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Deodorant Wars: Where Are They Now? Edition

Once upon a time, I noticed that deodorant labels had kind of lost their damn minds. It was no longer enough for a deodorant to promise you the basic trinity of Shit You Want It To Do — keep you dry, keep you non-smelly, keep your clothing not completely streaked in white chalky goo — because suddenly one single tube was promising at least seven different things. PH balance! Active Body Responsive! Moisturizing! Skin Nurturing! Smoothing! Hair Minimizing! Continually Renewing Fragrance! 24-hour wetness stank protection so yo ass don't even need to SHOWER with this shit, baby!

And it needed to do all that while also looking less like a plastic tube of B.O. balm and more like some kind of fancy ornate perfume bottle with lots of pretty swirls and metallic accents. 

It's hard out there for a deodorant, apparently. 

So also once upon a time, I combined these Overly Deep Thoughts On Deodorant Labels with my compulsion to anthropomorphize inanimate objects and create elaborate soap operas with them. (WHAT.) Thus, the Deodorant Wars were born and I managed to accrue quite a collection of deodorants purchased specifcally for the series. Most of which I shoved in a drawer and never used, because DOVE CLINICAL PROTECTION FTW. 

And yet I could never quite bring myself to throw the extra tubes out, because 1) they weren't even opened, in most cases, so WASTEFUL, and 2) they were my friends. Even the bitchy ones who picked on poor Tom's of Maine.

ANYWAY. OH MY GOD. GET TO THE POINT, SELF. A couple months ago I ran out of Dove deodorant. And yet despite making multiple trips to Target and the grocery store, I keep forgetting to buy more. I'll stand there in the toiletries aisle, my little hamsterbrain working so hard to remember That Thing I Need that it's practically smoking, and then...OOOOH CHAPSTICK LA LA LA.

BREAKING: I'm an idiot.

So I've been forced to dig into my emergency stash of emergency deodorants. Most of which I purchased all the way back in 2008, and are marked with expiration dates of 2010. But I figured maybe -- just maybe, like prescription drugs and the Kardashians' 15 Minutes — those expiration dates could be stretched a little, or ignored outright.

So today I'd like to give y'all an update on our old friends. Where Are They Now? What Do They Smell Like? Who Got Fat? Who Went On To Make Millions From Inventing That App You Totally Could Have Thought Of, Goddamit?


NAME: Secret Flawless Invisible Solid

SCENT: Totally Fresh

WHERE IS SHE NOW: God, more like, "Totally Forgettable," riiiiight? I can't tell you what this was supposed to smell like, because now it's little more than a vaguely perfume-y baby powder scent. And "Powder Fresh" was a SEPARATE OPTION besides "Totally Fresh," so like, I don't even know. It's like, Secret Flawless got married and had a couple kids and moved to the suburbs with the minivan and just gave up on herself and her metallic-edged blooming lady flower. It's sad, really. 

VERDICT: Peaked in high school, but still capable of long-lasting odor protection. 


NAME: Degree Women Body Responsive

SCENT: Sexy Intrigue

WHERE IS SHE NOW: OMG, stop embarrassing yourself! It's all too much. It's a damned "MY MOM DRESSES TOO SEXY & STEALS MY BOYFRIENDS" episode of Maury. The girly pink-and-green swirls with the metallic leopard print? Stop. Just. Stop. And "Sexy Intrigue" IS NOT A THING THAT SMELLS, DEGREE. And while this was part of the "Fine Fragrance Collection," it basically smells like Ex'cla-ma'tion crossed with a little baby powder.

VERDICT: My seventh-grade self would have been all over this shit. 


NAME: Degree Girl Invisible Solid

SCENT: Just Dance

WHERE IS SHE NOW: Girls don't want to wear their moms' deodorant, because moms like to go to bed at least once in a 24-hour period and girls just wanna have fun, party all the time, just dance, it'll be okay, everybody just da-ance.

VERDICT: Don't be fooled by the sleek black packaging, this is NOT the deodorant companion piece to Lady Gaga's Fame perfume. (I KNOW BECAUSE I OWN THAT. WHAT.) "Just Dance" smells kind of like citrus-scented (wait for it...) baby powder. And it works just like every other invisible solid deodorant on the planet BECAUSE THAT'S ALL IT IS. (I know. We're all deeply, deeply shocked that "girls" have the same basic underarm needs as "women" or like, "human beings in general.")


NAME: Secret Scent Expressions Invisible Solid

SCENT: Bella Bloom

WHERE IS SHE NOW: Much like Degree's attempt to capitalize on Lady Gaga's circa 2008 chart domination, I'm guessing this was Secret's sneaky unlicensed take on the Twilight Saga. (Though I don't remember seeing options like "Edwardian Sparkles" or "Full Moon Musk" and have to say I'm a little disappointed in you, Secret.) And much like the hoopla surrounding Twilight, this ridiculously overworked label looks a little dated and mock-worthy now.

HOWEVER. Bella has a secret, y'all:


Underneath her vadge-shaped lid is a iridescent pink cover with a raised blooming lady flower that actually MARKS THE DEODORANT WITH SAID BLOOMING LADY FLOWER. That's some next-level branding shit, Secret, and I have to applaud you for it. Even though I accidentally replaced the cover upside down and kind of mangled it.

VERDICT: It smells like baby powder, works just okay.


NAME: Suave Invisible Solid

SCENT: Powder

WHERE IS SHE NOW: The same as it ever was. And is, and shall be. Suave don't play no stupid label games, making up bullshit scents and trying to dress up like some kind of goddamned sparkle-covered whore-tube. Suave always knew what Suave wanted: Graduate, go to a decent state school for undergrad, then maybe an Ivy for law school, not that Suave is gonna be dick about it; Suave just got really good grades and worked hard, you know? Suave got what Suave wanted, and also paid off Suave's loans in under five years because Suave knows how to fucking budget, y'all. Respect.

VERDICT: If you're ever in the market for vintage expired deodorants (I dunno, check Etsy), I highly recommend you stick with Suave. This one still has the strongest scent and actually works as an actual deodorant/anti-perspirant better than any of the ones I tried. Though I must unfortunately take exception to the "Goes on clear!" promise. Sure, it's clear on your skin, but any fabric within a three-foot radius is gonna get all kinds of streaked up. 


NAME: Tom's of Maine Aluminum-Free Deodorant Stick

SCENT: Lavender

WHERE IS HE NOW: Spent some time in the Peace Corps, got a little sidetracked by the Occupy movement before moving to Portland and getting super into urban farming. Raises chickens. Won't stop talking about the chickens. All his friends are like, will you just eat the chickens already? Knows where all the farmers' markets are and good places for brunch. Sells reclaimed vintage pens on Etsy, like the kind you turn upside down and the lady's shirt falls off. Still smells really, REALLY fucking hard like lavender oil, like wow. 

VERDICT: Shut up, Tom. 



Are you finally going to throw them away now? Or err.... bury them in little deodorant coffins? Or are they going on your shelf next to your vintage glass collection? :)


YAY deodorant wars! Hysterical as always


Thank you, I had to stifle my laughter because I have a suspended student in the office with me. It would be difficult to explain why I'm laughing over antiperspirant pictures...


I effing love Deodorant Wars. My day is made, beyotches!

Rebecca S.

Booyah! Deodorants are back. Love, as always.


haha, love suave and her ability to budget. i am from maine so i have to say you were a little hard on poor tom :-)


Yay for the return of deodorant wars! How sad is it that I've missed them so? :)

Denice Johnson

I'd either love chicken raising Tom's of Maine (brunch is good!) or I'd want to smack the holy hell crap out of him 23/7. I left off one hour from the smacking in homage to the possibility of brunch related adoration. If that falls thru smacking desire will be compensated accordingly.


You have NO idea how happy I was to open this page and see a picture of deodorant. Hells yes, deodorant wars!


I love The Deodorant Wars SO HARD! It never fails to crack me up! Especially the part about Suave and her budget and Ivy League Degree! Amy, you're priceless!


But why come the one for girls has more nonpronounceable shit than the one for the womens? Girls be funkier, yo -- is that what you're saying Degree? IS IT?

I'ma have to look into Dove Clinical because come on Suave, you have let me down. Maybe I should just revert to some good old Soft n Dri. Or Tussy. All up under my nails.


I get why deodorants are named Secret, Suave, and maybe even Degree, but seriously, Tom's of Maine? Who wants to smell like Tom of Maine?

Maxine Dangerous

You. Are. Amazing. :D


Yessssss - Love these!

Thanks to Degree Just Dance I was caught singing a chorus of "let's dance, the last dance toniiiight" - My new office mate is now horrified: mission accomplished.

Big Gay Sam

I miss disco. :(


Yay, the Deodorants live! After huffing all of these, I'll bet everything has the slight smell of baby powder.

Suzy Q

Awesome update! I've been wondering how these crazy kids have fared in life.

I think Tom needs a girlfriend.


Love. It.


"Goddamned sparkle-whore tube" made me laugh right out loud at my desk at work. It made heads turn. Way to write a post that allowed me to be inconspicuous in my afternoon slack-off, Amalah!!! :)


>>girls just wanna have fun, party all the time, just dance<<

You are made of awesome. You managed to squeeze Cyndi Lauper, Eddie Murphy, and David Bowie into a single sentence fragment. Two are so winning that I'll excuse Eddie Murphy being there.


One summer, I had an allergic reaction to Degree deodorant and could not figure it out ALL SUMMER until I went back to school for a retreat, and forgot the Degree, and had to use Secret. Ta-da, reaction all gone.

Cool story, bro, I know. I'm just glad I didn't have to end up with Tom's of Maine, because I've lived in Maine and don't wish to smell like Tom or Maine.


Holy shit. I am sitting in the waiting area of my kid's gymnastics lesson catching up on some favorite blogs (SPOILER: YOU ARE ONE OF THEM) and just had a snorting/giggling fit beside this father who has no idea what a blog is and why I am looking at pictures of deodorant. Like it's porn or something.

And that whole Suave verdict? Perfect.


The Thai Deodorant Crystal will remain etched in my psyche as one of the most traumatic experiences of my armpits' lives.


This is the shit I come here for. I did a post a few months ago in character as all the hideous wallpapers of my home and for some reason it kept reminding me of deodorant. IT'S ALL COMING BACK! Tom is such a hackneyed hipster. My grandmother smells like lavender, dude.

Rachel H

Okay are you stalking me? I've been reading your archives and I just read one of these entries this morning. ARE YOU WATCHING MY MOVEMENTS.

If so, please continue. You apparently know what I like ha ha ha


so, can you tell me about the salmon?


This is probably all kinds of weird and creepy but I saw this and thought of your boys



Despite my atheism, I am literally PRAYING for the day when the trend of fruit-scented deoderants becomes a thing of the past. Why in the hell would I want my armpits to smell like mango or passion fruit?


The Toms one really cracked my shit up. Thanks for that.


Made my day!


Suave reminds Brigette of a certain Project Runway "ALL STAR" (the term, it is to laugh) this season. This blog makes Brigette laugh. Ha ha ha ha ha.


OMG you make me laugh until coffee pours outta my nose!!!


Is it weird that any time I meander down the deodorant aisle I can hear the "Deodorant Wars chatter" happening amongst them? That when I choose my particular cartridge I might imagine some uppity, glittered, or "faceted" deodorant rolling her eyes in dismay?

In fact, all I have to do is see "Tom's of Maine" and I swear the feeling of derision coming at him from the other side of the aisle is not made up AT ALL.



Ugh - don't use the Suave "invisible" solid. I had that and it completely ruined three of my shirts. I went to their website and soaked/washed in the treatment they recommend and it did nothing. I guess I was thinking they would stand by a 30+ year loyal Suave customer but they said I had to send my shirts and they would have their lab treat them and if they were able to get it out, they would return the shirts to me, minus the residue, and if they weren't, they would reimburse me for the total cost but I would need to supply the original receipts. Then one rep asked me if I really knew how to use my washer because she had never gotten this complaint before. That did it for me with Suave.


I kid you not- I was JUST thinking about Deodorant Wars earlier this week and was wondering when there would be more!! Thank you for making me smile. :)

Lisa Y

I LOVE these posts!


I just shared this on my fb page. Mainly due to this line: "like some kind of goddamned sparkle-covered whore-tube."

Thank you. Thank you.


Greetings! The site is great. Thank you for a great resource
is it just me


Totally off topic but... Ninjago is on Zulily today for like 50% off! May this bring much excitement to your household ;)


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