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June 13, 2011 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Should I wear axe bodywash?

The other day, when staying in a vacation house with some friends, in the shower, lacking soap, I washed my pits with a travel bottle of Axe bodywash that happened to be sitting there. I was a bit horrified because their advertising was so overwhelmingly lame that I was worried I might smell pretty well...overwhelming.

Anyway, a few hours later, my friend was standing next to me and said "what's that smell" and leaned in to smell it. Friend is a younger female. I said "Axe, is it awful?" And she said "no I kind of like it".

Mind you we are all folk musicians.

We discussed briefly how I'm pretty much neutral smelling, which I prefer over having a BO problem but not really something to write home about.

So I've been considering the idea: should I use this Axe bodywash or something of that sort? I would hope that the smell would be subtle rather than overwhelming.

I would say that I'm ethically against people screwing with their smells, except that I usually love the smell of women's hair which is most likely because of shampoo.
posted by sully75 to Human Relations (97 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The answer is no.
posted by something something at 7:08 AM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Reflexive question: Do you wear Ed Hardy?
posted by kaseijin at 7:10 AM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


sure, why not?
posted by facetious at 7:10 AM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


who is Ed Hardy?
posted by sully75 at 7:10 AM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


If it makes you smell the way you want to smell, use it. Don't overthink a boar of soap here.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:10 AM on June 13, 2011 [31 favorites]


All women are not the same.

Is this 'younger female' someone who you might like to become 'better acquainted' with? Maybe she is interested in you, Axe or not.

But the rest of the female population might have a different view of Axe.
posted by carter at 7:11 AM on June 13, 2011


Try it for a while. If you don't like it or somehow find that it isn't doing what you want, stop.

Problem solved.
posted by valkyryn at 7:11 AM on June 13, 2011


Actually, strike that. Mods, please delete. You know what? Wear whatever you want to wear. I am honestly so sick of this intolerant codification of appropriateness that has pretty much gripped the entire set of 20-40 year old USians, MeFi included.

It may not be for me, but you know what? Do you like it? Wear it. And damn what anybody else says. They're just being bastards.
posted by kaseijin at 7:12 AM on June 13, 2011 [45 favorites]


A little subtle fragrance is not a bad thing. And if you like how something smells, who gives a care what their marketing is like?
posted by The Deej at 7:12 AM on June 13, 2011


It's just a smell. It's not like using it also requires wearing an Axe promotional tshirt or something. My boyfriend uses Axe body wash (or some knock off, not sure), and I like it. The body wash is better than the spray because it's subtle and hard to OD on (which is the main problem with the spray).

On the other hand, why not go to a drug store and see if there are other body washes with scents you like better, especially if you're embarrassed about the Axe stigma?
posted by MadamM at 7:14 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you really want to intrigue people by how you smell? The Art of Shaving has some pretty amazing shaving creams and aftershaves, mostly with a lilac oil in them. You will not stop getting asked about it.

But yes, if you like it, use it.
posted by joedanger at 7:14 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I use Axe deodorant not because of the advertising (I'm married, mid 30s) but because I like the scent and it works.

I don't use the Axe bodywash because I've tried it, find it too pungent, and I'm also allergic to the fragrance it turns out.

It's like any cologne, perfume, etc. If you like the scent, then use it. But don't expect all women to like it, nor all women to be turned off by it. It's just a mild scent.

Finally, unless they're in your shower, how will anyone know it's Axe? So if you're embarrassed by using Axe, don't be, they have no way to know.
posted by arniec at 7:16 AM on June 13, 2011


I would say that I'm ethically against people screwing with their smells

Ethically against it? Then why are we having this discussion? Is this a question about the acceptability of the Axe brand or your ethical view of scented body products?

Either way, I say wear/wash in what you like. I find the Axe marketing repugnant and can't bring myself to support it financially, but if you like it, you like it.
posted by londonmark at 7:16 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are ways of improving how you smell that don't involve slathering in cheap chemicals manufactured by a company that exploits male insecurity and female sexuality in its advertising.

Also, other women may recognize the smell for exactly what it is, or see the bottle in your bathroom, and think that you've been suckered by said advertising.

Normally I'm all "do what you want" like kaseijin, but you asked for opinions here, and that's mine. If the goal is to smell better, and AXE just happened to be around, that's fine. But going forward you get to choose whatever you want, and something tells me that if you look around a bit, you'll find that you don't specifically "want" AXE.
posted by hermitosis at 7:17 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just keep in mind that you're using their bodywash... any scent which clings to you afterward is residual, and transitory. Don't let it become a gateway to dousing yourself with Axe bodyspray when you've left the shower, because that's a whole different thing.
posted by mumkin at 7:18 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Should I wear axe bodywash?

I am broadly opposed to fostering the sort of attitudes towards social interaction in general, and women in particular, that the Axe people use to promote their product. I'd be uncomfortable rewarding that behavior with money.
posted by mhoye at 7:20 AM on June 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


I said "Axe, is it awful?"

Ignore the advice of people who tell you that the only person whose opinion matters here is your own. Clearly, you don't agree with them, as you asked a female's opinion on the matter. I'm not saying you should never do anything you want, but you should wear Axe stuff with the knowledge that lots of people hate it.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:20 AM on June 13, 2011


If you like the smell, then go for it. If you want it to be even more subtle, then use a neutral bar soap for actual cleansing, but use the body wash on your neck and shoulders.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:20 AM on June 13, 2011


There was a fun thread on the blue a while back - It started as a discussion about Brut's new ad campaign but turned into a confessional discussion about all the cheap/old man/Axe type fragrances people wear. (English Leather represent!)

Simple answer: If you like the way you smell when wearing it, wear it. Nuanced answer: I'm not sure what you mean by 'ethically opposed' - opposed to animal testing, opposed to people buying more expensive perfumes, opposed to Axe's stupid advertising, or just thinking the whole idea of a people wearing stinkum is kind of silly... but ultimately; if you like the way you smell when wearing it and have no moral qualms (for whatever reason) about wearing it, then wear it. You could call me a folk musician, and I never got any memo saying I wasn't allowed to smell nice.
posted by usonian at 7:21 AM on June 13, 2011


I'm inclined to say no, unless you really want a scented product and Axe is the only one that does it for you. (I've actually found that hair stuff (glossing cream, pomade) provide the nicest, longest-lasting scent.)

Also, from an ethics standpoint - thinking that human bodies are gross unless they're cosmetically altered is pretty awful, I hear that. I'm very much on the "I have a couple of scented things for special occasions but otherwise just try to smell clean" thing myself.

Try a fancy co-op - they'll have about a million scented products, many of which may be more appealing than Axe without the many, many problems.
posted by Frowner at 7:23 AM on June 13, 2011


Here's the thing; if you decide you want to smell nice, there are any number of products out there for you, many of which do not come ladden with the embarrassment of having that particular bottle in your shower. Go smell a bunch of stuff. If you really like Axe, fine, buy it. I think there are products out there that smell more like actual plants (lemongrass, cedar, etc.) and less like a cheap nightclub. Wouldn't you like to smell like something from actual nature? I would rather you did, if I were next to you on the bus or something.

That said, smells work different on all different people and maybe Axe just goes with your body chemistry and it smells fabulous and not cheap on you. It's your body, you're the one that has to smell yourself all day.
posted by slow graffiti at 7:24 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unless you have a strong desire to smell that particular way, why not skip it? In a recent survey (I'll try to find a link later if anyone wants it) 20% of people reported having some kind of reaction to perfumes: they can trigger asthma, allergies, and migraines, and make some people dizzy and nauseated. Why add to the exposures that people with sensitivies experience if you're on the fence about adding this fragrance to your body?
posted by not that girl at 7:24 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I use the Axe "snake bite" bodywash specifically because I like the scrubbing action of it (there's some kind of mild abrasive in it) and the fragrance is a pleasant citrus and not overpowering.

I agree the advertising is repulsive. I actually remove the label from the bottles I get so I don't have to look at the name. If I found something that worked/smelled similarly and wasn't Axe I would switch instantly.
posted by de void at 7:25 AM on June 13, 2011


The risk is that some people - women in particular - might identify the smell as Axe, and think that, underneath your civilized exterior, you see yourself as the guy in the Axe commercial. Maybe you could take a poll among some trusted friends and see how many of them can identify the scent.
posted by tel3path at 7:30 AM on June 13, 2011


"ethically opposed" was just sort of a joke about how in general I think wearing a lot of scent seems cheesy. But...also spending a lot of money on a haircut seems cheesy to me too, but I still do it (sometimes, anyway).

I guess Joedanger summed up the possible goal: intriguing people with smell. I'm not sure Tom's of Maine "unscented" deodorant is that "intriguing".
posted by sully75 at 7:30 AM on June 13, 2011


I'd say no, but not because of the advertising. It's just a cheap scent, and to me it smells like one. It's the equivalent of dollar-store body mist for a woman. When I smell it I smell chemicals. Now, I'm not saying you ought to care what I think, necessarily- it's just that, if you use a more expensive scent and/or natural oils instead, the people who like Axe-y smells will probably ALSO like that, so you're appealing to a wider variety of people.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:30 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The risk is that some people - women in particular - might identify the smell as Axe, and think that, underneath your civilized exterior, you see yourself as the guy in the Axe commercial. Maybe you could take a poll among some trusted friends and see how many of them can identify the scent.

My friends would be entirely clueless about this, I can assure you of that.

Cute, progressive, artistic, smart, slightly nerdy liberal women in the northeast, would they know? Is it that recognizable?
posted by sully75 at 7:32 AM on June 13, 2011


(If you were interested in playing around with scents, I'd recommend doing as I did and getting some men's samples from Black Phoenix, because they're not that pricy and they're made with natural oils, but I know that's the Stereotypical Internet Answer to any perfume question so YMMV.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:33 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


so what's a good alternative? Something I wouldn't have to pull the label off of?
posted by sully75 at 7:33 AM on June 13, 2011


Axe does have a pretty repugnant ad campaign. I don't recognize the smell of it, but were I a younger lass who was smelling lots of boys, I might. Why not give Old Spice bodywash a sniff? They have an AWESOME ad campaign. Or shop around for something that's more you. There's a lot of bodywash out there.

Let me give you a parable: To this day if I smell anything that reminds me of Drakkar Noir (I believe that was the Axe of my day), I imagine that everyone around me is a 14 year old boy trying to hard. I don't think you want that stench on ya.
posted by pazazygeek at 7:33 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Trying *too hard. Le sigh.
posted by pazazygeek at 7:34 AM on June 13, 2011


Time to recommend my favorite bodywash in the world for men or women: Yves Rocher's Blue Cedar. $3.95 for 250ml, not tested on animals, gets you nice and clean, smells heavenly.
posted by likeso at 7:38 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


The problem with Axe scents is that over the course of several hours they all break down to smell like well-soaked urinal deodorant cakes on a hot day.

I really like Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap as a shower soap, either the liquid or the bar (the bar is more convenient). It leaves a nice subtle peppermint scent that disappears over time with no "off" notes. I'm not the least bit hippie-ish but I find it to be a vast improvement over most of the scented body washes and soaps, which tend to be overpowering and/or rank. The other nice part about using subtle scents in soap, shampoo, and deodorant is that they don't overlap and combine to make you smell like a department store.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:39 AM on June 13, 2011


I'm a woman, creeping up rapidly on 34, and I just bought some Old Spice body wash yesterday for myself just because I like the way it smells.

I figure if you like the way a product smells, you should go ahead and use it.
posted by palomar at 7:41 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cute, progressive, artistic, smart, slightly nerdy liberal women in the northeast, would they know? Is it that recognizable?

I can't speak for all of us, but yes. I'm 24 and I remember Axe bursting on the scene when I was a freshman in high school. The boys walked around in a fog of the stuff. Maybe younger women dodged that bullet, but the smell is seared into my brain forever. (I actually liked the smell when I was 14 and had never kissed a boy, but now it smells like embarrassed desperation to me)
posted by oinopaponton at 7:41 AM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Perfumes and the like will smell a little different on different people, since body heat and chemistry will have different effects on the product. Axe on you likely smells different from Axe in the bottle, and different from what it would smell like on someone else. Body washes, as others have said, also tend to be not as overwhelming as perfumes. If you like and no one's making "yuck" faces when you some into a room, then go ahead and use it, or something like it if you hate their ads.
posted by rtha at 7:50 AM on June 13, 2011


Seconding palomar: disregard gender labels. There are many great scents out there that are marketed to one gender, and this is bunk. Case in point: I'm the 'fumehead in my marriage, and I buy the scented stuff for mr.likeso. I get him blatently male-targeted stuff, unisex stuff and female-targeted stuff. His soap is olive-oil-based lavender. His latest after shave is Guerlain's Jicky.
posted by likeso at 7:52 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a northeast liberal lady who's dated folk musicians: if I were in your bathroom and saw a bottle of Axe body wash in the shower, I'd cringe. In fact, I'd seriously rethink your decision-making abilities. This is less because I am prone to rash character judgments and more because I hate Axe's stupid sexist commercials with the passion of a thousand suns. There are so many hygienic products out there that I'd wonder why you had to pick the one with the commercials of women in elevators mindlessly groping a nerdboy because he's wearing the body wash equivalent of Drakkar Noir.
posted by zoomorphic at 7:55 AM on June 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


For what it's worth, I will enthusiastically second the suggestion for Dr. Bronner's. I use their hemp-almond liquid soap, and it smells great, wears off gracefully, and leaves no off-smells... jsut as mentioned. For deodorant, I am currently using BAFX from L'Occitane, as well as their CADE aftershave and shaving soap. Ms. Kaseijin absolutely loves it, and I get compliments on it from other folks from time to time.

When I need to dress up and wear something more formal, I'll use D&G Eau de Toilette, or Chanel Pour Homme (though it has been a minute since I have used that...mostly due to the one I like being increasingly difficult to find).

I find that the D&G is a lot milder than most colognes, and wears off well. It's much more difficult to have a sinus-clearing overspray.


But yes. Wear what works for you. What you want to wear. If you like the smell of the Axe, then wear the shit out of it. Your confidence will do more for you than the body wash, anyway.
posted by kaseijin at 7:58 AM on June 13, 2011


Sorry. BAVX, not BAFX.
posted by kaseijin at 7:59 AM on June 13, 2011


And if a girl would shun you for the soap in your shower, do you really need her? Most ladies I know would maybe raise an eyebrow at it and then, if they really liked the guy, surprise him with some different soap or something.
posted by kaseijin at 8:01 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cute, progressive, artistic, smart, slightly nerdy liberal women in the northeast, would they know? Is it that recognizable?

I fit most of the above. I cannot recognize Axe on smell alone. I shamefully admit to having purchased the bodywash once or twice because I like some of the smells, but their advertising made me feel way too ooky to be a returning customer. Like, even the instructions on the bottle have a silhouette of a dude showering and hott chix fawning over him. (I do stop buying from companies if I find their advertising distasteful, even if I like their product.) Even if I liked the way you smelled, if I noticed a bottle of Axe in your shower, I'd be like eeeeeegh, really?

Sniff around wherever you can buy soaps and showergels - drugstores carry a variety of brands, and mall stores like Bath and Body Works have smallish men's lines. Whole Foods has some good unisex and men's products, or you might find something you like at Lush. There are a whole bunch of awesome-smelling things out there that don't have douchey branding.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:04 AM on June 13, 2011


Is this really a question asking the internet if you should wear a specific type of body wash?

Wear whatever the fuck you want.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:07 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bodywash, Axe or otherwise, leaves a pretty light scent. Adding the matching (or a complimentary) deodorant kicks it up a bit more. Both are fine with me, but for the love of all that is holy, leave the body spray in the shop for the 13 year old boys.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:10 AM on June 13, 2011


You should wear Axe because advertising isn't worth your attention.
You shouldn't wear Axe because the commercials are sexist.

So uh, do whatever you wang.
posted by yaymukund at 8:10 AM on June 13, 2011


I only experimented with underarm sprays during my peer-pressured teenage years; now I know a daily wash or two's all you need in that department. But I realize, that's just me... however, regarding Axe products be advised I was speaking with a colleague of mine who teaches middle school and she said all the boys in her classes smell like Axe. So. if that's the demographic you want to be indentified with...
posted by Rash at 8:13 AM on June 13, 2011


Cute, progressive, artistic, smart, slightly nerdy liberal women in the northeast, would they know? Is it that recognizable?

The brand, absolutely. I'd guess that anyone in America (and any other countries it's sold in) who has glimpsed an bit of TV here and there would recognize it (and immediately think, "douchebag.") The smell, I don't know. I wouldn't, and I'm most of those things in your list.

If I were you I'd figure out what classier scent Axe is ripping off, or what other product uses mostly the same ingredients and smells similar, and buy that instead. In theory I completely support the "use whatever the fuck you want" argument, but in practice I can't bring myself to buy things I associate with stupid ads and icky people.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 8:25 AM on June 13, 2011


Don't overthink a boar of soap here.
--
So uh, do whatever you wang.


BEST. TYPOS. EVER.

I think a lot of the objection people have to the smell of Axe is rooted in its over-use -- guys pouring buckets of the stuff over themselves. If you actually like it used sparingly, why not? (I mean, hell, I kind of liked Ishtar, so even things that have bad reputations can appeal to some people here and there.)

Whether the ads skeeve you out is a different ethical question, and one only you can answer for yourself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you like it, wear it. I honestly don't have a problem with Axe's bodywashes, and the scent isn't that bad. Yeah, I bash Axe sometimes, but not for their marketing campaign; in our dorms, there was a sizeable community of guys who thought that "douse with Axe body spray" was an acceptable substitute for "shower regularly". As long as you're not that guy, I don't think you'll have any problems from ladies.

On preview, what EmpressCallipygos said.
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:31 AM on June 13, 2011


Nobody cares except the people that do. Do you care what they think? If so, do/do not wear it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:32 AM on June 13, 2011


The big problem with really stinky teenage boys is the body spray, not the wash. So you won't leave a fume trail of Eau de Beavis if you just use the wash and maybe deodorant.

But yes, there are other body washes - everything from Suave to department store counter - who do not have those ads. Just don't get any body sprays no matter what product you use.

And if you love the Axe over all others, get an empty blank travel bottle or one of those suction-cup-mounted dispensers and refill into that.

I see that one of your tags is "pheromones." That's not actually a thing. If you want to smell nice, smell nice - it is possible that someone might pay more attention to you because of it, but it's more likely that someone who's paying attention to you will simply notice it. Pheromone marketing is awfully...coercion-y. Don't be that guy.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:34 AM on June 13, 2011


I say go ahead and wear it, if the above comments are any indicator of how fun people are who have strong feelings about Axe, it will work as an excellent filtering mechanism.
posted by Feel the beat of the rhythm of the night at 8:42 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Since you probably have a Whole Foods in your area, check out the Pacifica products. There are a wide range of fragrances (citrus, floral, spicy), and it might feel less ethically objectionable.
posted by matildaben at 8:57 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


zoomorphic: "As a northeast liberal lady who's dated folk musicians: if I were in your bathroom and saw a bottle of Axe body wash in the shower, I'd cringe. In fact, I'd seriously rethink your decision-making abilities. This is less because I am prone to rash character judgments and more because I hate Axe's stupid sexist commercials with the passion of a thousand suns. There are so many hygienic products out there that I'd wonder why you had to pick the one with the commercials of women in elevators mindlessly groping a nerdboy because he's wearing the body wash equivalent of Drakkar Noir."

Please, please heed this advice. Let's all be honest here- you want to smell good because it'll help you get girls. Sure, the smell itself may be fine for you, but sooner or later she's going to see that bottle of Axe, and have the exact internal monologue zoomorphic laid out. That you're hesitant about this at all says to me you don't want to see that happen.

An excellent bottle of cologne (the good stuff, that you don't get at the drugstore), used sparingly, is a better conversation starter, and as natural as you can get.
posted by mkultra at 9:05 AM on June 13, 2011


I don't understand the hatred people have based on bodywash. So if you wear Axe you must be this awful anti-feminist douche bag that makes terrible decisions in all facets of your life? Really? And how is this person any worse than being a judgemental snob who makes snap judgements about character based on a stupid single data point?

Maybe it was a 2 for 1 deal and they just don't want to overthink soap and you know what, it's convenient that the vacation house offered anything at all instead of making you sit there in your own natural funk.

You are way overthinking this, wear it if you like it. Oh and I personally would be really turned off by a guy who was so insecure with himself that he worried about what his choice in soap said about him.
posted by like_neon at 9:23 AM on June 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Know that although Axe markets to 18-24 year olds, the real crazy consumers are the boys 10-13 who are desperate to seem grown-up: "For tween boys, masculinity in a spray can." I went through this with my own little brother. My eyes still water at the memory, and not because it was such a sweet one.

"Kristen Gilbert, an assistant principal at Waterville Junior High School, in Waterville, Me., who has impounded her share of spray cans, wrote in an e-mail message that when she asked a young student why he wore the product, he replied, “I have to have it, Ms. G., because I don’t have the money to dress the right way. This is all I can afford.” The boy added that the body spray was his “best chance to get a girl.”

By all means, find a scent you like. But you're a grown man with grown man tastes. You can do better than a product insanely embraced by twelve year old boys with no power but a whole lotta longing, and who signal as such with Axe.
posted by sestaaak at 9:27 AM on June 13, 2011


My old roommate once got a free sample of one of Axe's bodywash brands, and I liked it! I used it in the shower and it smelled nice, not too strong, a little bit pine-y! Well, wasn't I pleasantly surprised! Nevertheless:

I am broadly opposed to fostering the sort of attitudes towards social interaction in general, and women in particular, that the Axe people use to promote their product. I'd be uncomfortable rewarding that behavior with money.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. A bodywash could make my neck smell like Jesus on an ice cream float, but if it aggressively markets itself by positioning masculinity in the way that Axe does (man-as-spermshooter-amidst-titillating-receptacles), then I'd rather let someone else profit off me.

As a general scent, I really like cedar; you might just go into some vaguely hippy-ish store, get a bar of cedar soap, and try that out. You'll smell slightly woodsy in a nice way.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:31 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


In fact, I'd seriously rethink your decision-making abilities. This is less because I am prone to rash character judgments and more because I hate Axe's stupid sexist commercials with the passion of a thousand suns.

IT'S SOAP!! Honestly, how come people can see through Axe's marketing ploy as what it is, unable to see people for what they are instead of a goddamn bottle of soap?

Can't you see that you're falling for the marketing by attributing certain traits (whether positive or negative) to soap?
posted by FJT at 9:34 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops. I meant "Cant you see that you're falling for the marketing by attributing certain traits of the soap to real people?"
posted by FJT at 9:34 AM on June 13, 2011


I am in the camp that says don't use Axe because of their sexist ad campaigns.

But if you really have to, clearly the thing to do would be to transfer the Axe into an empty bottle of Dr. Bronner's when you get it home from the store.
posted by kitty teeth at 9:43 AM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cute, progressive, artistic, smart, slightly nerdy liberal women in the northeast, would they know? Is it that recognizable?

I fall into a bunch of these categories so I will say -- the reason I know what Axe smells like, like a lot of other people, is because my teen brother soaks himself in it.

The reason I would probably think you bought it because of the ads, is because 1) that's why my brother buys it, 2) that's why my brother's 50 friends buy it, 3) it's so unappealing that that's the only reason I could think of that someone would deliberately buy and wear it regularly.

And if I thought you bought it because of the ads, I'd think 1) you were extremely naive/credulous about advertising, 2) wanted to be a player.

That said, other people don't know what it is and other people like it too, this is just me.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:47 AM on June 13, 2011


Make whatever decision you want wrt the sexist ad campaign (I am in the "No Axe" camp), but before you buy a case of the stuff, keep this in mind: If you have only been using unscented body products, and Axe smells good to you/on you, then there are probably about TEN THOUSAND body washes out there that will smell FABULOUS to you, minus the unfortunate implications of Axe. Even the basic drug store stuff or a bar of locally-made scented soap you get at the farmer's market or the more fancy stuff you can get at Ulta or Sephora will smell like HEAVEN.

It's not like the choices are Axe or nothing. Why limit yourself?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:53 AM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cute, progressive, artistic, smart, slightly nerdy liberal women in the northeast, would they know? Is it that recognizable?

If they went to a mainstream high school, then yeah, probably. But probably only the body spray. I doubt I would notice the body wash.
posted by geegollygosh at 9:54 AM on June 13, 2011


Honestly, if a cute folk musician I was dating used Axe, and I found out about it, I'd probably tease him for about ten minutes. And I'd probably giggle with all my friends about it ("Oh my gosh! That cute super-progressive guy I'm dating -- he uses AXE!").

Would it be a deal breaker? No. Would it be goofy? Yes.

I mean, I use Dove which is owned by the same parent company. As long as you are aware that the product campaign is pretty gross and that you'll probably get teased in a good-natured way, I think you're golden.
posted by superlibby at 10:00 AM on June 13, 2011


I use Axe body wash because I like the scent. It doesn't smell strong when it's dry, and I've never gotten any comments from anyone based on my smell. So I vote for continuing to use it, if you like the scent.
posted by wittysobriquet at 10:03 AM on June 13, 2011


As someone with three (3!) friends who have severe reactions to fragrance (not smells, but the chemical soup called fragrance or parfum), I would like to see way FEWER discretionary synthetic smells on people.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:05 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I too hate the stupid Axe commercials.

My husband (who really hates to smell stinky) and I went down the aisle of deodorants and smelled them all. The ones I liked he hated and vice versa. The only one we could agree on happened to be an Axe. I like how it smells on him and he likes how he smells. Win-win.

My husband used Ivory soap and the Axe deodorant. He never smells overwhelming, but when I'm cuddled into his armpit I can smell his deodorant and it's nice. Otherwise I just smell his natural scent.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:22 AM on June 13, 2011


so what's a good alternative? Something I wouldn't have to pull the label off of?

Just came in here to recommend traditional Old Spice, but I see several people already have. My fondness is not really because of the ad campaign--I've used it since I was 12 or so because I absolutely love the way it smells. Like my grandfather. In a good way. And I'm a girl. Whiffs of my own pits makes me happy, and their deodorant is cheap. Scented body washes are slightly silly, though, and won't make as much of a difference to your smell after a few hours. Nice smelling deodorant and shampoo/conditioner are much more important.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:24 AM on June 13, 2011


In addition to the advertising, some people might object to Axe's chemical ingredients or the multinational corporation that produces it.
posted by box at 10:33 AM on June 13, 2011


sully75: "Cute, progressive, artistic, smart, slightly nerdy liberal women in the northeast, would they know? Is it that recognizable?"

I think I fit into most of those categories.

We definitely recognize the Axe "I totally covered myself in this" douchebag scent. It comes from the stuff in the spray can, not a body wash. The douche quality comes from the sheer quantity of smell (i.e.: if you leave a room but your scent lingers, you are doing fragrance wrong).

Body wash, when used as intended, has a hard limit as to how strongly you can smell. As long as you're rinsing the soap off, you're fine. You have my blessing.

My recommended alternative would be soap from Lush (or some other boutique bath products store). You'll have better luck finding a more masculine/unisex fragrance there. I like patchouli, but I think I might be in the minority.
posted by giraffe at 10:40 AM on June 13, 2011


This page, whose claims I am unable to vouch for, maintains that Axe body wash has chemical ingredients that have been linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity.

That said, it also claims that Axe contains something called 'penetration enhancers.' If that were true, though, I feel sure they'd mention it in their advertising.
posted by box at 10:49 AM on June 13, 2011


I also fit into those categories (other than northeast, and as an early ninties babydyke drowned myself in Lynx (same). I would be a little curious as to why a grown man had Axe in his shower if I saw it. I would wonder why he uses scented stuff at all if he cares so little that he hasn't explored the world of scent beyond Axe, cos there's a lot of nicer stuff out there. I am also fragrance sensitive and would advise looking into decants and testing some higher end grownup scents to find something that is amazing on you.
posted by Iteki at 10:54 AM on June 13, 2011


nthing that you can get a good-smelling body wash that is not Axe. Personally I just don't think axe smells that good anyway, you can do better for about the same price somewhere else. I think bath and body works actually has a lot of nice-smelling stuff for men. also, i love old spice and think it has a pretty broad appeal among women. the blue deodorant in the red tube is about the best smell ever . . . get that.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 10:54 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alternative suggestion with natural sources: Sandalwood. You can find all manner of oils, soaps, and so on.

Smells masculine but has no Axe stigma.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:57 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


OP, are you really that sensitive or concerned about how you smell? If that's the case, you have to consider that whatever is being suggested to put on your body is only going to react to what you already smell like. And that itself can be affected by diet, medication, stress, where you work, what laundry detergent you use, hair products, etc.
posted by FJT at 11:10 AM on June 13, 2011


As a single lady who is allergic to a lot of scents please just use whatever you use sparingly. More is not always better. Keep it subtle so she leans in to smell you instead of smelling you from across the room.
posted by Bunglegirl at 11:36 AM on June 13, 2011


Mind you we are all folk musicians.

OP, that is one of the sweetest, funniest things I've ever read on this damned site. I think it really clinches the dilemma perfectly. If you need someone to help you out with a sniff test or two ...
posted by thinkpiece at 11:43 AM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I get really bad sinus pain and runny nose when I'm exposed to perfumes and other scented products. So I say please don't use it.
posted by ephemerista at 11:51 AM on June 13, 2011


I have a bottle of Abercrombie & Fitch cologne whose use has drawn compliments from women who would not be caught dead sniffing a shirtless young man in an A&F retall location doorway. No one has ever recoiled in disgust upon receiving this news; I would find it kind of annoying and unattractive if someone did, actually, because it clearly works for me.

Perfume allergies, of course, are a different story, and fragrance-free is probably the safer choice as many people have said previously.
posted by substars at 11:55 AM on June 13, 2011


Just to clarify for the the "IT'S JUST SOAP" crowd: we live in a world papered sky to ground with advertisements, some more harmful than others. If it's *just* soap and the advertising were a non-entity in the argument, then OP wouldn't be asking this question. But he realizes that Axe uses a very specific brand marketing that carries a very specific message. Many people, men and women, find that sort of marketing annoying, offensive and/or gallingly stupid.

So, to the IT'S JUST SOAP crowd, I ask you: if it's JUST SOAP then why choose the specific soap marketed as a magnet for idiot women who uncontrollably gyrate against the soap-buyers? Why not buy JUST SOAP with a picture of a pine tree on it, advertised in commercials that don't portray women as mindless, soap-enamored makeout machines?
posted by zoomorphic at 12:59 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, to the IT'S JUST SOAP crowd, I ask you: if it's JUST SOAP then why choose the specific soap marketed as a magnet for idiot women who uncontrollably gyrate against the soap-buyers? Why not buy JUST SOAP with a picture of a pine tree on it, advertised in commercials that don't portray women as mindless, soap-enamored makeout machines?

Do both of these hypothetical kinds of JUST SOAP smell exactly the same?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:14 PM on June 13, 2011


My advice: Don't use AXE.
1] vote with your dollars against "(man-as-spermshooter-amidst-titillating-receptacles)" advertising.
2] drug store mass-market products have phthalates, nasal anesthetics, and other artificial, possibly harmful ingredients.
3] vote with your dollars to support natural products and small companies

making these moral judgments will be attractive to chicks who dig folk musicians [like myself]
posted by ohshenandoah at 1:24 PM on June 13, 2011


I may be an idiot woman soap-enamored makeout machine, but I am not mindless! I'd never gyrate against a tree, ouchy!
posted by thinkpiece at 1:30 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


sooner or later she's going to see that bottle of Axe, and have the exact internal monologue zoomorphic laid out

Or she doesn't have a teevee, and has no idea what people in this thread are on about, and she would see the bottle and think: oh, it's some body wash. That's something I've seen at the drugstore; this isn't a big deal for him, it was probably what was on sale. It would register as "nationally advertised brand" no more exciting than Colgate toothpaste or Pantene shampoo.

I think many post-thirty (forty?) folk are not really discriminating between body washes beyond noticing which is $1.50 off when they're in the store needing body wash and which ones smell nice. Many of the IT'S JUST SOAP folk have not actually seen the marketing. I think whatever effect this magical wash is supposed to have is limited to: teenagers, people who were teenagers when it was popular, and people who work with teenagers. The rest of the world is fairly oblivious, I imagine.
posted by kmennie at 2:28 PM on June 13, 2011


I don't have a TV, and yet I know exactly what Axe is.

I'm exactly the demographic OP mentions in his "would these particular sorts of people care about this?", and yeah, I'd care. Too much cheap chemical scent (Axe, Old Spice, Irish Spring, whatever) is probably my #1 turnoff in straight dudes I would otherwise be into. And if I see the bottle in your shower? Yeah, it's true, my absolute first thought is going to be, "This guy is a philistine." Which, yeah, is going to be a point against you.

I like people with good taste. I like people who have the capacity for true sensory awareness (e.g. liking things that actually smell good instead of some cheap nasty chemicals that commercials tell them are "masculine"). I like people who actually care about stuff. Axe products of any sort scream the opposite to me.
posted by Sara C. at 2:41 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think the "Axe is for douchebags" stereotype, whether it is fair or not, is a lot more widespread than its naysayers will have you believe. I'm 38, I only have a TV so I can watch movies, and even I am aware of the stereotype.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:47 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm just cheap, because I don't see anyone else saying "If it's on sale." It was less than a buck per bottle during an after Christmas clearance at Target.

Today I learned that I am quite possibly the only person to have both a bottle of Axe and a bottle of Dr. Bronner's in the shower. I may also be the only one to use Dr. Bronner's with an Axe shower puff. (same clearance sale, in a gift pack) Take note, the universe did not implode.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 2:59 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cute, progressive, artistic, smart, slightly nerdy liberal women in the northeast, would they know? Is it that recognizable?

i am all of these things (am in my early 30s) and have no idea what axe smells like... well, except that a few years ago i spent the night with a dude i'd known for a while, made a mental note that he smelled REALLY good, went into his bathroom and found an axe bottle. huh. i made fun of him for like twenty seconds, and then told him to keep on keeping on.

i'm super picky about smells, but if for whatever reason axe works with your natural pheromones and smells delicious on you, and you like it: wear it. nothing is sexier than confidence. my favorite ladies' man has longer hair than i do, washes it with herbal essences, and doesn't give a shit with anyone else thinks about that. he never has problems attracting ladies.
posted by lia at 3:17 PM on June 13, 2011


I don't watch TV and ads and found about this Axe thing from you , just now ... I would not know that I suppose to be against some soap stuff . If Axe + your body chemistry produce some good result -- then it's great !
posted by Oli D. at 3:19 PM on June 13, 2011


For authentic cute, progressive, artistic, smart, slightly nerdy, folk-musician-type bodywash, use Dr. Bronner's Soap. It will also give you something to read in the shower.
posted by Daily Alice at 4:13 PM on June 13, 2011


Putting in my vote for Old Spice! Super sexy.
posted by queens86 at 4:26 PM on June 13, 2011


I used their deodorant for a while (until they eliminated the flavor I liked) and got nothing but compliments about how I smelled. But the particular variety wasn't very "axe-y" (hence the discontinuation, I guess) and it combined with my natural smell in a good way.

The nice thing about the Axe brand is that it has a bunch of different smells. I, being of a certain age, know *exactly* when I am dealing with a DEFCON-5 level douchebag when I smell Drakkar Noir or CK-1. But I don't think very many women will recognize Axe-Chocolate Thunder versus Axe-Wicked Boner versus Axe-Piña Colada at any greater rate than they would recognize Old Spice as that stuff their grandpa smells like.

Also, if you like the way you smell, you will just feel better. If someone has gotten so far as to see the Axe bottle in your shower and THAT becomes a deal breaker, you are better off.

Also, from an ethics standpoint - thinking that human bodies are gross unless they're cosmetically altered is pretty awful, I hear that.

Human bodies ARE gross. You wipe your ass, don't you?
posted by gjc at 5:03 PM on June 13, 2011


My husband uses their deodorant. I like it. I like it when men smell nice. I think their advertising is funny, but really, who cares.
posted by kitcat at 5:37 PM on June 13, 2011


As a card carrying feminist, I give you my permission to use axe bodywash.
posted by yarly at 7:41 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you like the way Axe smells, and the people you want to be, uh, close to like or at least don't mind the way smells, AND you don't mind funding their ad campaigns...go for it. The same can be said of any product, really.

For whatever it's worth, I do recognize the scent of Axe's various products. But as long as you're not wearing an offensive amount, I probably wouldn't assume you think of yourself as "the Axe man" or whatever.
posted by asciident at 1:13 AM on June 14, 2011


At least it's not Bod Man.
posted by The Deej at 11:10 AM on June 14, 2011


Why not buy JUST SOAP with a picture of a pine tree on it, advertised in commercials that don't portray women as mindless, soap-enamored makeout machines?

Because Axe is often 2 for 1 and maybe I'm already broke enough buying organic apples, free range eggs, corn fed chicken, compostable trash bags, "green" bathroom cleaner, and Newman's Own salad dressing.

Life is stressful enough and people choose their battles. I choose not to belittle someone because of their choice in JUST SOAP.
posted by like_neon at 3:12 AM on June 15, 2011


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