Why Do We Wear Deodorant, Anyway?
Can you imagine a world without deodorant? Let alone personal hygiene? Humans weren’t nearly as obsessed with smelling good when we lived in caves. Our stink was actually the least of our concerns with more of our focus on, you know, surviving. Don’t judge us, but we think the history of BO is actually pretty cool. Let us enlighten you—you’ll be amazed at how far we’ve come.
Survival of the Stinkiest
For the vast majority of the 1.8 million years humans have existed on planet Earth, we didn’t wear deodorant! You may or may not believe it, but our body odor was actually considered an evolutionary advantage back in ancient times. Yeah, you heard that right, our stink drove away predators. Kind of gnarly that we smelled that foul, right? And neat that it was kind of a superpower…
A Strange Attempt to Banish BO
Eventually, our species started to become more aware of our stench, and as we evolved, we experimented with various methods to banish the BO.
Ancient Egyptians were the first group of people to give this a go. Their attempts to mask odor consisted of aromatic oils and perfume baths, and other interesting tactics – porridge made from ostrich eggs, tortoiseshell, and gallnuts which served as general perfume rubbed all over the body. The Ancient Romans and Greeks got behind the personal hygiene game too, constantly bathing and applying perfumes to almost everything like their clothes, horses, and even household pets.
Interestingly enough, things got weird in the Middle Ages when Western societies began forming taboos around bodies. Deodorant became labeled as sinful—an inappropriate indulgence. Then the Black Death rolled around, and the idea of fragrance was revived in Europe. People thought dirty air was spreading the plague and that scents could purify it.
Then culture shifts in the Victorian era emerged, with more care around manners and hygiene. Yet still no one was talking about perspiration and other totally normal bodily functions. Enter the first ever launch of an antiperspirant – “Mum,” which was powered by aluminum (yikes). The deodorant evolution shifted gears and started targeting people to exploit their insecurities of smelling, resulting in a widespread fear-mongering campaign and humiliation around body odor. Not to mention a cache of extremely cringe-worthy ads.
The Pit Liquor Way
While the deodorant industry has come a long way since then, when we learned about the history of deodorant, it made us wonder how we could revamp the space. Deodorant, for most, is an automatic behavior—a daily thing we often don’t think twice about! Instead of the preconceived attitudes around it being a chore in order to hide your stink, why not make it a pleasant experience?
We did this by making it more enjoyable—classy glass bottles, a refreshing spray over a goopy stick, formulas powered by natural spirits, and ditching any and all toxic ingredients. But even more importantly, we dropped the stigma around armpits, body odor and sweat. We made a formula that was natural and actually worked, which is huge. What we didn't realize was that by taking a part of the body that most people have been conditioned to think of as an inconvenience at best, and shameful at worst, and making it something we enjoy taking care of, we'd change people's relationships with their bodies. Now THAT’s an evolution leveled up to a whole deodorant revolution.
Tell us what surprised you most about the history of deodorant, and grab a bottle of Pit Liquor while you’re at it!