I'm going to offer my apologies in advance because I'm about to go all ‘metrosexual' on you. I've recently discovered an amazing Thai product called the Miracles Crystal Deo Stick and I'd like to share my discovery with the world if I may.
Miracles Crystal Deo Stick sells for about 50 baht at most branches of 7-11 and is available in both a stick form (as the name suggests) and as a clear liquid in a spray bottle.
Yes, if you haven't already guessed, this blog is all about keeping your armpits feeling fresh and smelling sweetly. Real men can stop reading right now.
Gawd, it's hot!
Thailand is hot and humid. And if the weather is hot and humid, you're going to sweat. And eventually you'll start to stink and begin to wonder why you've always got plenty of personal space on the sky-train.
I've always been a spray-can antiperspirant user in Thailand but in my opinion, stuff like this costs a fortune here. My deodorant of choice was always Nivea Impact, and even in places like Boots, it ran to around 160 baht a can. And I was getting through at least two cans a month.
That wasn't the problem though. I was at the end of my tether with throwing away perfectly good dark-colored t-shirts because they had unsightly white stains under the armpits. These white stains are caused by aluminum salts and compounds that are present in virtually all antiperspirants.
It got to the stage where I was chucking out t-shirts after fewer than half a dozen wears. I became paranoid about chalky armpit stains.
The internet is heaving with housewives' tips and home remedies on how to get rid of these stains. You name it, I tried it - white vinegar, concentrated lemon juice, baking soda, distilled water and two crushed aspirins (no really) and that ridiculously hard-to-obtain combination of monkey piss and Borax.
Nothing worked. In fact it some cases, the white stains became even more visible.
And then I discovered Miracles Crystal Deo Stick. "It's what working-class Thai people use" my wife told me. OK, it wasn't much of an endorsement but I was up for trying anything once.
I'll resist the temptation to get all technical but the deo stick is basically a herbal stone that kills the bacteria in your perspiration. And it's the bacteria that causes the stink.
Using your deo stick
How to apply? Well, after you've emerged from your morning shower smelling faintly of soap, you simply wet the deo stick under a cold tap and apply it to your underarm areas as you would with a roll-on deodorant. With the spray liquid form, you just spray it under your arms and then rub it around a bit.
Whether you choose the stick or liquid, it's entirely colorless and with no hint of a fragrance.
And it just works! And it goes on working all day long.
So now I've bigged up the product, I should probably mention the downsides.
If like me, you've been a deodorant user since forever - and you only feel ready to face the outside world once you're smelling like a tart's window-box - you're going to have to get used to not smelling of anything except your ‘natural skin'. Actually I'd forgotten what natural skin smelled like.
Secondly, because the deo stick and spray are NOT antiperspirants, you'll perspire big time, which increases your chances of walking around all day with two sweat patches the size of dinner plates. And when sweat has soaked into fabric for any length of time, let's just say that it doesn't bring back fond memories of my grandad's rose garden.
While the combination of sweat on fabric won't be enough to make colleagues talk behind your back, it could make you feel a tad self-conscious. I've now found myself changing my t-shirts at least twice a day.
"Ah, so it's a swings and roundabouts situation" I hear you cry. "What you are saving on expensive antiperspirants, you're losing on a bigger laundry bill each week" And you've certainly got a point.
But at least I'm not throwing good clothes away.
If you're a long-time deo stick user, I'd love to hear your thoughts. And if you're not, give it a try! And may your armpits exude sweetness until the eveningtide.
Next week: living in harmony with your bum gun.