The Holy Grail of beauty products.







I buy chewing gum from each country I go to. Always have. Keep a bowl of them in the hallway for guests but then discourage them from the ones I REALLY love because I’m A) greedy and B) may never be in Brazil again. (Fun fact: I went to Sweden this week and bought salty liquorice Extra for mum, who is Dutch and loves salted liquorice, even though it’s as tasty as a Jetstar seat cover.)

But I also buy antiperspirant/deodorant in different countries. (In Sweden I went to Kicks, kind of Priceline-meets-Sephora, and bought Biotherm Eau de Paradis antiperspirant. It is delicious.) This is partly for the same reasons as the chewing gum (“I’m five”) but also because I LOVE trying new types of antiperspirant; they become a very strong scent memory trigger for me.


*Before you get the wrong idea, I’m not a sweaty bird, I promise, but add an addiction to self-tanner with synthetic clothing and I think you’ll agree I have a legitimate need to keep on top of this.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I still can’t throw out the Secrets deodorant (an American brand) I wore on a super-amazing-best-ever trip to Greece with my best friends a few years ago, partly because it gives me such happy memories, but also because I can’t find this scent variety anymore anywhere. (Trust me, if I could I would throw that putrid thing out and replace it.)

But wait, it gets better, because it was used. Yes, my bestie was living in the US at the time, and brought it with her to Greece, and I borrowed it once and then asked, uh, to, you know, keep it, and bought her a new deodorant. I KNOW. I know how spectacularly gross that is. But the smell! The smell is/was breathtaking.

But enough cute second-hand deodorant stories.

Like the Perfect Lip Balm, the perfect antiperspirant/deodorant is a bit of a cosmetic holy grail. The ones that are most effective (like, say, Lady Mitchum) are unexciting and smell like talc, and the ones that smell the most fun tend to – and I don’t know HOW this happens – make me smell worse when I wear them. I think it might be because they overcompensate with heavy fragrances that these then mix with sweat.

And the whole category of antiperspirants/deodorants is so huge these days: they moisturise irritated post-shaved armpits, they leave no white marks; they even fade discoloration of the underarm. (Seriously – it’s new and called Dove Clear Tone.)

I’d probably run with Rexona Delicious roll-on as my favourite, (I’m not alone: Roy Morgan Research says 61 per cent of women prefer roll-on, and that Rexona is used by 22 per cent of women, followed by Dove on 16 per cent and Mum on 10 per cent….Mum! Gosh that brings back memories of school. That and vanilla Impulse) but I also like Nivea’s Invisible for Black and White because I always apply my deo two seconds before I pull on a tight top, because I am a moron.

As for natural/organic/aluminium-free deodorants (there’s no such thing as a natural antiperspirant), they’re not for me. As in, they don’t work adequately, and I end up being paranoid all day. I tried the crystal stick (which uses alum instead of aluminium and doesn’t irritate), and I tried Herbal Valley, and I found them each roughly as effective as using a broad bean.

People tell me that Dr Hauschka’s deodorant in Fresh is terrific, and a beauty editor over here tells me Aussie brand Miessence (free of parabens, PEGs, petrochemicals and aluminium compounds, plus PETA-friendly) is hugely popular in the UK, and I plan to try it once I’m home. I’m definitely up for a switch to natural, but efficacy is a deal breaker for me. (Judge me as you see fit.)

Obviously I’d love to know what YOUR favourite deodorant/antiperspirant is, and not just because I am weird and collect them sometimes. Til then, how about some nifty sweat tricks?

1. If you’ve developed sweat patches on a lighter coloured top – brush on some loose powder to your top where the sweat has come through (on the outside of the garment.) It will conceal them and stop more of a mark appearing.

2. If you are DESPERATE, you can apply lemon juice to your pits in place of deodorant.

3. If you sweat a lot under the arms, stick a panty liner onto the crease where the arm and the torso meet on your jumper/jacket, to soak up the excess sweat.

4. If you REALLY sweat a lot under the arms, to the point where you get anxiety in social situations, consider Botox in the armpit, which will be pricey, but will stop the sweat for 6-9 months.

5. If you read an article about a woman who used and kept her friend’s second-hand antiperspirant, try not to think less of her.

 Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air KissesPlaying The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.

What kind of deodorant or antiperspirant do you use?


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