I met the fine people of Sportique Brands at the Providence Festival of Cyclocross. They were selling a whole line of body products, many of which were cycling or sports-related. Of course, a cyclocross race is a great place to get in a discussion about chamois cream… The saleswoman was horrified that I was been using Bag Balm, and I found myself on the receiving end of a lecture about using petroleum-based products in my shorts; she suggested I try their Century Riding Cream, and I haven’t touched the Bag Balm since. They were beyond generous, sending us a wide range of products to sample and review. Tiny Fixers Dana, Lisa, Lauren, and Cupcake tried out some products, and here are our reviews!
For long rides and races, chamois cream reduces friction and prevents saddle sores. If you’re used to using petroleum-based products, this chamois cream is a big change. It’s much thinner, more like a lotion. I noticed the first time I used it, it seemed to wear off rather quickly, but I think I figured out the solution… use more. When I put a good amount on the chamois as well as the, uh, undercarriage, it lasted somewhat longer. It has a pretty light smell, which, based on where you apply it, you won’t really smell anyway. Finally, since the base is shea butter, it also won’t soak through and discolor your shorts the way petroleum products do. The result, happy undercarriage, and comfortable races. I haven’t yet challenged it with a long ride though… nothing more than about 30 miles. I’m not sure how it’ll hold up, and I do not like having to stop and reapply mid-ride. Another note, I like when chamois cream comes in a tube, rather than a pot. Seems more hygienic, no?
From the description on their website, the Elements Cream is a blend of oils that acts as a shield for your skin in cold, wind, and heat. I used this one the morning of the coldest cyclocross races this season (the New England Regional Cx Championships). It’s supposed to protect exposed skin from chapping and chafing. Since every inch of my body was covered in multiple thermal layers to protect me from late November in New England, I put it right on my face. I expected a thick layer of grease, which it’s definitely not. It’s a moderately thin lotion, but it has some staying power. With the combination of oils, it does indeed form a barrier, and I didn’t need to reapply. I’ve used it on a few cold weather rides since then as well, and it really does make a difference! The smell is herbal, fairly light, and very pleasant. I am glad to have an extra layer of protection in that New England wind!
The Body Soap [Lisa]
HOLY SHIT MY ARMS HAVE NEVER FELT SO SOFT, I seem like a person who takes skin care seriously. Like, really the only time my skin has been this nice was immediately after treating my arms with rose oil for a month. This feels amazing when applied. It’s very smooth, slightly cool, but not cold. Very soothing. It smells really good and not in that fake bullshitty perfumed “girly product” kind of way. It smells kind of like a non-gender-specific hair product. The scent is also not particularly strong and isn’t really any more noticeable than the smell of shampoo. I feel so luxurious every time I use this.
Body Deodorant [Lisa]
When I first put this on I was skeptical. You should definitely be prepared for a pretty strong initial scent, but this goes away within 2 minutes. After the initial application, I didn’t even notice I was wearing any deodorant at all. Even after 2 hours of commuting and 6 hours of coffee sweats, Sportique’s deodorant kept my underarm smelling fresh. I have sensitive skin but did not react to this. After the first day of use, I started using it alone and saw no change in how I sweat compared to my normal routine; however, I have noticeably less underarm stink when I get home. Hooray!
Massage Oil [Cupcake]
I’m probably not the target consumer for this product. I have sensitive skin that develops pretty wicked eczema when exposed to lanolin, harsh detergents, or strong fragrances. To try to avoid those issues, I use only unscented hypoallergenic soap, unscented deodorant, mild lotions for sensitive skin, all that noise. As a result, I’m hypersensitive to scented products. I promised a biker cutie that if he rubbed my legs down with this massage oil, I’d do his legs right back. We got about four seconds into my massage before he was making exaggerated gagging noises and I was in the shower scrubbing my legs down. I was expecting something light, natural, reminiscent of the jojoba oil it’s based on; I got a blast of Sporty Spring Man Cologne Funk. I actually had to immediately wash my sheets because a tiny bit dripped onto it and I didn’t want to sleep in an Irish Spring. It’s possible that I’m just a big giant baby, but consider the fact that my biker cutie refused his reciprocal massage because he didn’t want to smell like this product, either. If you’re a huge fan of Sporty Spring Man Cologne Funk, you might love this product! If you prefer your skin products au natural, I’d just buy a bottle of jojoba oil.
I hate, hate, hate the smell of Bengay. I come from a long lineage of assorted back and shoulder problems, so that scent is imprinted with childhood memories of an annoyed parent or a day spent inside. But, just the same, I’ve inherited the same trait as the others: I hold a lot of stress and strain inside of my shoulders and riding a bike in a major city can often add to that tension.
Helloooooo, joint and muscle gel. First off, it smells really good, not chemically off in the way that a lot of other similar products tend to be. It carries a strong ginger scent (which incidentally is my favorite) mixed with clove and pine. It is not greasy at all, and I would say the application was reminiscent of an aloe vera gel with more analgesic properties. Because of its consistency, you might need another application every hour or so if you’re dealing with a persistent ache that you deem not doctor-worthy.
Moisturizing Body Balm [Lauren]
I was looking forward to trying out this product because I get patches of dry skin on my upper arms most winters. Hearing the word ‘balm’ evoked a thick substance that would keep my skin hydrated. I was intrigued.
This is what I got: the moisturizing body balm is more lotion than balm. And it’s a pretty thin lotion at that. I tried it for three days in a row, though, and it did the trick. My skin was noticeably softer and it seemed to soak in better than other lotions I’ve used in the past. However, their website says it’s good for sensitive skin, and I’d have to disagree. The scent of this body balm reminds me a lot of the St. Ives line of lotions. There is a definite scent present here (and, if we’re being real, it seemed way more feminine and not something any dude I know would want to smell like). The scent, ultimately, is what pulls me away from this product. I want a solid lotion that isn’t too thick, but also doesn’t have a smell. Body balm is supposed to be applied everywhere you’d need it, but I don’t wanna change up my natural skin smell.
If you like scented lady lotions, and want to support a company with quality products, though, I’d say this is a better choice to many things in your local Target and anything in a Bath and Body Works.
I only had an opportunity to use the Warming Up Oil once, and when I used it I was immediately nervous as it reminded me a lot of iodine and I was worried it’d stain my clothes. I typically wear black cycling clothes, so the jury is out on that, but just want to give consumers a heads up!
I applied it to my quads and liked it. It’s not as intense as their joint and muscle gel in terms of sensation on your skin, but I did feel a difference in the my legs on my morning commute. I feel like this is probably a more adequate product for a racing cyclist or an athlete; I don’t know that the difference was all too negligible to a city commuter on a moderately-paced 5 mile adventure.
Thank you, people at Sportique! We love products made for active people, that are environmentally responsible, and that don’t smell like a candy store. We had a blast sampling all of these! To order, check out sportiquebrands.com, and follow them on Twitter at @sportiquebrands.
Addendum: Like FREE stuff? Go to the Sportique Facebook Page to enter the Huge Holiday Sweepstakes until December 22!