My Own Common Scents

Experiment 1

At one time personal care products were homegrown and homemade.  I know we live in a different age and our 9-5 lifestyle doesn’t allow time for much of anything outside of work, let alone making your own personal care products.  So my first batch of experiments are about these products and what I can let go of using and what I can also make on my own.  First up to bat:  Deodorant.

Lets cut right to it, shall we?  I stopped wearing deodorant on my road trip out here.  Now before you literally turn your nose up in utter disgust.  Please hear me out and try to understand what I’m up to here and why.

Reason 1:  Wasteful Thinking

2 years ago, when I found out chemicals weren’t the best thing to be applying nor putting into my body, I stopped wearing chemically based antiperspirants/deodorants: Ban, Secret, Degree, etc. I began trying out different all-natural ones:  Toms, Jason, Clear Cystal.

The truth is no deodorant has ever worked on me for very long.  After at least 2 months tops they stopped “working” so I would switch to another brand and the cycle would repeat itself.  It never occurred to me that my body might be working against the application of each deodorant to resume it’s natural process of perspiring and releasing certain toxins and bacteria based odors as a result.  After switching to all-natural, my usual habit of going from one brand to the next didn’t change.  Buying one after another is a waste – period. However, I was also getting the feeling that even using deodorant altogether is a waste as well.  I mean where do all those random, plastic holders for deodorant go anyway? Landfills and Garbage Island.  That’s where.

A friend suggested I not shave my armpits.  He had heard from other women that this helped them.  I tested this for 9 months – no go.  I was actually much more potent because the perspiration clings to the hair causing the scent to stick with me.  Whereas with shaving, as I perspire on and off throughout the day, the potency comes and goes.  So after a good long trial, I am back to shaving about once a week.

Reason 2: Sensual Intelligence

The Germans have a saying, “Ich kann Dich gut reichen”.  It means – I can smell you well – and makes reference to being aware of someone’s presence.  The phrase is still used regularly, but the origin has been lost through the years of industrialization and emphasis on buying more and more personal care products.

Speaking with my German friend, Daniel, this winter, he proceeds to tell me about this phrase and that he believes we have really lost touch with our senses and knowing one another’s unique, natural scent.  He found it funny that they still use this saying to this day, but never think about where it came from – a time when we did rely on the intelligence of our senses to get by and be aware of our surroundings.  He claimed that instead of owning our own natural scents, we try to cover them up with perfumes, colognes, lotions and of course, deodorants or anti-persprants.  I couldn’t help but agree with him and wonder if our use of these products reflect our lack of being in touch with our natural selves and what it means to truly be human.

In an attempt to own and feel comfortable with my own natural scent, I began using my Jason Apricot deodorant less and less and eventually discarded it altogether.

Reason 3: I love my scent!

I have come to really love my own natural scent:)  On top of that, I really love or don’t mind other people’s scents as well.  Lets face it – for most of us – deodorants/anti-perspirants don’t cover up our scent.  Nor do they really keep us from perspiring out our natural fumes into our pheromone hungry world.  So, we either smell ALL of YOU or some perfumed version of YOU.  To be honest, I rather smell you and decide to breath through my mouth if it’s too much to handle than smell some highly potent, chemical based perfume, cologne, lotion, hair product or deodorant that nauseates me no matter which way I choose to breathe.

I know not all of you agree and maybe even most of you don’t.  I’d bet money that 9 out of 10 people reading this thought of a situation when you were surrounded by very potent B.O. – a crowded bus on a hot day, traveling in other parts of the world where deodorant/anti-perspirant usage isn’t as highly emphasized or even hugging someone who just happened to be potent for whatever reason.  Either way,  I have come to terms with the fact that although I may love my scent, not everyone will.  So what to do?

Gathering Information:  About 2 weeks into my no-deoderant experiment, I ran into a friend on the street.  It was a hot day and I had been out walking around for most of it.  Needless to say, I was highly potent.  We embraced, talked a little and went on our ways.  I found out later she could smell me in the embrace and even on herself later that day.  To use the German phrase, “Ich kann Dich gut reichen” here is an understatement.  She was not only very aware of my presence when we met, but my presence stayed with her hours after we parted.  Now, it’s really flattering to know when I’ve made a lasting impression,  but leaving my scent on another isn’t exactly the way I want to go about it.  I felt a bit sheepish when I found out, but took it as good feedback for my experiment.  I’ve come to this –

The Great Compromise:  I’ve rekindled my relationship with Jason Apricot (ok so I didn’t discard the stuff, when you’re experimenting and on a budget, you just put something like this away for safe keeping) until you come to your conclusion.  If I am going out in public, after a nice pit-wash if I need it, I put on deodorant for all you fine people.  For me, in the comfort of my own home, lets just say that if you come over or happen to drop by – you will be graced with the full essence of my presence.  Now, that’s just common scents. 😉

Alright people, I know you all have you’re own “Common Scents” stories to share, SO DO IT!  This can be a fun, embarrassing and hilarious sharing if we want it to be.


***Case closed? No.  It’ll be up for reevaluation when I run out of my Jason.  As I began, I’d like to stop buying so many products to stop producing so much waste.  It’ll be back to the drawing board on this one, but I’m working on how to make my own shampoo, maybe I’ll check into a homemade deodorant as well.


12 thoughts on “My Own Common Scents

  1. Great Scents! It all makes scents! Try using a salt bar. It is a piece of salt rock. You put a bit of water in your hands, rub the salt bar on them and then splash the mixture under your arm pits. You can add that to your experiments.

      • Ok so this is a long story/reply but here goes.
        I did my own experimentation with living without deodorants long ago, luckily I was traveling, mostly meeting new people and living outdoors so if I offended someone I would just walk away (or it was just me and the trees and I find the trees do not mind my scent one bit). The things I learned –
        1) I took my body (and I have heard from others who experienced this as well) a while to get used to not wearing a deodorant (this happened both when I switched from anti-perspirant and when I went au natural). Slowly my scent got less and less potent my body adjusted to it natural state – and this is even without shaving!
        (running out of room) . . . to be continued

      • 2nd part –
        2) Stress highly affects potency. I mentioned I did my first experiment while traveling – well it was also during a time of very low stress and I found I just didn’t produce much scent (and when I did – see earlier note : ) So when I re-entered the stress filled life of more conventional living (a job, paying rent/bills, staying in one place, etc.) I found myself needing a little help as the result of extra scent as well as more often being in situations where my scent might offend. Then I turned to the salt crystal.
        3) So now I use a salt crystal every day (here you can get them in pink hearts –

      • 3rd part –
        – though they last so long I am still working on the first one I bought back in early 2007. My boss jokes that she is going to pass her’s down to her granddaughter) They don’t work like deodorant, they have no scent at all, it is just a scent absorber. You just get it wet and rub it in each armpit – they are everywhere here in the NW in natural food stores in with the deodorant – I am surprised you haven’t heard of it. I have heard it works on feet, in shoes, as a nice bath addition, or if you heat them with a lamp they help clean the air (is the same mineral used for the red salt lamps).
        4) It is just a mild boost so when I am going to be in stressful, hot, or other potent scent producing environments, or just want to add a little fun addition to my own scent, I created my own essential oil blend that complements my own smells. I mixed a few drops of Geranium and Grapefruit Essential oils in jojoba oil (say 6 drops to 2 oz oil) and just dab a bit in each armpit (and sometimes behind my ears) after I put on the salt crystal. when I want a bit of help. Thought late

    • 4th part –
      ly I have been just using some Rose Water I got at the store. A few drops in the palm of my hand, rub hands together and pat in armpits (and around bosom for some loving kindness to my heart, my nose, and my ladies : ) And unless I am completely oblivious my scent isn’t offensive. And if I so smell myself and am wanting to be considerate of others who might not want to (smell me that is) I carry a small vial of my essential oils in my bag.
      5) I forgot one thing – it also matters incredibly what one is eating and how much the body is cleansing itself. As I go through ebbs and flows with my diet – the potency of my smell also seems to ebb and flow thought I am still never as strongly scented as I was when I was initially cleansing from child/young adulthood on a mostly traditional american diet.
      6) I forgot something else. My scent changes during my monthly cycle and I LOVE being able to be in touch with that!
      So there you go my friend. The results of my experimentation : )

  2. I am with you on the “great compromise”. About six months ago I decided that I no longer wanted to use the deodorants I have been rolling on for years. Here in Austria I decided on Weleda’s Citrus Deodorant. It does not work as well as the stuff I used to use, but it smells wonderful when you spray it on. It gets a 7.0 rating out of 10.0 on the GoodGuide; not the best but pretty good.

  3. Beautiful story KAtrina, love it and exactly what I want people posting here so…here’s my latest: I have been using a salt bar and dabbing a bit of baking soda in my armpits and as the French here say: walla! Works perfectly! The salt bar cleanses as well as absorbs odor when I wash in the morning and then the baking soda deoderizes throughout the day. It’s wonderful!

  4. When I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade I decided that I was smarter than my parents as most of us assume when we’re young(ofcourse until all the things our parents tried to teach us started coming true). My parents would tell me its time to shower and brush my teeth before bed. I was all about being a rebel and felt it was a bit of a hassle and not worth my time to do something my parents knew was in my best interest. So being so clever as I was I would simply go into the bathroom turn on the shower, twiddle my thumbs, and make weird faces in the mirror. I would wet my hair cause I knew that would be a dead give away. It worked and they never caught on.

    This had gone on for about a week or so and for some reason my parents never noticed, and now that I think about it maybe they did. Maybe they knew I stank but decided to let me find out for myself. One day when I was on the bus going to school another kid on my bus so “politely” as kids do informed me that I smelled of bacon. All the other kids around me piled on and took advantage of the opportunity to remind me I smelled of bacon, some even got creative. I dont remember what they said but it wasnt bacon.
    Later that day I took a very long shower!

    • so matt….are you saying your natural scent is that of bacon? Hmmm…I know quite a few people that would enjoy being stuck on a crowded bus on a hot summer day with you. You’d get their taste buds going for a nice breakfast – ha- thanks for sharing

  5. To be quite honest I couldnt tell you :p. Not to say that I havnt smelled less than socially appropriate at times, I just cant remember myself saying “hmmm is that a hint of bacon I smell.”
    It was probably some combination of my diet and other factors that attributed to such a mouth watering aroma. I guess as long as you didnt know where it was coming from I suppose it could actually get you thinking about a delicious breakfast.

  6. My friend Pam wrote this to me after reading and I wanted to share the perspective:
    “About smelling people, it is said that one decides within seconds of meeting someone whether or not you can stand them. The sense of smell plays a role. And it may be that “Ich kann dich gut riechen” means that you smell good to me. I like you. “

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