Hmmm, well, I guess this is no more awkward than we make it out to be, now is it?
That opening statement probably didn't help either...
I've been a pretty devoted user of chamois cream for quite some time now (Chamois Butt'r original formula, if you must know). Any time I'm going out on the bike for longer than 1 hour - I'm using chamois cream.
WHAT'S THE PURPOSE?Chamois cream reduces friction around all those sensitive areas which contact your saddle - reducing chafing and irritation. This is a good thing. For me; thighs that are larger than average, this is particularly nice where the thighs rub the saddle (sometimes at 180+ times a minute: 90+ times one way, 90+ times the other). Some will argue that after some time; the cream is absorbed by the skin and fabric; or it's viscosity breaks down to a point where it's not working. And, I can't say that I disagree with them. However; would you rather endure 3 hours of friction - or less than that? Any reduction is good, right?
WHAT MAKES IT "EURO"?
So - now that you've gotten the sales pitch for Chamois Butt'r: What's different about the eurostyle formula? Eurostyle adds two elements to their already popular regular formula: menthol and witch hazel. The witch hazel adds a nice anti-bacterial; anti-microbial quality which is great for those who have trouble with saddle sores or may be forced to wear the same shorts for a couple of rides (kinda gross - I know; but it happens on multi-day tours and trips). The menthol adds a cooling, tingling feeling - which is a love/hate thing for most people. To be frank: the menthol makes the Eurostyle particularly female "unfriendly" according to some of my clients. You've been warned.
Eurostyle also comes in a tub (seen above) as opposed to the squeeze tube that the original formula comes in. I don't see a deliverable advantage to either; and they both present their own unique challenges for travel. But ultimately, due to current F.A.A. regulations for such substances my advice would be to take however much you expect to use and put it in a zip-top plastic bag and not try to pack the tub or tube. (Both formulas now come in single-serve sample sizes - so it's pretty easy to swing by your local seller and pick up a few of these for travel too...).
Slathering a liberal amount to the effected areas of your skin is the place to start - I like to wipe the rest directly on the contact areas of the shorts' chamois too. But - what is the actual difference in use? First, if you're new to chamois cream: it takes a little getting used to anyhow - so if this post prompts you to go out and try it, have realistic expectations. That said - the first difference you notice is the difference in the packaging, of course. Figuring out the "dosage" from the tub versus the tube is a little different and will take some getting used to - I think I'll be more apt to over-apply if anything. After that, the first thing you notice is the menthol - and that feeling sticks around for a while. On a 55 degree late winter day - not so necessary; but I guess it might be nice in the summer. We'll see.
Ultimately, the Eurostyle seems to be a little more "tenacious". I seemed to notice that it didn't break down as quickly as I'm accustomed to with the regular formula. So, I can't say with any sort of scientific evidence - but it seems as though it might work longer. Finally, I don't really have issues with saddle sores; but the witch hazel can't hurt - especially for days where you'll be spending a lot of time in the saddle or wearing your shorts for a while post-ride (I'm not cool enough to use the phrase "apres-ride").
So - I'll stick with it for a while and see what I think. If it really lasts longer though - I'll certainly be a convert!
And, thanks to Michael A. at Seattle Bike Supply...
Thanks for reading!