Dad Knows Best: Bag Balm

Tough as it is to admit sometimes, our dads often do know what’s best for us. Now, we’re not suggesting you take Dad’s (or Grandpa’s) word as gospel. After all, he’s been wrong about plenty (see pleated khakis, tuxedo shirt ruffles, etc). But when it comes to grooming products, we're hard-pressed to improve upon some of the classics in his medicine cabinet. Our motto: If it’s good enough for the old man, it’s good enough for us.

The Classic: Bag Balm

“I started practicing veterinary medicine in La Mirada, California, in 1977. I can't remember exactly when or where I originally learned about Bag Balm, but it was very early in my career. Working with animals, I wash my hands up to four times every 15 to 20 minutes, so my skin becomes dry and cracked. Bag Balm is great because it stays put and doesn’t wash off easily. I usually don't use it until I realize my hands are chapped, cracking, and painful—some preventative medicine practitioner, huh?” -Ken Ninomiya, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and proud father of Kimiko Ninomiya, Birchbox Operations Associate

Developed by Dairy Association Company in 1899, Bag Balm came into being with one very specific purpose: to protect the udders of cows from getting chapped during frigid Vermont winters. It would be an understatement to say that this salve has expanded its repertoire since then. It's good for "squeaky bed springs, psoriasis, dry facial skin, cracked fingers, burns, zits, diaper rash, saddle sores, sunburn, pruned trees, rifles, shell casings, bed sores, and radiation burns," to name a few. Admiral Byrd brought it along to the North Pole. It was used on the paws of rescue dogs searching the rubble of the World Trade Center buildings after 9/11. You'd have an easier time making a list of the things this salve can't do. Heck, we've had to stop ourselves from trying it on toast.

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