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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Deodorant Soap That Doesn't Stink

This is embarrassing, but I am 90% sure that many of you share this problem. I'll be damned if I can't find a deodorant or antibacterial bar soap in the drugstore that doesn't already smell like rank body odor. (Clogged pores from sweating+bacteria=B.O.)

Regular drugstore bar soaps billed as deodorant/disinfectant just don't smell CLEAN to me, they all have that distinctive smell that says, "YES I TOOK A SHOWER THIS MORNING, WHY DO YOU ASK?" After trying out all different kinds of bar soaps for the last few years, many samples thanks to various family members' and my own stays in nice hotels with tiny bars of fancy-schmancy soaps, I still haven't found a bar soap that will both get rid of body odor, keep me feeling clean, and doesn't completely melt after two minutes sitting on my shower rack.

My body odor is not the problem here. Obviously, I smell like roses and baby-soft skin all of the time, because I am A LADY. I do, however, work out hard and play hard, often coming home from a plain ol' workday pretty smelly from stress-sweat. I think you get the picture. Add to that some of those random clothing items that seem to hold on to stink for dear life despite washings with extra-strength detergent, it's a miracle I am ever sweet-smelling at all.

The drugstore alternatives have been exhausted after a decade long search (remember puberty? THE STENCH OF IT!). They get rid of odor, but leave you smelling like a Manly Man who does Manly Man Things and Smells of Great Manliness all day long. I've heard good things about castile soap, but you have to take great pains to dilute it lest you burn your delicate skin with the soap's intensity. Dainty "spa"-ish soaps, the kind you also see at the drugstore and little gift shops, with the lavender buds in them--also all Lush soaps--absolutely disintegrate when exposed to water. You just can't leave those sitting in the shower, or in a soapdish, it's A MESS. I've tried the DHC for Men little round soap, which works great. It is, however, completely translucent and DISAPPEARS in the bathroom. Ridiculous. Your beauty/bath bar soaps with the skin-softening and claims of moisturizing smell lovely and feel great but I think they leave residue on your skin and have zero deodorizing power.

So, we turn once again to our friends at Etsy, where there is a preponderance of artisan soapmakers, for a solution. I started out looking for soaps with natural antibacterial properties, like the ever-present peppermint, tea tree oil, anything that was not a harsh chemical. I don't want to leave my skin all scaly and dry because of my overzealous washing. Smelling nice is a good criteria as well--despite those lavender fancy soaps, I still want to smell lovely and clean, like old-fashioned soap.

-Etsy seller LuckyLather has a sandalwood bergamot shea butter bar soap that purports to heal stretch marks (you know you have them, I sure do). I love the smell of real sandalwood, like antique Japanese carved fans in lacquer boxes, but I'm not sure if it's MY scent. Sandalwood oil is a natural antiseptic, according to LuckyLather! We are big, big fans of bergamot around here, so that is mighty tempting.

-Lobos from Alabama has an intriguing deodorant soap with sea salt and rosemary, which makes me think of yummy Christmas roasts. I am also taken in by the dachshund backdrop in those photos! To my great embarrassment, about 60% of my search results for "deodorant soap" on Etsy came up with DOG SHAMPOOS. Obviously dogs get dirty and smelly, but I AM A HUMAN PERSON.

-CrowleyManor's "Into the Woods" bar soap smells like the forest after a rain, much like the wild white sage and pine-needle tea Jeanne and I split a bag of from the San Francisco Ferry Building farmer's market last year. (It tasted like Christmas and falling snow, only hot--the holidays are on my mind today!)

-The Visions of Violet soaps by SonataSoap look like huge chunks of taffy or vanilla mousse--I'd be hard pressed not to try a bite in my half-waking state during morning showers! Yum. I love the fragrance of violets, it reminds me of young ladies with their bobbed hair and perfume atomizers getting ready to go out for a night of dancing with their young gentlemen callers in the 1920s. Little did you know, I am also an old fuddy-duddy lady stuck in the body of a twentysomething internet addict.

-Did I not just mention the lavender-bud-filled soaps? Here's another one, lavender tangerine dream handmade by Etsy seller DrBubbles! According to expert DrBubbles, this soap is so effective it will remove icky kitchen smells (garlic and ginger, anyone?) from your hands. That should take care of any gym odors, for sure!

-Another soap in danger of sleep-chewing in the shower is this chocolate cinnamon number, oh MOMMA. Have you seen those cupcake soaps that look so real you just want to take a bite out of them? This is the grown-up version, so you can smell like Mexican hot chocolate all day long, YUM.

-For a more unisex scent, Etsy seller mamabird has a bar that smells of oak leaves and acorns, perfect for fall. I think this would be a great alternative to the drugstore's strong-smelling manly man deodorant soaps, leaving behind just a faint trail of fall scents that isn't overpowering.

What do you think? Have you had any success with artisan soaps outside of the drugstore? Are there any drugstore-available (i.e. mass-market) soaps you think do the job?

Sweetheart soap ad from Found in Mom's Basement.


Jeanne said...

The bar soap issue is pretty much why I went to shower gel (and liquid soap for handwashing) -- they're slippery, they melt, etc. Plus because I'm a scent addict, I can just swap out the bottles when I want something new.

For shower gel, I like my mainstays of Philosophy and Bliss, but I've also found I like Lush and Korres too. Shikai (which you can get at Whole Foods) or Burt's Bees are also quite nice. Plus there's always Dr. Bronner's -- I didn't find I had to dilute it.

Anonymous said...

Dial smells the cleanest of anything I have ever found, and it doesn't stay with you forever.

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