I first published this about 8 months ago and surprisingly it’s one of my most popular posts. If you search for “chamois creme” on Google, this post is on the first page of results. I think that makes me the definitive Internet authority on chamois creme ;-)
Anyway, I recently tried another product — Beljum Budder — so I added a review below…
For the first year and a half that I cycled, I didn’t use chamois creme. I like to keep things simple and I figured I’d know when I needed it. I did lots of riding — including four MS-150‘s — and never had a saddle sore or major chafing problem.
Nonetheless, I recently decided to give chamois creme a try and for long rides it does make things a bit more comfortable. And since I frequently ride in 90 degree plus weather, the anti-bacterial properties are helpful. Over the past year, I’ve tried five different chamois cremes and here’s my take on each:
Chamois Butt’r ($1.88/oz)
This is probably the most popular chamois creme in the US, and it’s by far the cheapest (less than half the cost of the others I’ve tried). For these reasons, I’ll consider Chamois Butt’r to be my baseline for comparison. It works fine, although it’s not made from natural ingredients — it contains alcohol and parabens (which can mimic estrogen and cause hormone imbalances or worse). A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you couldn’t safely eat, and this one doesn’t pass that test. Even if you don’t buy into the safety argument, there are good alternatives that are all-natural, so why use this product?
This one is the hands down winner for best name (deeeeez nuuuuts!!!). dznuts was formulated by Team Garmin-Chipotle rider Dave Zabriskie and it contains all natural ingredients. I really wanted to like this product, but unfortunately it was probably the worst performer (and it’s pricey). It tends to break down and lose viscosity quickly and therefore doesn’t perform it’s primary function of lubrication. I suspect this is because dznuts is a water-based creme.
This is an interesting product. It’s shea butter based and its ingredients would make even the hardest core tree hugger smile — all natural, organic, and fair trade. Using the product is a good news/bad news story. The good news is that it works really well — I rode 50 miles in 100 degree heat today and when I took my bib shorts off there was still a layer of nubutte on the chamois. The bad news is that this stuff is a pain to apply. It’s really thick like a paste and doesn’t spread easily. And it’s hard to get the shea butter off your hands when you’re done. It’s also the most expensive product I’ve tried. I’m going to keep this one on probation until I use up the jar.
Assos Chamois Creme ($4.23/oz)
Assos is another popular chamois creme (the #1 selling product at my favorite online cycling store, Competitive Cyclist) and is supposedly Lance Armstrong’s creme of choice. Assos claims that it is made from 100% natural ingredients, although I haven’t been able to find a list of ingredients. All things considered, this is my favorite chamois creme — it goes on easy, provides good lubrication, and has a clean (but not overpowering) smell. [UPDATE: I confirmed that Assos does contain parabens. Why use a product with potentially harmful ingredients unless you have to?]
Bejlum Budder ($2.25/oz)
My bro-in-law (The Lawman) has been raving about this product for a while and recently sent me a tube. I have to say I’m impressed. Like dznuts, Beljum Budder is all-natural with no parabens or petroleum products. But unlike dznuts, it doesn’t seem to break down on long rides (yet it washes off easily unlike nubutte). Plus, it’s one of the more affordable chamois cremes. Two thumbs up.
And ther winner is…
In my opinion, nubutte is the best performing chamois creme (and I’m not just saying that because they sponsor me). However, it’s expensive and messy to work with. So, the all around winner based on performance, price, and ingredients is Beljum Budder. As they say here in Texas, “Go git you some”.