Minimal ingredients, great moisturizing, affordable, multiple uses
Lanolin (for some), some may find it to be too thick to spread easily for a full body application
I started my foray into Bag Balm products after a recommendation from a friend for their CBD salve and wanted the free shipping so I added a moisturizer for grins and giggles. I gotta say, I’m extremely happy with it so far. I started with the Original Moisturizer and the Full Spectrum CBD and Arnica Rub. While I’ve been fortunate enough to not experience cracked and bleeding dry skin so far, I do get very ashy and somewhat quickly, especially in the dryer months.
I don’t like to shower every single day because it dries my skin out more, and when it’s all around cold I don’t like to disrobe more than I absolutely have to to keep applying lotion. My typical winter moisturizer has been straight coconut oil for the last few years. I liked it well enough, but there was always just enough of an annoyance that I always keep my eye out for other things. I’ve found the Bag Balm moisturizer to be extremely effective for me, especially when combined with another oil to help improve spreadability.
The product itself:
The tins all have the same overall design; removable lid, mostly green on green, the name, uses, etc. The main difference is going to be the sizes and how easy it will be to get all of the product out. Choose between 1oz, 4oz, 8oz tins, a 4.5lb pail, or 2oz tubes (perfect for tossing in a bag).
It smells similar to just about every other petrolatum product I’ve used although it does have a hint of something else I just cannot put my finger on. You’ll also find the texture to be very similar. To me it does feel a little less greasy than Vaseline, and seems to take 20-30 minutes or so for that sort of oily feeling to go away completely. For a full body application I find that it soaks in so quickly that I feel like I have to use a lot more to get full coverage. It could be that I’m not properly emulsifying it in my hands before applying, or that my skin is that dry, or that that’s just how it’s gonna be when trying to cover everything. What I started doing was taking a scoop out with my knuckle and mixing it with a squirt or two of Eleven Australia’s Hydrate and Glow Oil. This allowed me to get the benefits of both products, and also get more coverage out of each one. The best part for me is that I don’t feel dry or itchy, or get flaky dry skin, for a few days after each total application.
The Original Moisturizer, Sport Tube, Hand and Body Skin Moisturizer, and the Pet line all feature just 4 ingredients, which I really liked: Petrolatum moisturizes. Lanolin soothes and softens. 8-Hydroxyquinoline Sulfate preservative. Paraffin wax helps bind the ingredients together. Let’s talk about those in a little more depth really quick:
Petrolatum is also known as petroleum jelly, white petrolatum, and a few other names. The brand name you’re probably conjuring when you think of petroleum jelly is Vaseline, who’s original formula is 99.6% white petrolatum. The main purpose of petrolatum is to act as a barrier on the skin. This helps to lock needed moisture in, and unwanted moisture out. It’s also commonly found in hair products for added shine, and used as a diaper cream to prevent rashes.
Lanolin is a wax secreted from wool bearing animals. It’s been a mildly controversial ingredient in the cruelty free community because, like all industries that rely on animals in some form, it’s always a possibility that the animals involved weren’t humanely raised. That being said, while wool and its byproducts technically aren’t vegan because they come from an animal, they can be sourced cruelty free. Sheep naturally need to be shorn or they suffer from other health problems, and many sheep are raised lovingly for this purpose. While the wool gets turned into yarn, the lanolin wax from the wool gets separated out and used for other things. Lanolin can hold on to an incredible amount of moisture, and combined with the petrolatum to seal it in can help repair cracked and damaged skin. If you have an allergy to wool, you might want to look into another product to be safe.
8-Hydroxy Quinoline Sulfate 0.3% I knew nothing about before diving a little deeper into this ingredient list. It turns out that when combined with petrolatum and lanolin, this ingredient has some antiseptic properties. It was hard to find much more in the way of details for this one that didn’t come from extremely wordy scientific papers.
You’ll probably recognize paraffin wax as something you see a lot in nail salons and spas as a treatment for dry skin. It’s also a derivative of petroleum, similar to petrolatum, but has enough chemical differences to not be exactly the same thing. It helps to soften the skin and can even offer some mild pain relief.
Bag Balm has been around since 1899, and the formula for its staple products hasn’t changed since 1988 when they removed pine oil and turpentine. It’s manufactured in Lyndonville, Vermont.
I did reach out to the company to see if I could get more information on what was also manufactured at their facilities and if they could tell me more about the farm their sheep were raised on, but as of the time of publication I’ve only received a nonanswer to my question. If anything changes on that front I’ll come back to update right away.
I’m personally a pretty big fan of the basic line. It’s affordable, especially if you’re only using it on small areas at a single time. It’s made in the US, and it does seem as though the company does put real thought into what they’re using and where it comes from.