).

The Joys of Chafing in Places You Never Knew You Had

As athletes, we’ve all had our share of awkward and embarrassing events where our activities have caused discomfort in awkward and embarrassing places. Walk through the food tent at the finish of a marathon – chances are good you’ll see more than one shirtless man with “X” tape marking his nipples. It’s not because he’s kinky…it’s because bloody nipples are really quite painful (okay, it might ALSO be because he’s kinky…but that’s a different website for you to visit). I had one newbie runner recently confide in me that she was scared to wear “real” running shorts because her thighs rubbed together to the point of red and bleeding chafing.

For Triathletes, It’s Even Worse

Triathletes encounter those issues, of course, but the bike leg of the sport also introduces a whole ‘nother set of awkward and embarrassing afflictions in the most awkward and embarrassing of places. Think about it – when cycling, your crotch and your butt spend hours in direct contact with an awkwardly-shaped contraption. As if that weren’t insulting enough to those parts, it’s doing it while wearing skin-tight padded shorts and pedaling furiously.

Sweaty? Yup. Icky? Totally. Gross? You got it.

No wonder triathletes and cyclists are prone to numbness, pain, chafing and saddle sores – a catchall term which refers to hot spots, abrasions, blisters, pimples, and/or abscesses that result in the inner thighs, crotch and rear end.  To prevent such afflictions, many riders turn to chamois cream – used in conjunction with a chamois, the area of the crotch in the bike short that was historically made from skin of the antelope, goat, or lamb.

Never fear, NMAs: animals are rarely skinned for the sake of lubing up your cycling-lovin’ ass. Though some riders still use a leather, the chamois of most bike shorts today are made of synthetic materials. Chamois creams themselves are topical applications that are gooped on (and that’s the technical term for it) to reduce the friction that occurs in those areas. These products aren’t limited to just biking – many runners also use such products to eliminate chafing.

Putting Asses on the Line to Test 5 Chamois Creams

Because I wouldn’t let you try just any old chamois cream, I’ve donated the use of my most intimate areas to test out some products for NMA. Yes, I expect a very nice Christmas present from you this year, thankyouverymuch. Don’t worry, men…I haven’t forgotten you.  In the interest of gender equality for this little experiment, I’ve recruited a dude, too.

My male test subject is happy to loan his kibbles ‘n’ bits to scientific inquiry on No Meat Athlete, though only under the cloak of anonymity. Apparently, he has a reputation as a red-meat-eating American to uphold, and the mean kids on the triathlon playground will beat him up if they discover his presence on a veggie-lovin’ site.  That said, we’ll refer to him as C – short for “Carnivore.” C is a 13-time Ironman who rides between 50 to 200 miles per week on his bike.

C is also my go-to guy for all things Ironman, and I love him because he’s extremely patient with me and my endless newbie gaffes. Case in point: While discussing this experiment, C asked me, “So how do you apply the cream to the chamois?”

I responded honestly: I slap it on the chamois, rub some on my thighs, and shimmy into the shorts.

He looked at me like I had just peed on a statue of the Virgin Mary. Apparently, there’s a “method,” and my lack of knowledge about this “method” only made my newbie stank that much more pungent. But C, being C, agreed to teach me more about this essential habit for cycling.

That said, I’m not the best person to conduct a how-to workshop on chamois cream application – I just lube my ass, get on my bike, and pray that I can make it through that day’s ride without dying. ‘Kay? ‘Kay.

One thing I will do, however, is give you some ideas as to what kind of chamois creams might work for you. I say ‘might,’ because let’s face it – everyone has different priorities when it comes to this type of product. I’m simply outlining observations made about each product. Four manufacturers sent samples, and C and I reviewed these in a double-blind test.

Chamois Butt’r (Paceline)

CB8ozLowres 152x300One of the most famous chamois creams out there, Chamois Butt’r is really one of the standards for this product. It’s easily obtained at most cycling and triathlon outlets, is relatively affordable ($14.99 for 8 ounces), and easy to apply without much mess.

Of all the creams sampled in this experiment, this one takes the cake on longevity. It lasted the longest in a crotch test during rides in a hot Phoenix summer, so that’s saying a lot. The components which contribute to Chamois Butt’r’s longevity might also be the same components which make it a bit sticky and messy to apply with your fingers – but Chamois Butt’r comes in a squeezable tube, making application a cinch.

If you’re a vegan who wishes to extend your food philosophy to chamois cream, skip this one: It contains lanolin, which is derived from sheep’s wool. If this isn’t a concern for you, by all means check this one out on your next ride.

Chamois Butt’r Eurostyle (Paceline)

main IG2126176526Living up to its name, this one, when dispensed, actually looks like butter. Of all the creams, this one had the creamiest consistency, and really almost had a luxurious feel to it.

Perhaps that’s what makes it ‘Eurostyle’ – European folks are, of course, known for appreciating the finer things in life. In my mind, I see a snooty French man with a curlicue mustache expertly applying Chamois Butt’r Eurostyle to his designer shorts between puffs of his long cigarettes and sips of Bordeaux.

Though it has such a consistency, it applies nicely, spreads easily, and is easy to clean off your hands after application. It performed excellently for both C and me on long rides – in fact, C stated he almost forgot he was even using any cream in the first place.

Just like its famous big brother, Eurostyle contains lanolin. It’s not as easy to find as the original formula, you can get it for $19.99 per 8 ounce jar on Paceline’s website.

Anti-Chafe Cream (Blue Steel Sports)

anti chafe tube 134x300If you’re a triathlete, chances are you remove your body hair. All your body hair. Don’t ask me why – it’s just something triathletes do.

At any rate, nasty and uncomfortable things such as shaving and waxing can lead to other nasty and uncomfortable things such as ingrown hairs. It can also lead to an increase in chafing and saddle sores, as there is no hair to serve as a “buffer” between skin and chamois. These afflictions can sometimes be linked back to bacteria growing in the warm, moist environments created by cycling. The benefit of Blue Steel Sports’ Anti-Chafe Cream is that it contains many natural antibacterial ingredients, including tea tree oil, that are also very soothing.

The downside? It doesn’t smell all that dandy. It’s not bad, necessarily, it’s just a bit medicinal. I thought it smelled like Band-Aids, while C said it evoked memories of an old-school hair cream his dad used many years ago.

It’s a good product, though, and if it isn’t used as your primary chamois cream, I would highly recommend this as an after-ride cream…so long as you don’t mind the Band-Aid smell. Note: This, too contains lanolin. It’ll run you $11.95 for 3.4 ounces.

Friction Freedom

IMG 5240 2cropped 300x300Of all the creams tested, Friction Freedom the most likely to make you yelp “WHOOOOO-EE!” Many chamois creams include some sort of mentholated or “tingle” effect. To say Friction Freedom tingles would be an understatement.

It is potent stuff, and it’s effects are quite long-lasting. C couldn’t shake the hot spots caused by this cream, even after multiple attempts to reposition himself in the saddle during a 2.5 hour ride.  For me, even after a two-hour ride and a shower, I still felt the buzz in my naughty bits. If you bike to work and still want a smile on your face during a board meeting, this cream’s for you.

The odor, though, was the big turn-off for this cream. I couldn’t quite describe it until I got C’s description: “A combination of rancid wine with minty mouthwash.” Don’t ask how we know what that combination smells like – but trust us when we say that’s exactly what it smells like. It was hard to wash the smell off your hands after application, so when I went to wipe my brow during my ride, I wasn’t too pleased. And yes, there was a tingly sensation on my brow after I wiped, too. Told you this stuff was potent.

Friction Freedom sells their chamois cream for $29.99 for 8 ounces. Again, this isn’t vegan-friendly, as it contains Lanolin as well.

Hoo Ha Ride Glide (Reflect Sports)

New Image2 300x225I was really excited to receive this product from Reflect Sports, mainly because I was curious to see if there was anything special about a chamois cream created by women, for women.

I wasn’t disappointed. This product appealed to the girly side of me, with its light lavender scent and moisturizing abilities. Even C liked the smell of this, saying that he almost wanted to taste it.

Yes, you read that right – I made a man test a “girly” cream. And you know what? He liked it, too.

If Eurostyle was the snooty French man, Hoo Ha Ride Glide was his sophisticated wife, pedaling through the Tour de France course effortlessly, exclaiming, C’est un beau beurre d’extrémité arrière! (This is a lovely ass butter!) This French lady never crashes. She never gets chain oil under her fingernails. And she certainly doesn’t get helmet hair.

That’s what this cream was for me. It was light, clean, and fresh-smelling, and really got my ride started off on the right note. Granted, after a 4-hour ride this past weekend, I still came home with oil-stained fingernails, helmet hair, and road rash that day…but I’ll be darned if my ass didn’t feel just dandy. C’est un beau beurre d’extrémité arrière, indeed.

There’s no animal product in Reflect Sports’ products, and they strive to be as natural as possible, using barley extract, lavender, eucalyptus leaf, tea tree and peppermint oils. You can get an 8-ounce tube for $21.95 at their website.  Use the special code NMA1015 when you check out, and you’ll get 15 percent off.

You Too Can Have a Slick Ass!

Thanks to C for allowing me to use his butt for this experiment, and thanks to the above-mentioned manufacturers for providing samples to use in this process. They’re so cool, many of them actually gave full-sized product samples for a giveaway!

Because we here at No Meat Athlete are dedicated to the quest for knowledge, let us know – what would you like to see us test out on this site? Perhaps there’s something – a food, a training event, a race, a product – that you’ve always wondered about, but were afraid to try. If I’m willing to donate my nether regions (and hey, so is C – and Matt subjected his for a review of compression running shorts, too!), it should be obvious that we are willing (or is it “foolish enough?”) to test things out on your behalf.

Make your suggestions below! We’ll randomly select 5 commenters to receive full-size products from one of the above manufacturers!

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Comments

  1. i’d love a review on good running headphones/earbuds. love music on runs, but so many are not sweat compatible, heavy, or so awkwardly shaped they fall out on runs even with over-ears.

  2. I think salt tablets or electrolyte pills would be a good one :]

  3. Kay Blom says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the chamois cream review. Unfortunately I read it at work and nearly fell of my chair laughing. OK, so have been looking for something like this for a long time. I have the 50 mile Livestrong riding coming up soon, and need something to help with the chafing. I’m going to order the Hoo Ha Ride Glide. Thanks for this review!

    Kay

    • YES! My humor almost causing your injury is an awesome, awesome compliment. I mean that in a good way, I promise.
      Good luck on your ride. Let us know how it goes!

  4. Amy Fujimoto says:

    I’d like a post about running shorts for women. I’m training for a marathon, and I’ve been experimenting with running skirts — makes me feel like a cheerleader! — and shorts. I’m curious about compression shorts. I’m just looking for more suggestions in general.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • i also run and hate shorts due to the chaffing effect they have on my legs….i love my running skirts, they make me feel “pretty” while i smell just horrible…the key is getting the right size

  5. Haha, this is an awesome post. Whenever I decide to get into biking I’m totally going to look into this stuff.

  6. How much cream is one supposed to use? I’m a total newbie…I have been just riding with bike or tri shorts but after my first legit long ride today (60mi) the friction really got to me… Should things feel goopy? Do you apply directly to the “lady parts”?

    I’d love to see a review of or pro/con list for different types of tri/cycling tops.

    • One newbie to another: I have no freakin’ clue.

      Okay, I have a kinda clue, so I’ll share it with you. There’s two schools of thought on chamois cream application. One is to apply it to the chamois. The other is to apply it directly to the skin. The whole point of chamois cream is to put enough on there that is provides a layer between skin and chamois so that it makes it easier for skin to move around on top of the chamois. Think wet slip-n-slide versus dry slip-n-slide. If you turn the hose on and make it a wet slip-n-slide, it’s a party; If there’s no water, then it’s really painful.

      The friction is what causes most rashes and saddle sores. So you don’t need to squeeze on the whole bottle; but don’t skimp, either. I, personaly use about one to two tablespoons (cooler day = 1 T, hotter day = 2 T) spread on the chamois itself…whatever’s left over on my fingers I’ll rub on my inner thighs before putting on my shorts. But that’s just the way I roll. You need to experiment with what works for you. It’s rumored that Lance Armstrong goops the stuff on so thickly it looks like shaving cream. But he probably uses a leather chamois, plus, umm…he’s Lance Armstrong. He can do whatever the hell he wants.

      I really hope that helps! Let me know if it doesn’t — I’ll try to get C to chime in on this board if I can.

  7. I would love a review on the best sweathat/bondi band/visor out there. I am a fountain when it comes to sweating and so far, nothing that I have tried has been quite right. Thanks!

  8. Susan,
    You are hilarious as always….good article and thanks for being the guinea pig (sp?)))…i agree with sarah that would be a great review!!!!!

  9. Brittney says:

    I love your posts…they never fail to crack me up! hahaha. ok …i would love some experiments with different gu products, sport beans etc….maybe even in comparison with some of the homemade variety?

    also…i don’t bike much intensely so don’t really get butt chaffing but i do get it on my arms…i usually just lube it up with some vaseline but i could try these products for arm chaff too right?

    • Totally. In fact, I used Chamois Butt’r on my underarms during a 3 hour run, and it lasted the entire time…and again, this was a hot sweaty day in Phoenix. I think it lasts longer than Vaseline, so I’d say it’s worth the price.

  10. Mary Ellen says:

    I loved this post! Totally hilarious, while informative!
    I’d like to see a review of earbuds and/or mp3 players. I currently use my iPod classic, but it looks a bit “huge” on my arm! I love having all my music with me, but…
    Great blog!

  11. Wonderful post, thanks! I haven’t found any chafe spots yet, but that will probably change as I start marathon training.

  12. Great review. I almost choked on my water while I was reading it lol!

    I would love to see a review on gu/ sport beans/ blocks… I know a lot really depends on the individual, but really, what are some of those ingredients?

  13. I would love more detail on how you actually apply this stuff – I think someone requested that above. like, how much, etc? I haven’t wandered into the land of $20 creams quite yet and don’t want to waste the product when I finally do. I have no idea about what to test, but I at least wanted to comment and say this post rocks. fantastic. hilarious.

    • Michelle, see above — I just responded to the other person who requested that information, so hopefully you’ll find that helpful. If not, let me know, and I’ll try to track down more deets on how to make your journey into the land of $20 creams a happy one. :)

    • I’ve been riding about 10 years and here’s how I do the goop: When you don’t use any chamois butter, and you come in after a long ride, notice when you are showering where the tender spots are. That’s where you likely place most of your weight on the bike, so that’s where you need the lube to reduce friction. Next time out, put a nice blob on your fingers (I usually use about a teaspoon) and put it directly on your skin where the friction is. For me it’s sort of under my sit bones. I do not put any on my shorts, except that I usually wipe my fingers on them to clean the rest of the goo off. I don’t just slather it all over, personally, and this seems to work fine for me. It makes the product go a lot further, too – and the best one I’ve used is the Assos chamois creme. (ooh la la!) It’s more expensive than Chamois Butt’r, which I also have used and like okay, but it bothers me that you can’t get it all out of the tube. I find that the products with “tingle” are best applied directly to the skin, where you want them. I do not like to have the TINGLE go overboard, if you know what I mean. Applying to your shorts is likely to create an uncomfortable sensation if the creme gets inside. You really don’t need it there – and it is pretty irritating to the sensitive membranes – so be careful! Hope this helps.

  14. i’ve never tried any creams before! i would love to try the hoo haa one. :)

    i would like to see a post explaining the different ways of getting electrolytes in during a workout (nuun, gatorade, etc).

  15. A great review. For those people who not need chamois cream a couple of products I use (as I am only a ruuner) are Body Glide and Hydropel. Aquaphor also works well.

    • I haven’t tried those out yet, so thanks for your suggestions! Like I told another reader, these creams can also be used for runners — chafing is chafing, no matter where it is. So the principles of prevention on your ass are the same as on your armpits, nipples, whatever. These creams would all rock for runners, too.

  16. How about a review of the Strassburg sock for those of us with pesky plantar fasciitis. Or any other products geared to help treat plantar fasciitis. Heck, I’d even volunteer my right foot to be the guinea pig.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Fun read! My favorite running treat/fuel are gummies, so I’d love a review on the different sports chews out there–Clif Bloks, Gu Chomps, Honey Stingers chews, etc.

  18. Great post! Would love a review of tri shorts/shirts and/or workout drinks/gels/blocks.

  19. Kevin D says:

    Great post! I have alway wondered what these products were all about. I don’t chaff a whole lot but if I’m caught in the rain or it’s exceptionally hot and I’ve got my sweat on it can happen really quickly. I’d love to try the Chamois Butt’r (reg or Eurostyle). I don’t mind being the snotty French guy. And I’d love to see a review of hydration gear. I know Matt reviewed the Nathan pack but also I’d like to hear all weigh in on the belts if you are just out for a 10 or 15 miler and only need ~12-24 oz.

    • You actually bring up an important point — not everyone uses chamois butters unless they’re in a situation where there’s a higher potential for blisters, etc. Moisture is a biggie when it comes to blisters — so most people don’t use chamois creams unless they’re going to be wet, either from rain or from sweat or transitioning from a swim to a bike in a triathlon…

      Ooh, and if you’re going to be a snooty French guy, please take a picture of yourself in your No Meat Athlete shirt, complete with your curlicue mustache, long ciggies, and red wine. Because that would just make my day. :)

  20. Hilarious post! I’ll be passing this along… and now I remember why I think bikers are a scary bunch =)

    Maybe a review of sunscreens? I’m always on a search for a better one!

    • We’re not scary! We just wear tight shorts, shave all our body hair, and drink excessive amounts of coffee! That’s endearing…right? :)

  21. This was so hilarious it almost makes me want to take up biking. I’d like a review of appropriate running undergarments, methinks my cotton granny panties aren’t the best for running. Some of my skirts are built for going commando but some clearly aren’t and I don’t know what to wear underneath.

  22. Susan – the description of application was absolutely, poitively helpful. Thanks!!

  23. this was a great post!! i have a friend who chafe’d the heck outta her cheeks over the weekend on a waverunner, so I forwarded it to her. I’d like to see a review on different bike saddles, not just road bike saddles, but even hybrid/mtn bike saddles, I can’t find one that doesn’t hurt my prone-to-injury tailbone so I had to quit riding. :(

  24. Love this post. As a side note, I find that if/when you do get saddle sores, bag balm (sold at pharmacies) is a cheap, effective way to heal sores quickly.

  25. I haven’t tried many, but I’ve had good luck with Sportslick – doesn’t feel all that slippery, and at first I didn’t think it was going to work. But I haven’t suffered any chafing. Mostly use if on the inner thighs for running, and no more red painful bumps.

  26. Great review! Informative AND hilarious! This is very timely for me – I am also a newbie, and training for my first century. After my first official “long” ride of 55 miles, I’m definitely in the market for something that makes me say,”C’est un beau beurre d’extrémité arrière.”

    Now, I am also a bit of a triathlete newbie – I’ve only done four so far. I didn’t know we should be getting rid of ALL our hair. WHY??!!?? Even if shaves seconds off your transitions and minutes off of your swim/bike/run, I’m not sure I’m hardcore enough to shave it ALL off. :)

    The best comparison would be of heart rate monitors. Wouldn’t every triathlete love to have GPS, foot pod, cadence and speed, AND take it for a swim? It should CORRECTLY calculate calorie expenditure and help you decide how hard you are training. Which HRM comes closest to doing it all, and is it affordable? I’d gladly be a guinea pig for that one!

    Thanks for the awesome post, I’m still chuckling.

    • I have NO idea why the body-hair thing is the way it is. I remember one person telling me once that having less body hair made road rash less severe if you crash, so that’s one possibility. I find the “body shaving takes seconds off your swim time” rule to be kind of moot, given that most open-water swims are done in a wetsuit.

      This might be something on which I’ll have to do some hardcore investigation. Perhaps my findings will finally get me that Nobel Peace Prize.

  27. I’d love a review of socks. It may sound dumb, but I’ve tried SOOOOOOOO many different materials/brands and am still getting blisters on practically EVERY run.

    • Have you tried Injinji toe socks? These are really awesome and help with decreasing blisters between the toes. I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail some years back. Got loads of blisters in the first 700 miles and then I was good for hundreds of miles. The weird thing was that in Oregon I started to get blisters again. I would have thought after 1700+ miles of hiking my feet would have been hardened, but no. Sometimes blisters just happen. Hope this helps you out.

  28. Ryan Miller says:

    Assos makes a great chamois creme as well. I have been using it for years. It runs about $20 for 4.7 oz.

    http://www.assos.com/en/19/singleProduct.aspx?cat=6,19,31,36&prod=175

  29. I will have to say that having used creams for many years riding long 100-200 miles rides I found that the moisture wasn’t good for my rear end. For those finding this to be an issues as well you need to go get Anti-Monkey Butt Powder. I get mine at Wal-Mart. This stuff is great and has helped me through many double centuries over the past 2 years.

  30. I would like to see reviews of sunglasses (for both running and biking) and various types of bike mirrors. I’m commuting to work and have been looking for a mirror that works for me.

    I can’t wear regular jogging shorts either… too much friction. I love Adidas or Brooks capris, or longer compression shorts. They hold everything in place.

    Thanks!

  31. I’ll be doing my first sprint triathlon on June 26th. Unfortunately I can’t say I spent as much time on the bike as I would like, but it is only 12 miles, so I figured I can handle that as long as I don’t drown in the swim. I have never used a chamois cream before. One reason is because I have skin allergies to many things, including lanolin. An all natural cream would probably work best for me. However, being a guy, I probably should be using the Hoo Ha brand made for women.

  32. I’m a london cycle courier and am well familiar with cycling afflictions. What a shame that the only vegan product you reviewed is for lasses. Oh well, only I know what I rub on my undercarriage so maybe I’ll give this one a go.

  33. Just wondering about applying it prior to the swim portion of the triathalon. Does it last or does a triathalete have to shove his/her hands down his/her shorts in the transition area?

    Thanks!

  34. Thqnks for this post. I came back from tofay’s bike ride very chafed and went searching for an appropriate product. I used your link and code to buy the Hoo Ha Rideglide product — hope it’s as good as you say! I didn’t want a product with lanolin as it sometimes irritates me, so your comments on the other products were helpful too.

  35. Eric Dunn says:

    Love the article. Longtime user of pace line products and have very good results over the years,- meaning no saddle sores or other issues. Thanks for being honest. I also have used bag balm for tris but it doesnt wash out as well.

  36. Haha – Loved this!! Such a funny & educational read!! :)

  37. Smooth Ride Chamois Cream from OA Performance Products is also vegan and works well.

  38. Garyyou says:

    Did C guide you on the correct application of cream and if he did, can you share?

    Gary

  39. Stacy O says:

    This post is hysterical. Thanks so much for the great info as I am training for my first 70.3 and am finding the longer rides to be quite uncomfortable. Using Chamois Butt’r for my next ride!

  40. Thank you so much for the article! I stumbled across your site while searching for what kind of bike to purchase. I am a great GOOOooogler :) I signed up for my first Triathlon on Sept 13, 2014. I will turn 33 on that day so I feel it was meant to be…the TRI affect kept pulling me in! I had no idea I should use a cream but I am just getting started to prepare. I enjoy running but I haven’t been on a bike since I was about 9 yrs old. Looks like I have a lot to learn along the way. Thanks again!!!

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