Deodorizing on the road, or how not to be a stinky traveler

Here’s a post about armpits and their stinks…

Deodorizing on the road, or how not to be a stinky traveler

My odor fighting squad: Solid invisible stick, alum rock from Morocco, and Yodora, the cream deodorant! (Really, I only use one of them, though)

Deodorant and antiperspirant are a travelers’ best friend. They keep you fresh and confident, and no stink means you don’t have to launder your clothing too frequently. Many people, mostly but not limited to women, also shave their underarms to help with their odor problem. Some deodorants are stronger than others, some are more irritating, some don’t have comfortable texture, and some can’t even be brought on an airplane. If you are a lucky person that does not produce a lot of stink or your skin is not easily irritated like Ryan, then choosing whatever deodorant is available is probably will always turn out fine. But if you stink easily like me, and have horribly sensitive skin, choosing a deodorant that will give you adequate confidence on the road can sometimes be tricky. So, I wanted to find out what’s the best traveling deodorant. Here I compare several types of deodorant and even create a comparison experiment for some!

What am I looking for from a deodorant? Invisibility and invincibility! Invisible, so my underarms don’t look like they’re splattered with cooked oatmeal. Invincible or lasting 24 hours, so I can be confident at nighttime too without having to take an afternoon shower. It also should not be sticky or irritating. A nice smell is always a plus.

Of course as travelers, we need a flight-safe deodorant. Therefore aerosol spray-can deodorant was immediately crossed off from the list. Liquid and gel deodorants are quite flight-safe even with the TSA 3-1-1 restriction, because they are typically less than 100 ml anyway. However you want to be sure that the container will not burst open and make everything around it gross.

My favourite kind is the solid stick (like in the picture above) that claims to last 24 hours. Yes, the 24 hour claim is very important to me, since seems like otherwise my body can beat the deodorant easily. When I still lived in Canada, during the winter time, I often used the clear gel type: it smells great and is stronger than the solid type in general. Unfortunately in a warmer weather, my sweat seems to wash this gel off too quickly and leaves me stinky fast.

Alum crystal stick is also nice as antiperspirant. When living in Canada, sometimes I combined this with the solid stick deodorant to get an optimum result: long lasting and good smelling. Alum crystal is packaged different ways in different countries. So far I’ve seen 3 kinds. In Canada and USA, the white-transparent rock comes inside a twist container like a typical solid deodorant stick. Pink container for women and blue for men, even though I’m quite sure that the contents are identical! In Indonesia, I saw once sold in the shape and size of deck of cards, and the color is rather brown. In Morocco, it’s sold just like a natural rock with a scruffy surface in spice and medicine shops.

I thought the existence of solid 24h deodorant stick is a universal thing. I can understand the lacking of alum sticks, since even in Canada, there was usually only 1 kind being sold in the stores. However this turns out to be wrong. Where we were in Spain back in 2009, I had trouble in finding one in local stores. The only 24h kind they had for me was the good old roll-on. Having no other long-lasting option, I bought the roll-ons. I tried several different roll-ons, but unfortunately my skin was too sensitive to any of them, even when they claimed to be non-irritating! My pits turned red and itchy. In the end, I had to succumb to the mild (non 24h) solid sticks that turned me stinky within a few hours. Lower confidence, but what’s the use of having a flowery pit smell if you keep scratching them like a monkey!

Here’s the summary:

  • Solid stick (24h):
    • Pros: Long lasting, smell good, reliable, invisible and non-irritant type available. Won’t make mess in the bag. My perfect type.
    • Cons: Difficult to find in some countries (I know, how could that be!)
  • Gel (come in container like solid stick)
    • Pros: Smell really nice (umm… some of them at least), give my great confidence level.
    • Cons (Dina): Gone too quickly in warm weather.
    • Cons (Ryan): Some type forming sticky glue that is difficult to wash from his armpit hair (not fun!)
  • Aerosol spray-can
    • Pros: Don’t know, I haven’t tried.
    • Cons: Can’t fly with it.
  • Alum rock
    • Pros: Long lasting if you know how to apply it correctly.
    • Cons: Difficult to find, and non-scented.
  • Roll-on
    • Pros: Universally available,  long lasting, great scent.
    • Cons: Irritating sensitive skin.

That’s about the common type of deodorant. In Panama City, for the first time in our life, we saw “cream deodorant“, and as if that’s not interesting enough, it comes with an awesome name: YODORA! Got it? The name contain the very word “odor” within! Yodora has 24h sign in the tube, which is great, but we were skeptical about the “cream” nature of it, and therefore we bought a small tube to try. How did it work for us? Here’s our little review of Yodora!

Yodora, the cream deodorant

Yodora, the cream deodorant!

Physical appearance

  • Container: Tube of cream like toothpaste (Not a good idea to brush your teeth with this, it feels too weird)
  • Color and consistency: The white cream is very thick, just like the thick Nivea Creme
  • Smell: Mild and pleasant, again just like the Nivea Creme.

Experiment on myself

I normally need a good 24h solid stick deodorant to stay fresh for 24h. I have no hair, and the experiments were conducted on low activity days.

  • Application: Use your fingers like using cream in general. Yep, your fingers are going to be sticky afterwards. Fingers of both hands!
  • Experiment 1: 1 pea (small amount of cream)
    • Invisibility great, but start stinky in a few hours
  • Experiment 2: 2 peas (medium amount of cream)
    • Invisibility still good, but still start stinky in a few hours
  • Experiment 3: 3 peas (large amount of cream)
    • Totally visible like porridge in my pit. Definitely I applied to much here. However I start stinky quickly still, as quick as 3 hours! Compare this to my normal deodorant that lasts 24h.
  • Conclusion: Yodora doesn’t work for me at all.

Experiment on hairy Ryan

I think it will be fair to give it a try in somebody that tendency of becoming stinky is lower than me. Ryan fills that role perfectly. Also on a low activity day, we did the test. One pit with Yodora, and the other one using regular deodorant.

  • During the application on his hairy pit, Ryan said, “Yuck” and “It’s sticky and gummy.”
  • It looked kinda crumply on his hair.
  • He didn’t really like the sticky feeling in his pits during the hours using this cream.
  • In 24 hours, actually he still smelled fresh, both in his Yodora and regular deodorant sides. So it can actually work, or it’s Ryan super-pit that naturally doesn’t created much stinkiness to fight like mine.
  • Washing off the sticky Yodora from a hairy underarm requires scrubbing, but he got it clean. He had a stickier deodorant than this before, so he’s quite happy that Yodora can be washed off properly.

 

 

A low activity day

A low activity day

 

Final thoughts on Yodora

What we don’t like about it:

  • Messy!
    • The cream is really thick, I can’t wash it off my fingers. They stay sticky for long time.
    • Fingers of both hands get dirty because you are using different hands for applying different pits.
    • Couple that with my rubbing eyes habit and the fact that my eyes are sensitive, eyes irritation is not avoidable.
    • Since it doesn’t wash off my fingers, I hesitate to eat with my hands.
  • It doesn’t work for me! It does work just fine for Ryan.

What we like about it:

  • The name, Yodora. It sounds like “your odor”. Genius!
  • No skin irritation.

I’ll stick with the regular 24h solid stick deodorant that works well and doesn’t require our fingers to touch the substance at all. As travelers, we need to keep things simple and clean, because sometimes our access to proper washing station (shower/sink etc) is limited. Having greasy fingers and possibly irritated eyes are not fun for us.

If you want to give it a try, you can try to track it down in Panama like we did, or you can get it from Amazon here.

 

If any of you ever use Yodora, please share your experience here, especially if you know the secret of using this cream without mess and to make it long lasting. We might have just used it the wrong way…

Otherwise, what type of deodorant/antiperspirant are you using?

Yodora cream deodorant

Watch out! It looks like toothpaste!

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37 Responses to “Deodorizing on the road, or how not to be a stinky traveler”

  1. Andrea
    6 July 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Haha – funny post! =) But useful as well, of course. We use whatever brand of anti-perspirant looks most like our “at home” brands. Baby wipes come in handy for quick freshening as well in the heat, though those don’t always smell great.

    • Dina
      7 July 2011 at 12:35 am #

      I used baby wipes a lot during road trips. After the baby wipes, reapply the deodorant? Mine will be horrible in a few hour without any deodorant, haha

  2. Nomadic Samuel
    6 July 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    It’s for me to admit this but my first time around SE Asia I didn’t have a proper deodorant stick (one from home wasn’t good enough) for a little while. I find in addition to deodorant talcum powder works wonders in h&h climates :)

    • Dina
      7 July 2011 at 12:37 am #

      deodorant talcum powder! I never tried that because I’m sceptical about it. I’ll keep that in mine… Is it long lasting?

    • Dina
      7 July 2011 at 12:37 am #

      (What’s h&h? hot and hot?)

      • Sid Vic
        19 July 2011 at 10:24 am #

        hot & humid :o)

      • Sid Vic
        19 July 2011 at 10:25 am #

        hot & humid

      • Sherry
        19 July 2011 at 12:53 pm #

        I think H&H stands for HOT & HUMID. Typical SE Asian weather. A deoderant is needed for sure.

  3. Erica
    7 July 2011 at 2:14 am #

    Oof – this should be a must for many backpackers since you have to be in such close quarters with them. I’m lucky to have found my doctor’s strength Secret cucumber smelly goodness up until now because I fall into the same category as you do. Without it… is BAD.

    • Dina
      7 July 2011 at 7:59 am #

      Secret is my favourite one!!! The strongest, I think. But sometimes I can’t find it in local stores…

      Once we had a totally stinky roommate in Lisbon, and I happened to forget my soap bar in the shower room (1 shower room per 1 sharing room, and earlier there were only me and Ryan). I’m pretty sure he washed with my soap, so gross.

  4. Will
    7 July 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    two words: baking soda

    readily available, works like a miracle and TSA approved!

    • Dina
      14 July 2011 at 3:23 pm #

      I’m curious! Do you just rub the powder to underarms? Does it last?

  5. Sabina
    8 July 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    That lady speed stick in the photo is exactly what I’m using right now. The purple cap keeps on falling off, though, so it’s pretty dried out. Still seems to work, though. I think ;)

    • Dina
      29 July 2011 at 4:37 am #

      I hate it when the cap loose like that and the deodorant got smudged all over my other stuff :(

  6. Superxicana
    8 July 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Great topic!!! I have to admit that after my home deodorant ran out, I had a little phase of using none, which did not work out for too long, hahaha. I was trying really hard to hold off til I found a deodorant, which was not antiperspirant, but had zero luck. Then one day in Nicaragua I found one I really liked, Nivea’s Aclarado, still antiperspirant but also clarifying & smells great!! It is also 24 hr & honestly I can dance like a maniac & still be nice & fresh =))) I’m almost out & hope I can find it at home ;)))

    • Dina
      29 July 2011 at 4:38 am #

      using none, wow, you are very daring :D
      keep on dancing and smell good in the same time ;)

  7. Andrew - The Unframed World
    11 July 2011 at 2:27 am #

    Rather than buy stuff like “hygiene products” my 2 phase solution is much simpler.
    1) Avoid people
    2) Stay outside in a strong breeze

  8. Angela
    11 July 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Never thought about it, I mean, never given importance to what kind of deodorant I use, of course I’ve always thought about using one :P I just pick the first roll-on I find in the shelf, usually spray deodorants give me red skin.. Here in China I’m using a Chinese one and I like it, but my skin gets used after a while and I have to change brand, that’s no problem, as it usually matches when I leave the country so I also change all the products’ brands :D

    • Dina
      29 July 2011 at 4:41 am #

      Is it Chinese brand of normal kind, or something really different (traditional)? Lucky you that can use roll-on, they are everywhere!

  9. Sofia - As We Travel
    16 July 2011 at 2:18 am #

    I prefer the solid stick deodorants too, they don’t run any risk of leaking in the bag!

  10. Suzy
    17 July 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    Yodora sounds awful! ha It is always important not to smell while traveling. I think I have a Dove deodorant now, but it hasn’t been my favorite.

    • Dina
      29 July 2011 at 4:42 am #

      Yodora is a definite no for me, even though somehow I still carry it around. Turn out that one of my friend likes to use cream kind of deodorant, so I guess it does have its own market.

  11. Sid Vic
    19 July 2011 at 10:21 am #

    haha super useful post! :) I’m from SE Asia and it’s common practice to douse ourselves in baby powder! i agree with the baby wipes idea from the other comments though. very very quick and helpful

    • Dina
      29 July 2011 at 4:44 am #

      Is baby powder strong enough for a day activity?
      Hey, where are you from? I’m from SEA too, Indonesia to be exact.

  12. Sherry
    19 July 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Very comprehensive post here. I think it is also helpful even when we are not traveling. Interesting what others suggested, like tillicum powder and baking soda. I imagine those would be messy underneath the clothes. One of my biggest fears when traveling is not being able to take care of my personal hygine like I can at home. But judging from other comments, it looks like its possible, at least regarding this subject. The soild stick seems to be the obvious winner.

    • Dina
      29 July 2011 at 4:45 am #

      carrying baking soda and powder doesn’t sound so practical in traveling setting, but I often curious about that. Yeah, I stick with solid stick!

  13. Cheryl Howard
    19 July 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    You two are hilarious! A funny but informative post. I think every traveler should do their best not to be stinky when they’re on the road.

    I recently found a deodorant in Germany that claims to last for 48 hours!

    • Dina
      29 July 2011 at 4:47 am #

      Haha, I’m glad Ryan was willing to crumple up his pit hair with this Yodora.
      48 hours sounds excellent, since the 24 sometimes failed on me. I wonder is the 48 hours not too irritating. will watch for it next time going shopping.

  14. Chris
    25 July 2011 at 12:19 am #

    Fantastic post. I’m someone who is pretty self conscious about sweating and body odor while traveling, and I’ve never quite been able to find something that worked for me.

    I’ll have to experiment a little with some of the above.

    • Dina
      29 July 2011 at 4:48 am #

      Thanks! Skip the cream, I’ll say… I love many man’s deodorant products, smell so good.

  15. Bama
    25 July 2011 at 11:07 am #

    I also easily stink when I sweat too much. Therefore, deodorant is one of my best friends when I travel. I usually travel alone and I enjoy very much making new friends along the way. So, getting people rid off me due to my body odor is the last thing I want.

    • Dina
      29 July 2011 at 4:50 am #

      Very true. My confidence goes really low when I can smell myself. It has happened, and until now I’m wondering whether those friends I met that night smell it too…

  16. Elaine
    27 September 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    You might try scrubbing your pits with Betadine liquid soap when you shower. Then use your deodorant as usual. The Betadine evidently kills off the odor-causing bacteria. But be careful not to use it too often, as you’ll upset the balance of your skin.

    • Dina
      5 October 2011 at 3:52 am #

      Sounds like a good idea! After a while only use mild dove bar soap and mild deodorant, I need such a treatment. I usually grabbed whatever strong soap ryan happens to have.

  17. Rajasthan Tours
    20 October 2011 at 1:00 am #

    Excellent…Sounds like a good idea

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