The $5 balm is also backed by Oprah and Shania Twain.
What do Oprah Winfrey, Lo Bosworth, and farmers in Vermont have in common? It isn't a riddle, it's Bag Balm. Since 1899, it's been used by farmers in Vermont as a salve for chafed and cracked cow udders—and it's considered a miracle product to many. The website boasts that Bag Balm is "a tried-and-true staple of every home, ready to moisturize every callus, cut, new tattoo, chafed foot or heel, cracked lip, or patch of dry winter skin of every member of the household—right down to the sore paw pads of the family dog."
How did the former Laguna Beach star and Love Wellness founder come across this farmer favorite? "A makeup artist introduced it to me a couple years ago for chapped lips, and it's the best thing ever,” Bosworth told Shape recently at the Retreat in Austin, a health and wellness workshop series. (Related: 10 Moisturizing Lip Products That Go Way Beyond Basic Balm)
She credits the balm as one of her favorite drugstore products (it's available pretty much everywhere, including Walgreens, Target, Walmart, and CVS). It's available in a tin (Buy It, $8, amazon.com), tube (Buy It, $5, amazon.com), soap (Buy It, $11, amazon.com)—and if you're a really big fan, a 5-pound pail (Buy it, $40, amazon.com).
"I use the tin (and I always buy the tiny, travel-sized one when I can find them). I use it for all kinds of skin issues: dry, chapped lips, and dry skin on my face (it's never given me a zit before)," Bosworth says. (Related: This $7 Witch Hazel Toner Is the #1 Best-Selling Beauty Product On Amazon Right Now)
So exactly what is in this magical moisturizer? Not much. The legendary balm proudly lists the four ingredients on their website: Petrolatum to moisturize, lanolin to soothe and soften, 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate to preserve it, and paraffin wax to bind it all together.
Amazon reviews show that the simple salve is a fan favorite among runners and cyclists for its anti-chafing capabilities. Nurses use to for scrapes and cuts, and skiers love it for those windy days on the mountain—they all agree Bag Balm is the best. Be warned: Reviewers warn that the farm-first product has a woodsy smell that might not be for everyone. Another reviewer suggests mixing in lotion or essential oils if you aren't into the smoky smell.
The balm also gets rave reviews from Oprah and singer Shania Twain. "When my skin's really dry, I'll rub it over my face and on my hair, then leave it there all day," Twain told Now magazine. (Related: Kristen Bell Loves This $20 Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer)
Aside from hydrating, Bosworth says the salve makes a great makeup tool: "It's also great for creating custom blush, bronzer, and lip colors—just take your favorite powder, mix it into some of the salve and poof—you've got a great cream makeup."
A product you can lather up for a long run then reapply for a night out in the town? That 5-pound pail might sound like a good idea after all…