one woman’s journey in body odour
And a road test of a couple of natural deodorants.
I can distinctly remember the first time deodorant became part of my life. Let me paint you a picture – it's the year 1999 or 2000. I'm in the changing rooms of iconic Australian children's clothing brand Pumpkin Patch… no wait, it's Urban Angel (the edgier, pre-teen spin off of the brand). Mum has just pulled back the curtain to see if the shimmering purple pants I've chosen for the year 5 disco fit me properly, when she asks what that smell is.
The smell was me.
After a hard day in the schoolyard I was now being confronted with the reality that my pits were becoming, for the first time, a body part I was going to have to pay particular attention to. I wasn't thrilled.
My mum was very preoccupied with protecting my baby skin. I wasn't allowed to shave my legs or underarms for years (ours was a depilatory cream-only household) and whatever sensitive skin antiperspirant I started on didn't do a whole lot. I could smell the scent of puberty on my short-sleeved primary school polo-shirt, and it smelt like the loss of innocence I was simply not prepared for.
Over the ensuing years I tried many scent-stopping, sweat-stalling concoctions from supermarket shelves, each packed with options: a roll on that only came in pastel pinks or purples; sports-specialist spray-ons shaped like a bullet (a bullet designed to shoot my sweat glands into submission I guess?); a slightly softer giant bullet that promised I'd smell like a bunch of flowers on a summer's day (but also sexy); a giant crystal ball roll-on that swore it would naturally protect me from odours, but that when I gazed into it only reflected images of sweat patches that put The Trunchbull to shame.
You'll be relieved to know that by now I feel I've gotten a handle on my personal perspiration routine. I no longer field questions about my scent from my mother, in fact now I live with a husband and he rarely comments on my smell at all (should I be worried?).
But the call of the deodorant aisle still sings its siren song to me, encouraging me to fall for the promises they make. The return to au natural clean-girl aesthetic has even had me back dabbling in natural deodorants that usually just leave me sweaty and stinky, but with a patchouli twist.
Maybe that’s why my husband was so surprised when I tried A’kin’s latest deodorant, crying ‘that's DEODORANT?’ when I explained what it was he was smelling that he thought was so divine. ‘Yeah, geranium and cedarwood baby, check it out’ I replied while spritzing the mist in his face (or something along those lines – we exclusively speak to each other like characters in a beat poet novel).
The day after this exchange I accosted him in the bathroom, shoving my pits in his face, begging him to smell me. Once more he was baffled and delighted by the scent of the A’kin Australian Desert Lime and Sweet Orange roll on that, as promised, kept me dry and stink-free for 24 hours. I already knew that A’kin was a cruelty-free Aussie-owned company, but as a skincare fanatic I was also chuffed to learn that these clinically proven deodorants are free from propylene glycol, aluminium, triclosan and other yucky nasties. What they do include is working – ‘cos not only did I smell good and remain pit-stain free, I also didn’t suffer the dreaded chalky white marks many traditional deodorants leave behind.
So to recap my deodorant journey, we began in a funky changeroom, took a journey through a booby-trapped anti-perspirant jungle, and have arrived calmly at a nose and environmentally friendly option that keeps me dry without the nasties. Some would say I’m a hero – I’m just relieved I don’t smell.
This sojourn into the pits of smell and back again was put together in partnership with our friends at A’kin. Take a peek at their full range of Australian-made (and totally vegan) natural deodorants at your local supermarket or chemist, or on the A’kin website.