Tag Archives: sweat

Deodorants, Antiperspirants, and Vintage Clothing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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Dearest dress, I never meant to hurt you.  It’s not you, it’s me, and the terrible way I’ve treated you.  Photograph by Frank Myers.

Don’t you hate it when you’ve been doing something your whole life and later discover that this thing you’ve been doing is harmful to something you love?  My heart sunk to the bottom of the Marianas Trench when I read that my deodorant/antiperspirant, which I thought was great because it didn’t streak on my vintage clothing, was actually full of aluminum.  Said aluminum not only made my dress shirt armpits sparkle with the most resistant strain of glitter herpes I’ve encountered to date, with an accompanying foul odor when the heat of an iron was applied, but it also caused a chemical reaction that made the armpits of some of my vintage clothing start to yellow/stain.  How do I know this?  There were casualties.  Then research to determine the cause of said casualties.  I never go down without a fight.

From Howstuffworks.com:

“Deodorants prevent odor-causing bacteria, while antiperspirants prevent sweat. To do so, antiperspirants rely on aluminum-based compounds, such as aluminum chloride, to cause cells in your sweat ducts to swell and block sweat from escaping. When these active ingredients (which also happen to be quite acidic) bond with your sweat, they’re prone to stain clothing.”

OH. MY. GOD.

Perhaps I’ve been lucky thus far with my antiperspirant not staining my clothing until recently, but I feel like this news should be broadcast, warnings posted in vintage clothing store dressing rooms, shouted from the rooftops.  Maybe people don’t keep their clothing as long as I do, so it just doesn’t come up.  Whatever the reason, I’m here to raise awareness of this issue and present some information on my journey to aluminum-free deodorant and stain/sparkle-free clothing.

DEODORANT

We sweat a lot when we dance.  We have to wear SOMETHING or our dance spaces will smell even more like locker rooms and foot cheese than they already do.  I decided I could deal without the antiperspirant component of my underarm regimen, as I tended to select clothing for dancing that already doesn’t show at lot of soaked-through sweat, but the smell had to be UNDER WRAPS.  But I had to change my deodorant fast, or suffer the consequences of damaging even more clothing.

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I headed to the Internet to read reviews of aluminum-free deodorants and I found most reviews to be incomplete, overly-optimistic, and not descriptive enough.  There were also options other than stick and roll-on, which sounded like a pain in the butt.  Then I came across this article titled “Do Any of These Hippie Deodorants Work?” by Kat Stoeffel that was exactly what I needed – one person’s journey through a myriad of recommended deodorants with different applicators, brands, pros, cons, daily conditions, duration of effectiveness, and a ranking from worst to best.  As everyone’s body chemistry is different, I went with her top two and was prepared to try others down the line if necessary.

Kat’s second highest recommendation, Le Couvent de Minimes Everyday Deodorant, is a French cologne which has alum stone as its active ingredient and dates back to 1862.  True to Kat’s assessment, it did smell like a fancy Williams Sonoma hand soap, and would work as a nice unisex scent.  Unfortunately, my skin had a sensitivity reaction to this deodorant.  It did work well and I may try it again in a different season.

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The deodorant with Kat’s highest seal of approval was Lavilin, an Israeli deodorant that featured images of athletes on the cardboard packaging around the bottle, which looked promising.  I had to get used to wearing a roll-on, but it was usually dry by the time I finished drying my hair and I haven’t seen evidence of it leaving residue on my clothing when I remove it.  It’s been working like a champ on regular office days for the past month.  While it boasts 72 hours of coverage, I’d err on the side of caution when going to a swing dance – I would always reapply my old deodorant/antiperspirant before attending a dance, just to be safe, and that reapplication was needed with Lavilin if I wanted to continue to smell fresh at the end of the dance (per a self-sniff).  Lavilin is my winner of the two.

Thankfully, it was just that easy, trying two and coming up with a winner.  I am so relieved to have found a deodorant that has less of a negative impact on my wardrobe!  If you have stories, recommendations, or other information about what works for you, please feel free to post it in the comments.

STAINS

The guilt is immense.  I’d like to say I have all the answers for my recovery plan, but I don’t.  I’ve soaked the damaged red gingham dress in Oxyclean twice and the armpits are still yellow.  I’ve used vinegar on a cranberry colored dress shirt and I can still see the glitter of aluminum embedded in the fabric.  I did, however, manage to eradicate all glitter and stains from several white dress shirts following the advice of this video, using a paste of water, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide:

I probably need to try this on my cranberry shirt and gingham dress, but the peroxide has me worried it will bleach the color…need some more confidence…please feel free to insert confidence in the comments section, as well. 😉

CONCLUSION

I realize there are all sorts of warnings and cautionary things we can do to protect our vintage clothing (like not wearing it – but where is the fun in that?), but a change of deodorant was a fairly easy lifestyle change for me to make and it’s also made with an eye toward protecting the lifespan of my modern clothing, as well!  Hopefully, I’ll never have to make a peroxide and baking soda paste again.

 

 

 

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Thinx: Smart Underwear

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I often write about undergarment options for coverage when we wear skirts, but what about what we wear under our bloomers or our pants? What about the material? What about all that gross sweating we do? Where dudes bring multiple shirts to a dance weekend, I bring multiple pairs of underwear because there’s nothing worse that sitting around or dancing in a puddle of your own sweat (along those lines, there’s nothing better than putting on a fresh pair of underwear after you’ve danced, especially between a main dance and late night – file that under my body odor commentary).

Cotton breathes, but it also soaks everything up. Synthetics can be icky in terms of odor and I usually don’t like they way the feel against my skin. Can we get some technology in here to engineer us some undies?

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Montreal dancer Alisha Ruiss sent me a link to this great Indiegogo campaign for Thinx: Change Your Underwear, “where technology and fashion intersect to solve a global problem.” How is this underwear smart? You can check out the diagram to the right, and then listen when I tell you that it

1) Is leak/stain-resistant, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking and lasts for several years

2) Acts as back-up to traditional methods of leakage prevention during your period (but will not replace these during heavier days – they are working on creating this style next!)

3) Completely replaces liners on light days

Thank you for the different coverage options!

Thank you for the different coverage options!

Whaaaaaa?! So this is obviously super practical in real life, and in your dance life having that bit of extra protection there for potential leakage (because we move around a lot, just like athletes, and we sometimes lose track of time…) or just sweat absorption could make the world of difference in your comfort at a dance, on any day of the year.

They had a previously successful Kickstarter campaign, but due to the nature of Kickstarter they were not able to raise money for a cause, which is the intersection of this project.

From the Indiegogo page:

For more information on AFRIpads, visit afripads.com

For more information on AFRIpads, visit afripads.com

“Beyond our own desire for the smartest underwear for our drawer, we found out that there was an even bigger problem for girls and women in the developing world.

Girls in the developing world are missing up to a week of school per month and using unimaginable things to manage their monthly cycle like twigs, leaves, newspaper, plastic bags or dirty rags. In Africa alone, 67 million girls have dropped out entirely which overwhelmingly leads to early marriage, pregnancy and a greater difficulty in raising themselves out of poverty.

THINX is part of the solution. For every pair of THINX you buy, you help fund the production of a 7-pad washable kit for a woman or girl in the developing world via our partnership with AFRIpads. This kit helps create local jobs and empower the economy while also helping keep girls in school during that time of the month.”

Can you imagine what these girls have to give up? I know I can’t – and I’ll remember this every time I take my ability to leave the house during my period for granted.

I am excited that smarter solutions are being developed, with women all over the world in mind. Looking forward to seeing more from this company.

Staying Dry

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Recent events have me thinking about male leads and sweating, specifically how leads deal with keeping themselves dry during dances so their partner doesn’t have to get into closed position with Swamp Thing. I see several methods in play: changing tee shirts multiple times during the night, athletic shirts that are supposed to wick the sweat away from your skin, and men dressing in layers with an undershirt, dress shirt, and sport coat. Of these three methods, the most effective that I have noticed is the man wearing layers. The sport shirts always feel damp even though they aren’t wet and the tee shirts, depending on the wearer, can have a pretty short life span before the lead is drenched again. Every lead I’ve danced with wearing a sportcoat feels dry, at least from the outside. And I thank them for that.

I found an article called “Why You Should Wear an Undershirt at All Times.” It certainly made for an interesting read and I wonder how many of you employ an undershirt as a tactic for dryness. There’s even an entire website devoted to undershirts, The Undershirt Guy, with reviews of undershirt brands and debates on comfort and dryness.

This is less of an informative post and more of a musing – I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic, as what works for one may not work for others. How do you stay dry? I might know some leads that need your help…