The Chamois Cream Showdown

Guest poster Jeff Hemmel compares two major brands of butt lube.

I’m 40 miles into one of my usual rides and there’s a battle raging in my pants.

The combatants? Two chamois creams, each holding onto their own piece of territory. In this corner, weighing in at $19.99 for an 8 oz. jar is Paceline’s Chamois Butt’r, a pretty common cream found in many bike shops. In the opposite corner, weighing in at a daunting $24 for a 4 oz. tube, is dznuts (pronounced DEEZ-nuts), a premier high-end brand.

Which will take the title in the, uh, end? I’ll let you know as soon as my nether regions finish sorting it out.

Go ahead and laugh, but this is serious testing, from a bona fide professional journalist. Before my ride I had carefully measured out equal amounts of both creams (or just grabbed a two-fingered scoop), applied the creams to specific boundaries of my anatomy (or as specific as you can get when you’re messing with an area you can’t really see), and then got on the bike and rode a precisely measured course (I just go up to this sign, which is about 22.5 miles from home…and turn around).

Why? To find out once and for all if one glob of goo can actually be worth more than twice the price of the other. And yes, let’s face it, just to have the opportunity to say something about Dave Zabriskie’s nuts in print.

One difference between the two products is immediately obvious. Dznuts is a thicker viscosity cream with an almost whipped appearance, where Chamois Butt’r is somewhat lighter, with a shiny, almost watery look to the surface. Apply them and both provide a cooling sensation. On the road they maintained that feeling of coolness, but with subtle differences. Chamois Butter’s sensation was slightly more pronounced, dznuts a little less in your face. (No jokes about the butt-face jump in logic here.) Other than that, however, both seemed to do the job. Late in the ride I did feel like dznuts thickness helped it to stay on slightly better, where the less-thick Chamois Butt’r may have been losing a little of the battle to sweat. The cool sensation of the Chamois Butt’r, however, seemed to last slightly longer than the dznuts, perhaps distracting me a little more from how long I had spent in the saddle. At the end of the day both washed away, from me and my chamois, with soap and water.

The Euro Version of Chamois Butt’r contains menthol, witch hazel, and Brazilian peppertree, but contains mineral oil and a few other ingredients that give a natural ingredients proponent pause. Dznuts relies on tea-tree oil as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, Evodia, a Chinese herb, for wound-healing and anti-inflammatory purposes, and Masterwort for its wound-healing and calming properties. It claims a more organic approach, trying to stay as natural as possible.

Why avoid certain products? It’s up for debate. Mineral oil is petroleum-based, however, and has been blamed for doing everything from promoting acne to messing with cell development. It’s also, however, the basis of many baby oils. You’ll just have to make your own call on this issue.

So back to the original question — is one worth twice the price? Probably not. Both get the job done. A lot of dznuts premium probably goes into its fancier, high-end packaging. I do like that it’s a more natural product, however, and I prefer its texture and consistency.

I said I’d let my nether regions sort things out, and truth be told, my butt has apparently been telling my brain to go for the dznuts, as it’s the cream that’s been seeing the most use since the initial showdown. Once it runs out, however, the butt and the brain will likely have to factor something else into the equation — the wallet — before the next purchase.

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14 thoughts on “The Chamois Cream Showdown

  1. Nice…..what an interesting product review. I don’t know why I’ve never read up on these creams before, but I haven’t. Maybe it’s because I’ve never thought I needed to use them before. Now that I’ve read your post, it’s got me thinking that maybe I should try one sometime. Thanks for tuning me in.

    Hey, Ray do you have an e-mail? I wanted to ask you something. Shoot me an e-mail so I can reply with my questions.

  2. Honestly, anything works. I usually use hemorrhoid ointment or plain old Vaseline. I also have some Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, which is rather like A&D Ointment.

  3. No need to spend gobs of cash on either of these. My product of choice: Bag Balm in the green tin can (10 oz. for $6 at your local pharmacy). Works wonders and it will last all day, as recently confirmed in a couple of century rides. The little can should last you a couple of months, at least.

  4. I used plain ol’ vaseline for a metric century without any problems, but got some DZnuts as part of my Fat Cyclist 100 Miles of Nowhere bag o’ swag so I’ll probably be using that for long (metric cent and up) rides in the future.

  5. So where do you draw the distance line on weither or not to use a cream?? We’ve done up to 35 miles and don’t seem to need any but were going to start doing longer rides this season. Any suggestions are appreciated!

    • I use cream on an “as needed” basis. Usually, I’ll skip it for rides of an hour or less. Lately, however, I’ve been using it for all rides, because of a certain tenderness down there. Once I’m toughened up for spring, I’ll probably cut way back on it. I’m currently using the Chamois Butt’r in a tube, but will probably revert to the cheaper stuff sold by Performance and Nashbar. I think it works just as well.

      • Rainycamp, thanks for the clue, we’ve got a couple of “tiny tubes” of the stuff sold by Performance so when we head out for longer rides we will experiment, again thank! :)

  6. I’ve been using chamois cream for years now, and dznuts has worked wonders for me. I use it when I spin, when I race, and def. on long rides.

    Check out my great deals on dznuts and dzbliss below. Buy & Get Coolmax socks for Free.

    Classy Cycling

  7. DZ-Nuts works great for running! I used DZ-Nuts when I Ran the Canyonlands Half Marathon. No Chaffing, No Pain, No Problems. I have used other products when I ran in races before and DZ-Nuts is by far the best one yet.

  8. I see a lot of responses for vasoline(petroleum based) and bag balm(petroleum based) substitutes for chamois cream. The intended uses for these products is for use after irritation has occurred. Petroleum lasts a really long time, in fact it lasts longer than the skin around it which means you will get a worse rash from the petroleum rubbing your skin raw. Bag balm is great for after you’ve showered and you’re done creating friction in the area of application. So, …The ideal chamois cream will last long enough to reduce friction while breaking down before the skin does. In my years of research, I have tested many products and decided to work on my own. After years of development, Friction Freedom chamois cream was born with goal to last long enough without causing the skin to get irritated. Check out http://www.frictionfreedom.com and E-mail us for a free sample. Happy Riding!

  9. Pingback: A Bike Noob Ride Times Two « Bike Noob

  10. If you want a Chamois Cream at a fair price check out Smooth Ride Chamois Cream from OA Performance Products. The best price per oz you can find. unconmed.com.

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