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The Return of Stinky McSmelly Pits

February 16, 2011

I recycle. I compost. I use SLS-free shampoo and I even buy organic if it’s on sale. But I’ve recently learned that my loyalty to all things environmental has limits, and those limits begin and end with my armpits.

I’d heard the scary statistics linking the aluminium content of antiperspirants and breast cancer, so I decided to try out a more natural alternative. The lady at my local health food store recommended a crystal deodorant. I was skeptical that a chunk of salt could keep rank odours away, but decided to give it a try.

The following morning I applied it vigorously under each arm. By lunch I felt wet and sticky (and not in a good way) so I re-applied. By dinner I reeked. I checked the directions to make sure I wasn’t forgetting to pull off an invisible wrapper or press a secret button on my magic crystal, but it appeared I was doing everything correctly (except for the not stinking part).

The next day I tried again and I’m pretty sure my funk was worse than if I’d done nothing at all. I was desperate and, having pitched my antiperspirant days before, I resorted to using the Serb’s Mitchum for Men. His reaction to finding me smelling like a dude was…not great.

This all transpired the week we had a massive snowstorm, which unfortunately impeded a trip to the drugstore to buy a stick of Dove. The only silver lining was that the layers I wore to keep me warm in the snow also managed to spare me from my own stink.

While I applaud Matthew McConaughey’s dedication to basking in his natural musk, stewing in my own stench is definitely not for me.

Sadly, this is a test I would fail.

57 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 9:06 am

    My first commenter this morning wanted to know if we coordinated our post! I rushed right over to see what he/she was talking about…..
    I’ve spent 20 years looking for alternative deodorant (boy, that’s a book in it self!). If it makes you feel any better there’s been lots of scientific testing trying to link aluminum to cancer but nothing in my research found anything conclusive.

    • February 16, 2011 10:07 am

      Ha! I read this and thought to myself, “Please don’t let Molly tell me to put baking soda on my pits…” I’m glad that the proof is in my favour because I don’t think I can go back to au natural…

  2. February 16, 2011 10:13 am

    ugh. smelly pits are the WORST. I’ve recently discovered that I have two sweaters that no matter how much deodorant I put on, or how little I sweat – at the end of the work day, I’m guaranteed to stink. (currently working on finding new tops to coordinate with pants to DITCH those two sweaters. what a pain in the bum.)

    good luck with your search for “healthier” deodorant 😉 I’m sticking with my Degree for Women! 🙂

    • February 16, 2011 12:24 pm

      Forget healthier – I can’t stand the smell of myself and have already bought my Dove stick!

  3. February 16, 2011 11:04 am

    My friend swears by the crystal plus organic deodorant. I tried it for a month and adding one more step to my morning ended up being the end of me. I was five minutes late everywhere. I can’t change my mornings unless I get to just stay in bed and then I don’t care about my armpits…

    • February 16, 2011 12:26 pm

      That’s hilarious! If the stench doesn’t get us, the lateness will…

  4. The Perfectly Imperfect One permalink
    February 16, 2011 11:38 am

    There are just some things you can’t skimp on or do without no matter how health or environmentally conscience you are, toilet paper and deodorant are number one and number two (no pun intended, but feel free to take it as such lol).

    • February 16, 2011 12:26 pm

      You, my friend, have your priorities in order (in the pun and non-pun sense).

  5. Trish Loye Elliott permalink
    February 16, 2011 11:59 am

    OMG! Lol, my hubby wanted to do the same. It took me months to convince him to go back to regular deoderant. I don’t care what anyone says.. natural musk is so not attractive to me. Good for you for experimenting though!

    • February 16, 2011 12:29 pm

      Consider this experiment over. No one is more thankful than my husband, who comes from a land where hairy/natural pits on women are not unheard of, but he can’t stand it!

  6. February 16, 2011 12:47 pm

    And everyone within a 3 foot radius thanks you for that failure.

    : )

  7. February 16, 2011 3:01 pm

    So I am not the only one…

    I can’t even get by on the clear anti-perspirants, I need the heavy duty white sticks that look awesome with black tank tops!

    • February 18, 2011 9:29 am

      That clear stuff is like using kittens to protect you from dragons…

  8. February 16, 2011 4:27 pm

    I’m a secret clinical gal and it worked great for a while, but even that doesn’t prevent my inevitable funk at the end of the day. The days I forget to wear deodorant are foul. I always wonder what people must have smelled like back in the middle ages when they never bathed and didn’t have sticks of deodorant to keep you from being rank.

  9. February 16, 2011 6:41 pm

    That crystal shit is a bunch of crap. I smelled worse than brother did after he got home from a year of following The Grateful Dead. Add my little stint of going ‘poo free, and I was basically a dirty hippie in expensive jeans. Ew. Glad to hear you are back on the wagon.

  10. ryoko861 permalink
    February 16, 2011 7:12 pm

    LOL!! I always thought mens deodorants smelled more like womens deodorants. AXE is a perfect example. At one point I thought my son’s deodorant was called “Cedar Chest”.

    • February 18, 2011 9:25 am

      My husband wears something called deep chocolate…it’s the reason I stay with him… 😉

  11. February 16, 2011 9:53 pm

    Worst pun of the day: isn’t that just the pits?

  12. Carly permalink
    February 17, 2011 10:55 am

    I think you all have it wrong. I have used the crystal for 25 years and it works great. After a few years of using it I forgot it while travelling and had to buy normal deodorant. Within a few hours I actually smelled. It caused odour! “What a scam” I thought.

    I had my last two boyfriends switch to the crystal, and after about a week of stinky clogged pores getting cleaned out, it started to work. Now my boyfriend turned husband can miss a day of crystal deodorant because his pores (sweat glands) are cleaned out. I personally can go a week not using crystal deodorant, I usually just forget. Though on hot summer days I will use it daily.

    • February 18, 2011 9:24 am

      Thanks for this perspective! What kind do you use? I suspect my pores are clogged with 40 years worth of crap.

  13. February 18, 2011 11:11 am

    I actually use the crystal salt, whatyamacallit, stick thing 🙂 At first I smelled really bad, that must have been the cleansing process, very stinky… But if you stick to it, the smell goes away and actually after some time your pits feel really good, like baby’s skin :). I think it is the salt action on the pit bacteria, the battle is stinky, aftermath is worth it 🙂 And aluminum is really bad for you… Salty water also helps at the begging, just to wash your pits with it and rinse your mouth before you go to bed (not necessarily with the same salty water 🙂 ). Salt is good 🙂

    • February 19, 2011 2:12 pm

      I do love salt in general…I’m not sure about the pits…I may have to take a whiff of your pits the next time we run into each other 🙂

  14. February 18, 2011 2:28 pm

    try the baking soda and orange from arm and hammer. it kills the stink bacteria. you’ll still sweat a bit but it won’t smell. there’s no scary chemicals and it’s cheaper.

    • February 19, 2011 2:09 pm

      Hmmm – that could be the happy medium I’m looking for! And Molly would approve because there’s baking soda 😉

  15. March 17, 2011 1:46 am

    Well, Miss Lori, the Empress was dead-on when she chose you to be her weekly funny woman. I’m happy to say I’ve been hip to you for AGES!

    ps- rereading this post cracks me up. especially the word “musk”

    • March 17, 2011 7:47 am

      On a day when my kid plugged the toilet and I can’t find the plunger, I so needed some good news! 😀 I *heart* the empress more than ever. Thanks for the kindness!

  16. March 17, 2011 7:50 am

    Wow! What kind of job is that? They had better be well-paid. (Although I did read that male scent reduces women’s stress levels). Those are probably some laid back broads.

  17. March 17, 2011 9:09 am

    Last week I had a guy call for advice on how to tell his employee he reeked. Yeah, I know you want MY job! Anyway, it never occurred to me to ask before if he used crystal meth deodorant or whatever you call it. I did recommend the Old Spice Pro Strength to him, which works even on my 15 year old son. So, if you are having any lingering post environmentally friendly deodorant issues…it’s teenager tested, teenager approved. Myself, I stick with Secret. 🙂
    Glad to meet you — you are a hoot.


    • March 17, 2011 12:31 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! That guy who called you seems to have a job I would not want…

  18. March 17, 2011 12:04 pm

    Oh my GOD! I am so glad The Empress featured you today and that I got a chance to read this! Not only because it’s hilarious. Because it is. But because I used a “natural” deodorant today and am going to need to run to the drugstore at lunch to buy some “real” stuff. I got to work and was like “What is that SMELL?”. Yep. It was me.

    Lucky for me and, let’s face it, everyone else around me – I remembered having a small bottle of baby powder in my desk. So a liberal application of powder was applied, not only to my pits but to my clothing (that part was accidental). At least I don’t reek anymore.

    • March 17, 2011 12:21 pm

      It makes all my reeking worth it to know I may have saved one smelly person from a similar fate…

  19. March 17, 2011 12:06 pm

    I’ve heard that about organic deodorant…I would rather clog the pits with aluminum than stink like Matthew McCaunahoweveryouspellit.
    Can you imagine that job?? Barfalicious!

  20. March 17, 2011 12:29 pm

    Hey funny girl! Visiting you via The Empress. I commend you for the attempt at going ‘au anturale” and commend you even more for knowing when to run back to the chemicals that big pharma intended us to use. 😉

  21. March 17, 2011 5:55 pm

    I first switched to just “deodorant”, without the antiperspirant. Then switched to Tom’s of Maine deodorant. I didn’t have huge issues with stink, but what I couldn’t get past was having sticky pits all the time! Because without the antiperspirant, obviously you sweat. And I am sort of paranoid about pit stink now, so I’m often seen in the bathroom sniffing my pits or the pits of my shirt, which my husband finds amusing. So while I use the Tom’s alot, I have a secret stash of the chemical badness in my drawer for “stickier” days. 😉

  22. March 17, 2011 9:02 pm

    I tried the natural deodorant, too and I was fun-ky.

    Given a choice between smelling bad and getting cancer I chose cancer. Priorities, people.

  23. March 17, 2011 10:21 pm

    My brother wages a war against antiperspirant.
    We do not hug.

    • March 17, 2011 10:32 pm

      HA! Apparently Brad Pitt loves to wallow in his rankness, so maybe these dudes think the cool boys are doing it?

  24. March 17, 2011 10:22 pm

    i totally tried that rock crystal in college after taking a feminist theory class and deciding that i was woman, hear me roar. too bad people could smell me from a mile away so the roaring seemed like overkill.

    the rocks had to go.

  25. March 17, 2011 11:31 pm

    Not a fan of that crystal, which put me in the unfortunate position of smelling like decaying carp or choosing death by aluminum.

    I don’t know why I said “decaying carp.” This wasn’t a failed Summer’s Eve experiment post.
    I blame the carp comment on aluminum poisoning.

    • March 18, 2011 9:46 pm

      Ha! Any part of the body smelling like any body of water is…not great.

  26. March 18, 2011 11:16 am

    Found you via The Empress… had to leave a comment. I, too, attempted the “magic pit crystal” and had similarly stinky results. I, too, went back to Dove.

    I did recently find that Arm & Hammer sells an all natural deodorant, and it is sitting in my linen closet waiting for its debut. I’ve been putting it off for fear it will end up in the “I’m a big, fat liar” pile with the pit crystal.

  27. Carly permalink
    March 18, 2011 9:21 pm

    Wow… crystal deodorant is getting a bad rap. It is actually the normal deodorant that is causing the smell because it clogs pores. And then you keep clogging them so nothing can get out. So then they start to clean out when you stop putting the gunk on and the rock gets blamed. You couldn’t pay me to use the gunk – the rock is the only way to go!
    My construction worker husband swears by it too, even in the summer heat.

    • March 18, 2011 9:58 pm

      Carly – you are a brave soul weighing in with this stinky bunch. If I knew you better, I’d ask to sniff your husband’s pitts… 😀

      • Carly permalink
        March 19, 2011 12:24 am

        LOL! His pitts smell great!

  28. March 20, 2011 3:10 am

    The crystal works great for me. It’s really weird though because my armpits dont smell at all but the crystal then smells like stinky armpits. Honestly my crystal will keep me BO free for about 3 days. Our Walmart carries an all natural roll on called “Tom’s”. My BHBF ( big hair boyfriend) swears by it.

    • March 21, 2011 8:37 am

      Hmm…I’m gonna need to smell your pitts…

    • Carly permalink
      March 21, 2011 10:08 am

      Thanks for joining in Libby, this brain-washed crowd is a tough bunch 🙂

  29. March 21, 2011 6:18 pm

    For reals. I am totally all about organics and helping Momma Earth but the deodorant issue is where I draw the line. Although, when I was using it, I was the pied piper of hippy men for a short period of time. Those were the days. Come to think of it, I may stop by and pick up a new crystal on the way home tomorrow…

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