How Do You Solve a Problem Like Chub Rub?

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July is here, and with it comes vicious chub rub. It takes no prisoners. It reddens our thighs. It makes us beg for fall. I’ve often wished that there was some perfect equation that’d help me determine when it strikes — some combination of heat times speed divided by humidity plus time. But nope, it just kinda happens sometimes and doesn’t other times. There are no rules.

For a while, I would just use my deodorant, hoping that rubbing it on my legs in the morning would prevent all future woes. It (again) worked occasionally. All my friends with similar issues would wear bike shorts, but let me tell you: there is no way. I’m already a sweaty disaster in the summer. I’m not adding all that extra fabric. So, I suffered in silence, or in screams of agony only my roommate could hear.

But this summer, I decided that buying a product to fix the problem was better than ignoring the issue for three months. So I researched other articles, culled anecdotes from friends and friends of friends, and read Amazon reviews to find a good variety of products to test. I may not like helping myself, but I do love a good scientific experiment. After all, isn’t friction just physics, and can’t I game the system so that nothing hurts anymore?

For the purposes of science, I tried to keep all the variables the same. I walk 20 minutes to and from work. I wore a dress every day and the same shoes. The heat was always over 75. No reapplication was allowed. I thought about trying to find some way to keep my upper-thigh hair the same, but then I was like, “Naw, I’ll just do the usually half-assed job of shaving my upper thigh that I always do.”

What I learned, for the most part, is you can’t stop the rubbing from happening so it really just all comes down to how you want the rubbing to feel. Here’s what I put between my thighs:

The Sexiest

Bandelettes Elastic Anti-Chafing Thigh Bands
$16, Amazon

I cannot get over how sexy these were. As a finicky person, I kept worrying they were going to fall, but every time I became convinced that they were slipping and went to check, there were actually still stuck on perfectly. You almost feel the rub more in these, but it’s not painful — just the brush, brush of lace. It’s a nice sensation. And there’s so much less fabric than bike shorts! The only real issue is that I maybe flew too close to the sun and wore these bar hopping. After adjusting them once, I had a little chafing from placing them incorrectly. But that was human error. Just know where your rub is before putting them on.

The Least Sexy

Monistat Complete Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel
$6, Amazon

When I put this on, my thighs immediately felt smoother. I got nervous that that wasn’t a good thing, because sometimes your thigh skin is a bit rougher, as a built-up defense system from all the rubbing. Still, the instant relief was a game-changer and the gel wasn’t too sticky. Throughout the day it got better! It did make my legs stick together a bit, but not in a terrible way — I just occasionally had to take one stride a little bigger to make my thighs separate entities again. There’s only one downside here: Every friend who I asked to try this out with me seemed averse to buying a Monistat product. But you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s a good product and it works!

Best All-Around

Megababe Thigh Rescue
$14, Megababe Beauty

Megababe felt like a nice upgrade from applying powdered deodorant to my legs. It too made my thighs feel smoother (healing the already-chafed spots) and it smelled very nice. In the summer I basically try to just throw as many smells at my body as possible, in the hopes that together they’ll counteract the garbage smell of the city, so this one was nice addition to that battle. Of all of them, this and the Monistat were the ones where I noticed the feeling of rubbing the least, so it gets major points. The only downside here would be the cost, but in terms of use versus dollars, it’s probably pretty comparable to a cheaper gel that you would use more often.

For Athletes?

Gold Bond Friction Defense Unscented
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Gold Bond Friction Defense Unscented
$17 for pack of three Amazon

Megababe and Gold Bond Friction Defense are both sticks, but Gold Bond has no smell. Megababe is smoother, whereas this one feels more like deodorant. It worked fine in the morning, but in the afternoon I felt like it had worn off more than these other products. I could feel those neglected upper leg hairs, the beginning of chafing creeping in. There are a bunch of runners on the stick, though, so maybe if I was an athlete or at least walked faster, this’d be a good, scentless solution. As is, it was second to Megababe for me in terms of glides.

The Dud

Squeaky Cheeks Powder
$10, Amazon

Oh man did this feel terrible instantly. Powder feels gross between your legs, but this has the added weirdness of also tingling for a bit after you put it on in a strong, annoying way. I knew I was going to be averse to powder, so this is me revealing my bias. If you don’t cringe at the thought of powder between your toes, maybe you’ll react better to this. Or try Anti-Monkey Butt. Side note: I also used it in my shoes because I wanted it to be as multipurpose as possible and I think it made them smell worse.

Good, But Maybe Not for Everyone

Skin Slick Anti-Chafe Continuous Spray Skin Lubricant
$11, Amazon

This feels like you’ve just put hairspray between your legs. As you move, you feel it slick between your thighs, but I enjoyed that sensation because I always knew it was working. That wet feeling lasts for way, way longer than you’d think it would, but it didn’t stain my dress. Basically, using the spray all comes down to how much you want to notice what’s down there. I had my friend try it and she hated how long it lasted. I thought it worked fine and got the job done.

The Funny One

Uberlube Luxury Lubricant
$18, Amazon

Look, did I purchase the lube primarily because I thought it would lead to a funny anecdote? Sure. But I actually think it works pretty well. Weirdly, it felt better the longer I had it on (not sure what that says about this as a lube). It feels pretty normal and the wetness goes away quickly (again, don’t know what this says about it as a lube) but it keeps your legs un-chafed for the day. Like with the deodorant, it’s nice to have a solution that is multipurpose. Plus, what’s funnier than looking your boyfriend dead in the eye, pumping this lube twice, slathering it between your legs, and then heading out the door? Also, maybe you can try heated “for her pleasure” lube. Why not have some fun on your morning commute?

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How Do You Solve a Problem Like Chub Rub?