I have three thick, multi-purpose skin balms that I think make for interesting points of comparison. It all started with Egyptian Magic, which I’ve previously praised on the blog, and I later branched out to trying other less expensive but similarly conceived products from Alaffia and The Honest Company to see if I could save some money while treating my skin. These are all natural products with simple formulations that nourish the skin, including face, lips, and body. I ended up with distinct thoughts about all three of them, so I wanted to lay them all out.
As an overview, these are all naturally-oriented products that are free of petroleum, mineral oil, parabens, fragrances, and dyes. Additionally, all three products are cruelty-free. They have a fairly heavy consistency, but are super versatile – they could be a facial night cream or a lip balm, or can be used to soothe rough elbows or a freshly waxed bikini area. The Honest Company even markets their balm toward diaper rash.
Egyptian Magic ($39 for 4 oz.) – The full price is listed at $39 for a 4 oz. jar, and then Costco sells a pack of a 4 oz. and 2 oz. jar sold together for $39. I actually got this 3-pack of a 4 oz., 2 oz. and an itty bitty jar at Costco right after the holidays on offer for $29. Regardless, this isn’t a cheap product, and it really isn’t super widely available in terms of where you can purchase it.
I will say right up front, though: out of the 3 balms I’m comparing, this is ultimately my favorite. It has a nice consistency that melts into an oil on contact with skin, and I just generally find that my skin responds really well to it. It’s a very simple formulation and my guess is that the only people who would have an issue with it would be those for whom olive oil triggers breakouts. Or vegans, who won’t want to use 5 of the 6 ingredients it’s made with due to being bee-derived. I do also like the lightweight plastic jars, which are easy to pack in a bag for travel.
All of that being said, Egyptian Magic is not necessarily the product I’m most likely to continue purchasing over and over again due to price and availability. Maybe I’ll jump on more Costco post-holiday sales. Anyhow, a 3-pack will last me a good while.
Ingredients: Honey, Beeswax, Olive Oil, Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen and Bee Propolis
Alaffia Africa’s Secret ($24.99 for 4 oz. or $12.29 for 2 oz.) – This originally caught my eye because Alaffia and Egyptian Magic both call their product a “multipurpose skin cream,” and clearly the product names also resemble each other. The formulation is a bit different, though – the bottom end of the ingredients lists look similar, but the top ingredients of Africa’s Secret are shea butter, coconut oil, and sesame seed oil.
This is a more affordable option than Egyptian Magic, and I like that I can buy it in two different sizes. It comes in a heavy glass jar, which is less convenient to travel with but is generally nice-feeling and will probably be preferable for those that are pay more attention to the environmental aspect. And, Alaffia is a very ethically-oriented company, which I love.
I really like the formulation, too, and I really only see one downside to it. You may notice in the photo that the balm has little lumps throughout it. I think this is the coconut oil, and also possibly the shea butter, which is more solid at room temperature. As long as you’re in a warm enough place, it softens and melts into an oil as soon as it’s applied on the skin and there’s no problem. On the other hand, I did notice over the winter when my bathroom was colder that I had to spend a little time warming it up on my skin in order to melt the lumps. It’s not a huge deal, but I could understand if someone found it annoying. Otherwise, I feel like this is a lovely product that’s generally worth that little bit of extra effort. Considering the quality and price, this would be my top recommendation.
Ingredients: Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*, sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil, beeswax, African wild honey, Azaradichta indica (neem) oil, adansonia digitata (baobab) oil, bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis cera. *Certified Fair for Life – Social & Fair Trade by IMO.
The Honest Company Organic Healing Balm ($12.95 for 3 oz.) – This is the most affordable of these three balms, and perhaps the easiest for many people to find since it’s available at Target. It’s vegetarian, as well. At Target you can find it in the baby aisle since Honest Co. actually markets this for diaper rash. Personally, I found 2-packs of Honest Co. balms as well as their mineral sunscreens at Costco at one point, though I’m not sure these are permanent residents of the store the way that Egyptian Magic seems to be.
I enjoyed this, so I don’t want to give the impression that it’s a poor product by any means, but I don’t think this moisturizes my skin the way that Egyptian Magic and Africa’s Secret do. That might be a personal body chemistry thing, as some people just respond better to certain ingredients than others. The frustration that emerged as I worked my way through the tube was that the formula definitely separated. I noticed that if I got the thick, waxy balm to come out, that it was noticeably more effective for my skin. However, sometimes I’d just get a runny oil coming out (perhaps the sunflower seed oil), and on its own the oil was definitely not as effective.
Perhaps one thing to note is that I’ve seen multiple people sing the Organic Healing Balm’s praises for its ability to combat eczema. I haven’t experienced this myself, but I wonder if there might be a good reason for having the word “healing” in the name. If this is a concern for you, YouTuber Sarah Nicole recently posted an informative video about eczema and recommended this product.
Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu) Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Oil*, Tocopherol (Non-GMO†). *Certified Organic Ingredient.
I hope that helps you navigate the options. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these, or if you have experiences with other similar products. Do you have any favorites? I’m always looking out for new ones to try!