A Beta Balm?

Beta BalmRock climbing isn’t kind to hands. Thankfully, there are quite a few balms available that aim to revitalise, repair and moisturise the cracked, parched and cut mess a climber’s hands can become if they are not shown some loving care. I reviewed some of these balms a while ago and gave the highest score to Climb On balm. Now I’ve come across another balm that is right up there with it.

Beta Balm is made by Simplici from Chattanooga in Tennessee. Simplici describes Beta Balm as “a powerful herbal moisturizer formulated to naturally rejuvenate dry, cracked, sore and irritated skin.”

What’s in it?

Like a lot of other balms out there Beta Balm is made of natural ingredients such as butters, waxes, oils and herbs.Beta Balm back

The primary ingredient of most climbing balms is beeswax as it’s a natural humectant, acting to draw moisture from the air into the skin and locking it there. Beeswax is also said to be anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-allergenic as well as being a germicidal antioxidant and source of Vitamin A (which is good for cell development).

Beta Balm contains beeswax, although, interestingly, it’s the third ingredient and it’s mango butter that comes first. Mango butter is made from the kernels of the mango tree. It’s meant to be similar to shea or cocoa butter in terms of moisturising and softening the skin, but lighter. Mango butter also apparently contains high amounts of anti-oxidants and vitamins A, C and E – which are all good for the skin.

The next ingredient on the back of Beta Balm’s tin is babassu oil. This comes from the babassu palm and moisturises and softens the skin as well as forming a protective coat on it.

The other ingredients are:

Kokum butter, carnauba wax, walnut oil, shea nut oil, meadowfoam seed oil, lanolin, Vitamin E, myrrh, chickweed, burdock root, plantain, self-heal, white willow bark, Echinacea, calendula, fenugreek, confrey, thyme, rosemary, garlic and essential oils.

There’s a helpful summary of how these other ingredients are meant to help the skin on Simplici’s blog.

What’s it like?

Beta Balm comes in a generously sized puck that’s moulded on one side into a fun, target shape and that sits well in the palm of your hand. It spreads very easily and you need surprisingly little for it to be effective. A quick, short rub of the puck over the back and front of each hand is all you need before working the balm in.Balm Balm puck

It initially leaves your hands with an oily shine and the first time I used Beta Balm I thought I’d be leaving oily fingerprints around for quite some time. However, somewhat strangely, although the shine remains for a while after application, my hands don’t feel oily to the touch after about five minutes. This is relatively good for a climbing balm. Crucially, Beta Balm works impressively well at moisturising hands and leaving them feeling nice for a good period of time.

Beta Balm has a fairly strong smell when it’s first applied, but this fades quickly. The smell is distinctive, slightly sharp and complex. Simplici describe the smell as woodsy and herbal. My wife agrees with this, but I wouldn’t describe the smell as woodsy. To me Beta Balm smells of herbs, spices and citrus. It’s a smell I like and other people I’ve shared the balm with find the smell intriguing and certainly don’t dislike it. However, it’s a smell with personality and I suspect that a small number of people might not like it.

How does it compare against the competition?

Of all the balms I’ve tried in the past, it’s Climb On and Sypeland Climber’s Hand Balm that I’ve found most effective and that I’ve kept using myself. In my earlier review I gave Climb On a score of 33 and Sypeland a score of 29. On the same scoring system I give Beta Balm:

Application:   9
Absorbency:  9
Longevity:      9
Smell:            6
Score:           33

There are definite differences between these three balms.  Climb On has more of a waxy feel to it than Beta Balm, which feels slightly oilier.  This might be why Beta Balm beats Climb On for ease of application and absorbency, but that’s just a guess on my part.  Beta Balm ties with Sypeland in terms of application and absorbency, which surprised me a little considering that Sypeland is a light cream and so easy to put on.

Beta Balm also works as well as Climb On and Sypeland’s at moisturising. Although I’m not convinced that Beta Balm works for quite as long as Climb On as a moisturiser, it’s not far behind.

Climb On has a notably gentler, less distinctive smell than Beta Balm and Sypeland and this might be a deciding factor for some people when deciding which to buy. However, deciding which smells better is pretty subjective.

Overall, Beta Balm is excellent and it’s something I’m going to keep using to keep my hands in good shape.

Declaration: Simplici gave me a free sample specifically for me to review. This hasn’t influenced my opinion.

13 thoughts on “A Beta Balm?

  1. Hey Robin!

    This is a great looking product we haven’t seen much about it. I especially love the design of it. It sort of looks like a cinnamon roll to me. Yum, I mean our motto is if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.

    I wanted to share with you what is really special about climbOn/SKINourishment in general.

    The one thing that sets us apart from almost every other bar (skin care company in general) is that we use no synthetic ingredients at all. It’s all pure and natural. In addition we don’t use any fillers, every ingredient in our products would be considered active. Also, the essential oils we use are food grade.

    An interesting point about having all active ingredients also means we don’t add any fragrances to chage the smell of the product. Therefore our products just smell how they do. For example, you often see flavored lip balms of all kinds. We have a peppermint lip balm but peppermint is cooling and helps aid in the healing of chapped lips.

    That all being said, we have been making skin care products since 1996 and we really appreciate the time you are taking to break them all down. The extremely in depth reviews are very rare.

    Even with the small compensation of a product you took the time to really outline in which the manner you did previously. This really shows an unmatchable passion.

    Finally, I think we should have you check out our reformulated climbOn Bar dubbed the “man bar.” It still does the same awesome things but it’s a lighter application, soaks in more quickly and at the root is a different blend therefore having a different frangance. We also have the crossFIXE line which is a solid lotion too. That’s a whole another story.

    I’ve already written way too long of a comment but your excellenct and in depth reviews are again really appreciated.

    1. Thanks.

      It’s great to learn more about the Climb On range and I’ll give the “man bar” and crossFixe line a go.

      I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say that I have a passion for climbing balms, but I certainly have a strong interest in what I think are really useful products. Although it is clear that there are lots of people who do have a real passion for making great skin care for climbers. You can see that passion in the quality of products available and the commitment their makers have to making them with the best, most natural ingredients possible.

      My main reason for reviewing these balms is to make climbers more aware of what is available and to help them pick the balm that will work for them. I also find doing the reviews interesting and they have the added bonus of keeping my hands nice. I’m pleased that you like them.


      1. Hey Robin,

        Drop me an email and we will take care of you. Will@SKINourishment.com

        That’s certainly fair to say. We have a passion for solving skin issues.

        Here’s a few posts that dive deeper into some principals we follow and would like to see more following,

        What do we mean by food grade & truly natural

        What does cruelty free mean to us

        The All Natural Skin Care Market

        Feel free to delete the other comment that mirrors this one. Mobile WordPress with logging in is unhappy with me.

        1. Thanks – I’ll send you an email.

          Interesting posts on what goes into skin care products and what this means.

          Just out of curiosity – has anyone ever eaten any Climb On? Maybe just a nibble? Any ideas what it tastes like?

          Best wishes

  2. Robin,

    Thank you so much for the detailed review of Beta Balm. I really appreciate your in-depth observations.

    Also, thank your for blogging. thesevereclimber.com is inspiring, and it is saved to my favorites.


    P.S. Your comment thread with skinourishmentwill, inspired me to “nibble test” both Beta Balm and ClimbOn. Both products contain pure, natural, active, food grade, cruelty and preservative free ingredients – and both taste incredibly bland. Really bland. ClimbOn tasted more waxy with slight tones of how it smells. Beta Balm tasted more oily with slight tones of how it smells. This seems right in line with your review. I hope I never have to make a meal out of any skin care products!

    1. Thanks Gina.

      That’s very kind of you. I’m pleased that you like the blog and that it’s in your favourites.

      Thank you also for the nibble test. That really is showing passion and dedication. I don’t think I want to try it myself, but it’s good to know that in a dire emergency, when all other food has run out, that I could make a really bland meal out of a balm. If it gave me indigestion, I could always eat some climbing chalk. In the meantime, I’ll keep using Beta Balm to keep my hands in great shape.

      Best wishes,


      1. We have a story of where the climbOn Bar was used for nutrition on a climb.

        I do not have it handy.

        Nice to Meet you Gina, may I suggest making the ingredients more readily available.

        Very interesting nibble taste! I posted our results above from our creator. She tastes it all.

        1. That’s certainly a story I’d be interested to read if you are able to dig it out.

          It’s great to know that it gets such a thorough test and it shows a real commitment to your product.

          Thanks and best wishes

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