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I tried 3 anti-chafing sticks so you don't have to

Chafing can ruin your day. These sticks help soothe your skin and stop uncomfortable friction.
Megababe Thigh Rescue, Body Glide for Her and Squirrel’s Nut Butter go on smooth and keep your inner thighs friction-free — even on the sweatiest of days.
Megababe Thigh Rescue, Body Glide for Her and Squirrel’s Nut Butter go on smooth and keep your inner thighs friction-free — even on the sweatiest of days. Amazon

I’m the proud owner of a tremendous set of plump, powerful thighs. I use them to squat with heavy weights, cycle dozens of miles in a day (and even turn heads, in the right pair of curvy-cut shorts). But sometimes, heavy is the head that wears the crown: my robust legs can get in the way of themselves, causing friction and eventually dreaded chafing if I’m at all sweaty.

I used to resolve this issue by wearing Old Navy bike shorts under skirts, but they made a hot summer’s day even hotter while also messing with my outfit. I wanted to feel free and wear shorts as I pleased, so I tried Megababe’s Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe stick a few years ago and never looked back.

As a service journalist who’s worked in the product review space for years, it’s rare for me to commit so exclusively to one brand. So, before summer’s unbearable temps kick in, I decided to try two other Amazon top sellers to see how they compare. Below, I break down how Squirrel’s Nut Butter and Body Glide for Her compared to my beloved Megababe Thigh Rescue.

SKIP AHEAD How we picked (and tried) the best anti-chafe sticks | The best anti-chafe sticks in 2023 | How to shop for an anti-chafe stick? | How to prevent and treat chafing

Our top picks

How we picked (and tried) the best anti-chafe sticks

While shopping around for anti-chafe sticks, I considered the following factors:

  • High ratings: I only considered options with a 4-star or higher average rating from thousands of user reviews.
  • Availability at multiple retailers: As I researched, I took note of which options were available (and were also bestsellers) at major retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
  • Availability in travel-sized options: anti-chafe sticks are typically sold in a deodorant-shaped bottle, but many are available in tiny, travel-sized containers too, which make reapplication easier while on the go.
  • Price: Megababe retails for $14 for 2.12 ounces. I considered options that cost about the same, per volume.
  • Ingredients: Shoppers should look for chafing sticks with “a combination of humectants, emollients and occlusives” (the same types of ingredients found in quality face moisturizers), says Dr. Hadley King, a NYC-based dermatologist.

To see how each anti-chafe stick performed, I brought them on a recent spring surf trip to Nosara, Costa Rica, where temperatures regularly remain at 90 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day. I used them on my inner thighs (where I experience the most chafing) while walking to the beach in jean shorts and on the back of my thighs while waiting for the perfect wave on top of a surfboard, which can also cause chafing. I also noted which products had a tendency to melt or leak in my beach bag.

The best products for thigh chafe in 2023

Below, I’ve rounded up my three favorite thigh chafe sticks and why I think they’re great.

Best overall: Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick

While I conducted this experiment to see if any other options could match up to Megababe (some came close), I think I will be sticking with its Thigh Rescue for all my chafing needs. I was first enamored with the product via its founder, Katie Sturino, who’s body positive ethos is a big part of her brand, which I appreciate. My allegiance is not so easily earned, though: I’m a serious product reviewer and wouldn’t recommend Thigh Rescue unless it worked well — in fact, I can’t imagine my life without it now.

I run hot and it doesn’t take much for me to start sweating (and stay sweating), especially during the warmer months. Thigh Rescue is packaged in a deodorant-like applicator and is a breeze to put on: before I head out the door, I swipe the balm across each of my inner thighs two to three times and typically reapply throughout the day as needed. The formula, which has a subtle, clean scent, leaves behind a residue that makes my inner thighs happily glide across each other as I walk.

Its main ingredient is caprylic/capric triglyceride, a compound that’s derived from glycerin and coconut oil and helps support the skin barrier, King told us. Glycerin and coconut oil are emollients, meaning they smooth and soften one’s skin and hydrate it (giving your tortured inner thighs a glossy feel upon application), according to our experts. With Megababe, emollients work alongside anti-inflammatory ingredients like vitamin E oil to lubricate your skin. The result is your thighs become friends rather than enemies, gliding past each other without any friction.

The only downside to Megababe is that its greasy formula can melt and warp inside its container if left in the sun. However, every other option I tried fared worse in this regard, and I think Megababe’s anti-chafe benefits far outweigh this mild inconvenience.

Best Runner-up: Squirrel’s Nut Butter

Squirrel’s Nut Butter was the most similar option to Megababe that I tried. I found myself reaching for this anti-chafe stick more than the others on my Costa Rica trip, partly because I had a small .5 ounce container that fit into my fanny pack, but also because it simply worked the best. (I left the Megababe Thigh Rescue at home to test the new options). My thighs felt adequately coated and slippery (in a good way), even as temperatures skyrocketed throughout the day.

Unlike Megababe’s Thigh Rescue, which is marketed specifically for inner thighs, Squirrel’s Nut Butter is sold as an everywhere solution for athletes with chafing. The brand recommends applying it not just before a race or athletic event, but also before showering to avoid further irritating your already-tender skin. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter whether I had run a half marathon or just needed to walk along the beach: my thighs were happy.

The Nut butter is made with Cocos nucifera (coconut oil), which was typically the main ingredient in the anti-chafe sticks I looked at, aside from caprylic/capric triglyceride. According to King, Cocos nucifera has both emollient and occlusive properties and is anti-inflammatory. Squirrel’s is also formulated with cocoa butter, a scent I typically love in lotions, but didn’t adore on my thighs.

Another solid option: Body Glide for Her

Body Glide’s anti-chafe stick, which comes recommended by King, was a close competitor, but failed to glide on as easily as the Megababe Thigh Rescue and Squirrel’s Nut Butter. That said, it definitely helped prevent chafing, even though it didn’t offer as much of that delightfully slippery feeling. (It felt more like wax on wax: not uncomfortable friction, but not glossy either). If you’re hoping to use this option along your sports bra line or anywhere else that chafes, it might be a terrific option that feels less greasy.

Body Glide for Her is also formulated with caprylic/capric triglyceride and Cocos nucifera.

How to shop for an anti-chafe stick?

If you’re wondering what to look for to soothe chafing, pay attention to the humble coconut. In all of the anti-chafe sticks I tested, coconuts were the common denominator. “Skincare products list their ingredients in order of concentration from highest to lowest,” says Dr. Michele Green, a NYC-based dermatologist. So, “the closer [an ingredient] is to the top of the ingredient list, the greater the concentration of the ingredient in the given product,” she says. With every stick I considered or tried, coconut derivatives like caprylic/capric triglyceride and Cocos nucifera, were the first ingredient. Full of electrolytes, a natural emollient for cosmetics, extremely fun to sip from while on the beach; what can’t the coconut do?

Below, we have a brief description of some other ingredients shoppers are likely to encounter while reading ingredient lists:

  • Humectants: A common humectant in anti-chafe sticks is glycerin, which binds water into the outermost layer of your skin. Tribehenin is derived from glycerin and an ingredient in Megababe Thigh Rescue, for example.
  • Emollients: These are “lubricating skincare ingredients that reinforce the protective barrier on the skin’s surface to seal in moisture and provide a hydrating, soothing effect,” says Green. That protective barrier reduces friction, preventing chafing. Other useful emollients found in anti-chafe sticks are vitamin E and Aloe barbadensis leaf juice or extract, which are both anti-inflammatory.
  • Occlusives: These oils and waxes trap moisture in, the way petrolatum does in products like Aquaphor or Vaseline, according to King. In anti-chafe sticks, shoppers are likely to see cera alba (beeswax), cetyl esters, ozokerite wax or zinc oxide as occlusive ingredients.

How to prevent and treat chafing

Putting your need for cute summer jorts aside, the best way to prevent chafing is to wear proper-fitting clothing that is made of moisture-wicking, nonirritating fabrics, says Green. Whether it’s bike shorts or one of the anti-chafe sticks on this list, to effectively prevent chafing, “there needs to be some sort of barrier between the skin and whatever it is coming into contact with that is creating repeated friction,” she says.

Should you find yourself experiencing chafing, avoid rubbing or touching the affected area. Use gentle skincare products without fragrance, and keep the area cool and dry, according to Green. She then recommended applying a soothing ointment to help the chafing heal.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Why trust Select?

Christina Colizza is an editor at Select and has been a product reviewer since 2018. She covers a range of self-care and skin care topics like shampoos, eyebrow serums, body lotions and more. For this piece, she interviewed two experts and tried out multiple anti-chafe sticks over the course of eight days in Costa Rica, where temps averaged over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

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