Not At All As Expected!
When I first looked at Abundance Naturally Baby Balm I had five years experience working with cloth diapers, and didn’t question my assumption it would be a good cloth diaper cream.
It was so yawn-worthy I used it as part of my “control group” in Part One of the Cloth Diaper Cream Experiment to find the best cloth diaper-safe creams. In other words, for the experiment it was one of the creams that was supposed to work so well, I could compare it to the not-cloth-safe creams (petroleum and zinc) to show just how much different a “cloth safe” cream performed.
That’s definitely NOT what happened.
Abundance Naturally’s Baby Balm actually performed the worst out of all the diaper creams in the experiment including Vaseline (petroleum) and a zinc based cream! If you’re new to cloth diapers, those are the two types of products you’re often told to avoid.
Am I Being Fair?
Now, was it a fair test, probably not. In that experiment I slathered it onto cold cotton prefolds and then washed it, repeating that 24 times. In the real world you’d be putting it on skin, which would thin the balm out due to body heat, and you’d be using less.
But as extreme as the test was, it performed so badly it’s clear that it is not a good choice for cloth diapers. In this Abundance Naturally Baby Balm review, I’ll explain exactly why it’s a bad choice, and suggest some better alternatives for you to take a look at.
Things to consider before buying a cloth safe diaper cream
Many babies are sensitive to moisture against their skin and some also become sensitive to things in their diet, heat, etc. For these reasons, a good diaper cream or balm is a must for any nursery no matter what kind of diapers you choose to use.
But since us cloth diaper users aren’t just tossing our diapers out with whatever lands on them, some extra thought needs to go into what we’re using.
The most important thing, is that your cloth diaper rash cream is able to be washed away.
If a cloth diaper cream is used and not washed off the fabric completely, after several uses it will not only hold on to bacteria and dirt that can actually cause rashes, but it will also begin to form a buildup on the surface of the material that will begin to keep the diaper from absorbing properly.
The job of a cloth diaper is of course to absorb and hold onto waste until it’s changed. Anything that interferes with that absorbency is going to cause you problems, and so any diaper cream you use needs to be easily washed away from fabrics.
So What about Abundance Naturally’s Baby Balm?
Abundance Naturally is a Canadian company based just outside Toronto that specializes in beauty and vitamin products. This appears to be the only baby product Abundance Naturally is currently making for babies, though it looks as though they had others in the past. It comes in a cute 90 g metal tin, and has the consistency of a thin, smooth jelly that unfortunately has a tendency to leak out of that cute tin when it’s on it’s side.
According to the Abundance Naturally website, their Baby Balm is free from petroleum, zinc, and fish oils making them safe for cloth diapers. They claim its blend of essential oils and botanical herbs “heals baby’s soft and sensitive skin without drying it out or acting as a wetness barrier that won’t allow the skin to breathe.” They also recommend it for diaper rash and other skin irritations such as dry/itchy skin, minor burns, and cradle cap.
As I mentioned earlier, when the Abundance Naturally Baby Balm was tested as part of the Cloth Diaper Cream Experiment Part 1, it created a thick and water-repellant buildup on the surface of the cotton prefolds used in the test. For this reason, I don’t recommend it for cloth diapers, but if you’ve already purchased Baby Balm, it’s still a nice, natural and light everyday balm for baby’s skin, or even for use with disposable diapers where staining and buildup are not a problem. However, even with disposables, I would only recommend it for everyday prevention, and not as a diaper rash treatment. If a rash does develop, something else may work better.
If you haven’t bought Baby Balm, but are looking for a good cloth diaper safe cream that is similar in consistency, you may want to consider Live Clean Non-Petroleum Jelly or Burt’s Bees Multipurpose Ointment instead. Both those creams are a bit thicker and therefore a bit better when a rash is already present and cloth safe.
We rated the Abundance Naturally Baby Balm as a 1.5 out of 5 star product, which is almost a little generous. We’ll get into exactly how we came to that number in the next section, but first, let’s quickly break down of what we liked and what we didn’t:
What I liked
- It’s natural ingredients.
- It’s made by a Small Canadian company.
What I didn’t
- It caused buildup on our cotton prefolds (see the Cloth Diaper Cream Experiment Part One and Two).
- It caused severe staining on our cotton prefolds (again, please see the experiment page).
- The smell. Though not horrible, the smell is a bit powerful, to the point of being unpleasant for some.
- The length of time the product lasted. The thinner consistency of this balm means that it ran out faster than other similar products.
- The price. For the amount of product you get and how long that amount will last you, it is fairly pricy.
- The tin tended to leak if it fell over (making transporting it around a bad idea).
- The packaging. The tin, while cute leaks horribly whenever not completely upright. Would not be suitable for taking with you in a diaper bag.
How I Rated It
To be fair to all cloth diaper cream products, we rate each one according to five key features to come up with a rating out of five stars. Here’s how Baby Balm stacked up:
- Effectiveness: 0 stars
- Cloth Diaper Friendliness: 0 stars
- Skin Friendliness: 1 star
- Support and Warranty: 0 stars
- Price and Availability: 0 stars
Abundance Naturally’s Baby Balm is a thin, jelly-like cream. When it’s warmed on your hands or on baby’s bum it thins out into the consistency of a light oil. It’s so light that it’s not really an effective moisture barrier, which, to its credit, it doesn’t claim to be. According to the Abundance Naturally website, Baby Balm “heals baby’s soft and sensitive skin without drying it out or acting as a wetness barrier that won’t allow the skin to breathe.”
Unfortunately, in order to prevent moisture irritation rashes, the main cause of most rashes, a cream needs to create a barrier between baby’s bottom and the wetness. For existing rashes, a barrier is also important to heal the rash.
What that means is the Baby Balm isn’t a good diaper rash cream.
If you’re looking for something that is nice and light for use when rashes aren’t a problem, the Baby Balm’s natural and soothing ingredients of the balm do have some value and it may be calming to the skin to help prevent any small irritations. I also have no doubts that for the other conditions it lists as possible uses: dry/itchy skin, minor burns, and cradle cap, it would be ideal. But since it’s not good as a diaper rash cream, and that’s it’s mean function, it didn’t earn any stars for effectiveness.
Cloth Diaper Friendliness
As mentioned earlier in the review, and as you can see from the photo above, when tested in part of Part One of the Cloth Diaper Cream Experiment (click here to check that out), the Baby Balm caused severe staining and repelling on cotton prefold diapers and so I couldn’t give it any stars for cloth friendliness.
Though any baby may have a unique sensitivity to any ingredient, in general the ingredients in Abundance Naturally Baby Balm are gentle and appear to be natural. According to a Facebook post by the company, it is handmade in small batches by SiSi Georgian Bay.
The ingredients listed as:
Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Prunus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Beeswax, Calendula Officinalis (Marigold), Stelloria Media (Chickweed), Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal)Root, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Oil, Lavendula Dentata (Lavender) Flower Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood), Tocopherol (Vitamin E) Oil.
In general the product is very gentle on baby’s skin and can have benefit, so it earns a full star for being skin friendly.
Support and Warranty
There is no product warranty or return information listed on the Abundance Naturally website, but they do list a contact phone number, social media contacts and an address. I did try to reach out to them one month before publishing this review to ask about their product warranty over social media however, and didn’t get a response. For this reason, I couldn’t give them any stars for support and warranty, as it appears there is none.
Price and Availability
Because Abundance Naturally is a small Canadian Company, the Baby Balm is not widely available outside of Canada (though it is very available in Canada).
The price is $11.99 CDN, which is about $9 USD (using rates current at the time of publication). The tin itself is 90 grams (or 3.17 oz). This works out to just over $0.13 per gram.
When compared to better alternatives, which are also far more cloth friendly (I’ll list them below in the alternatives section), this is not on the cheaper end. This is especially true when considering it’s even less cloth friendly than cheap, drugstore alternatives like Vaseline.
What Other Reviewers are Saying
For all of our product reviews at Cloth Diapers for Beginners, we also like to save you some leg-work and after we’ve written our review (so our opinion isn’t influenced), we check out what others are saying about it so you don’t have to.
There hasn’t been many reviews of Abundance Naturally’s Baby Balm since 2013. It looks like they sent out some baby product baskets to reviewers back then, but there appears to be not much written about them since that time.
Here’s what others are saying about Abundance Naturally’s Baby Balm:
Live Clean Non-Petroleum Jelly not only worked well during home testing, but also passed the CDfB Great Cloth Diaper Cream Experiment Part One!
It’s not often that we give a product such a poor rating, we hate doing it, but we do give honest reviews at Cloth Diapers for Beginners, and so it was bound to happen eventually.
While we’re only giving Abundance Naturally’s Baby Balm one star out of five as a diaper rash cream for cloth diapers, it should be said that we do love it’s natural ingredients and think it would make an excellent baby lotion for other needs. For example, the products claims that it is good for dry/itchy skin, minor burns, and cradle cap and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it for all of those needs thanks to it’s natural ingredients and skin friendliness.
Here’s a link to Abundance Naturally’s Baby Balm for you to check it out yourself:
Abundance Naturally Baby Balm performed very poorly in the CDfB Great Cloth Diaper Cream Experiment and therefore is not recommended for cloth diapers, but may be good for baby skin for other uses like cradle cap.