Bag Balm is Udderly Fantastic
Growing up in the burbs meant that I didn’t have much with farm animals, so the first time I saw a bottle of Mane n’ Tail shampoo in the drugstore I stood in the aisle for 15 minutes trying to work out what the hell was going on.
“Hmmm,” I thought. “There are no farms in my ‘hood, so why carry a shampoo for horses on the shelf? And if horses need shampoo, what about conditioner or gel for that matter? Do horses in the wild have rattier hair because they don’t use shampoo? And what kind of woman would use a horse shampoo anyway?” It was all very confusing.
(Full disclosure: I have to point out that I am easily confused. During my entire freshman year in high school I had a picture of Bobby Brown on my algebra binder. I wish I could say that at the time I was trying to be sarcastic, but, unfortunately, that was not the case.)
Ever since then I’ve been weirdly fascinated by beauty products suitable for use by both animals and humans.
So, three years ago I was cruising Walgreen’s in downtown San Francisco and found a mysterious green tin of BAG BALM in the lotion aisle. That’s when it struck me — de ja vu/vu ja de!
Yes, that is a cow’s head surrounded by a wreath of roses. The tin said it was for “chapped conditions and superficial abrasions” and gave directions on how to use the balm after milking.
It got even better after I saw the picture of udders on the side and read the “special directions”:
“For use on cows, thoroughly wash treated teats and udder with separate towels before each milking. To avoid contamination after each milking, bath the udder with plenty of hot water, strip milk out and dry skin. Apply BAG BALM freely and massage gently with this proven ointment twice daily. This product contains no alcohol.”
LOLOLZ! You better believe I bought that tin on the spot.
I owned no farm animals in need of udder moisturization, so when I got home I really didn’t know what to do with it. For kicks that night I ended up putting a layer on my feet before bed. And, girl, what a happy surprise! Bag Balm is a fantastic moisturizer. My dry heels were velvety soft in the morning.
Around since 1899, Bag Balm is a salve made from a short list of ingredients — 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate 0.3% in a petrolatum, lanolin base. It’s thick and greasy, like a cold stick of Crisco, and it’s stinky, too; the scent reminds me of a mix of old, musty books and fresh street tar. Despite these not-so-attractive factors, my feet can’t live without it because it’s incredibly moisturizing.
I’ve also read that it’s popular for chapped and irritated skin and as a post-tattoo skin soother. ‘Tis cheap, too. One huge 10 oz tin runs about $6.00 and lasts forever. I’ve barely used half of the tin I bought three years ago!
I keep a tin under my couch, so as I’m watching TV before bed I can slather on a layer, massaging it into my feet while paying attention to my heels and cuticles. Then, I’ll pull on a pair of toe socks to keep my feet toasty, and the warmth seems to intensify the moisturization process.
In the morning my tootsies are super soft! Yes, it still weirds me out a little to think that this is also used for a cow’s private parts but whatever, it works.
Aren’t you glad the weekend is here? Tonight El Hub and I are going into SF for my friend’s birthday party. We’re all going to a Puerto Rican restaurant and I can’t wait to get my grub on. Carbs, here I come!
Got any exciting plans? I hope they involve some fierce makeup!
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,