Bag Balm: A Love Story

As a born and raised New Englander, Bag Balm has always been my go-to remedy. When I was a kid, my mother would slather it on my sister and I both before and after we headed outside in the winter months to go sledding for hours on end. Even before we were allowed to have our Swiss Miss hot cocoa, our mother made damn sure out lips got a thin layer of the balm to prevent any possible future chapping. It was then that my love for Bag Balm began.

Bag Balm originated in my beloved New Hampshire’s neighboring state of Vermont. Created in 1899, the salve was initially used to soften the udders of cows. In other words, the stuff that I’ve been putting on lips since I was kid was meant for udders. After cows, it started being used on other animals as a means of moisturizing their dry spots, too. Somewhere along the line people realized that what was doing wonders for udders could do the same for our skin. And what a great realization that was.

I use Bag Balm on everything. If my dog Hubbell has a sensitive dry patch or his paws need some extra love, I reach for the Bag Balm. For my chapped lips, my winter skin, the occasional razor burn, and my favorite choice of cuticle cream, it’s Bag Balm to the rescue. I have runner friends who swear by it after races and marathons to soothe exhausted feet, and my sister always had it on hand when my nephews were still in diapers because it’s perfect for diaper rash, too.

I’ve also used it on sunburned skin because unlike aloe it doesn’t need to be reapplied over and over again after the skin absorbs it. Granted, this involves weary crummy old yoga pants and a long sleeve shirts so I don’t slide off of solid objects or stain my couch, but it’s completely worth it. If I have a cut, I smother that Bag Balm on it and the scab, from being so moisturized, doesn’t leave a pink mark on my skin when it eventually goes away. It’s as though healing time is cut in half.

While my bathroom always has a big tin of it on my sink and another big one under the sink as back-up, my bag is also never without a mini-Bag Balm for all of life’s little skin-related issues. It really is one of the greatest skin remedies out there whether it be for yourself, your pets or, as it was originally meant to be, the udders of all those cows you have in the backyard.

If you’ve been living a Bag Balm free life, I implore you to give it a try. Your skin will thank you. I promise. It’s also extremely cheap considering how long it lasts. It’s truly what we call a “bang for your buck.”

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    • Sarah


      Bag balm is the best.

      It smells a little bit like rubber bands, which takes people some time to get over.

    • MR

      If only the winter hadn’t been to mild, I might of gotten a chance to sample in its point of origin. Would have come in handy ice fishing, no? Next winter. I was looking for some jazz-rock fusion when you posted something on Billie Holiday awhile back, but never got to it. This is pure Coltrane. Southern women.

      • MR

        Coltrane = high speed arpeggios. :)

    • Darby

      It’s the best! I gave a tin to my boyfriend two years ago because factory work had done awful things to his hands and now he’s obsessed with it, too! I never knew it would work on sunburns, I’ll have to try that this summer.

    • sarah

      “slather it on my sister and I…”

      my sister and ME!

      second gloss article in 5 minutes, by two different writers, getting this basic grammar rule wrong. Ugh

      • Meg

        What a horrifically sad existence you must lead. Do you do this to every site you read to make yourself feel better?

      • Mickie

        I am sorry to infom you that you are the only incorrect one here. “My sister and I” happens to be grammatically correct.

      • sarah

        My existence is fabulous, thank you, except when I have to read bad grammar, then I feel sad.

        Sorry, Mickie, you are wrong.

      • Melanie

        I have to agree with Mickie.
        And unless you’re a professional editor or have your doctorate in grammar, perhaps you should find a better way to spend your time.

        It must be difficult being so perfect all the time!