AN ODE TO ODOUR

Imagine this scene. It’s a familiar one that we’ve all played out, in one way or another. You’re sat at a relaxing event of some description, enjoying the sounds of people laughing, glasses clinking in celebration and children chuckling at uncle nobhead doing something nobheadish… again. You take a gulp of fresh air in anticipation of the exhale; a release of any stresses and worries from the week previous. Only, the exhale comes out all wrong. This isn’t how it was meant to happen! You were meant to breathe like a normal person, enjoying normal air. But that inhale took in something else, something tainted and noxious, poisoning your passages with the rotten citrus stench of putrid spoils. You look around for an offending item as you try to clear your throat, burnt by the foul festering tang that still lingers around your tongue and teeth. Did the dog drop a bum bomb, or did someone pass some horrendous gas even? Still searching desperately before the smell knocks someone else out like the blowback from a gunshot, you gaze at the baby and wonder if those nostrils are flared because its time for a nappy change? I hate to break it to you but the baby is innocent. That sourness doesn’t come from your bundle of joy. That smell is you – welcome to yet another beautiful stage of your postpartum recovery, a gift from mother nature herself, if you will. Welcome to the sweaty phase, I hope you’re prepared.

Your pregnancy body is something that people tell you, is a beautiful thing – it is, its a cocoon of safety and warmth for your growing baby. And while it may throw you a curveball every now and then with a missed trip to the bathroom or a sneaky nauseous episode when you really, REALLY could do without one, its the gift that keeps on giving. Gorgeous hair, long and strong nails and, of course, your beautiful and precious baby at the end of it. Only, once the baby is out, your body then decides that it wants everything else out. The innards that surrounded that pink squishy lump of love, the extra hair that it grew for you – you don’t need that now… lets block the drain with it instead hey?! And oh, all of those glorious hormones that are now racing around your body wondering ‘what the actual hell are we meant to do now? lets have a bit of fun and then make the old girl sweat a bit shall we?’ Because we don’t already have enough to deal with, we have to remember that we really must make the greatest effort to mask any potential stench before it occurs. Thankfully, most of us deodorant wearing females have cracked that one and have a go-to deo that does the job just fine. But me? well, I decided that now was as good a time as any to ditch my handy roll-on that has served me well for the past eon, and try out a much kinder alternative. Because, why not?

IMG_2590It was a product that I’ve always wanted to switch out for something better for me, but I have always been reluctant because, quite frankly, I’m a pretty hot and sweaty beast. I’ve always been the one that had to be careful about what I was wearing because, you know – pit stains. So grey, marl and that lovely shade of blue between grey and navy were always out of the question. But as I got older I grew out of it and found what worked for me in terms of personal hygiene. But those products that keep us dry and smell-free do so in a way that doesn’t sit very well with me. For years, scientists have been looking for that link between cancer and antiperspirant deodorants. Certain ingredients are thought to be a contributing factor in the increased risk of cancers – namely breast cancer; and that ingredient believed to be the culprit is the aluminium salts found in antiperspirant. It has been shown to cause mutations in DNA, which is the precursor to any cancer cell growth. But as leading Cancer charities agree, there hasn’t been enough convincing evidence to suggest that these products can cause any harm. However, not enough doesn’t mean that there isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that these products are not safe. Aluminium in large doses can be fatal, and for those with kidney problems, then you’ll probably want to watch how much of the stuff you allow into your body. I’m not into the whole scaremongering via the route of a crappy national rag, but when the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer became big news from the US, we all stopped and listened and thought about those warnings from yesteryear that we chose to ignore in favour of a sweet smelling and baby-soft bottom after a bath.

So I decided to give it a try, eliminate the aluminium from my hygiene diet, and allow my skin to do what nature intended it to do. I said goodbye to the antiperspirant and opted for a deodorant instead. Now, the difference between the two is this; a deo will only mask the smell by tackling the bacteria that produces it. An Anti-p works by blocking up those pores and stopping you from sweating; great if you want to enjoy some dry time, but not so great if you slap this stuff on everyday and don’t let those pores breathe. Naturally I was quite worried with the upcoming bank holiday predicted to be a steaming one, but what better time to test out the power behind some of these fantastic products. Luckily I didn’t end up like the old girl in the anecdote above, but that scene played over and over in my mind as I slathered on the stick of Nature Love Deodorant that I’d grabbed for a bargain £4 in TKMaxx. I’d just like to say how amazing that shop is and such a haven for unknown natural brands. I’m terrible for coming out of there with yet another lip balm or another moisturiser to try! I had mentally and physically prepared myself for the fact that today, I was going to sweat a bit, but I also knew that my loose fitted vest top and this lemongrass wonder were (hopefully) going to keep me smelling as fresh as a daisy!

A few hours into a hot day and yep, I was starting to perspire but I wasn’t stinking just yet. Paranoid as hell I kept on popping into a quiet corner to have a cheeky sniff and still I wasn’t humming of an unsavoury spice. But, once I’d convinced myself that if it wasn’t going to keep me as dry as a bone then it was only a matter of time before I’d start to lay down the foundations for a foul flavour. I had the wonder balm with me, so another lick of the stick on my underarms and I was covered for another few hours. It was pretty pleasant to apply unlike many others I’ve used in the past. I hate spray ons – they go everywhere unless you direct it right on your pits, and when you do, be ready for a piercing blast of ice in the most sensitive skin on your body. Roll ons make me feel disgusting for precisely 45 seconds whilst they morph from a sticky nectar to a dry sheet of underarm crisp. And bars… well, they feel like moisturiser that never wants to dry; you’d be just as well not bothering at all. But this deo felt different, like a stick of balm that smoothly slathered on like your favourite chapstick, only massive and smelling like an oriental dish of loveliness. Although I fond this little beauty in TKMaxx, I doubt I’ll find it in there again as many of their products seem to be there one minute and gone forever the next. A quick check online didn’t bring up a shop or retailer that I’d buy from either, so this was my first experience with the brand and most likely, the last.

My verdict – its not bad, but, I do miss the dryness of a regular antiperspirant. I’d probably switch between the two for a while before taking the plunge and ditching it completely. Eventually I will, but I’ve got a job and social life that I value, so for now, I’ll be experimenting with a few others before making the switch completely. Its going to be the bloody shampoo saga all over again! Best roll my sleeves up and get ready for a tough trial and error… wish me luck!

PNW x

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