There’s no such thing as magical armpits. Sure, it can seem that way in the middle of your first Zumba class when you notice that the surrounding enthusiastic bodies aren’t emitting anything like the pong you are.
But, really, everyone sweats.
It’s even possible to measure your body odor with a standard unit: “1 olf is the amount of air pollution produced by an adult in a sitting position with a hygiene rating of 0.7 baths per day.” states author Robert Jütte.
So, just how do some people manage to stay appealingly fragrant all day long? The ideas below are a good place to start. Give them a go and in no time you’ll be signing yourself up for a night of ‘Romancing the Armpit’.
Tailor your products to your shaving routine
Shaving off unwanted body hair dates back to prehistoric times. “Shaving off hair - or choosing not to shave - has been done for various reasons related to hygiene, religion, personal style, sexuality, customs, and social mores,” writes Victoria Sherrow, in her extensive study of the cultural history of hair.
When it comes to thinking about deodorising, dusting powders and deodorants will work effectively no matter whether you shave, wax or go with the grow. However, if you choose to leave your hair long, powders and solid powders will reach the skin easily.
On the other hand, if you shave or wax it’s likely that you will unintentionally remove the top layer of the skin as well as your hair. This can leave your skin feeling extra-sensitive. For this reason, it’s a good idea to give skin some time to rest before applying any deodorant and choose gentler options like Aromaco and The Greeench.
After bathing or showering in the evening, a shake of dusting powder over the bedsheets or straight onto the skin will leave you feeling soft, comfortable and ready to drift off into dreams. Mr Sandman, a treat exclusively available for Christmas, contains lavender oil and tonka, sweet like vanilla, to encourage calm moods before bed.
If you’ve got a guest staying, or are hosting a slumber party, a sprinkling on the sheets will create a beautiful, welcoming scent.
… If they’re a really good friend, the jasmine and vetivert in Silky Underwear makes it a sophisticated, yet subtly sensual, choice. Your friend might want to skip the pjs altogether!
Be a gym class hero
Sweating regulates your body temperature. When the heat your body produces surpasses the heat your body releases, you sweat. At this point, water from the cells and your bloodstream is evaporated. It’s a natural process and one that has long been promoted through customs such as Roman baths and Scandinavian saunas (interestingly, these also inspired shower jellies)!
Deodorants, unlike antiperspirants, let your body do its thing. The essential oils and powders that deodorants contain draw moisture away from the skin, neutralise odours and limit bacteria (which makes your sweat smell).
You can therefore feel confident working up a sweat wearing them. Pop a powder such as The Greeench or The Guv’ner in your gym bag and start the workout playlist pumping. They both feature lycopodium powder, which is highly absorbent, and sage, which is added for its antiseptic and astringent qualities.
Hop out of your gymwear and into the shower. Then, when you’re out and have towel dried off, dust on a powder like Silky Underwear to soften and smooth. A light dusting makes slipping into your clean clothes a breeze.
Similarly, if you find yourself getting a little hot and bothered on the way to school or work, but don’t have the time (or the water) for a shower when you get there, dusting powders are a top trick. Simply pat on before you change to ensure you still smell fragrant all day long.
Feet ft. powder
So, you can walk the walk, but do your feet feel fresh when the shoes come off?
Humans have an average of two to four million sweat glands over the body and they’re not all located in the armpits! T For Toes and Twinkle Toes foot powders are specifically designed with feet in mind.
Tea tree oil is just one of the ingredients that makes a good fit for feet. It’s found in T For Toes (alongside kaolin and sodium bicarbonate to keep you dry). Tea tree is renowned for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, particularly its effectiveness against the fungi commonly called yeasts.
Yesterday’s shoes are a haven for bacteria too. They’re still moist, usually dark and cosily temperate, but a sprinkling of foot powder is sure to absorb any excess moisture. To keep soles smelling and feeling fresh, alternating shoes every day is another handy (or ‘feety’) representation.
Treat yo’self right
It’s time to go a bit mother hen on you all (just for a minute, promise).
Eating well is one way to smell even better than you do right now. Evolutionary psychologists R.I.M. Dunbar and Louise Barrett state that, “It may not be surprising that our body odours reveal some information about our metabolism, for example about the food we ate (e.g. garlic), what we drank (e.g. alcohol), about some metabolic problems or changes (e.g. stress), and possibly about some of the infectious diseases we carry.”
Don’t believe it? Try this activity (probably one for a lazy day in): rub a crushed raw garlic clove on your foot. A quarter of an hour later, you’ll be able to taste it in your mouth.
If you’re a guy, evidence suggests that switching up the sandwiches for salads could make you smell better. The study (which unfortunately hasn’t been replicated for women yet) demonstrated that men who tucked into a varied diet of fruits and vegetables, as well as eggs, tofu, meats and fats, were rated as better smelling than those who packed in higher amounts of carbs.
One more thing... you might think heading out the house in yesterday’s mussed t-shirt makes you look like a low-maintenance Don Draper type, but washing your clothes regularly (especially those in direct contact with your skin) is a must for smelling great.
There’s a time and a place for experimenting: the time is now and the place is anywhere. 47% of people claim to have tried a new brand of deodorant in the last 12 months and 62% have tried a different fragrance during the same period. Sometimes, following the crowd pays off.
Test out different deodorants or dusting powders at the gym, on the way to work, in warmer or colder weather, or depending on your mood. The only thing to remember is to have fun doing it!