Thursday, July 26, 2012


Ask a Clean Person: 'Pits, Revisited

It's almost August, which means I've been sweating like my Slavic farmer forebears for months now. All the t-shirts (cotton!) that I bought at the beginning of the summer have gross pit stains! And not just a little discoloration on the lighter ones, but whitish, hardened patches as if the deodorant isn't washing out all the way! I've always used Tide detergent, and usually wash my shirts on cool with jeans and stuff. I've tried some Arm & Hammer "wash boost" and washing them on hot, but that didn't work. Can the damage be undone? If not, what can I do with my next round of shirts so they don't get ruined after one summer??

The whole problem is that I seriously sweat a lot (A LOT!) and I'm allergic to the active ingredient in most antiperspirants. So I use deodorant and don't get smelly, but I can barely wear woven button-ups or nice blouses with sleeves because I sweat through them. I've heard tell of the dress shields of old but have never seen them for sale. I've asked my dermatologist and there's not really a medical solution, since I happen to be madly allergic to the only effective antiperspirant known to humanity.

I'd like to save my shirts and wash them better, obvs, but do you, Clean Person (or perhaps A Lady?) have any tricks for my sleeves as well? That shit is embarrassing! I can't believe I'm the only woman with this problem, yet I never see other women with soaked pits! Are they packing like three extra shirts for every day? What is the secret??

One of the great things about writing this particular column for this particular site is that you all are a wickedly smart lot in possession of a major curious streak. Which means that instead of just being all, "Here's how to clean that thing that you've mucked up," I can back it waaaay up and explain why the muck is happening, the science behind it, etc., etc., and you'll think it's interesting. I hope.

So that's a little of what we're going to get into today, but then also I'll veer off into possibly A Lady territory and talk about How We Can Deal With Sweat and then mostly I'm going to toss it out to you all to share your secrets. You have secrets, I just know you do.

But first the science part of things: generally, the primary active ingredient in deodorant is alcohol; in antiperspirant the active ingredient is aluminum. However, some straight-up deodorants also contain aluminum, which may be the case with the product you're using, given the effect it's having on your shirts. The aluminum reacts to sweat, which is a protein, and causes yellowing just in the same way that bleach will cause sweat and other protein stains to appear more yellow. Old timers will remember the discussion of protein stains and bleach waaaay back in the second ever installment of AaCP.

There are two really easy ways to combat those yellow stains: (1) mix up a solution made up of 1 tablespoon white vinegar to ½ cup of water; soak the soiled shirt in that solution for about a half hour and then launder as usual or (2) soak the shirt in OxiClean and water and then launder as usual. If the stains are really bad, you'll want to agitate the shirt while it's in the cleaning solution by rubbing the stained area against itself.

Another thing you might want to consider, though it may be cumbersome, is rinsing the armpits of your shirts under cold running water after wearing. That will help to push out a lot of the sweat and deodorant residue before it has a chance to set in. Though again, that may be a bear to keep up with and you also run the risk of having your dirties develop a mildew smell if left damp for too long. Caveats.

With the Clean Person part of things out of the way, let's turn to the Lady side of things.

You asked about dress shields, which do indeed still exist! I love that you went there — sometimes we forget to consider options that have fallen out of style or general favor. If you're interested in dress shields I have two options for you to check out: Kleinerts, which is, like, the Angkor Wat of the perspiration defense world, and Hollywood Fashion Secrets, which is a touch more modern in terms of their branding but also obnoxiously pink. So.

This isn't an armpit thing, but since we're letting it all hang out, so to speak, I have a sort of obsession with wearing slips under my summer dresses because my back tends to get a little sweaty and the slip keeps the sweat from going through my sundresses and actually keeps me feeling cooler — and more confident — even though I know that sounds nuts. Slips are sort of hard to find these days, but (oddly) Gap Body has a line of full and half slips. I have a giant stack of 'em.

A thing our LW didn't mention was the notion of using Botox to deter underarm perspiration. I say that not as an endorsement, because, you know, botulism eeehhhhhh, but because I'm curious if any of you have gone that route, if you would recommend it, if insurance covers it (it looks like the out-of-pocket cost would run in the $1,000-$1,500 range, but perhaps someone has more accurate information to share?), etc.

What else have I missed? Anything? Because seriously, you guys, it's so hot out there....

Previously: Help, There's No Laundry Care Tag!

Jolie Kerr is not paid to endorse any of the products mentioned in this column, but she sure would be very happy to accept any free samples the manufacturers care to send her way! Are you curious to know if she's answered a question you have? Do check out the archives, listed by topic. More importantly: is anything you own dirty?

274 Comments / Post A Comment


i have heard of people getting botox shots in their armpits to stop the sweating

saul "the bear" berenson

@lynzillla A friend of mine is an actress and would always sweat through shirts before walking into an audition, which obviously is not ideal! She did the botox thing and it has worked out great for her. I've heard that there is a chance that the sweatiness will relocate to other parts of your body, and it could go anywhere, which freaks me way, way out.


i am amazed by this post@y

Anchovy Cake

I had Botox done in my 'pits. The problems are twofold: 1, its temporary, it lasts about 3 months and 2, your body will just sweat elsewhere. I had nasty sweaty feet and hands instead of sweaty armpits. I didn't go in for another injection because I didn't like being Clammy Hands McGee anymore than I liked being Sweaty Pits Gal.

On another note, Edith's touting of the Soapwalla deoderant is spot on as that product is uhhMazing. I sweat zillions of times less and I no longer stain shirts.

Tuna Surprise

@Anchovy Cake
I did it with a much better experience. The first time I did it, it was like living a dream. I bought white tshirts. I wore button down oxfords. All the things I had stopped doing years before.

I didn't sweat elsewhere and for the most part I was lasting closer to six months. I eventually stopped doing it because it was a major hassle to get my insurance to reapprove the shots. Now that I've switched providers I may try again.

Anchovy Cake

@Tuna Surprise That's good! I'm glad it does work for some people. I wish I could've had the same experience.


@Anchovy Cake Have you bought soapwalla recently? I just got a replacement two weeks ago, and it seems like they've changed their formula. It's more oily now, more grainy (I stirred it thoroughly), and it doesn't last as long anymore. On the flip side, the new one also doesn't burn my pits (the old one worked wonders, keeping my both dry AND not-smelly all day, but it would burn my armpits sometimes). I just didn't know if I got a fluke one, or if they've just changed their formula.

lavender gooms

@Anchovy Cake My recent one was super... soupy as well, but I'm chalking it up to the fact that it melted while sitting on my front porch in the hot weather for a few hours after it was delivered. I have to keep it in the fridge to keep it solid. I'm not sure if it's because it's a new recipe or because it melted once already, but definitely a strange consistency this go around. Still works like a charm though!

@Anchovy Cake I had Botox done on my pits 4 years ago and it lasted for a LONG time. The sweat starts coming back bit by bit by bit, but it's mild. 4 years later, I'm still way less sweaty than I was before.

But yeah, Botox... for the first 8 months or so, I could workout in the blazing heat and not sweat in my arm pits. However, I had more boobage sweat when I worked out, but absolutely no more "oh hey I just woke up and 5 minutes into breakfast, my gray shirt has pit marks!"

Oddly enough, I never got pit marks when I was asleep. Bodies are weird.


@Anchovy Cake Yeah, Edith's post about Soapwalla was a little miracle. That stuff really works! You smell good all day, for real. I have to wear antiperspirant for my day job (because I wear other people's clothing), but when I'm off duty, I only use the Soapwalla stuff.


@slanket I noticed the same thing but attributed it to the warmer weather? They do warn you that it melts in warm temperatures, and that you can put it in the fridge after mixing it up thoroughly. After keeping it in a cooler place, it seems about the same.


@Anchovy Cake I ordered mine a few weeks ago and it hasn't been working as well as everyone claims it does, which is kind of a bummer. I'm not an extremely sweaty person and thus am more concerned with smell than moisture. Soapwalla makes my pits smell great but I definitely still sweat a little bit. Sigh.


@Anchovy Cake My experience exactly! I'll take the slight burning for longer working and no oiliness! Also - It uses up waay too fast for $12+ deodorant! And I was so happy to have found it :(


Ok I have to ask because I feel like this is a safe space. Has anyone ever tried using pantiliners as underarm shields? Because I feel like it would work and I feel like it would solve work clothes dilemmas but I also feel like I want someone else to be brave for me.


@mabellegueule I haven't but I certainly thought about it when I bought some disposable underarm dress shields and they were constructed exactly like my Natracare pantiliners.


@mabellegueule I think the shape might be a problem. If you fold them at the skinny part, it's not covering your entire pit area. But if you fold them along the long edge, they won't curve right and will make your shirts fit weird.
I'm guessing that shirt guards are designed to fold (and are probably thinner). But try it one day you're just hanging around the house!

Jolie Kerr

@mabellegueule: brb, gotta go tell Edith to put some pantyliners in her blouse.


@mabellegueule I am not brave but I am willing to hypothesize about it in a public sphere: they seem like they would be bulkier than strictly necessary? And maybe you'd have to cut them down to an appropriate size, and then, would they fray and exit your sleeves in streams of white fibrous puffs?

Also maybe more expensive in the long run than buying dress shields and channeling your inner old lady.

But my suspicion is that if you were going to sweat up a storm in a short time period (before an important meeting or something) they could make emergency shields?




@mabellegueule: Don't do it! I tried that one time and the adhesive wasn't durable enough for regular arm-swinging during the day. I had this moment where I could only account for the pantiliner in one pit and then HORROR. I had to discreetly check myself to see if it was stuck to me (no) and then nonchalantly re-trace my steps through the building to find it. It was at the coke machine. Get the kleinerts, they have them on Amazon, washable kinds and disposable kinds that are much like pantiliners but without the betrayal.

Message from your cervix

@mabellegueule Well, that's if you use the normal thickness ones - use the 'lightdays', and I imagine it would work a LOT better. Especially since I feel like you could totally trim those down to size no problem.


@mabellegueule Fabric stores carry dress shields in the notions part of the store. Where they sell the buckles and elastic and stuff. I would think they need a couple of stitches to put in a dress, but... how you'd get pantiliners to stick is probably also a hassle, so.



@Message from your cervix

I feel like you have a lot of street cred re: pantyliners because of your username.


@mabellegueule My male coworker buys maxipads as shoe insoles! And he got the idea because his friend uses them as, basically, dress shields for his dress shirts.


@whateverlolawants THAT'S GENIUS why have I never thought of trying that?


@mabellegueule My friend Brandon once did this at a wedding reception - he forgot that wearing a royal blue shirt on a blazing hot summer's day might lead to some unsightly pit-stains. Verdict: Highly amusing for everyone else who knew his game, but not worth the anxiety of a pantyliner possibly falling out of your pants/sleeve in front of someone you don't know.


Excessive armpit sweat sucks. I go the route of immediately removing my shirt after I get home from work and rinsing the pits. It is super annoying, though, so I may have to try out this vinegar business.


I worked on a farm for half a decade, and the OxiClean is the best way to kill the pit stains on cotton in my experience. No idea why I was so self-conscious about the pit stains while working in fields and shoveling cow manure compost but whatever my inexplicable past.

Dress shields are some retro genius I may have to investigate for the future.


@PatatasBravas Why I Love Pin Commetary: "but whatever my inexplicable past."

So funny.


Slips! Cotton slips especially.

Also, dress shields! My mother, always about dress shields. And that you can buy them in the Notions department at Belks. Just go get some. In your time machine.


@noReally *thump* "in your time machine."

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh *ded*

(But really, JoAnn Fabrics also has them. You get those by transporting yourself to a soulless strip mall in Iowa/Minnesota/Illinois/Indiana.)


@PistolPackinMama Are there any soulfull strip malls? Anywhere? Because that is a roadtrip I would take.


@PatatasBravas The strip mall in Vienna, VA that has Jammin' Java in it...doesn't look soulful from the outside, but it totally is.


@noReally I can never seem to find cotton slips. When I do find slips, they're more like "here, we know you want this to seduce your man" and less "here is a practical garment that will keep you from accidentally exposing yourself while also looking slightly retro-chic"

saul "the bear" berenson

@PatatasBravas If you're in New York, there is a soulless strip mall in Queens, on Northern Blvd around like 60th Street, and there is a Michael's there, and based on the median age of the neighborhood community, they almost certainly have dress shields. (there is also a stop and shop, and old navy, and home depot, and I secretly love it there)

Faintly Macabre

@Blushingflwr Ugh, me too! I stole a bunch of my mom's old slips, which are nice and loose, but they mostly have weird lace panels and straps. Bah.


@Blushingflwr I have a lot of vintage ones, some inherited and some thrifted, and they are great-- so pretty! However, they are shaped to fit under the stuff that was fashionable when they were new (of course) so some of them really can't be worn under new dresses depending on the cut. Nothing much has changed in half slips though, except sometimes length.

Tons of mine (from probably 30s-50s, based on the age of the dresses I inherited at the same time) button shut at the bottom to be kind of like super-blousy shorts. Fun!

The Lady of Shalott

@PistolPackinMama As a card-carrying Midwesterner and shopper at strip malls, I'm not sure why a shopping experience has to be soulful in the first place. But I will point out that old-fashioned and well-stocked lingerie shops in big cities will also frequently have dress shields, and if you have a good dry cleaner/tailor/seamstress, they can usually also point you in the right direction. Or if you look in a fabric district/garment district/place where actual dressmakers shop, or pretty much any place that sells notions.

They are still for sale today! Just usually not in places that your average lady still shops today.


@The Lady of Shalott It doesn't have to be. But it's nice when it is. I live in a town that has a council that doesn't seem to value urban planning and appealing public spaces. It's on the Mississippi, there's not a lot of industry that needs the river any more, and huge stretches of the waterfront... are taken up with a windowless convention center that limits access and provides no view.

I dunno. I could bike the distance to my JoAnn's easily, except there is no safe way to do it unless I want to go 15 miles out of my way, since there are no side roads or sidewalks that go from hither to yon. I don't want to die on a state highway on an old bike. So I drive.

We don't even need to get into the fact that the road planning make driving kind of dangerous because of the street one-way lay out with no way to turn around unless you U-turn in heavy traffic. Which, on a bike... no.

Also, garment districts, old fashioned scanties shops, and such do not exist here.

I've noticed the way you get independent business services is if You Know a Guy/Gal. My tailoring person is terrific. She is a lovely grannie who lives in the next town over and sews from her work room at home and shops at JoAnn. I found her through my landlord. Same with the dude who fixes transmissions at a reasonable rate. This is great, but Knowing A Guy/Gal is a long term process. Sometimes you just need a dress shield.


Soulful shopping is really just shopping in a community that is arranged for community living and not weird tax structures and the convenience of big chain stores.


@PistolPackinMama or Paramus, NJ.

She was a retail whore

@CrescentMelissa That's my Jo-Ann store! Not, like, mine, but that's the one I go to when I want to spend ridiculous amounts of money on sewing stuff I'm not quite sure how to use. But I made a skirt last weekend, so now maybe I should go back and buy copious amounts of fabric to make the many cotton and nylon half slips I don't even kind of need.


@themmases I wonder if that was their solution to thigh chafing? Those crafty bastards had everything.


The only rub about the botox is that it wears off and you have to do it again. So, maybe not a long term solution... but if you're getting married or something, maybe the way to go.

Pound of Salt

I'm sad it's almost August. I haven't done nearly enough summery summer things yet.


@Pound of Salt
Does anyone? Ever?


@NeverOddOrEven No.


Me either.


@Pound of Salt Summer is just now hitting us in the PNW! And the back to school ads have already starting airing.

(Does anyone else still clench up inside when back to school ads start? I haven't gone "back to school" in over a decade but god, those ads stir some deep seated anxiety in me.)


I has a question! Lying in bed last night made me think of this:

Box fans. I love it, but it is so freaking gross. Aside from wrapping a tissue around my finger and sticking it into every single little slot in the fan's protective shield, how can I fix this? I can remove the plastic shield to wipe the fan blades, but the shield is just black with hair (some of it mine, some of it my cats). Get rid of your box fans, they are disgusting???

Help me Jolie-wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!


@PatatasBravas Thank you thank you!


Isn't Edith a deoderant/antipersperant connoisseur? Where are the Edith researches?

Jolie Kerr

@PatatasBravas Click on the NATURAL DEODORANT tag for her (amazing and hilarious) pieces.


@Jolie Kerr ...I have just gone back to reread them all. The initial swooning over Lavanila! and the dramas of the emails, the Soapwalla interview to end all interviews, the freakish tales of Certain Dri... Hairpin nostalgia is weird nostalgia.

Tammy Pajamas

I once had an archaeologist boyfriend who did his fieldwork in Mexico. He was (is?) an undershirt wearer and his white shirts' pits were horrifying--yellow and crusty despite regular laundering. He came back from Mexico once with all these stains gone! He said that he paid a woman to do his laundry, which she did at the river, pounding (I guess?) his shirts with rocks. So I guess that works too.


@Tammy Pajamas I suspect it was also the sun exposure. UV light is an awesomely efficient bleach and if I had a clothesline I would hang out all my whites to dry.

Oy. I signed in to comment about pit stains. My life, where is it going...


@bowtiesarecool Going good places - that is a great tip!

Faintly Macabre

@Tammy Pajamas A while back, I read an article in Vogue where the author went to Mexico to...lie around on chairs or whatever Vogue authors do in foreign countries. She was planning to throw out her favorite old sundress because it was dingy and stained, but gave it to a Mexican lady to clean one last time. She said it came back good as new--bright, starchy, no stains. I still dream of finding that resort just so I can bring my laundry there.

But then again, a Vogue writer's idea of unwearable and my idea of unwearable might be pretty different...


@Faintly Macabre In a lot of countries people regularly use starch that has bluing mixed in it. That really makes whites bright and new-looking. I think Jolie talked about bluing once before in another clean person post. You can get it in big grocery and dept stores and it makes laundry look brand new. The first time I used it to wash sheets I wrapped myself in them lovingly because I was so dazzled. Bluing will change your life. (ok maybe not but it works)

Faintly Macabre


Faintly Macabre

@Mooah But thank you for the tip! I always think of bluing as what old ladies put in their hair, but Wikipedia says no.


@Faintly Macabre http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BznwsT6r_tM

errata stigmata

@Faintly Macabre me too! Possibly because of one of the Ramona Quimby books?


@Faintly Macabre Bluing yourself is the answer. You could even blue yourself early and be nice and relaxed for a 9:00 dinner reservation...


@Faintly Macabre Yeah I know I probably ruined the clean. But then you can wash them again! With bluing!!!!

tea tray in the sky.

@bowtiesarecool Unrelated, but I recently got REALLY into Dr. Who and now I'm noticing Dr. Who-themed avatars and screen names all over the place! Your picture, PatatasBravas' picture, TARDIS, BadWolf... were these all here the whole time?


@Tammy Pajamas Yep! It's a side effect of fandom. You'll start seeing it everywhere. :-P


I know this is not the point, but I really want to know--what is it about having Slavic farmer forbears that makes someone sweat? I haven't noticed myself sweating any more than someone *without* Slavic farmer forbears. Is it more of the idea that Eastern European=comically forbidding/large calves/"strong like bull"/"peasant"-looking/hairy/otherwise-unfeminine-according-to-North-American-standards? Am I just weird because I DON'T sweat much? (Though I shun heat and humidity all vampire-like--another stereotype?--so that might have something to do with it.)


@siniichulok Yes, definitely a case of "fun with stereotypes!" My boyfriend was born in Moscow to a Russian father and a Georgian mother (the European Georgia, not the southern one) and he does not sweat a drop. Ever. We've been lying on the beach in Puerto Rico in 100 degree heat and he barely breaks out in a light sheen of sweat on his forehead. It's so annoying. My family is the exact same Russian/Romanian farmer type and I sweat enough for both of us.


My 100% Polish husband sweats a HILARIOUS amount. He's like one of those slo-mo shots of a golden retriever bounding into the kitchen and shaking off the rain.

His siblings do not have this problem, though, so I'm thinking it's not because of his babcias.


@siniichulok Hilariously. my half-Slavic, half-Germanic self fits every one of those stereotypes, and I've learned not to mind it. A little sweat-line down the back after commuting to work seems a small price to pay for absolutely gorgeous muscles and thick, wavy hair.


Yeah, Botox is only temporary, so that gets expensive. Also you need to sweat to stay cool, so doing things to your body that make you not sweat just seems unadvisable and could cause more problems in the long run.
But OxiClean truly does do miracles for pit stains.

The Lady of Shalott

Looking for dress shields: Try fabric stores like JoAnn's, or even a Wal-Mart with a moderately well-stocked fabric/notions department. A Michael's with a decent fabric/notions department might work as well. Sometimes department stores with a more "older" ethos (i.e., where the old ladies in your town shop) can have them, as can independent lingerie stores if you're lucky enough to have one of those in your town. (But call ahead and ask!)


@The Lady of Shalott Yes, I have definitely seen dress shields at JoAnn's in the notions department. Generally on the wall where all the weird old-fashioned looking notions are. They also appear to have the supplies to make your own bra(?) or, I guess, put support into whatever thing you are making.

The Lady of Shalott

@themmases Those things are to make your own built-in support for things like gauzy filmy dresses so you don't have to wear a bra underneath it. Or if you were really ambitious you could construct your own bra but in truth I would have no idea how to go about that. But my mom is a very accomplished seamstress and the straps and support-y things apparently help a lot, she tells me?


@The Lady of Shalott I remember my mum making her own UNDERWIRED bras when I was about ten. She had a pattern and fortunately was a fairly standard bra size then (a 34C, I think), but I'm still amazed. She says they're the best bras she's ever had, but they're a huge undertaking.


@The Lady of Shalott For New Yorkers looking for dress shields, I'm pretty sure Bigelow Pharmacy on 6th Ave. in the W. Village (which is something of a wonderland) stocks them. http://www.bigelowchemists.com/


Those dress shields -- the washable ones as well as the disposable ones -- are an honest miracle in my life. Get them now, my sweaty sisters!


@Shmarmony Washable ones!!!! Recommendations?


@PatatasBravas Amazon! Kleinert's!


For fellow UK sweaty betties, I've just ordered a free sample of Esteem sweaty armpit pads. Free! Sample!


My mother in law loves to tell the story about how mean her older sister was, because whenever she'd ask to borrow one of her sister's beautiful handmade dresses, her sister would make her wear "Pits."

No shit! So would I!


When I get home at night, if I've sweated a lot and am worried about staining, I usually just spray some white vinegar on the wet/stained area. If I'm not doing laundry right away, I'll hang the shirt/dress up and let it air dry. Then I'll launder as usual whenever.

One caveat is that, since I started wearing natural deodorant (Weleda), my shirts don't really stain in the way they did when I wore antiperspirant.

RK Fire

@datalass: White vinegar for the win.. again!


I live in Atlanta and while sweating always annoys the hell out of me, I feel like I am sufficiently Not Alone In My Sweatiness that I don't stand out like "oh god she's all SWEATY." Everyone here is sweaty. It's the ones that don't look sweaty that stand out.

Though, I do layer a camisole or something underneath what I'm wearing all the time, even under t-shirts, mostly so that I don't have enormous visible sweat stains under my boobs and in the small of my back.


@Scandyhoovian I've spent most of my adult life in the South and have adopted much the same view.

I feel about sweat the same way I do about bad breath. If the situation seems temporary and the person seems healthy, I can't quite see the big deal. I've had colleagues practically fall all over themselves apologizing for having had Caesar salad at lunch or working up a sweat walking across town for a meeting. These are just not things that we should have to feel deep shame about.


@Scandyhoovian Yeah, by this point in the summer I feel the same way. I mostly feel self conscious when I arrive at my destination and need to take off my glasses to wipe off the nose rest and also my nose so they don't fall off. And random weird sweat marks under where was carrying my purse or whatever. I'm not sure I'll ever feel right about those.


@themmases It's just so hot and humid around here these days that getting out of the air-conditioned car and out into a parking lot means my glasses fog up. There's no avoiding that moisture, so I"m not going to fuss about it. It seems futile.


@Scandyhoovian I was having the problem for a while coming inside, but lately nowhere I go in Chicago other than large chain stores is really well air conditioned enough for that to happen.



@themmases Something about the way my current sunglasses are shaped and where they hit my cheeks mean that I end up with pools of sweat that run down my face like tear tracks when I take off the shades. It's kind of hilarious. "I'm not crying, I promise!"


@Scandyhoovian I also live in Atlanta, and others' sweatiness definitely makes me feel better about life. Last weekend my bro, his friend, and I walked from my house across Piedmont to Midtown for lunch and we were all GROSS by the time we got there. C'est la vie, though.

fondue with cheddar

Which means that instead of just being all, "Here's how to clean that thing that you've mucked up," I can back it waaaay up and explain why the muck is happening, the science behind it, etc., etc., and you'll think it's interesting. I hope.



@jen325 Word. I like to think it all started with Bill Nye the Science Guy.

fondue with cheddar

@phillystout I didn't grow up with Bill Nye, but we did have Mr. Wizard!


@phillystout *clasps hands* all the love for Bill Nye!


@dale I totally had a crush on Bill Nye the Science Guy, which I later transferred to Ryan Stiles, and now it has moved on to the guy who plays "The Sun" in the Jimmy Dean Sausage commercials. I think I have a type.

fondue with cheddar

@OlivettiValentine <3 Ryan Stiles! Your type is adorable.


@OlivettiValentine You win the Internet today.


I am swearing my antiperspirant for dudes. Seriously. My sweating is excessive and I have this theory that most things made for *ladies only* are generally shitty and fall apart/don't work very well. The clinical strength shit? Did nothing for me. So I switched to the dude stuff, and it is a billion times better.

fondue with cheddar

@permanentbitchface I had a friend in college who had a huge sweaty pit problem, and she swore by dude deodorant, too.


@jen325 I also use dude razors, though the difference between the two isn't as noticeable as the deodorant thing.
This is my way of "Fucking With the Patriarchy this Week"!

fondue with cheddar

@permanentbitchface What IS the difference? I've always wondered.


@jen325 I also swear by dude razors. I would say they cut closer to the skin and are softer, somehow? If something is meant to shave your face and not cut you and leave it babysmooth, it better work on armpits and legs like magic. And while Venus tricks me with this, Gillette regular is so much better. Lady razors are just meeh and leave bumps.


@jen325 Sometimes just the scent. I find that when I use my Gentleman Friend's deodorant I feel like I smell like boy all day. But that may also be because I associate that scent with men.

With razors, the difference is basically the price.

fondue with cheddar

@Helvetica I never have a problem with bumps, but I don't always get smooth either so maybe I should try them. Then again, I don't shave very often so I guess it doesn't matter that much anyway. ;)


@jen325 I actually think the dude razors are a little better because they have less of the moisture strip thing, which makes the lady razors much bulkier and unwieldy. The sharpness of the razor is irrelevant if you can't get the blades as close to the skin. At least that's what I keep telling myself!
Also, less pastel colors.


@permanentbitchface I love dude deodorant. I also kinda prefer the scent offerings. I'm just not a baby-powder/flower/whatever kinda girl.


@Blushingflwr I thought the scent thing was going to be a problem for me too, but I smelled a whole bunch in the grocery store and decided on the "Clean" scent, and it pretty much just smells nice. Old Spice stuff has that "dude" smell which my guy loves, but I wouldn't want to borrow it.
I actually hate that most girl deodorant smells like flowers.

EDIT: @Kirs Ah you beat me to it! Agree.

fondue with cheddar

@permanentbitchface I used bright orange lady razors for awhile and was disappointed when they stopped carrying/making them and switched to lavender (colored and scented) ones.

@Kirs For me, it's unscented deodorant all the way. The only lady deodorant smell I've ever liked was pear, but even that wore out its welcome. I'm sensitive to fragrance, so scented deodorants in general bother me. I have such a hard time with dude deodorants (which are way too strong and usually smell terrible) that I made my boyfriend start using an unscented one, too.

fondue with cheddar

@permanentbitchface I don't like flower scented things either. Why can't lady deodorants smell like spices? I would totally go for nutmeg pits.

Stuff like "clean" scent is the worst for me. Any made-up fragrance (spring rain, ocean breeze, etc.) is almost guaranteed to be a sneeze-fest for me, even more than the ones based on actual things.


I made my own deodorant a couple times, and the last batch I made Lemongrass/Lime scented to replicate this awesome Dr. Bronnor's hand soap I loved.
Not so good in the pits though.

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@jen325 they also make "unscented" dude strength deodorant / antiperspirant. I love this, because it allows me to choose exactly how I want to smell each day. Though, because I am a dude and we are prone to our...quirks....I generally just go with "like nothing" , or if there is a date to be gone on, there is always my secret trick of rubbing myself with a sample scent torn from the pages of Esquire.

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@leon.saintjean Yeah, I just discovered this a few days ago! My dude is now wearing unscented dude deodorant, which is great because it means that now I can snuggle up to him after he showers.

I can see how scented deodorant and cologne could be a bad combination.


@jen325 Huh. I wonder if that goes along with the tasting of things. I can't do the 'clean' or whatever smelling fragrances in general either. I usually end up going with something fruity, but even then it mostly has to be something berry or apple or other orchard-fruit in nature or it's just too perfume-y and while it doesn't make me sneeze, it will make my eyes burn something fierce.

Lexa Lane

@permanentbitchface THANK YOU. Nobody understands my Gillette Mach 3 instead of an Intuition or Venus or whatever. When I had a Venus, I used to cut myself shaving all the freaking time. Mach 3? No cuts, better shave. I do not question, I just accept and love.

fondue with cheddar

@celacia YES the food scents tend to work best for me, too! Fruits are sometimes okay, but they're still more likely to bother me than spices or bakery scents (like cookies). I don't get the eye-burning unless it's really strong, but I have experienced it and it sucks.

Are you a citronella-hater too? I get the sneezing AND eye burning with that stuff, and it's so hard to avoid in the summer.

Queen of Pickles

@leon.saintjean Yes! I get the kind with no scent, and it works magically.


@jen325 Probably, it's the sort of smell that does it to me, although I am around it so rarely that I don't really know if it does specifically. Any citrus or 'tropical' kind of fruit scent is usually bad for me as well. Bakery scents are good, but with spices it depends on what it is - there are a few I just can't abide. (Fenugreek, I am looking at you.)


@permanentbitchface Yeah, my favorite scent is generally speaking the cucumber stuff, something light and clean, or unscented.

My problem with dude deodorant is that I then smell like the guy I borrowed it from, which is distracting when it makes me think about him all day (more than I usually do, which is a lot already). A girl's gotta get work done at some point! (and I LOVE the smell of Old Spice, just not on me!)

Also, as @jen325 pointed out, I feel like a lot of men's deodorants are scented more strongly than women's, and then I feel like I am walking around with a strong scent, which I do not like to do because I do not like to upset people who are sensitive to smells/perfumes. (When I get a migraine, I want to punch people for walking down the street with a cup of coffee. I do not want my personal care products to have that same effect on the people in the elevator or Metro)

And now, thanks to this conversation, I will have to go buy unscented deodorant and a bottle of my favorite perfume (Demeter Fragrence's Rain)

mine de rien

@Blushingflwr I started buying dude-odorant because I actually liked the scents better on me. I can't do florals or baby powder (WHY do all deodorant companies think that every woman is going to like one or the other of those things?), and my current one is mostly citrus with an undertone of sandalwood and leather, which are all things I would choose to smell like. It turned out to be an unexpected bonus that they were also stronger and so marginally more effective.

But I don't care WHAT they say on the label, not a one of them actually prevents pit stains for me (and I mean both in the damp sense and the yellow-or-white-or-occasionally-pink dried-on aftermath sense).


@jen325 My Autumn Spice deodorant (can't remember the brand, too lazy to get up) smells like spices! When I sweat, I get a very nice waft of cinnamon floating up from my pits.

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@celacia Wow, I have NO idea what fenugreek smells like. That's tough that you have trouble with citrus, because so many things are citrus-scented, especially cleaning products (which are bad enough on their own).

@mine de rien Citrus with sandalwood and leather sounds like the best deodorant smell ever...maybe. I love sandalwood but sometimes the smell gets to me. Then again, I usually encounter it in incense form. What is this lovely concoction called?

@Xanthophyllippa Cinnamon pits! Mmmmm...

tea tray in the sky.

@jen325 Secret Vanilla Chai!

mine de rien

@jen325 Nivea For Men Invisible roll-on in Power, which might be the only scent that particular formulation comes in but I'm not sure. Men totally get all the best scents; I used Gillette for years because they did a dry lime one for men that was just The Best, but I can't get it in Australia so I'm still hunting for the perfect replacement.

fondue with cheddar

@tea tray in the sky. Ooh, I buy Secret but I've never seen that one. I'll keep my eye out, thanks!

Fiddle dee dee

I feel like I must share. I used to have horrible pit sweat at times of stress, like dripping down the inside of my shirt kinda thing. Horrible. My life was changed by Certain Dry. It stings a little after application, but it works so well and lasts for days. I teach, and not having to worrying about pitting out in front of my students is such a relief.

I do think it is aluminum-based product, so no help here for the allergic, sorry.


@Fiddle dee dee I love it too. It did start to hurt when I used it every day, and eventually gave me a rash which was mostly just darker than my regular skin but still awful and kind of made me understand, just a little, that ridiculous Dove product that changes the color of your pits.

I have found that I can use it alternate days (using Soapwalla every day so I smell nice, though honestly I'm not sure if I'll bother to buy Soapwalla again) without a problem so far. I would have a tiny amount of breakthrough sweating by the end of the day, so I foolishly assumed that I would need to re-up every day. Not the case! And the label does say "up to 72 hours". So if anyone else is sweaty but sensitive, know that you really do not need to apply it daily.

sarah girl

@Fiddle dee dee I'm the same way, it was a literal life-changer. I even had to relearn how I held my arms when i was standing - I realized I would carefully arrange them so that my pit stains wouldn't show! And there were all sorts of colors I would never wear, things like that... no more. It's awesome.


The vintage photo accompanying the post says those dress shields are a size 2. I wonder if women would ever brag about having size 2 pits.


@OhMyGoshYouGuys Well, apparently Pit Shaming is the new thing, seeing as Dove has just put out a line of deodorants that lighten your pits because having darker pits is something that we are supposed to notice and get nervous about now.

So don't make it a thing! Noooo! I don't want people to start measuring their pits in shame!


@PatatasBravas Ugh. I am already super self-conscious of my pits because I am super pale with very dark hair, and it still shows through the skin within 3 minutes of me shaving.


@PatatasBravas Wait, wait wait, the Dove thing to lighten your pits isn't the one that says "go sleeveless" on it, is it?? Because I saw that on one I bought recently and thought it was just one of those lame/fake "stops hair from growing in" ones or whatever. But if it is to dye my pits white, that is much more pernicious! (my pits and the rest of me are already vampire-white anyway, but still).


@OhMyGoshYouGuys They also, thankfully, phased out the "flesh" color description. :/


@WaityKatie Dove claims that it "helps restore skin to its natural tone" ... "for underarms with visibly reduced dark marks and an even skin tone"

It doesn't appear to have any active ingredients other than the aluminum zirconium tetrawhatever, which is the antipersperant thing. So I don't know how much is chemical 'lightening' and how much is 'haha placebo effect in which we make up a problem then pretend to fix it' but in general I don't like this game.


@olivebee Here is my question for myself: how often do I notice someone else's armpits?

Not often. I mean, usually, they aren't on display unless someone is yawning and stretching dramatically. Even if that is the case, I don't zero in on their pits. I often don't notice if someone is shaving/not shaving, because arm pits are not a visual black hole that I cannot escape or anything.

So I try not to worry about my pits in return. I do not know you, but from one internet stranger to another, I am sure that your pits do not define you!


@PatatasBravas Shit. I feel like I have made a major win if I manage to shave off all the hair. Since I can let things go in the summer when I am not doing anything, that's really a noticeable thing.

Also, as noted on HFC back and forth last week, my legs are so torn up from just living life that if anyone gets as far as noticing my pits they are really looking. Also, I am on week three of wearing a bandaid over the bug bite I scratched to bloodiness. So yeah. No.

Dove, what were you saying about body confidence? Why don't we play a nice rousing game of Hide and Go Fuck Yourself instead?

PS: I am guessing the shield sizing is because they will fit different dress sizes differently. I mean, just mechanically, since the armcye and such will be different sizes, you need a shield that will lie right. It probably even has to do with what kind of dress. Fitted under the arm vintage dress v. more drapey tunicey thing, for example.

saul "the bear" berenson

@OhMyGoshYouGuys Whenever I'm bleaching my bum-you-know-what, I make sure to apply a little bleach to my underarms as well, not to mention my toenail beds, eardrums, and inner eyelids, which are such an unsightly shade of beige!


@Moxie You were raised right.

Faintly Macabre

@PatatasBravas Secret also makes an antiperspirant that's supposed to make your underarms smoother now. I almost bought it because it was cheap and not-overscented, but then I realized that it was meant to make my armpits attractive and shoved it back on the shelf. Its "smoothing" ingredient is dimethicone, which...I don't want that on my armpits or my clothes! It belongs on my hair! How is that a good deodorant ingredient?!


@PistolPackinMama "a nice rousing game of Hide and Go Fuck Yourself" hmph hee hee hee hee. 50 POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR for that, PPM.


@stonefruit I'm sorry Professor Stonefruit. But, I am in Ravenclaw.


@PatatasBravas Visibly reduced dark marks? I don't even know what that means! What dark marks?? Hair follicles? I seriously can't even...


@PistolPackinMama doh! I should've know that, as a fellow Ravenclaw-ian (?)


@WaityKatie Maybe "visibly reduced dark marks" is their attempt to market to those Death Eaters who don't want their allegiance to the dark lord to be so present now that he's dead and gone.


@Scandyhoovian Voldemort was a seriously sadistic person if he insisted you get Dark Marked under the armpit, is all I can say.



@PistolPackinMama What, you don't deodorize your forearms?

(OK, so it didn't quite work.)

fondue with cheddar

Until now, I honestly thought dress shields were an old-fashioned term for pantiliners.


@jen325 I want reverse dress shields. When I feel threatened I will hiss like an angry lizard, flap my arms wildly, and spray my enemy's eyes, disorienting them while I make good my escape.


@KatPruska Get on the phone (you'll find it in the sole of your shoe) to Q stat.

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Once a person told me that waxing instead of shaving your armpits helps you sweat less, so I tried it, and I really think it helps.

Granted, the person who told me that was the person I paid for bikini waxes, so she definitely had reason to exaggerate and maybe I am just kidding myself that it helps in an attempt to justify the extra $30/month I now spend. But it really seems to help.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@Florence Why, I wonder? Is it enough of a shock to your system that your sweat glands get shy? Hmmm!


@sudden but inevitable betrayal
I also wonder why?
I know I sweat when getting my legs done/eyebrows done due to extra pain and it just has to come out somewhere so actually waxing under my arms would just seem... counterintuitive.


I wear the Soapwalla deodorant cream and I STILL get crusty armpit. WTF. Also, I bought this really cute, bright green silk shirt and the armpits turned yellow, as if they were bleached. I am so bummed because a) I love that deodorant and now it's kinda suspect and b) I paid like $100 for that shirt.


@BedStye The same thing has happened to me with Soapwalla! For a while I was using that and only that (no antiperspirant underneath, which I currently do). I stained more than one bra in this bizarre yellow color-- almost fluorescent-- that I have never seen before from just sweat, and that could not have leached out of my clothes.. I noticed it right away because it was so, well, noticeable and it rinsed right out, but it was gross looking.

I've had things stain or appear to bleach with just regular antiperspirant and I think the dye was the cause in that case. Two Target cardigans, two different colors, same treatment by me, one ruined, one still going strong after over a year. I even replaced the ruined color because I loved it so much, and the exact same thing happened. I got rid of them, but I worry to this day that there was some way I could have repaired it.


@BedStye I loved the Soapwalla deodorant during the winter/cooler weather but during the summer, it melts/oxidizes/implodes and turns into this nasty-looking black stain in my pits that washes out in the shower. So I don't know if I'm going to repurchase it.


@BedStye Dang, I use Soapwalla too but haven't noticed any stains on clothes. I wonder if the natural oils/butters are what caused that for you. While it's definitely good and safe for skin, maybe not so much for some fabrics.

Disco Sheets

@BedStye I have pit stains on a green silk dress! They are not yellow stains, just really, really dark and super obvious :( I don't know how to get them out. It is one of my favorite fall/winter pieces and I cry to look at it now. What is it with green silk?


@themmases I am going to say something that makes absolutely no sense. But I definitely get the weird bleached out sections on some shirts. But on a few, they go away after washing? I don't understand it. But I thought I was going to have to relegate one of my favorite shirts to the "yard work" pile, and I put it in the washer and it came out with....pits that were dark purple again instead of pink? I don't understand it.


I got Toms crystal deodorant (it's liquid? and/or sorcery) and really like it. I didn't have a major sweat issue, but I did have a big problem with regular deodorant building up white stuff inside my shirts that didn't wash out.

I've had bad skin reactions to other natural deodorants (including regular Toms), but the Toms crystal has been magic all summer.


@sparrow303 "and/or sorcery"
Well, it is a crystal.


Ugh, sweaty pits and deodorant. I can get pretty sweaty sometimes, and in my entire life, I have only found one deodorant/antiperspirant that kills the sweat and [potential] smell. Arm & Hammer roll-on powder fresh. And this positively kills me that it's the only one that works for me because Arm & Hammer is NOT a cruelty-free company, and everything else I buy toiletry/cosmetics-wise is cruelty-free. So my deodorant basically makes me a guilty animal-killer-by-proxy.

I am open to suggestions of cruelty-free antiperspirants that have a scent and that actually work. I have tried several all-natural deodorants, and they just make me smell like sweaty flowers.


@olivebee I have the same feelings. I am forced to go with the Dove, which is not cruelty-free, because I have not yet found anything that both doesn't cause angry red armpit bumps whether I've shaved or not, and works well (the former issue being my true concern; I'm not generally that sweaty or smelly... though we've had some trying days in New jersey lately). I do have a Kiss My Face roll-on that stings but doesn't make hives... but that shit seems to take forever to dry. My awesome BF has actually offered to be the buyer of the Dove so that he's doing "the bad thing." (I'm not judging anyone's cosmetics choices, I swear; it's just the funny (to me) phrase he used.)


@olivebee Have you tried Almay and/or Mitchum antiperspirants? Both cruelty-free (last time I checked). Mitchum even has a crazy strong version that is supposed to last for 36 hours or some nonsense.


@Kivrin Oooh, maybe I should retry those to see if something's different. It's weird that Almay hived me up last time I used it; Almay's other stuff doesn't do bad things to me (and that's nice because it's easily available and cheap too). Thank you for inadvertently reminding me of those brands!


@Hellcat You're welcome! I usually have a harder time finding Almay, and I think they only make a very few varieties: a few scents of gel-based stick and one roll-on. I've been using Lady Mitchum stuff for awhile now though, and I've had good luck with it.


@Kivrin Maybe that's why I forgot about it--it's not even there when I'm scouring the shelves for the product of all products!


@Kivrin Yes for Mitchum! Since switching to that I have had zero stains on my shirts.


On the how-to-clean-em tip, I have seen on Pinterest (more or less reliable than Wikipedia? I'm still deciding) a suggestion to use a solution of 1 tsp. Dawn, 3-4 tsp. Hydrogen Peroxide and 2 tbsp. baking soda, mixed together and rubbed into pit stains, then laundered. Has anyone seen / tried this? I've tried the soak-in-vinegar trick on my husband's undershirts and the results have only been so-so, although those are also pretty long-standing stains.


I have to wear white shirts for work and they usually get those gross yellow pit stains within a couple of months; I tried using OxiClean on them and it didn't work. But!

My magical solution (for white shirts): 1 part water, 1 part hydrogen peroxide, 1 part baking soda. Mix into a paste and spoon out onto sweat stains. Use your fingers to mix the paste into the shirts. Wash on cold, then tumble dry.

Seriously, this worked brilliantly and got stains out of shirts that are over 5 years old. I used it on all kinds of t-shirts and also on dress shirts. I was never so excited doing laundry in my life! It basically made me feel like I had a brand new wardrobe (no more awkward holding-down-elbow-to-hip-to-hide-stains workdays for me)!

Also, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are super cheap, so I didn't feel any guilt in using a ton of both. Try it! Feel like a Laundry God! You can thank me later!


@iknowright Oh, thank you! I asked basically this exact question a short ways up the page and I'm ecstatic to know it works for you. I'm definitely going to try it now!

saul "the bear" berenson

@iknowright OH MY GOD this is so exciting. I have some lovely shirts that are looking destined for ragdom, and maybe now they'll have a glorious second coming!

Tuna Surprise


A tip on the oxyclean - I take my clothes (a few shirts at a time or whatever) and put them in a giant mixing bowl with some oxyclean dissolved into the water. I let them soak overnight. I find this works best (especially on whites). Just tossing oxy into the wash doesn't do anything for me.


@Tuna Surprise yeah samesies. I make an oxi-clean paste and rub it into the really stubborn armpit stains, then leave it to soak for 30 min or an hour, and then wash as usual, and it works really well.


@Tuna Surprise Yeah, that is what I did! I had followed some advice from Jolie and various commenters and actually left it sitting on the shirts for like 3 days. I don't know, all I can think is that maybe it was an old bottle? 'Cause so many Hairpinners can't be wrong!

mine de rien

@iknowright As a fellow martyr to white work shirts, I am trying this TONIGHT.


I sweat a ridiculous amount, and it was worse when I was a teenager, a got the botox shots and it lasted about 9 months. It was the best 9 months of my teenage life, I could wear coloured clothes and light fabrics! It boosted my self confidence and I actually felt pretty. The only downside was how expensive it is, but if you can afford it I would absolutely reccommend botox :)

Tuna Surprise

My insurance covered it. If you're insured, talk to you dr. about it. My dermatologist diagnosed me with hyperhidrosis and the whole thing was covered except for a $20 co pay. And if you don't get it covered, she also gave my a prescription deodorant that although it didn't work quite as well, was much better than over the counter stuff.

Sam I am

Jolie! Thank you for slip recommendation! I have been looking for a decent non-spanks type slip for YEARS (why do they only make those now??) and have had to use a slip that came from a Banana Republic dress under everything. I rarely ever go into the Gap, but for this, I will make an exception. Thanks!


@Sam I am I found a couple in Target of all places, the kind with a little bit of boob support but not tight all the way down. I actually bought two (both black) because they were cheap and because I have been wondering the very same thing as you are regarding this infernal "body-shaper" shit.

Sam I am

@Hellcat Thanks for the rec! Never thought about checking there.


@Sam I am - They're $$, but I swear my Farr West slips.


I'm a sweater, for sure, and I use the "clinical" stuff and try to buy clothes that aren't cut that close to the armpit, but nothing will stop my nervous sweating. For those events (court, where I will sweat right through my suit, big date, etc) I just wear black. Solved!


ugh, i've tried the rinse + vinegar route with little success.
thing that has worked best on pit stains for me on white shirts is drying them outside in the sun and letting the sun bleach out the stains.

i guess i need to get some oxiclean? do you use the liquid kind or powder kind? i've only seen the liquid kind at my grocery store and i'm skeptical of it for some reason.

as for dress shield: at uniqlo they have these undershirts called something like "airism" and they feel so nice and some (but not ALL) of them have little underarm pads that i think are supposed to soak up the sweat. i've got one, but rarely use it because the sizing on their undershirts/bras doesn't really work for me somehow.


@ohyeahmetoo I use the powder oxyclean. It's available at CVS type stores, too.

saul "the bear" berenson

@ohyeahmetoo I dump some oxiclean AND vinegar into the wash with my whites (and colors for that matter) along with the tide, and it works wonders. If something is really pitty I sometimes soak in some oxiclean asap after wearing to try and nip it in the bud.

sarah girl

@ohyeahmetoo Just FYI, I found generic brand powder Oxy Clean at the DOLLAR STORE. Exact same stuff.


@ohyeahmetoo I am a recent Oxyclean convert; it's incredible stuff. I diluted the powder in a bucket as per the instructions on the side and soaked my white shirts for a while and it de-pitted all but the most scrungy of them. Most excellent! I've also used the powder to clean sandals (my grosgrain ribbon flip-flops, saved) and most recently my bath mat. Great stuff.


@Sarah H. i went out the other day to check for some from the dollar store across the street only to find the whole store had shut down! anyway, thanks to all for the oxy-info, i'll try it out.


I found some Boots brand deodorant/antiperspirant at a drugstore in Thailand, and I love it. It seems to be far less pit-stain-inducing than any of the brands I was using before? But I can't find it in the US, so now I buy it in bulk whenever I go through Heathrow. To their credit, the cashiers don't even blink at the American girl buying 5 things of deodorant for a plane ride.

Also, the smell is "cotton" and it just smells like clean laundry. Sigh.


@Ophelia Ooh what is the name of it? I'm not feeling very brand-loyal to the stuff I'm using at the moment.


@spanglepants It's called Boots 24hr Protection, in Cotton, and it's a roll-on liquidy consistency.


@Ophelia ta muchly


Question: can dudes use dress shields? I've never examined one in real life, so I don't know if they would show through a thinner t-shirt. My boyfriend is big into his t-shirts and gets sad when the lighter-colored ones get discoloration at the pits, and while I think the older shirts are just permanently discolored, I'm trying to figure out how to help him for the future. (I'm not trying to be like "OMG THE PACKAGE SAYS "DRESS" RIGHT ON IT, OBVIOUSLY NOT FOR HIM, but I don't know about the texture/weight of dress shields? Knawmean? Or do they make a similar-but-different product? Is this something that Sharp-Dressed Men already know about and that you get with suits?)


@frigwiggin I would be interested in this answer too. All the ones I've seen in person-- granted these are the weird old-fashioned ones at JoAnn's-- look too thick to really hide in a t-shirt, which is exactly what I'm always ruining the same summer I buy them.


@frigwiggin I think the vinegar trick might solve this problem better than a dress shield will, tbh. I can't see how they could sit under a knit shirt and not show.

Jolie Kerr

@frigwiggin YES! Men can wear these too - in modern parlance they're known as "underarm pads." Kleinerts has an entire department devoted to mens products, which is how I found myself reading up on sweatproof underpants yesterday. My life is ... well, it's something.

Anyway! Check these out for your feller.


@themmases I looked up the Kleinert's ones on Amazon just now and some of them have (hilarious) pictures of guys wearing them (and pulling open their shirts to demonstrate), so signs point to yes!

Faintly Macabre

While we're talking about slips, does anyone have suggestions for thin, very fitted short-sleeve tees to wear under winter dresses? I bought a bunch of wool (hand-washable) dresses and a silk blouse recently, and I'm trying to figure out what to wear under them that will protect them without making me broiling hot.


@Faintly Macabre Maybe one of the tissue-weight t-shirts from J. Crew or the Gap? But if it's a Gap one, size DOWN.


@Faintly Macabre Do you absolutely need the sleeves? If not, my solution to this kind of thing and/or itchy fabrics is boys' "wifebeaters." Three or five to a package for like $5.00. And when they get crappy, trash 'em. They're also kind of long if you want a layer under another shirt and they're go-to sleeping shirts for me. Just don't meet the pizza-delivery boy at the door in one sans bra. Unless you want to, of course.

Faintly Macabre

@Ophelia Gap's size inflation is ridiculous! I am not a small person in height or skinniness, and most of my t-shirts from there are smalls.

@Hellcat: Sadly, yes. Like our LW, I sweat kind of a lot, and that+antiperspirant tends to do a number on clothes. Thanks to Oxiclean, I've figured out how to keep basic tees unstained and ungunked, so I'm trying to contain the damage to them instead of wool and silk clothes. I've been thinking of getting a pack of the Hanes tees, though, assuming they come small enough to fit under fitted clothes.


@Faintly Macabre They might work, but probably not on anything of a very thin fabric, though a fitted sweater would probably be OK if it has some give to it. I have a few of these Ts floating around to wear with jeans... but I somehow become even clumsier than usual with coffee anytime I wear white.

What is the fabric of baby t-shirts? Not "baby cut" t-shirts for grown women, but for actual babies--I mean, I assume it's cotton, but it's so thin and wispy and I think maybe it's used for those little one-piece, snap-in-the-crotch baby suits too... Anyway, if you have any idea what I am rambling about, maybe something like that instead of the standard boys' t-shirt.


@Faintly Macabre Maybe try Forever 21? I think they're likely to have plain, tightly-fitting tees. And probably v-necked and in lots of colors, too.


I'm very sweaty and allergic to deodorant much like the letter writer. The only kind I've found that I can use that still does something to my sweat is Suave solid white "unscented". I can't even use the Secret that Suave is knocking off! I tried some natural versions, they did nothing to my mighty girl stank. I tried prescription strength and got HIVES IN MY PITS. HIVES THAT I COULD NOT WEAR DEODORANT ON IN AUGUST.

The Suave is ok but it definitely leaves a lot of residue on EVERYTHING.

So are there any delecate sweaty flowers like me out there with some other suggestions?


@OhShesArtsy I am bemoaning this down-thread as well. If you aren't allergic to the antiperspirant ingredients, Sure unscented worked well for me to combat smells. Unfortunately, I got the itchy rash after a few days' use. Today I am using Tom's unscented with lavender scented cornstarch I made to combat the stickiness. So far so good. Give me a couple of days. I may be allergic to that too. >_<


Ooh! Did you see the articles about Soapwalla? (Maybe some comments around here too?) I am totally buying some of that once I get off work.


@BornSecular I tried Tom's, it didn't work and did eventually give me a rash, as well. That Soapwalla sounds incredible! I'm just a bit put off by the price, but maybe?? I don't know. I've spent so much on expensive deordorants that don't work/give me rashes.


@OhShesArtsy I hear that. Once I looked at the ingredients in Soapwalla, I decided against it for now. It has baking soda in it & tea tree oil, both of which may irritate me. I'm finding it hard to isolate the specific ingredients that I'm sensitive to. It seems like all of them!

Tom's is the only one I haven't gotten rashes from yet, but it does seem like I smell worse a few hours after I put it on than with anything else. WTF, right?


@BornSecular Tom's does seem to make me smell.. weird? Not bad, really, just different and not good. It also never seems to dry, my pits just feel damp all the time (but not sweaty - almost like I put on lotion and it never soaked in??)

I have no idea what it is that I am allergic to or what makes knock off, chemical-filled deodorant the only one I can wear. UGH, sweatiness and needing to go out in public!!

Disastrous Pavlovas@twitter

@OhShesArtsy I HAVE THE SAME TROUBLE with hives and stuff. I finally gave up and started using baking soda. It took a little while for my body to get used to so I'd use a 50/50 cornstarch/baking soda mix and eventually got lazy and just started using plain baking soda. I keep a cheap powder brush and a small container of the mix in my bathroom mirror and just dust over my pits. It took a little while to adjust (a month maybe?) but since then I sweat a LOT less and my shirts don't have stains. It's worth it.

Also Weleda spray-on deodorant is good stuff. As long as you use 3-4 sprays (not just 1) it works well. And the rose smell is amazing.

Disco Sheets

I am naturally sweaty EVERYWHERE. And I sweat instantly upon contact with heat/sun. It doesn't get horribly disgusting unless it's really humid or above 95, but good lord, what I wouldn't do for deodorant all over my body. (Also, this just made me remember that when I was 12, for a month straight I rolled deodorant everywhere I get sweat spots--my face, my stomach, the small of my back, my thighs, the back of my neck, my KNEES... Which means I'm probably going to die of some weird deodorant-related disease that's been dormant ever since, right?)


@Disco Sheets I still rub some up under my boobs! I live in Fla. I mean, DAMN! I usually buy a spray deodorant and use that as 'cover all my areas that are grossly over sweating' my base scent for the day, sprayed liberally under all clothes!


I was in an outdoor wedding last August, and I just sprayed myself down with spray deodorant before donning my bridesmaid dress and accoutrements. I definitely felt like it helped my body (although the air in my hotel room was an unbreathe-able thick mess for several minutes). My face, on the other hand, was just a sweaty mess as soon as we got outside.


I will now extoll the virtues of slips. I love them. It is a crime that they are not more readily available. I think it might be part of a conspiracy to make us all go to the dry cleaner more often.

Plus I feel damn sexy when I wear a slip. Mine aren't like, crazy sexy or anything, but wearing a wee bit of lace under my very-serious-lawyering outfit puts a jump in my step.

And man, boys sure love them. A lot. Had more than one gentleman caller gasp/sigh "jesus christ, is that slip?" in the most admiring way possible.

And yes, Gap has a few options (as does H&M sometimes). But I suggest you raid the world of vintage- check ebay, thrift stores, your grandmother's closet (I scored a couple of awesome ones from her), etc... And then you can find some in fun colors. I've got a skirt slip that is bright red. I love it.


@Kirs "jesus christ, is that slip?" sounded so HOT to me.....I need to look into slips for the off chance I could actually hear this from a gentleman caller!


@ThundaCunt It was seriously hot. The slip is a prime example of the old adage that leaving a little something to the imagination is super sexy.


@Kirs okay, slip question time! I have things I would prefer to wear a slip in, but when I do wear a slip, my clothes turn... as in, I get out of the car, sort myself out, and by the time I'm in the building, my skirt is sideways. What am I doing wrong?!


@Kirs My ladyfriends have all loved my slips, which has been nice.


Vermont Country Store sells both dress shields in packs of 12 (I think they're on sale right now) AND half and full slips in about 30 different styles and a bunch of different materials. Sometimes they have free shipping, too.


Pit sweat. Allllmost the worse. Wanna know whats worse-er?? Butt cheek sweat. That's right folks. The worst, immediate place I sweat is right up under my cheeks and around the FUPA....*sigh* I think I literally sweated my ass off many years ago. In high school I had to bring a change of panties to gym class. It was that bad!! I live in Florida. There is no AC in my car. I mean it's ass sweat every where I go!! The little half smiley faces on the back of my legs. *hangs head in shame* I don't even know how to BEGIN to combat that shit!!


I wish all I had to obsess over was armpit sweat. It's SUPPOSED to be there!! I feel like I'd be okay with that. The outline of wet underwear through your clothes is kinda (ok, ALOT) gross!!!

@ThundaCunt I had forgotten about this (oh HEY San Francisco in the summer and Boston in the winter for the past 3 years!) and then yesterday I was wearing this jersey knit dress and had to run 3 blocks in the Mission and something about the way it was warmer than usual and I wasn't wearing running tights ... OH THE BUTT SWEAT. So much of it.

Creature Cheeseman

@ThundaCunt :( Swamp ass.


@ThundaCunt - Have you tried using Certain Dri on your butt? Seriously, I'd do that.


I totally just sent in almost this exact question! Eugh the dark, stiff stains on my beloved (colored) cotton v-necks. Vinegar doesn't seem to have any effect so I suppose I will try the soaking in oxiclean next


@amarz Seriously! I kind of feel like the real question wasn't answered at all. She said how to get out yellow stains, but that isn't the same as the crusty things.


@KeLynn I know right :(

Terrifying Wife-Avatar

Slips: Vermont Country Store has quite a few, as well as "pettipants" that "won't inhibit your stride or ride up." (I...don't know, really, but perhaps @Kirs's gentleman callers will like them.)

Link that I don't know how to embed: http://bit.ly/Ma84uG


@Nicole Sauvage@twitter I'm not sure pettipants are as sexy as slips. But they might be useful in general. And here's the embedded LINK


@Nicole Sauvage@twitter Great minds, and all that.

Lexa Lane

@Kirs They are not as sexy, sadly. Love my slips. But pettipants are lifesavers when wearing skirts/dresses when you don't want your thighs to rub together.


Those pettipants are cuuuuute!


@Nicole Sauvage@twitter Yay pettipants! I wear them in the summer under all my skirts as underwear. They are loose and cotton so they're comfy but if my skirt blows up a little it won't be a peep show. They absorb thigh sweat really well, too.


@Kirs I love the Vermont Country Store for these little things. I read the catalogue cover to cover, solving all my problems in my mind. If I were to actually buy the stuff for real, I'd never stop. Bunion correctors, pit pads, mood lipstick, seamless socks, bedlamps, all those perfumes from my childhood... It's the landlubber's Skymall.


@Nicole Sauvage@twitter The under-skirt shorts from Thigh Society are seriously amazing for that too.



@carolita That's the perfect description of the Vermont Country Store! Has anyone noticed they sell vibrators feminine massagers now?


@whateverlolawants I did! There's that whole section where obvious sexytimes products are labeled with grandmother-friendly names.

Lamar Anderson

Re: Kleinert's, can someone please explain what's going on in this picture? http://www.amazon.com/Kleinerts-Disposable-Shields-Sleeveless-Clothes/dp/B001EJAQOQ/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1343328245&sr=8-8&keywords=kleinerts


@Lamar Anderson ...button-down bridal gowns?

The Lady of Shalott

@Lamar Anderson Clearly, this woman from 1989 is preparing for her wedding. But she has to have a specially-designed side-opening wedding gown to accommodate her strangely-proportioned arms. So her side-buttoning wedding gown also has weird frilly nightgown-style elbow sleeves to distract from the way her arms look. And she is wearing the dress shields because she doesn't want to perspire too much from nerves while everyone is staring at her on their wedding day. Her backup plan is to distract everyone by tying her veil in a big bunchy knot at the back of her head.

all the bacon and eggs

@The Lady of Shalott I love that you preface this explanation with "clearly."


What do I do about sweat stains on the underwire part of my bra? Will vinegar work on non-moulded bra material? The bra in question is patterned with a white background. I used a bit of Forever New and that seemed to help, but those stains are pretty set in.

all the bacon and eggs

@Astroix My solution to the stained underwire problem is, I'm the only person who sees the inside of my bra, so I try not to worry about it. Which is weird for me, because I am obsessively neat in almost every other way. But hell, SOMETHING's gotta give.


Looks like Forever New has a stain remedy formula. Has anyone tried it?


Oh. My. God. This. THIS! I have this exactly. I have conquered the pit staining problems, but not the deodorant/anti-perspirant itchy-smelly problems. I will read ALL the comments to see if the Hairpin can help me, because I am seriously about to lose my shit over this. (First world problem, I know!) It's not possible to keep your arms at your sides at all times. I have tried.

But my pit stain solution is to make a paste with OxiClean & water, slather it on the pit area, roll the shirt up & launder after 30 min or so. It even restores the original color!


When I was in junior high I saw an ad for deodorant that claimed to be prescription strength, and was so excited, because that meant there was such a thing as prescription antiperspirant. My then-method was to cover the insides of the armpits of my shirts with duct tape. Not comfortable, but I got up every morning to do it. In hindsight, I'm sure it was noticeable.

I did get the prescription kind, and it was awful. It burned like crazy, and itched, but it did work, and I used it dutifully for a year before being like 'fuck this,' but when I quit I found that I sweat normally! And can use regular person deodorant. Woo!

That Portland Girl

I went to the doctor all worried thinking I had the sweat cancer because one pit would drench up and pool onto the ground (truly, like damp spots under my desk) and the doctor laughed and laughed and said it happens to everyone. And then he prescribed me a $3 vial of liquid called Dry-Sol which works wonders when I apply it in evenings. It produces no alternative sweats in other places as mentioned above.


@That Portland Girl Dry-sol saved my (social) life in high school - I'm surprised more people haven't used it/don't know about it. Although actually, my doctor hadn't either; I think I read about it online and then asked for it after my doc recommended surgery. I think I used it for two weeks straight and it burned like hell but I never used it again after that and have never had sweat problems again.


I used Zout on a white sports bra with pit marks from a month before and lemmetelllyouwhat, that bra was CLEAN. I was surprised, but in retrospect I shouldn't have been since Zout is what kept my bestie from even flinching when she dropped a Wendy's Asiago Chicken Club in the crotch of her new pants (don't eat and drive).


Granted, I'm a punk without the most stringent personal hygiene standards. But in the past several years since I quit wearing deodorant and shaving my pits, I smell BETTER and never ever ruin t-shirts anymore! I usually buy some perfume oil, such as jasmine or sandalwood, from whole foods, and use that instead of deodorant. Or occasionally I will get the Burt's Bees deodorant spray. It has a nice herbal smell, but does contain alcohol, so it might burn sensitive skin. I guess my thing is, pick a scent that works with, rather than against, your own natural human being smell.


@karencarrot Yes! I am a hairy-pitted, chemical-free-deodorant-wearing-lady too. The ultimate trick for everyone ever is to actually drink a decent amount of water. Your sweat will smell infinitely better (or at least less awful). Paired with some nice smelling oils it works wonders. I really like lavender for my pits.


Dress shields! So nice. And oddly enough, here in Japan (where I live) they are EVERYWHERE. Now that it's summer, there are commercials for them all over on TV.
Probably made more necessary by the fact that Japanese deodorant is *terrible.* It's almost always spray-on, with some kind of desmellifying agent plus wetness absorbing powder -- but contains absolutely no actual antiperspirant!
I have to have my parents ship me a package of Dove clear solid every few months.


I'm sorry that I didn't read all of the comments above, in case my solution has already been mentioned, but I have to say: DRYSOL!

When I was a teenager and a college student, I constantly sweated through every shirt I owned, winter, summer, whenever, and it was horribly embarrassing. My suitemate in college turned me on to a prescription formulation called Drysol (don't know the generic name for it), which you put on at night and then wash off in the morning. It can feel stingy, and you should definitely wear an old shirt to bed, because it's very chemical-y. But it completely got rid of the sweat problem and from then on I was able to use a normal deodorant and not sweat through my shirts at all.

After a month or so of using it I only had to use it at night every six months or so, and now it's once every couple of years. (I don't know why this is; maybe it kills sweat glands or closes them up or something?) It is AWESOME. Ask your doctor.


All this talk about the magic Soapwalla deodorant has generated my first impulse-buy of the day.


ok, I have sort of the opposite problem...I don't have any real issues with BODY sweat, but my HEAD sweats like crazy. I've tried cutting my hair short so that there isn't as much "insulation" on there, but that doesn't help. It's actually better for it to be long, so it takes a while before it gets soaked through. When I exercise I wear sweatbands/bandannas/headbands and soak through them pretty much immediately, and if I go to a concert or out dancing I'm gonna be drenched 15 minutes in.

can you get botox in your scalp? any other suggestions for this?


I used to have tons of sweat and horrible pit smells no matter what I used (man products, clinical strength, old fashioned baking powder - nothing worked). I ruined so many clothes.

The only thing that worked, and worked absolute wonders, was taking daily detox supplements, those herbal pills full of stuff like Milk Thistle and Clover. Weird, right? And kinda strange? But worked like a champ. And perhaps made me otherwise healthier? I dunno. I just got tired of sweating through everything and throwing out good clothes I couldn't properly clean!

Nowadays you can get them at drugstores and grocery stores. I used to have to go to old hippy pharmacies or vitamin shops, and always felt the need to explain I wasn't trying to pass a UA, I just had really sweaty pits that no external product could help. (Oversharing, yes. And no, they didn't care.) But nowadays 'detox' regimens are mainstream, you can find lots of options anywhere.

I can't explain what the detox supplements do, except make me sweat A LOT LESS (maybe the sweat I do release is more 'productive' or something, so my body makes less of it?). And the sweat I do sweat *stinks astronomically less.* Seriously! As long as I'm taking daily detox supplements, my sweat don't stink. Ha! I think it makes the toxins exit my body in other ways so my system doesn't have to only direct them to my poor, overburdened sweat glands.

"Daily Detox" by Wellements is a really good product that works wonders. It's also the most cost-effective one. I still order it off Amazon. It's been around for years. Check it out all my sweat-producing sisters. You can use this plus your man products, clinical products, lady products, all-natural products, or whatever, and have non-smelly, much less sweaty pits! Good luck!

Miss B

I used antiperspirants for years and years -- just because that was the first thing I started using when I was a newly-pubescent young person, I guess? But it started getting harder and harder to find the unscented version of the brand I preferred, and I finally realized that antiperspirants aren't really the best things, anyway, so about two years ago I switched to hippie natural stuff, and started using a deodorant crystal - but the one that comes in a plastic container, so it's like using a deodorant stick in that you don't have a slimy hunk of rock sitting on your sink, but you still have to get the tip wet to apply it to your skin. I cannot overstate how much I love it. It took a couple of months to adjust to -- my glands were getting unblocked after years of chemical blockage and whatnot, and so I felt like I was way sweatier and stinkier for a little while. But once that all worked itself out, it was wonderful. I think I sweat a normal amount, I'm never noticably stinky (and I'm super sensitive to smells, so I would notice!), and also, one of these crystals lasts for ages. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a natural deodorant that won't make their sensitive skin freak out. Also? For people who think they are overly sweat-stinky...try taking fenugreek supplements. It's what new moms take, it helps with breastfeeding/milk production, I think? But a major side effect of taking it every day, is it makes your sweat (and I think maybe your pee and all bodily secretions) smell like maple syrup. So, if you like maple syrup and you are a very sweaty person, maybe try that?


Acupuncture. Swear to god. I wish I'd known about it sooner.

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