My mom took me to the pediatrician at seven years old because I had body odor. She was convinced something was wrong with me. Perhaps I was suffering from Trimethylaminuria (fish odor disease), or starting puberty very early. The doctor, who always handled my mother’s anxiety and late night phone calls with grace and gentleness, assured her that I just needed to scrub better under my pits because I was a bit smellier than the other kids.
Obviously, the problem got worse once I hit puberty. No kid’s body odor situation deescalates from seven to thirteen. Plus, living in Central Florida isn’t exactly conducive to not sweating. The only time I got a break was one week in January when temperatures dipped below seventy degrees. So, instead of stuffing my bra, I stuffed my armpits with folded up paper towels to create a buffer between them and my light yellow uniform shirt.
Middle school was hard enough, especially when you’re two heads taller than all the boys - and most of the girls. I had to get pit stains out of the mix if I was to survive. Eventually, the doctor put me on a prescription deodorant, of which 20% was aluminum. It was the early aughts-- tanning beds, Furbies, and Limewire were popular. No one knew any better.
Fast forward to adulthood. My braces and nail biting habit were gone, but my body odor was here to stay. My friends (God bless them for their honesty) never failed to let me know that I needed a little refresh. I stashed deodorant sticks in every bag and would frequently visit the bathroom for a little bird bath when on a date. I could not get away with a natural deodorant product, despite my best efforts.
I needed the chemicals and I needed them badly. Moving into a van didn’t help the issue. Roaming around solo for a year with no running water got me super comfortable with my body odor, but I can’t speak to how the gas station attendants, campground hosts, and unassuming baristas felt. I tried several popular natural brands, lemon wedges smuggled away from the bar caddy, and face toner. Nothing worked. At least I was never truly alone, with my armpit bacteria along for the ride.
Like all of the best things, Pit LIquor came into my life unexpectedly. And honestly, I didn’t believe it would work for me. I mean, alcohol and some essential oils? Couldn’t I just concoct this by myself with a bottle of rubbing alcohol from the drugstore for $0.99 cents? Nevertheless, I tried a few sprays of my boyfriend’s Whiskey Vanilla. It killed my odor instantly, which was a pleasant surprise. But I wasn’t sold.
I continued to use it over the next few days but returned to my regular travel size powder fresh (yuck, I know, but powder fresh was the only thing that smothered my typical lox-bagel-extra-red-onion scent). Like earworms and chia seeds, something about Pit Liquor was sticking with me.
Then my deodorant spirit guides stepped in to facilitate a slow stroll past a shelf of Pit Liquor at the local market. Compared to my $2.99 travel size conventional stick, it was certainly a splurge. However, my pits had been drinking aluminum for the past seventeen years and I wasn’t a stranger to splurging on fun items that caught my eye - 4th of July costumes, a surfboard I’ve used once, etc. After a first, second, and maybe third thought, I grabbed the Coconut Lime variety and plopped it into my basket.
To say I’ve never looked back wouldn’t be entirely true. I forgot it last time I traveled and used a conventional roll on in a pinch. But 99% of the time, the pretty glass bottle comes along. I’m still genuinely surprised that it works so well, doesn’t make me smell like booze, and doesn’t stain my shirts. On particularly sweaty days, I’ll need a refresh toward the afternoon. But other than that, my pits are just good to go. I get to let my body sweat, like nature intended. I get to put healthy, effective ingredients on my body and rest assured they are doing no harm. I get to smell like real lavender, real oranges, or real vanilla. But most importantly, I get to do the wave at large events without assaulting neighboring nostrils. It really was that simple all along.
But hey, Pit Liquor is all about transparency so I want you to know that I write for this company. You’ll see my name on some other blog posts, although none as personal as this. However, I started writing for them because I love their products so much. If I can shepherd others down the path to healthy, odor-free armpits, confidence in their bodies, and pride in the way they show up in the world, then hell yes—my English Lit degree wasn’t a waste afterall! I’m changing the world, Mom, one pair of pits at a time.