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Crotch Guard Skin Care Oil is a chamois cream that isn't because it's an oil. It's different to a barrier cream, Crotch Guard claiming that it works 'in' the skin rather than 'on' the skin. It's a difference that works. Really well.
Here's the science bit. Crotch Guard's maker says that the oils in its product mimic the molecular structure of phospholipids, which are lipids, a compound found in human skin. Composed of cholesterol, waxes, fatty acids, and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, they strengthen and reinforce the structure of the skin. Traditional chamois creams usually provide a protective barrier to guard the skin from rubbing against other surfaces, but these can clog pores, promote ingrown hairs and stain clothing. And many of them contain irritants such as fragrance, colourings, preservatives and water, the latter of which breaks down to possibly require re-application of the cream. Crotch Guard says that as its oil supports the physiology of the skin's natural lipids it is recognised and accepted by the human body, which then absorbs it to help support the skin's natural barrier and protective functions. If this is actual Science Fact it all sounds terribly useful for the soft and tender bits that can get battered and worn when cycling.
I'm no scientist, though, and the first thing you notice about Crotch Guard is that you don't notice it. It's not greasy, it's not cold, it doesn't smell and it doesn't feel clammy like some other chamois creams can; if anything, it's a little silky. Which is nice, y'know.
If you're a little squeamish about applying any kind of balm down there then the spray-on application of Crotch Guard might ease those issues, although unless you want to be rather wasteful and spray it about everywhere it's still better to give it a couple of squirts roughly where you want it and then rub it around to get the oil into all the bits it needs to seep into.
Even so, it's a lot nicer than fingering a pot of cream and mushing it around the place. This method of application is also more hygienic than the traditional way: eliminating the risk of double-dipping and any cross-contamination that might occur.
Crotch Guard comes in 29.5ml, 118ml and 236ml bottles and a useful benefit of this smallest bottle is that it's easily packable inside a race or travel bag compared with a normal bulky pot of chamois cream, plus if you're heading off on multi-day self-supported or touring adventures you can easily hide it in a bag or pannier. And it appears to last. Crotch Guard says this little bottle should last three to four weeks of riding if used twice a day as recommended.
Some people need to lube up for the shortest of rides while others can pedal round the world without any hint of help downstairs, so your mileage will literally vary with regards to the effectiveness of any chamois cream. For me, the Crotch Guard Skin Care Oil does work, and it works very well.
I applied Crotch Guard before the usual random day ride and on multi-day trips with hard riding each day (hot and sweaty too) and the best thing I can say is that I can say nothing much about it. It just worked. No fuss. It provided saddle comfort all day, every day, all without some of the unpleasant greasiness other chamois creams can offer. It was actually impossible to feel it was there; the only way of knowing it was working was that there was never any discomfort, rubbing, chafing of that bit that sometimes chafes, or any other sore bits, which was impressive given some of the sequential days and saddle hours done.
As well as using it pre-ride, Crotch Guard also recommends applying it post ride-and-wash to maintain healthy skin conditions, as mentioned in the science bit. I didn't do that because, um, I forgot; re-creaming is not a habit I'm used to. But actually I never felt the need because everything felt just fine down there because it just plain works.
Not your usual chamois cream, it's a non-greasy, non-sticky and scent-free oil that just works, really well
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Crotch Guard Skin Care Oil
Size tested: 29.5ml (1 US fl oz)
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The maker says, "Crotch Guard Skin Care Oil reduces friction, to eliminate chafing and rash. This 29.5 ml bottle is the perfect size to carry on long rides, or to those out of town events. This bottle should last 3-4 weeks with applications twice daily. Serious protection for serious cyclists in a portable size!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ingredients – Hydrogenated C6-14 Olefin Polymers
Absorbs Quickly & Completely
Does NOT contain Chemical Dyes
Does NOT contain Fragrance
Fine Mist Spray Application
Convenient Travel Size
No Animals Were Harmed in the Development of the Product
Made in the USA
It just seemed to work, you couldn't feel it was there, and then you couldn't feel it wasn't working, like you can with some other chamois creams.
Lasts all ride, no matter how long, and works well day-on-day too.
You can't feel it's there, which is disconcerting if you're used to the usual chamois cream feel, but it works and keeps your undercarriage comfortable all day.
This is very much dependent on how much coverage you feel you need to apply each ride and whether you agree with Crotch Guard's recommendation to use it post-ride as well. But the price per mile seems as good as most other chamois creams and you don't need to re-apply.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Crotch Guard Skin Care Oil isn't like most other chamois creams in that it's not a cream. It's a spray-oil that absorbs into the skin so isn't greasy or clammy and doesn't smell. Despite you not knowing it's there, it's incredibly effective.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Not greasy or smelly and it works well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Despite the spray-on application, you still have to spread it around.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I've worked my way along the shelf of chamois creams in my time and although this Crotch Guard stuff is an oil rather than a traditional cream, it's probably one of the best salves I've tried. On top of its effectiveness it's both non-greasy and doesn't smell, which will be an appeal to many.
About the tester
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.