Smell Ya Later

Cleaning out my closet this spring, I tossed at least a dozen t-shirts and button-downs whose armpits had yellowed beyond acceptability. I went online to see if any cleaning products might help (answer: Oxiclean, though not enough to save that deeply yellowed batch), and discovered more importantly that it’s not the sweat, but rather the acidic aluminum in antiperspirants, that drives the color shift in the first place.

Still, that new knowledge presented me with an ugly Catch-22: better to scare people off with pit-stains, or with pit-stink? I had tried deodorant (as opposed to antiperspirant) a few times in the past, due to concerns about aluminum’s healthfulness, and each time had quickly sweated my way out of thinking that was an even vaguely publicly-acceptable solution.

So it was with more than a little skepticism that, on a friend’s recommendation, I tried out MenScience Advanced Deodorant. The brand name “MenScience” sounded like something out of a Saturday Night Live commercial. The fact that it was unscented seemed even less likely to work (what did deodorant even do without antiperspirant, aside from masking scent?). And ‘active ingredients’ like tea tree extract and witch hazel made me feel like the stuff might be better sold at a booth at Burning Man.

Despite it all, it works. After a few days of use, I found that MenScience Advanced Deodorant, stupid name and all, left me with less armpit smell at the end of the day than even high-aluminum-content products like Certain Dri.

Color my armpits surprised. And not, for a change, yellow.

October 26, 2011