Jezebel's back with another Beauty 101 (1, 2, 3), and this time the issue at hand is body odor. Everybody gets a little stinky from time to time (some more than others), but have no fear- there are solutions. Jezebel readers also address problems such as pit stains, excessive sweating, and natural deodorant alternatives.
Some highlighted solutions below, click through for the whole story.
From C, via email:
"I work retail and I sweat really, really bad. It's not so much stinky, just embarrassingly wet. I tried a million antiperspirants until I found Certain Dri. It's awesome. It's the only thing I've ever found that works 100%. I put it on before bed about every third night and I never, ever have underarm sweat.
The other awesome thing is that I don't ever get that unsightly yellow staining on the arm pits of my shirts. However, this antiperspirant isn't for people with sensitive skin. I don't have particularly sensitive skin but if I get too much of this on, it kind of itches and then kind of starts to burn. If I realize I got too much on, I just dab it off with a tissue.
The consistency of this stuff is definitely watery, so it's a pretty easy to get too much when you first start using it. Also, you do NOT want to use this stuff after bathing, it will burn like a mofo. Apparently there's some sort of chemical reaction with whatever's in this stuff and water."
"I would suggest avoiding antiperspirants. I used to sweat a LOT, and I kept using stronger and stronger antiperspirants to fight it. Eventually I realized that the strong antiperspirants would only work for a few weeks but then they were actually causing me to sweat more, so I tried an experiment and swore them off entirely for a month. After about two weeks I hardly perspired at all.
Natural food stores carry a nice variety of non-antiperspirant deodorants, and even wal-mart has a couple. I also carry a little sampler bottle of body spray or perfume to use if I start to smell funky later in the day, which really only happens in the summer if I'm walking a lot or if it's been a couple days since my last shower.
I still use gel antiperspirants if I'm going someplace fancy where I simply cannot afford to sweat. Using them sparingly means that when I need them, they actually work!"
From A, via email:
"Pit stains come from the chemicals in anti-perspirant when it mixes with sweat. You could try a natural deodorant, or try vinegar or borax in the wash. Some people wear undershirts since they are less expensive to replace than clothing, but it could make you more sweaty if you become too hot."
"It's actually a chemical reaction between antiperspirant and sweat. For white shirts, try crushing up a couple of aspirin and making a paste with straight hydrogen peroxide, then applying it to the stains. This approach will bleach colored shirts, so you're probably out of luck there."
(P.S. You're not alone. Even Twilight heartthrobs get 'em...)
From A, via email:
"Too many scents at the same time is distracting. Choose a shampoo/conditioner that you really like and keep everything else unscented. I splurge on Aveda because the smell is rather strong and I love it."
"To get a longer lasting perfume, consider 'layering'. This is having two or more items of the same scent or scent family such as shower gel dusting powder perfume or moisturizing lotion perfume. Even sachet in underwear drawer perfume. Also, consider a scent locket, where you apply a little perfume to a small disc of cotton or paper and put it in a locket, or put a few drops of perfume on a hair band. It will not wear off as quickly, but it will have a slightly different scent than the perfume on your skin. Apply perfume over moisturized skin rather than dry skin.
Application is ideally to the pulse points, where the perfume will be kept warm. Wrists, behind the ears, cleavage. Small of the back. Also, because scent rises, consider the insides of the heels or the backs of the knee.
Application is also ideally subtle. If you can be smelled by someone not sitting next to you or hugging you, then you are wearing too much. Also, wait at least three to four hours before reapplying if not more, or ask someone else to give you a reality check as to if you still smell pretty, as you will lose the ability to smell your own scent long, long before others do."
"Since perfumes give me migraines, I've been using essential oils like almond/lavender/rose oils as perfumes... just dribble a couple drops into a bottle of water with a spritzer thingie on top and you can use it on clothes, sheets, etc. You can buy them at natural food stores and some beauty supplies places."
"I a) don't shave my pits and b) am pretty crunchy and like to avoid over-chemicaling myself if I don't have to. I find that a few drops of tea tree oil rubbed into my pit is quite effective as a deodorant (or an deodorant-refresher). Tea tree is an antibacterial, and it's the bacteria that feed on your sweat that make the smell, so if you can limit the bacteria, you can limit the smell. And I, personally, like the smell of tea tree, but ymmv."