Saturday, January 23, 2010

Women's Deodorant

Does anyone know why there don't seem to be many--or any?-- deodorants for women? I live in a hot, humid climate and I've never been one of those rare people who look fresh and cool as a morning flower even when working outside, so in the summer I use the strongest antiperspirant I can find: Mitchum. Mitchum's old slogan saying it was so strong you could skip a day was no joke and a couple of years back they strengthened the formula even more. It would be overkill in winter, so when the weather cools down in fall, I switch over to something cheaper and less powerful. (Suave is the cheapest brand here, so it's usually that.)

But I'm the sort of person who won't take anything to bring down a fever (unless it's dangerously high) because I figure that fever is there for a reason and I should let it do its job. I hate getting all sweaty, I don't want to stain my clothes with perspiration, and I have enough social strikes against me without adding the great American taboo of stinking, so I'm okay with stopping my armpit perspiration in summer. But there's not much of it in winter. So a couple of months ago I was thinking maybe I should just use a deodorant, rather than an antiperspirant, in winter.

But women's deodorant is missing in action. Men's deodorant is everywhere. Male-marketed deodorants are more common, or so it seems, than male-targeted anti-perspirants and anti-perspirant/deodorant combos. This is despite the fact male deodorants must be harder to make than female deodorants. Males are the stinkier of the species--of this species and every other species I have any familiarity with. Male deodorants must cover up the powerful male armpit sweat smell without stopping the sweat--and they do, and very well at that! So I know it's possible to make deodorants that cover up the lighter female sweat smell without stopping the perspiration, but going by the shelves in local stores, no one does any more. (For the record, I didn't check any health food stores in this little local search.)

Most women aren't going to use male deodorants because they smell like male cologne and the smell is strong (it has to be). There are some unisex anti-perspirants (like Mitchum), but I could only find one deodorant that seemed to be unisex: Tom's of Maine sat at the intersection of the men's and women's underarm products and was not noticeably targeted to either. It also claimed to be unscented, which means it only has the scent of the essential oils used in it. Pleasant enough, no doubt, but it was also nearly five times the cost of the Suave anti-perspirant. I bought the Suave. I also experimented a little with a homemade concoction, but my solution so far is just to use less of the Suave.

But the question here is why no (or so few) women's deodorant? Why do the manufactureres think there's less of a market for it? Uncle Pookie and I discussed this and our best guess is that women just don't like to sweat. Uncle Pookie also had a theory about these sort of products coming on the market back when many men still labored outside in the sun all day, so they needed to sweat, but I'm skeptical of that explaining it, because at that time few people had air conditioning yet and most people didn't eat out mucy, so most women spent hours over a hot stove every day. I don't remember what other ideas we came up with, only that our best guess was that women just don't like to get sweaty, so with women choosing anti-perspirants, the market for women's deodorants dried up. (Hardy har har.)


Anonymous said...

There are tons of deodorants in the health & beauty dep't at any Whole Foods or Health Store or Organic Grocers

Suzanne said...

I know, but at the time this was posted I wasn't visiting health food stores because it was not convenient where I was living.

In earlier years when I shopped at health food stores fairly often, I never actually trusted the deodorants there to work particularly well. What I would buy were the deodorant stones. Both my husband and I liked them. But they had first one and then two problems. The first was that one of us would inevitably drop the stone on the bathroom floor and break it. The broken piece/s would generally still be big enough to use, but would have a rough edge that would irritate our skin. Having to replace the stone was the more galling as we used it mainly to save money. When they came out with a stone in a plastic tube that didn't work as well to prevent the problem as we'd hoped, and we were moving on to the second problem anyway. The second problem was that the stone started to give us, especially me, rashes. Possibly this was related to weight gain changing the contours of my underarm, possibly it was something else. I'm open to trying it again sometime; nowadays you can find the stone in a lot more places.

Re my complaint above, Wal-Mart now carries a unisex deodorant that is comparable in price to the regular products: Arm & Hammer Essentials solid deodorant. The scent may "read" as male to a lot of people because it isn't powdery or flowery like women's anti-perspirants, but it is not actually a male cologne smell. I like it because it works fine without being costly. (According to their website, A&H also makes an unscented version, but I haven't seen that one in the store to try.)

Aluminum Free Deodorant for Women said...

I suggest nivea spray.