Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Ol' Factory System...

I worry about smelling bad. A lot.

I worry about antiperspirants being unhealthy. Not as much as I worry about smelling bad, but enough to get in the way of more productive thoughts.

My mother feels it is her duty to tell me when I smell. It could be 105 degrees out, I could've been moving furniture all day, and could've just stepped in dog crap right in front of her, but she will feel the need to inform me that I smell. Because she worries that I don't know that already, I guess. Like I said, she feels it's a duty of hers.

I'm so glad I never shared space with her during my air condition-free summer in Arizona. I also did not have temperature control on my shower at that time (and it wasn't that great of a shower, it was a whole big thing) and couldn't take cold showers to help the situation. And I worked at home most of the time. I think I would've spent the summer crying if she had been around. I already knew I smelled not-good a lot of the time, even if I made sure to shower right before leaving the house and used as many good smelling body products as possible. But it was southern Arizona in the summer and I had no air conditioning, what could I do? Thankfully, I was never the only person smelling a tad ripe.

Back then, I would use over-the-counter (or, rather, on-the-shelf) clinical strength antiperspirants when interacting with people, and keep a bottle of a matching fragrance cheap spray for last-minute scent touch-ups. I'd try to not get hugged. And I was constantly searching the food co-op for hopes of a "healthy" alternative product. And be it a crystal rock or Tom's of Maine, nothing worked.

And the one thing I have noticed with the clinical strength stuff is that while it helps with your underarms, it makes the rest of you sweat more. My back and thighs end up soaked in sweat (or with those weird under-knee sweat beads running down my legs) so much more when I'm wearing clinical strength deodorant compared to normal stuff.

These days, I live in Illinois with no air conditioning (we're working on window units for the bedrooms). I do, however, have temperature control on my shower now and work full-time in a place so air conditioned that my face sometimes freezes in my cubicle. 

I still worry about smelling, though. I worry about smelling like a litter box (I love my cat, but her box stinks when I get home from work and I frequently worry that my clothes and self might smell like that as well but I don't notice it), I worry about smelling like my downstairs neighbor's bong, I worry about smelling like the girl that hasn't done her laundry in four weeks.

 I kind of suck at being a lady, but I do have a few (get ready to roll your eyes!) "signature" items- including scents: I try to stick to just plain ol' vanilla mostly. I've tried flowery stuff (I had a couple years of using only Stella McCartney's Stella), I've had samples from every major perfume carried by Sephora, and have sampled everything Fresh makes. While I like the Fresh stuff enough and like smelling of sugar and fruit as well, I still prefer a straight-up rich vanilla scent.

For a few years, I'd buy the various vanilla type body sprays from Bath & Body Works (again, for on-the-go "I worry I smell like a cat box" touches) but those go away pretty quickly and have a chemical-y undertone to them.

Now, I've fallen in love with Lavanilla's roll-on forever oil fragrance. They have several different options, but I stick to straight-up vanilla for the forever oil. Because it's just Madagascar vanilla and almond oil. Nuthin' else. There's something so nice about it just being a single scent. And a vanilla scent rich enough that it can't be twisted by something else (something I've recently had problems with when using my Neilsen Massey Madagascar vanilla extract in a body scrub and having it end up smelling like vanilla yogurt. That was not ideal). I now have a theory that you should keep scents simple so that you don't end up with a pile-up of fragrance from all your beauty products.

I keep the tube of forever oil it in my purse or coat pocket and use it once in the morning and again in the evening if I'm going out- and it lasts many hours and smells amazing. Only rarely does it result in people around me asking if anyone else smells cookies, and when it does I'm just amused by it- it's nice to smell like something nice!

Of course, as soon as I wrote this entry, I then was asked if I was wearing Karl Lagerfeld's Sun Moon Stars, which does have vanilla notes to it, although I don't have any memory of ever trying it. However, that does prove my point. I applied it at about 10 am and was complimented on it after 6 pm. That's impressive!

In the past few weeks, I've also become accustomed to also rubbing myself down with virgin coconut oil after and between showers to help with skin issues. This has also given me a very slight coconut-y smell at times and I think it also helps with keeping over-all body odor between showers at bay long (I swear!). It's not a strong coconut smell, though. Or, at least, not the strong coconut smell I associate with my grandfather, a man that was very fond of sunbathing in the stuff.

As for when I am freshly showered, I'll still smell a little coconut-y from my homemade body scrub, but the Lavanilla body wash I use doesn't leave a scent on the skin. Same from my tea tree oil shampoo- no real scent left from it.

And, the biggie now, I've started to use the Soapwalla deodorant cream for most days. I've read so many people raving about it on the internet, I had to try it to see if it'd finally get me off of the stuff on the shelves. While it hasn't been warm enough to really test the Soapwalla stuff's strength yet, it seems to be holding up okay so far. I did, however, switch back to a clinical strength antiperspirant for C2E2. As I wanted to do my best to not be yet another smelly nerd.

And the deodorant cream has a distinctly non-deodorant-y smell to it (although, you can barely smell it at that). The official description says lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oil but I mostly only smell the tea tree oil- and it's a soft scent of it at that. So much better to catch a whiff of than anything by Dove, Secret, or Degree.

I do think that the Soapwalla stuff still needs to be re-applied if I'm going out after work and haven't applied any since 7 AM, though. Which I would be doing with the clinical strength stuff anyway. Like I said, my mother loves to tell me when I stink and I don't want to encourage anyone else to feel like they can be that frank with me (I have, however, decided that my payback method is to frequently tell her she has a booger hanging out of her nose when she doesn't).

Now that it has finally started to get warmer out, this stuff is really on my mind. I'm hopeful that this year, I will really win at smelling good 90% of the time. I'm still trying to find a fabric "freshener" (I know, they're horrible, but sometimes I need to space out my laundry loads more and more as I don't have a working washer and dryer in my building) that has a good vanilla scent. I've done Lavender (which is sort of my go-to back up scent, despite how even I find it a little grandmother-y smelling. Despite how neither of my grandmothers ever smelled of lavender. One always smells like clean linen and the other always wore White Shoulders. I digress...) fabric fresheners but it's just not the same.

Maybe the next step should be making vanilla potpourri that my cat won't eat (or, at least, won't get sick from eating).

But that's sort of where I've landed recently: vanilla, lavender, coconut, and a bit of tea tree oil. Am I simplifying it too much? Should I be embracing my natural stink more? 

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