On the track of men’s deodorant

Trying to recover the name of a deodorant I’d once used, I went on a Google search and immediately pulled up the Balding Beards site — they offer to put you on a mailing list for manly products — with its piece “The Top 10 Best Deodorants and Antiperspirants for Men” by Domen Hrovatin on 4/13/18. Three of the choices — all new to me — have memorable names: Primal Pit Paste Natural Deodorant (/p/-alliteration, and of course, rough, hairy, manly pits — women have underarms, men have armpits, or just pits); Forest by Herban Cowboy (major pun groan, at least for AmE speakers, for whom urban and herban are homophonous; plus those stone-butch cowboys and the masculine scent of the woods); and Jack Black Pit Boss (rhyming Jack Black, all tough monosyllables, plus the image of a tough casino pit boss, and, once again, pit).

(Some background on this blog: on 5/2 5/11, “Scent and masculinity”.)

Some detail:


You’ve got to hand it to Amy Cazin, a Tampa Bay-area mom and athlete. Her quest for finding a safe-yet-effective deodorant has produced Primal Pit Paste Natural Deodorant, a product loved by the masses that’s also not your father’s deodorant. Cazin took note both of her child’s sweat odor – at a surprisingly young age – as well as the many products advertised at race events that contained toxic chemicals.


The Herban Cowboy story is one that’s just begging to be told. Founded by a couple who, at the time, were living in a cabin on a dirt road with no Internet, and were broke, the Herban Cowboy line of personal products has definitely entered the modern world of conveniences.


… the company Jack Black was formed in the year 2000 as a response to what its founders felt was a serious lack in men’s skincare products. They’ve since built a reputation as an upscale source of such products worldwide.

Reviewers give it high marks for what’s essential in quality men’s antiperspirants: 1) Great, manly smell, 2) Effective and long-lasting, 3) It’s non-irritating. And you’ve got to love the name, which comes from a casino pit boss, who needs to remain calm and confident (and dry) as the world swirls around them.

My deodorant stick, from Whole Foods. Earnest and new-agey, rather than butch and manly:


(The company also offers: Forest Fresh (specifically for men: trees are male, flowers are female), Soothing Aloe, Calming Lavender, Nourishing Apricot, Unscented.)

About the company. From their website, “The JĀSÖN® Story”:

1959: While the big companies mixed new chemicals to create:
… Perfumed skin creams that promised miracle results
… Petroleum hair gunk for that swell greaser look
… Shellacking hairspray for helmeted ladies’ hairdos
A group of independent thinkers drew upon the pioneering spirit that was so much a part of their California heritage and set out on a road of rediscovery. Theirs was a path back to simple, wholesome ingredients proven safer and proven to work together in naturally effective ways.

And so the JĀSÖN® (which means “healer” in Greek) brand was born.

(Onomastic note, from Wikipedia:

Jason is a common given name for a male. It comes from Greek Ἰάσων (Iásōn), meaning “healer”, from the verb ἰάομαι (iáomai), “heal”, “cure”, cognate with Ἰασώ, Iasō, the goddess of healing and ἰατρός, iatros, “healer”, “physician”.

The brand-name diacritics in JĀSÖN seem to be entirely ornamental.)

Ad copy for Purifying Tea Tree, heavy on Upper Case:

Purifying Tea Tree Deodorant Stick: Our Deodorant is clinically tested to effectively control odor for all day protection. Zinc Ricinoleate, Corn Starch and Baking Soda neutralize odor while Tea Tree [Melaleuca alternifolia] Oil and Grapefruit Seed Extract, known for their antimicrobial properties, help fight odor-causing bacteria.

Oh, you were thinking tea tree, the Camellia sinensis tree, from which we get the leaves to brew the tea we drink. But no, Melaleuca alternifolia, something quite different, though its leaves do resemble the leaves of the beverage-tea tree.

Melaleucas. Previously on this blog: on 4/3/16, the posting “Common names that are also descriptions” has a section on the melaleucas. But now specufically on the one in my deodorant, from Wikipedia:


Melaleuca alternifolia, commonly known as narrow-leaved paperbark, narrow-leaved tea-tree, narrow-leaved ti-tree, or snow-in-summer, is a species of tree or tall shrub in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Endemic to Australia, it occurs in southeast Queensland and the north coast and adjacent ranges of New South Wales where it grows along streams and on swampy flats, and is often the dominant species where it occurs.

… Characteristic of the myrtle family Myrtaceae, it is used to distill essential oil. It is the primary species for commercial production of tea tree oil (melaleuca oil), a topical antibacterial. Tea tree oil is commonly used as a topical antiseptic agent because of its antimicrobial properties, especially in the treatment of acne. It is also known to reduce inflammation and may be effective in the treatment of fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.

When I mention melaleucas to my friends from South Florida, they blanch and gasp in horror. The monster isn’t M. alternifolia, but M. quinquenervia. From Wikipedia:

Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as the broad-leaved paperbark, paper bark tea tree, punk tree or niaouli, is a small- to medium-sized tree of the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. It grows as a spreading tree up to 20 m (70 ft) tall, with its trunk covered by a white, beige and grey thick papery bark. The grey-green leaves are egg-shaped, and cream or white bottlebrush-like flowers appear from late spring to autumn.

Melaleuca quinquenervia has been classified by the United States Department of Agriculture as a noxious weed in six US states (Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Texas), as well as federally. It is an abundant exotic invasive plant in the Everglades. Its unchecked expansion in South Florida is one of the most serious threats to the integrity of the native ecosystem. This tree takes over sawgrass marshes in the Everglades turning the area into a swamp. Melaleuca causes severe ecological impacts, including displacing native species, modification of hydrology, alteration of soil resources, reducing native habitat value and changing the fire regime.

South Florida, Land of Encroachment. (Apologies to New Mexico.)

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