Friday, June 08, 2012

Ask a Korean! Wiki: Natural Style Deodorants

What do you do when you don't have time to answer questions? Have other people answer them! Cue the question:

Dear Korean,
 

I was wondering if you knew much about "natural" style deodorants' availability in Korea (i.e Tom's of Maine and JASON brands, or comparable brands). I unwisely didn't pack a long-term supply of deodorant when I came here, and now I'm running out. I don't want to use antiperspirant and would like to avoid deodorants laced with a bunch of synthetic chemicals.

Scott in Chungju


Sorry, Scott in Chungju, you are speaking to a guy who has never bought a stick of deodorant in his life. And it is not because the Korean is gross. Asians generally have significantly less apocrine sweat glands in their armpits, making them less susceptible to armpit stench. Either that or the Korean has a bad sense of smell, and everyone around him in his whole life has been exceedingly polite.

At any rate, deodorant always has been a sticking point with the expat population in Korea. So weigh in, folks. Have you been able to find a fru-fru, "natural" style deodorant in Korea?

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

16 comments:

  1. It's inconvenient, but you may have to just order some stuff from home. Although if you happen to trek up to Seoul, I recommend the 수입물품 (imported products) store behind Hyundai department store in Sinchon. (It faces the small park and is situated directly between the pharmacy and the 닭갈비 restaurant. I'm not sure if they carry the natural-style deodorant (I prefer the Gillette smooth gel and Axe body spray), but there are several items there...it's worth checking out if you happen to be up here.

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  2. maybe try iherb.com? they ship to korea for like $8

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  3. I've never been to Korea but seriously, you guys don't have baking soda in Korea? If you're going to be a hippy and refuse to use stuff with aluminum you might as well go all the way and just powder yourself with baking soda in the mornings, same as you would when the cat pees on your carpet. Use some water too or else it won't stay on.

    This works better for some people than others (ie better than if you're extreme smelly) and it won't do a thing for sweat that I've seen.

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    1. iherb sounds pretty nifty too though whether or not you're in korea

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    2. Milk of magnesium works great, too. Better than deodorant, actually, and will last all day and even until the next morning.

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    3. I ran into this same problem in China. However! Korea HAS baking soda (the Korean word for it sounds just like 'soda'). I haven't tried it myself, but someday I will.

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  4. diy deodorant! there's a link from good and one from a craft blog.
    http://www.good.is/post/strong-enough-for-a-hippie-diy-deodorant-to-handle-the-sweaty-season/
    http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-to-make-your-own-deodorant.html

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  5. The only deodorant I've been able to find is Nivea and soooooooooometimes Rexena. And only the ones for females and only in summer. In winter I could find a small roll-on Nivea in Daiso. And another spray one, but I didn't like it.

    But well, maybe you can try your luck on internet shopping and search at the Auction website.

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    Replies
    1. Be very careful with both Nivea and Rexena (or any other deodorants). Some ingredients has been proven to cause breast cancer in women. Tom's of Maine is the best stuff around - it does not last for us, sweaty European people, and we need to apply it more than twice per day, but it does not cause cancer and it is made of all natural ingredients. That's my choice of deodorant (I also use their toothpaste and pretty much everything else that they make).

      I do not recommend using any Korean or Japanese products. They have way too many cancer-causing ingredients.

      Baking soda is all natural, but it is also a known irritant. In some people (like me) it is known to cause rashes if used on a daily basis. I have tried using it to brush my teeth - big mistake. It is also very abrasive for your teeth and gums.

      So... bring your yearly supply of Tom's of Maine. You cannot get anything better than that.

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  6. I lived in Daegu and always had to order from home. I did find a few cosmetics stands in Lotte Department Store that carried some heavily perfumed deodorants in the summer only. You can always pick some up--if you don't mind paying about 40,000 won a stick!

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  7. This podcast by Stuff You Should Know is interesting.

    http://castroller.com/Podcasts/StuffYouShould/2846307

    I've been experimenting with lemon juice and vinegar lately--and it actually works better than expected. I also am extremely OCD with armpit hygiene. Effin' genetics!!

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  8. A little uncomfortable for the fellas, maybe, but the chain beauty supply shops usually have a few things in. You may be able to pick things up at random in Watson's, but as far as higher end stuff, I know the Body Shop does deodorant for men and women. Lush also carries handmade all natural deodorant bars, and are all over the place in Korea.

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  9. Oh my! I could not fathom not being able to use deodorant. If you can't find any you could always just use some rubbing alcohol to kill the odor causing bacteria and then some medicated powder like bond or something to absorb moisture.

    Really Korean, you've never used deodorant and there is no smell? Lucky you. I think you might just be the individual case here. I used to babysit for an Asian family and their teenaged son had the most appalling BO. Nobody else was smelly there but he definitely was.

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  10. The Body Shop makes natural deodorants. The Body Shop stores are all over the country thebodyshop.co.kr

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  12. I always have to order my deodorant from home. I'll agree that a lot of Asians don't seem to have BO... but I tell you what my high school boys smell something fierce. I'm not sure if they need deodorant or if they just don't shower, but some of the classes I teach leave behind a truly impressive stench.

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