Best Diaper Cream
The Motherlove Diaper Balm will soothe your baby's bum with only six ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, Oregon grape root, myrrh gum, yarrow herb, and calendula flower. This formula is free of zinc oxide and petroleum, making it suitable for cloth diapers. Also, it does not contain soy, gluten, or parabens. This balm has an earthy scent, and a little goes a long way to create a thin barrier on baby's skin. Also, it comes in a glass jar, which is welcomed alternative to plastic, and a perk the may interest families who aim to limit plastic.
As an oil-based product, it may stain fabric. Also, the jar is on the smaller side, and considering its cost, this is a factor to consider. Despite these minor flaws, this product with antibacterial and antifungal properties, is geared toward common diaper rashes, or use as a preventative measure. If you prefer a zinc and petroleum product with few ingredients, perhaps for cloth diapering, then this is a product we recommend.
The Earth Mama Diaper Balm is a green, mean, diaper rash fighting machine. Yes, this salve-like product is green, but don't let that be a turn off. This formula is free of zinc, petroleum, lanolin, and parabens, making it cloth-safe. We find this product to have a stronger, yet pleasant scent - with notes of lavender and tea tree. While testing, a thin coating is useful as a preventative.
With any flower or leaf oil, like lavender and tea tree, the chance of an allergic reaction increases. Although our little tester did not experience any reaction, we suggest spot testing before coating the skin. Luckily, this product doubles as a skin salve, and you can smear it anywhere. We suggest this zinc, petroleum, and lanolin free balm for families who cloth diaper, and don't mind a stronger scent.
The Honest Company Diaper Cream contains zinc oxide (14%) to help create a protective barrier and promote healing of irritated skin, along with shea butter, jojoba, tamanu, olive oil, and coconut oils to moisturize and soothe baby's skin. This formula is free of petrolatum, silicones, mineral oil, lanolin, PEGs, and parabens.
The bottle states it will stain, and we found this to be true during testing. If you are searching for a petroleum and lanolin free product with a moderate level of zinc to give that diaper rash a stronger punch, then we suggest giving this product a go. Plus, as petroleum and lanolin free product, this is the best bang for your buck.
If you need to bring out the big guns to treat your baby's fiery bum, the Boudreaux's Butt Paste Max Strength is one to consider as it contains a high volume of zinc oxide (a whopping 40% - the highest amount among the competition). This formula is free from dyes, parabens, preservatives, and talc. We found the cream's consistency to be one the thicker side, and a little goes a long way. We found it helpful to tackle severe diaper rashes with our little tester, especially when applied at bedtime when baby is wearing a diaper overnight.
The formula uses ingredients that may cause repelling issues and inhibit absorption of cloth diapers, and this list includes zinc oxide, mineral oil, paraffin, and petrolatum. Therefore, we find it to not be cloth diaper compatible. Also, as a max strength formula, it holds a high amount of zinc oxide, which can be helpful when combating a severe diaper rash, but potentially overkill as a daily, preventative measure. With that said, we recommend this cream for moderate to severe diaper rashes that need immediate relief.
The Triple Paste Ointment is a fragrance-free product, which reduces the chance of irritations from fragrances. While testing, we found it effective at healing severe diaper rashes, and it contains zinc oxide (12.8%) as a skin protectant. We appreciate the flip lid, which is easy to open with one hand, especially when juggling a wiggly, impatient baby.
Considering the ingredients, this product is not compatible with cloth diapers, as zinc oxide and petrolatum can contribute to fiber buildup, which can cause leakage. Also, the cost is a factor to consider. If you are after a fragrance-free product that will help an irritated rash, regardless of the cost, this is an ointment to add.
The GroVia Natural Magic Stick is a great option if you don't like to get your hands messy. The combo of calendula, tea tree, lavender, and rosehip create a delightful, yet subtle scent. It is petroleum and zinc free. We find it to glide on smoothly, leave skin moisturized. Plus, it is easy to use with the no mess applicator, which is a nice perk.
Since the stick directly touches baby's skin, it should not be shared. So, if you have more than one child in diapers, or multiples, keep in mind, multiple sticks should be purchased. Also, write the name on the stick. This is a mildly delightful smelling product that we think cloth diapering families will enjoy. For those using disposable diapers who like the idea of the no mess applicator, it is worth a try.
If you are searching for a product that leaves a protective barrier on baby's bum and does not use zinc oxide, the A+D Diaper Rash Ointment may be a fit. It easy to smear and efficient at sealing out wetness on a baby's tush.
We feel this option has a stronger scent, and the twist lid is a two-hand operation. The formula includes the ingredient "fragrance." Since manufacturers aren't required to disclose ingredients, hundreds of chemicals can hide behind this term. We value company transparency. If you feel similarly, you may want to look elsewhere. Also, given the ingredients, like petroleum, mineral oil, and paraffin, we do not recommend this product for cloth diapering families. However, if you don't mind the heavier scent or "fragrance" ingredient, mainly because you are seeking a zinc-free product, then you may find this product suitable for your needs.
From chapped skin from cold weather to diaper rashes, the Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment is a multi-purposeful, versatile product. This product will create a barrier to protect from wetness. We find the tube version tricky to squeeze, and
Petroleum and mineral oil will clog fibers, so if you are cloth diaper, this may not be a match. Also, although this product will help baby's diaper rash, petroleum is not an ingredient we recommend. With access to other products with better ingredients for baby, we suggest selecting one of those before Aquaphor. However, if this product heals your baby's diaper rash, and you are okay with using petroleum, then go ahead.
Why You Should Trust Us
We at BabyGearLab have been testing baby gear for 8 years. We purchase every product and complete hands-on testing and side-by-side comparisons to determine which competitors are true standouts in their categories. Leading this review is Molly Bradac, Research Analyst, as well as professional nanny and newborn care specialist, holding over 14 years of experience. Between countless diaper changes and use of multiple diaper creams, plus experience with cloth and disposable diapers, Molly has expert recommendations to help you find a product that will be a great addition to your diapering routine.
Analysis and Test Results
Each diaper cream in our review was smeared, smelled, touched, and applied countless times to compare performance.
Ease to Use
Since juggling diaper changes with a wiggly baby can be tricky, pick a product that is easy to use and open. A flip top product, like the Triple Paste Ointment can open with one hand. Also, thanks to its no-mess applicator, the GroVia Natural Magic Stick is easy to use, plus it avoids having to use your finger to smear cream. Other products with a twist top, like the A+D Diaper Rash Ointment require two hands. Although not a deal-breaker, it is a factor to consider, especially for on-the-go diaper changes that take place in less sanitary and convenient locations like a public restroom.
Petrolatum is an active ingredient often found in diaper creams because it has shown to provide an efficient skin barrier without obstructing baby's skin. However, the processing of petrolatum can produce contamination, resulting in impurities, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Products in our review that use petrolatum include Boudreaux's Butt Paste Max Strength, Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment, Triple Paste Ointment, and A+D Diaper Rash Ointment. On the flip side, products that do not use petrolatum include Motherlove Diaper Balm, Earth Mama Diaper Balm, Honest Company Diaper Cream, and GroVia Natural Magic Stick. These top contenders get the job done without petrolatum. Which option you choose depends on your goals and concerns about petrolatum; while the jury might still be out on the real potential for harm, we like the idea of limiting exposure to potentially harmful chemicals whenever possible.
Zinc oxide is another common active ingredient as it has shown to provide skin protection and treat irritations. Generally, zinc oxide is well tolerated among babies, and potentially does not carry big health concerns when topically applied; however, we suggest spot testing before coating your little one's bum, and this is good practice for any product.
Disposable vs. Cloth Diapers
It is important that you select a product that works for your diapering choice. Disposable diapers will accept any kind of diaper cream. However, cloth diapers require cloth-safe diaper creams because some ingredients cause repelling issues as they coat fabric fibers and inhibit absorption. This lack of absorption can lead to leaking. Honestly, who wants to deal with leakage? Some big contributors to this repelling issue include petrolatum, zinc oxide, mineral oil, and paraffin. These ingredients can be challenging to remove from cloth fibers. Products in our review that contain one or more of these ingredients include Boudreaux's Butt Paste Max Strength, Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment, Triple Paste Ointment, and A+D Diaper Rash Ointment. If you cloth diaper, and your baby needs a diaper cream containing these ingredients, a helpful solution is to use a thick, reusable liner to protect fabric.
As for cloth-safe diaper creams in our review, the Motherlove Diaper Balm, the Earth Mama Diaper Balm, and the GroVia Natural Magic Stick fit this profile. Plus, these products are versatile as they can work with any diaper across the board. This may interest families who use a hybrid diapering approach of cloth and disposable, or perhaps you use only disposable, but prefer the ingredients in these products over the others.
Let's face it, a diaper rash that is red and something fierce can happen quickly. However, not all diaper creams are created equal, and what works for one baby, may not work for another. Therefore, it is important to try a few to find one that meets your diapering needs. We are confident that our expert recommendations will guide you to a product that meets your needs and budget.
— Molly Bradac