Non-morally objectionable deodorant that works like Axe
April 13, 2007 9:26 AM   Subscribe

My partner claims that Axe is the only deodorant that doesn't go rancid on her within a couple hours, but I have serious objections to supporting that offensive and misogynistic company. I need suggestions for deodorants that will make my partner feel clean and nice-smelling and yet not set off my moral objection sensor.

She does not like gel deodorants or the salt crystal hippie sticks. Any deodorant other than Axe goes rancid on her within a couple of hours (I have never noticed it, but I don't spend as much time near her armpits as she does). I'm not sure what it is about Axe that makes it work better/longer, but whatever is unique about it is what my partner likes. Are there other deodorants with similar compositions but from other companies?
posted by arcticwoman to Shopping (49 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I know this is going to sound dumb, but by going rancid, do you mean that the deodorants react with her body chemistry and create a rancid odor different from body odor? Or do they just not last long enough and after a few hours she crosses into BO territory?
posted by necessitas at 9:33 AM on April 13, 2007

If by "rancid" you mean that it stops working, I've been seeing commercials lately for Secret Clinical solid deodorant (I have no idea what's on that website; my work computer doesn't support flash), which purports to be prescription strength. Might be worth a try.
posted by amro at 9:42 AM on April 13, 2007

I don't get the "rancid" thing either. Does the actual substance change its chemical composition? Or are other brands just not strong enough to keep her from sweating? If it's the latter, I find Degree to be one of the strongest antiperspirants I've tried, and it comes in a regular stick (the white kind). There's a brand called Certain-Dri that's meant for people who perspire a lot, and Secret has recently released a product with something like "clinical strength" in the title; maybe that will work better for her.

Is she really just using a deodorant and not an antiperspirant? If so that could be part of the problem; only antiperspitants stop you from sweating.
posted by boomchicka at 9:43 AM on April 13, 2007

Yeah, if you meant it stops working, do suggest the secret clinical. I think it is the most amazing stuff, in fact it is really the only long lasting, effective stuff I've ever used. And I've tried EVERYTHING.
posted by necessitas at 9:43 AM on April 13, 2007

Old Spice? Apparently she doesn't have a problem with boy-ey things.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:43 AM on April 13, 2007

My bias is towards hypoallergenic and unscented antiperspirant. The active ingredient is always some kind of aluminum salt, so there's no functional difference between brands of antiperspirant besides the chemicals providing the artificial scent. And the marketing.

And there's the problem of scented deodorant attracting bees.
posted by ardgedee at 9:48 AM on April 13, 2007

An easy alternative is to let her or her friends / relatives buy the deodorants, and you can buy her something different that doesn't offend you. That way she gets to use what she enjoys without you having to break your moral code.
posted by wackybrit at 9:51 AM on April 13, 2007

Adidas makes a deodorant that sensitive people don't react badly to. I also don't totally get what you mean by "rancid," but I would have her experiment with deodorants that don't have aluminum and stuff like that (ie try some natural stuff). I know someone for whom Axe is one of the only things she can use because of an allergy/sensitivity.
posted by sneakin at 9:51 AM on April 13, 2007

Is it just Axe or is it all of Unilever? Their list of companies/products is fairly lengthy. If you could eliminate it down to handful of companies you would like to support, it may be easier for us to give you recommendations.
posted by pieoverdone at 9:53 AM on April 13, 2007

Being a naturally stinky dude myself I have found that shaving my pits and showering often sets up a pretty good base upon which my deodorants can use to stand up to my BO.

So if she is doing one or either of those it ought to go a long way to making her feel less stinky at least, unless she is exercising all the time in which case she ought to enjoy the stink as the smell of accomplishment.

Also I use Old Spice Endurance, I like it.
posted by BobbyDigital at 9:53 AM on April 13, 2007

Response by poster: By rancid, I think she means that the deodorant reacts with her body chemistry to create a bad smell that's more than just BO and that's more than just stinky Axe. And I should clarify, I think what she's using is an antiperspirant.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:53 AM on April 13, 2007

Oh, and on the more practical front, I'd recommend almost everything in the "makes you smell nice" category by Lush. All very natural.
posted by wackybrit at 9:54 AM on April 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I used plain old baking soda for years. It seemed to work well with my "body chemistry". And it's 59 cents.
posted by hermitosis at 9:57 AM on April 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Really? Neat. Do you just sprinkle it on, or what?
posted by arcticwoman at 9:59 AM on April 13, 2007

Virtually every anti-perspirant on the shelf if some percentage of Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly (or something like that).

I'd be stunned if Axe (if you are using the anti-perspirant) isn't some percentage too. So I call BS on your friend. I think she could use just about any anti-perspirant she chooses. Tell her to just get the higher percentage ones.
posted by MasonDixon at 10:04 AM on April 13, 2007

i like the secret soft solid. it doesn't get all over my clothes, and it works really well. i do find that the scent changes over the course of the day if it's a scented one, but the unscented, for some reason, keeps me feeling fresh.

and for what it's worth, i find the axe ads hilarious, and i'm very much a feminist. i think they demean men more than women by playing to that boorish instinct. that said, if your girlfriend simply won't switch brands, you can always rest assured that setting an example as a strong, confident woman will offset the $3 profit that the company might make.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:08 AM on April 13, 2007

Yeah, arcticwoman. I just sprinkle about a tablespoonful into my hand and then slap it on. I would always do this leaning over the sink so that the excess would fall down into the basin, since baking soda is good for cleaning those surfaces too. Feels better on your skin in humid weather than slimy products.

I'm no militant conservationist; I'm just poor and lazy.
posted by hermitosis at 10:18 AM on April 13, 2007

One thing I can think of is that perfumes of all kinds change their scent over time. Some scent components are more volatile than others, so they evaporate faster.

So I'm wondering if the problem is that other deodorants' scents get annoying or cloying to her as the first notes fade. She might try more deodorants that are designed specifically to convey a perfume or cologne, since I imagine their manufacturers would pay more attention to keeping the scents pleasant or balanced.

Mind you, I'm just bullshitting here. I've never had a cheap deodorant get more or less annoying over time. But I've heard that maintaining that sort of balance over time is one of the trickier things that perfume makers do, and maybe your partner's more sensitive to it than most of us.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:18 AM on April 13, 2007

(On failed-to-preview, thinkingwoman seems to have noticed that sort of scent change. Maybe I'm not full of shit! Hurrah!)
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:19 AM on April 13, 2007

I'd be stunned if Axe (if you are using the anti-perspirant) isn't some percentage too. So I call BS on your friend. I think she could use just about any anti-perspirant she chooses. Tell her to just get the higher percentage ones.

Just to say, I also hate the Axe ads, but it was the first anti-perspirant that truly worked for me, and I've tried many. So, I'd call "not-BS."
posted by dead_ at 10:22 AM on April 13, 2007

Mitchum roll-on. It totally rocks. I used the unscented, so I can wear whatever perfume I choose without a clash of scents.
posted by essexjan at 10:34 AM on April 13, 2007

Not to rain on your parade but most of the products listed come from some very big companies with very big histories. Axe's silly marketing may be off-putting to you but would you rather support someone who dumps benzine into drinking water? If you do enough research I'm willing to bet you'll find something wrong with all these companies. Might as well stick with what works.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:35 AM on April 13, 2007

What pieoverdone said. Is it just axe, or all of unilever? If you don't mind using other unilever products, based on the wikipedia article, they also make degree, brut, rexona, sure, and vasenol deodorant brands. I'd guess there's a fair chance that the main difference between some of these brands is just marketing and scents.

Also, I Nth old spice high endurance, just on personal experience. It's the best deodorant I've tried. Just don't get original scent unless you want to smell like your grandfather.

Oh, also, has she tried Mitchum? It's scentless, so that eliminates one possible culprit for unfavorable reactions.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:37 AM on April 13, 2007

I have a friend who just uses rubbing alcohol (and a daily shower). I've never noticed her scent, one way or the other, and I have a good sense of smell.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:38 AM on April 13, 2007

Sorry for failing to preview, but I guess I'm seconding mitchum.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:39 AM on April 13, 2007

So, even the unscented kinds of deoderants/anti-perspirants go stinky on her? I'm wondering if she's reacting to the perfuming agent in some of these other, non-Axe brands, rather than the other ingredients.

Datapoint: I use Tom's of Maine unscented stick. If all I'm doing is sitting at my desk, I remain unstinky. If I get sweaty, I might smell a little by the end of the day, but I only notice if I actually stick my nose in my armpits - none of my co-workers has ever veered away from me in horror.
posted by rtha at 10:39 AM on April 13, 2007

I really like Tom's of Maine's "long lasting" unscented formula. I got tired of how the aluminum-based ones felt on my skin. They recently added hops to the formula which seems to make it last even longer, but it did change even the "unscented" scent. When I first made the switch, I sweated a lot more than I used to with antiperspirants, but now I'm back to normal. My girlfriend uses it too, although she doesn't find the long-lasting version as necessary as my stinky self does.
posted by Xoder at 10:41 AM on April 13, 2007

If you want to support a different company that isn't an "offensive and misogynistic company", you couldn't do any better than to buy Dove brand deodorant. Their "Campaign for Real Beauty" (link) is the opposite of the Axe 'get u laid' campaign.

Side note: they're owned by the same company (Unilever). And their agency of record appears to be doing the ads for both brands.
posted by ChuckLeChuck at 11:05 AM on April 13, 2007

rubbing alcohol isn't a deoderant, rubbing alcohol is a ten second shower.
posted by subtle_squid at 11:23 AM on April 13, 2007

In regard to ChuckLeChuck's rec of Dove based on their ads, I use Dove unscented and I really like it. My mom and two sisters also use it. Before switching, I used Tom's of Maine, which was kind of like spitting on a wildfire. I am a smelly lady, and Dove does pretty well for me. On really hot or active days I may end up a little riper than I'd like, but usually it does the job.
posted by crinklebat at 11:34 AM on April 13, 2007

The only problem I've found with tom's of maine is that it suds up a little on hairy armpits, it's kinda embarrasing to see a soap bubble when you raise your arms. I haven't tried the "long lasting" though, so it may work.
posted by Attackpanda at 11:39 AM on April 13, 2007

Heh. I *really* like the adidas deoderant -- it's one of the few deoderants that work well with my body chem. It also stays fresh for a few hours, and I'm a particularily (skinny, not very sweaty, but very) stinky boy for whatever reason. But I still sweat when I'm using it, so down here in tex-ass, it's not the best product ever.

Axe is also one of the few *scented* deoderants that doesn't go rancid on me except when I burn completely through it in the course of a workout... and what I mean by rancid is 'sour' in my case. Maybe I'm the only one who can detect it, but it still makes me uncomfortable when I raise an armpit and feel a waft of swamp air expelled outwards. It also doesn't 'burn' my armpits -- I've got really sensitive skin, and I've had issues with other deoderant sticks of various brands causing inflammation and rashes. I have no idea why it's any different from other brands... since sweat is acidic, maybe they use less of a base material.

As far as Axe being an offensive company -- i think your panties are in a bit of a wad, dearie. The ads are really tounge in cheek. I don't know anyone who thinks they'll actually get laid by using Axe brands specifically, although the message of "Smell good = get chicks" is one that more computer nerds need to hear.

And all advertising aside, most women I know (lots of liberal women ... I'm the child of yuppies that's pretty yuppy, but prefers the company of hippies) really really like the smell of Axe stuff. Generally, right up until they find out what it is that I'm wearing.
posted by SpecialK at 12:00 PM on April 13, 2007

Second'ing Mitchum. I wear cologne, and that's the smell I want to emanate from me. I don't want to smell deodorant. An unscented antiperspirant does it for me.
posted by jeversol at 12:11 PM on April 13, 2007

Yeah, I'll n+1nth the Old Spice. It works really well, and doesn't smell all that bad on chicks. One of my ex-gfs wore it.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:27 PM on April 13, 2007

The best anti-perspirant I have ever tried is Drysol, which is prescription only. But I found that if I used that too much my underarms would start to BURN.

As far as over-the-counter deodorants, I've tried them all and I have to say, Axe is the best for me. Even Mitchum's didn't work very well for me as an anti-perspirant. I've settled on Axe and I'm happy with it, although I would switch if I found out the president of Axe eats babies or something.

Just curious -- what is your moral objection to Axe? Is it just the commercials, or are there unethical business practices that I'm unaware of? The commercials are ridiculous but they're so over-the-top that I can't imagine anyone's gender views would be influenced by them. And besides, I would be more likely to blame the advertising agency for the commercials. That said, if the Axe company is detaining and clubbing baby seals without trial or something, I certainly won't think twice about switching brands.
posted by Alabaster at 1:29 PM on April 13, 2007

Whoops, sorry. I mean women. It doesn't smell that bad on women. (NOT MYSOGINIST)

A lot of women don't like the term "chick"; I want a female term for "guy"
posted by Deathalicious at 1:29 PM on April 13, 2007

Yeah, Mitchum is the shit. Definitely try that. Are the Axe ads really that bad? I thought they were kind of a tongue in cheek parody.
posted by electroboy at 1:44 PM on April 13, 2007

I'll third the Adidas, but I just recently switched to their newer "CottonTech" formula. It's aluminum free and apparently made up of tiny cotton fibers. Best deodorant I've ever used, and it's not staining my clothes (and all my clothes -- whites or colors -- got stained at the pits).

The reviews online aren't great (I was googling to see how it worked), so YMMV greatly, but I like it.

The only weird part is that the cotton forms this second skin (which it is supposed to do), but then starts peeling off at the end of the day. I couldn't figure out if I was actually peeling due to some horrible reaction or if it was just the deodorant coming off.
posted by natabat at 1:55 PM on April 13, 2007

Both Dove & Degree unscented work wonders for me. I think the trick might be to try something without perfumes that can react. Anytime I try to switch to something with a scent, I've got crazy BO by the end of the day. With unscented, I don't smell the deodorant or myself.
Also, check that she uses something that's both deodorant AND anti-antiperspirant. That makes a HUGE difference.
posted by messylissa at 1:59 PM on April 13, 2007

And their agency of record appears to be doing the ads for both brands.

Actually, I used to work at the ad agency that does ads for Axe, and it's BBH.

And it's a nice non-evil company.
posted by apostrophe at 2:08 PM on April 13, 2007

(and p.s., until recently, BBH had a woman president)
posted by apostrophe at 2:13 PM on April 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I also really love Dove. I use original scent, it seems to work really well with my body chemistry, and I often get comments that I smell good, when the only scent I have on is the deoderant. And when I don't go home for a few days, I still smell fine the second day (though I'm not a very sweaty/smelly girl.)
posted by catatethebird at 2:34 PM on April 13, 2007

Yeah, if she doesn't mind boy stuff, Old Spice is the way to go. I recommend the Pure Sport flavor. I've been wearing that stuff every day since my last girlfriend went shopping with me one day and strongly suggested that one. I didn't ask any questions, I just switched.

Interestingly, one of my sister's old female roommates used that same kind. I made the mistake of asking her if she shaved her pits or not when I found that out...
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:19 PM on April 13, 2007

I also like Tom's of Maine Unscented (which actaully does have a scent---that I really like--but it's not nearly as strong or (IMO) yucky as their scented ones). It's not irritating like many aluminum-based ones; of course, it's also not an anti-perspirant.
posted by leahwrenn at 4:27 PM on April 13, 2007

CVS has an Axe clone called Blade. It is probably pretty close to identical in chemistry. (full disclosure: my husband had a lot to do with the development of the product. My teenage stepsons are overjoyed with the free samples)
posted by Biblio at 6:26 PM on April 13, 2007

Unscented Speed Stick. Cheap. Does the job. Inoffensive advertising.
posted by macadamiaranch at 9:28 PM on April 13, 2007

I'm a guy, and I have rather strong 'odor' you might say when I don't wear deodorant. I use the Arm & Hammer unscented stuff with baking soda in it. This stuff works great. Seriously. I always get complements on smelling good.
posted by geekhorde at 9:44 PM on April 13, 2007

nthing Mitchum.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:10 AM on April 14, 2007

Yodora is excellent. It's a cream in a little tub that you just smear on your 'pits. Kind of hard to find but I've had luck in Long's and Walgreens. You can also find it online. It uses zinc oxide to kill the bacteria that cause the odor. I use the stuff especially when I go camping because it lasts for a few days. Use it for a week or so and you'll end up having very little underarm odor at all.

As an aside, when is the last time your partner has had a good solid sweat? I notice my body odors are significantly less strong when I'm exercising/showering frequently.
posted by BrandonAbell at 3:33 PM on April 14, 2007

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