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Men and women's deodorants, what gives? [Musing/Rant]


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AavaMeri

Hello, feel free move this topic if it isn't in the right place.

Long story short, I'm middle of a charity project that aims to collect and donate filled hygiene product bags for homeless people (this is within a volunteer organization, I'm not the only person participating).

 

The original idea was to separate the bags by gender (or sex, rather?), which makes sense to some extend (like in case of sanitary pads or and so). But I was still like, "that's just stuff to make someone clean, why can't there be unisex bags, is it the pink tax again?" Even without the whole "people aren't just of two cis-genders" thing, unisex bags would just make sense, as you don't need to estimate the gender/sex ratio of the attending homeless people. At least there could be that there could be feminine, masculine, and unisex bags, and the unisex bags could even out any gender statistics as anyone can have them.

And then I faced the hurdle: deodorants. 

I noticed that there is a WALL between men and women's deodorants, with only few products overlapping. I personally use odorless antiperspirant that probably is pretty unisex (there are more male-aimed variant of it tho), but it is more expensive than my budget for the charity project allows. So with the cheapest decent deodorant options, it's either... flowery smell or some sort of sport smell? What the heck is a sport smell?? Isn't the point of a deodorant that you don't smell sweaty??

Please explain this to me. @___@ Gendered deodorants, why? Is it expected that dudes and girls smell different? (I got a terrible sense of smell, too.) Also, any ideas of affordable unisex-ish deodorants or antiperspirants? Can't promise everything can be found in Finland, tho.

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Lysandre, the Star-Crossed

I know a lot of people who really like more neutral scented deodorant. I use one that is a very neutral scent, I'd compare it more to something you'd use for doing laundry or deodorizing a room. My favorite gendered scent (not that that's really a thing) is one from a brand aimed at men but very much on the feminine side. 

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Sister Mercurial

It's partly the scent (guys don't tend to want flowery deodorants).  However, there is also a technical reason, i.e. that men tend to sweat more than women and therefore need stronger deodorant.  Although it also varies between individuals, e.g. my sister and I sweat more than average for women.  (What I don't understand is: men sweating more is linked to testosterone, I've got a few characteristics associated with high testosterone for a woman like sweating a lot and index/ring finger ratio, so how on earth did I end up somewhere on the ace spectrum?)  

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Lady Telecaster

Scent is definitely a huge factor, yes. Men are generally less likely to want to smell like watermelon or lavender or vanilla chai; women are less likely to want to smell like pine forests and musk and leather.

 

Also the thing about strength is true too, yeah.

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Sarah-Sylvia
5 minutes ago, Lady Telecaster said:

Scent is definitely a huge factor, yes. Men are generally less likely to want to smell like watermelon or lavender or vanilla chai; women are less likely to want to smell like pine forests and musk and leather.

 

Also the thing about strength is true too, yeah.

Those first ones sound lovely, I'd love to smell like a watermelon :D, is that easy to find?

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Lady Telecaster
1 minute ago, Sarah-Sylvia said:

Those first ones sound lovely, I'd love to smell like a watermelon :D, is that easy to find?

Haha well, I've seen this at Shopper's Drug Mart...

 

1-E525-C25-7461-4-BC2-83-A8-33064627122-

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AavaMeri

Thanks for answers!
 

58 minutes ago, Sister Mercurial said:

It's partly the scent (guys don't tend to want flowery deodorants).  However, there is also a technical reason, i.e. that men tend to sweat more than women and therefore need stronger deodorant.  Although it also varies between individuals, e.g. my sister and I sweat more than average for women.  (What I don't understand is: men sweating more is linked to testosterone, I've got a few characteristics associated with high testosterone for a woman like sweating a lot and index/ring finger ratio, so how on earth did I end up somewhere on the ace spectrum?)  

I have that too: I use my antiperspirant of choice specifically because it is strong enough to block my sweat. It's something I get from a pharmacy.

I do wonder the truthfulness of "men need stronger deodorant" thing, or at least that if men's deodorant actually blocks sweat better. Quick googling says that there isn't other differences between men and women's deodorant sans scents and packaging, something I already suspected. The XX and XY sexes do produce different smelling sweat, but deodorants are mostly made of the same stuff.

I suppose that if I want those unisex hygiene bags, I should look more at the guys' aisle and seek something that has as little/neutral odor as possible. Women are usually cooler with using men's stuff than vice versa.

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ElloryJaye

There's a tendency for men's antiperspirants to have a few more percent of the active ingredient (usually some kind of aluminum salt), hence "stronger".

 

Other than that, yeah, just scent and packaging.

 

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AavaMeri
2 minutes ago, ElloryJaye said:

There's a tendency for men's antiperspirants to have a few more percent of the active ingredient (usually some kind of aluminum salt), hence "stronger".

 

Other than that, yeah, just scent and packaging.

 

I'll note that. If I didn't have my pharmacy-bought antiperspirant of choice already, I'd probably head to guys' aisle. Smell matters little to me as long as it isn't crazy strong, since my sense of smell is terrible.

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I'm surprised no one mentions this as a answer: $$$.

 

There, that's the answer.

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banana monkey

Here in the uk if you look at a supermarket own brand women's section you can find more neutral scents such as cotton. I dont really know why they are throught to be a womans scent. All the men's ones (including the supermarket brand) are usually similar scents. 

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RoseGoesToYale

I don't know if it's in Finland or not, but I use a deodorant brand called Native. (I have coconut & vanilla, because I'm a coconut fiend) Their packaging is as gender neutral as it gets... plain white containers and colored sans serif font. Instead of putting silly gendered terms on each scent, they just put the name of the fragrances used, e.g. sea salt & cedar, citrus & herbal musk, lavender & rose, etc.

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I prefer unscented myself. Most scented ones are a bit too strong for me, even if I like the scent.

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RoseGoesToYale
3 hours ago, Lady Telecaster said:

Scent is definitely a huge factor, yes. Men are generally less likely to want to smell like watermelon or lavender or vanilla chai; women are less likely to want to smell like pine forests and musk and leather.

What's funny about it is if you change the marketing so that people don't know what the "gender" of the scent is, people will just buy whatever smells good to them. I use a homemade bath soap whose scent is called "Sexy Man". Out of all the store's soaps, I liked that one the best. I asked the store owner about it and she said it was originally called "Amber Rain" and was marketed toward women, but one day a woman came into the store and that soap smelled like a sexy man, so the store changed the name.

 

I guarantee if you took a feminine gendered deodorant like "vanilla sunshine", changed the packaging to all black, stuck a picture of a lumberjack on it and called it "roasted bourbon", men would suddenly buy it.

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weird elf
4 hours ago, Sister Mercurial said:

It's partly the scent (guys don't tend to want flowery deodorants).  However, there is also a technical reason, i.e. that men tend to sweat more than women and therefore need stronger deodorant.  Although it also varies between individuals, e.g. my sister and I sweat more than average for women.  (What I don't understand is: men sweating more is linked to testosterone, I've got a few characteristics associated with high testosterone for a woman like sweating a lot and index/ring finger ratio, so how on earth did I end up somewhere on the ace spectrum?)  

Because asexuality isn't a hormonal thing and we're living proof!

 

for reals though, same. I've considered switching to men's deodorant, but - just like OP - was at a loss to find something that smells nice but not too male-associated.

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Blue eyes white dragon

I just want to know what confidence smells like 😫

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alsjeblieft

I actually would use whatever, as long as it smells good in my opinion. I don't pay attention to what gender is the target.

 

Also, it's very good of you that you help others in need.

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Lady Telecaster
10 hours ago, RoseGoesToYale said:

What's funny about it is if you change the marketing so that people don't know what the "gender" of the scent is, people will just buy whatever smells good to them. I use a homemade bath soap whose scent is called "Sexy Man". Out of all the store's soaps, I liked that one the best. I asked the store owner about it and she said it was originally called "Amber Rain" and was marketed toward women, but one day a woman came into the store and that soap smelled like a sexy man, so the store changed the name.

 

I guarantee if you took a feminine gendered deodorant like "vanilla sunshine", changed the packaging to all black, stuck a picture of a lumberjack on it and called it "roasted bourbon", men would suddenly buy it.

One of my favourite things to do in stores if I'm bored is look at the names on personal care products marketed to men. There was a line of things like deodorant and body wash from Old Spice that had hilarious names. But yeah, without some of that gendered marketing, with many of them you couldn't tell.

 

And, who cares. When I was in my really early 20s and still living with my parents, I bought a bottle of eau de cologne meant for men because I liked the scent. It was soft, mildly musky and fresh at the same time, and I found the smell comforting. My mum thought I was weird for doing that. 🤷🏼‍♀️

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Janus the Fox

Often all to do about marketing and economics, how things sell best on the shelves.  It;s typically little to do with keeping a gendered ordered.  Unfortunately however, due to migraines and autistic sensory sensitivity, I really cannot be all that interested in scented products.  But I like Lavender a lot :P

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Sister Mercurial
17 hours ago, Lady Telecaster said:

I bought a bottle of eau de cologne meant for men because I liked the scent

Elle Macpherson reportedly loves Guerlain's 'Vétyver' and so do I.  

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Barbio

Even the "unscented" stuff still has a scent to it, but at least it's often a clean, neutral scent, so that's what I usually go with. What I don't understand is why "gel" deodorants seem to be predominantly marketed towards men (or at least that's the case in the stores I shop at; it's almost all solids for the women's deodorant section). I've been using a "men's" unscented gel for years, because it's nearly impossible to find unscented gels in the women's section, for some reason. I hate the armpit stains that solid deodorants leave!

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AavaMeri
4 hours ago, Barbio said:

Even the "unscented" stuff still has a scent to it, but at least it's often a clean, neutral scent, so that's what I usually go with. What I don't understand is why "gel" deodorants seem to be predominantly marketed towards men (or at least that's the case in the stores I shop at; it's almost all solids for the women's deodorant section). I've been using a "men's" unscented gel for years, because it's nearly impossible to find unscented gels in the women's section, for some reason. I hate the armpit stains that solid deodorants leave!

One explanation for why men have various applying types of deodorant: there are men who prefer to keep their armpits unshared, and some of those men find using roll-on deodorants unpleasant. Apparently women, on the other hand, are expected to keep their armpits shaved...

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Luftschlosseule

If you want to add more dimensions to the topic: Different regions have different variants of deoderant. Gel-based formula has me quite puzzled, if I am honest.

 

Back to the topic of your charity though, that sounds like a cool project! Can you ask the people on the recieving end about their opinions on the matter?

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AavaMeri
On 5/10/2022 at 10:15 PM, alsjeblieft said:

Also, it's very good of you that you help others in need.

 

1 hour ago, Luftschlosseule said:

Back to the topic of your charity though, that sounds like a cool project! Can you ask the people on the recieving end about their opinions on the matter?

Thanks! We don't really ask accurate opinions on the matter tho, for following reasons:

  1. There are a lot of homeless people in our scope and getting each one's opinion would be a burdening job. (However, we have a contact to an organization that has contacts to them, see below.)
  2. The volunteers act pretty much on their own and try to hunt the best hygiene product bargains in their respective locations. It's easier to tell them, "get decent deodorants for guys" than have a strict list of brands and so.
  3. The volunteers try to get the best bang for their buck (mostly their own money, though the organization gives a bit funding), which again is a limitation.

However, we collaborate with a long-time organization that runs a day-to-day shelter, support, basic goods distribution, and activities for homeless people, so we can ask them question "is there need for X" or "is Y convenient to your clients". I call this organization "homeless help organization" to separate it from the organization I'm affiliated with. "My" organization is basically a bunch of craftspeople, recyclers, and bargain hunters who come together to create or collect stuff for people in need, things like baby equipment or school supplies for poor families. We mostly operate on spontaneous project basis, like "hey I think this target group could benefit from what we do", "cool let's get them bags of [insert equipment type here]". Some projects may repeat, though, like the school supply thing is a yearly thing.

The homeless help organization has already been pretty clear with what kind of things they wish to have (usually of "basic and convenient" variant), and it is also the party that actually distributes the hygiene bags. We agreed on with the homeless help organization what the hygiene product bags should contain (basics like tooth brush and paste, soap, shampoo etc.)

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Barbio
7 hours ago, AavaMeri said:

One explanation for why men have various applying types of deodorant: there are men who prefer to keep their armpits unshared, and some of those men find using roll-on deodorants unpleasant. Apparently women, on the other hand, are expected to keep their armpits shaved...

Body hair is Pointlessly Gendered imo. But yes, I suppose having hairy pits adds another layer of unpleasantry to the solid stuff, as if the residue alone somehow wasn't enough of a deterrent. 😂 That's just my take, though.

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Maruni

I know nothing about deo, but im assuming it has to do with what their made of? Maybe not, but aluminum is bad and could possibly cause breast cancer. Idk that's all I can come up with. 

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Skycaptain

Looking at deodorants that my GF and I use, most come in regular cylindrical cans, but some of hers are in cans which are remarkably phallic in shape. Can't see why this is necessary 😋

 

Sweat. Yes, I think it's true men sweat more. It's also not impossible that men and women secrete slightly different chemicals in their sweat - pheromones maybe? I'm not totally au fait with the science here. - thus we need deodorants with slightly different formulae to neutralise these scents.

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Blueberry Pie
Posted (edited)

 

On 5/10/2022 at 3:15 PM, alsjeblieft said:

I actually would use whatever, as long as it smells good in my opinion. I don't pay attention to what gender is the target.

Yeah, same here.

 

I have a few different deodorants, and which one I use for the day depends on my mood. At least one of them is seemingly marketed for men, and I am not a man. I don't care. It smells nice. 

Edited by Blueberry Pie
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Phalena

I don't want to smell like burnt tires, guess I'm fEmAlE. No, but seriously the separation is pretty ridiculous. And also, why can't men get more normal smells like vanilla instead of 'manly' and 'strong' which aren't even scents?

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alsjeblieft
26 minutes ago, Phalena said:

And also, why can't men get more normal smells like vanilla instead of 'manly' and 'strong' which aren't even scents?

I have no problem with it. 

Spoiler

I even use female perfumes sometimes. :ph34r:

 

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