Jason Perlow, Consumer Advocate: High Octane Antiperspirant


As some of you have learned by now, I am currently on a longer-than-usual assignment in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina this summer. Because it is a four month engagement, and it necessitates that I sometimes need to stay down here for two weeks at a time, I’ve rented a small apartment so that I can live more comfortably and do cooking for myself and store items over the weekends when I need to go home. This has forced me into a bachelor-like lifestyle where I have had to actually take care of myself, something I haven’t really had to do for like, I dunno, 13 years.

Routine shopping has become a new pastime for me. Oh, Rachel and I shop all the time, but I tend to ignore the mundane aisles, such as the personal hygiene products, because I tell Rachel usually to buy a whole bunch of something at COSTCO or get whatever is on sale. I don’t care — as long as I don’t stink up the house or walk around with a foul odor on me that my co-workers might notice, it makes no difference to me what product I use. So I have no cultural frame of reference for what is actually going on with that industry.

Maybe I have been so out of the routine shopping thing for so long, but these products caught my eye on a shopping trip to Kroger yesterday:

Maybe these have been around for years, but It appears there are now “Pro” and “Clinical” strength antiperspirants. This seemed like a particularly good idea to me, as the weather in Durham is approaching 90 degrees already and I have been taking half mile walks between the buildings that I need to work at. And we big guys tend to reek when we get sweaty.

I was about to grab 2 or 3 of these to test out, until I saw the PRICES.

WHOA! Eight bucks per stick? That’s more than twice the price of their regular brand!

Okay, I want to be All Day Fresh or Arctic Clean, but not at these prices.

Even the “loss” leader in this category, Right Guard, is still more than twice the price of their volume product.

So I looked at the back of these boxes and peered at the actual label. Like all other deoderants and antiperspirants, besides fragrance, the primary active ingredient is Aluminium Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly. All the “Pro” versions seem to have it in a 20 percent ratio whereas the regular products have it around 14-16 percent. At four to six percentage points difference, is this really going to make you sweat less and smell less stinky on a super hot day? And even in milder climates, is it really going to help, at more than twice the price? And is Aluminium Zirconium so expensive that a minor percentage increase in formulation will vastly increase manufacturing costs for companies like Gilette, Procter & Gamble, Mennen and Unilver to justify such a large price increase for these products?

Do any of you actually go out and buy this stuff or do you agree that it is a total ripoff?

9 Responses to Jason Perlow, Consumer Advocate: High Octane Antiperspirant

  1. Rachel Perlow says:

    Now if only I could get him to do his own laundry instead of bringing it home on the weekends… sigh.

    Anyway, IMO, as the one smelling you most often: Get the Old Spice Red Zone. For a big, occasionally sweaty, guy, Jason doesn’t usually smell bad at all. And, like most women, I likey the Old Spice. Also, that’s what I usually buy in bulk for you at Costco.

    See you this weekend, honey. Kisses.

  2. Chris W. says:

    I gave up antiperspirants years ago and switched to just deodorant. I really can’t see any different in the amount of armpit sweat. The main reason I switched away is that I have some kind of sensitivity to some of the junk they use in deodorants and antiperspirants.

    There’re only two things that work for me. The cheapest is the hippie thai deodorant stone, but you have to use it twice a day.

    The best, though most expensive is L’Occitaine deodorant. It is like $15 a bottle and lasts about 3-4 weeks. The odor control lasts amazingly long even on someone who sweats a lot like me.

  3. Melissa says:

    Jeez, and it isn’t even summer yet …

  4. Steve says:

    As a fellow sweater, I highly recommend “Certain-Dri.” It also contains that Aluminum stuff. You put it on at night and it shrinks your armpit sweat glands. Now it may be a tradeoff as you may sweat more in other places, but it is good at reducing pit stains.

  5. Tom Traubert says:

    If you use Certain Dri, though, only put it on right before you go to bed. It tends to be irritating and, at least for me, causes a fair amount of what I can best describe as prickly itching — if you’re asleep it’s not a problem. And the stuff does work.

  6. dumneazu says:

    Living with a Japanese woman has taught me the only way to non-stinkiness is through showering far more than my Bergen county upbringing ever prepared me for. Sweat is OK, but only if it is fresh sweat. Everybody sweats. Heck… you are supposed to sweat. You simply rinse it off afterwards. Think about it… applying chemicals to your skin to shrink your sweat pores? Does it get less natural than that? But it makes Proctor and Gamble a fortune. Next: gargling with asbestos?

  7. Rebecca263 says:

    I second the Old Spice- girls really do prefer it! We use the deoderant, though- applying aluminum to your skin voluntarily? I hope it doesn’t assist in the development of senile dementia, and even if I don’t live long enough to find out, I don’t want to chance it.

  8. Ubu Walker says:

    Try buying a bottle of hibeclens from your local pharmacy. My dermatologist recommended it when I complained about skin discoloration from deodorant. It is a reddish liquid which is a anti-microbial rinse that doctors use to prep skin for surgery so that it stays bacteria and cootie free for long periods of time. I use it in the shower. As far as antiperspirants go, I’d opt for a bottle of Mitchum. Its pretty powerful and lasts a long period of time. Of course, when your whole body sweats on the way to work, the only way to avoid stains on your clothing is to wear shorts to work, and then change out of them into work clothes….not the idea solution, but the only one that really works. Wearing undershirts helps as well, sometimes.

  9. Joe says:

    I’m a former NY’er who has been living in the Triangle for a while and have had to adjust to the heat. I sweat like it’s my job so I’ve been trying some of these fancy items and do think there is a slight difference. Can’t justify the price but they tend to work a bit better in my experience than the regular versions. Now that you mention it, neither one is really stopping my from sweating so maybe I should just cut my losses…

    I have heard good things about Certain-Dri. Maybe I’ll try just one more…

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