In the quest for beauty we sometimes overlook the obvious: like how we smell. Other people seem to tell long before we do and often won’t say so because they don’t know how to tell you that you smell. They think it will offend you! In the absence of such critical feedback – or if you live too far from your mother – here is a guideline to help you sniff yourself out.
Do you eat a lot of garlic, onions or strong, pungent curries? If you do, it emerges from your pores. When you work out or you are in the sun, the pungent smell of garlic will erupt. And it will be enough to scare off vampires. You’ll also burp it. This is why they invented odourless garlic pills.
But garlic is a superfood so don’t bump it off just yet. Blend it with other ingredients when you cook to tone it down and have mint and parsley on the ready.
Post-garlic feasting, freshen your breath and drink a lot of water. Sometimes your sweat clings to scents because you are dehydrated. Water’s detoxification qualities are not a myth.
Most people assume their breath should stink in the morning. Good oral hygiene demands that you brush your teeth twice a day – morning and before bed. At night, floss and brush your tongue. You’ll notice that the next morning you can stand to be in your own mouth. During the day, it’s hard to tell if your breath is off by simply existing.
As a rule, here are a few instances where your breath is likely to be, well, gritty. An hour or three after lunch, if you skipped lunch, when you’re thirsty, if your tongue feels sticky and your mouth tastes bad, if you don’t normally brush your tongue, if you don’t floss.
Good dental hygiene should take care of this. To test your own breathe go to the bathroom and lick the back of your hand. I would say do this discreetly but most people are self-conscious about such things. Let your saliva dry and sniff your hand. That’s a truer test than puffing your breath on a cupped palm.
Once your armpits get moist, bacteria come out to play. The drying of the moisture means air has come into contact with your skin. You will then emit a scent.
The degree varies for individuals. To tell if your armpits are pungent do this: Today evening after you have showered, had dinner and played with the baby or watched two episodes of Scandal, sniff at what you’ve been wearing all day. You’ll know. Also, if the armpits of your clothes tend to be stained or moist, chances are you need a deodorant/anti-perspirant.
Also, shave your armpits.
If underarm care products are not your thing get a nice, big bottle of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and a thick wad of cotton wool. Dab ACV on a strip of cottonwool and swipe your pits morning, noon and night with concentrated vinegar. It neutralises the odour rather than mask it.
If you are sporty, athletic or physically active, you’ll need to pre-empt your scent. Athletic people can in a manner of speaking be oblivious to sweating. Being used to so much movement, a little sweat is nothing compared to when they get down and dirty. Use an anti-perspirant/ deodorant.
Also, if you tend to sweat a lot, and you’ll know if you do because you’ll notice other people don’t seem to fan themselves as much or mention being overheated, chances are you sweat a lot. Check your cleavage, underneath your breasts, lower back, any place your skin folds such as your neck and the backs of your knees. If your clothes are generally moist in these sections, you tend to sweat profusely. Use talcum powder on such places.
If it is your feet, keep them dry and clean, change socks every single day, air your shoes (yes, you should have more than two pairs!) and sprinkle your feet with foot powder. Inane remedies have included soaking your feet in urine. Finally, and this is not meant to be hurtful, obese people retain dirt under their folds and have been known to reek.
Certain prescription medications such as anti-depressants are known to alter your body’s internal chemicals. In fact, if you are on any medication that tends to leave your mouth dry or with a metallic taste, a category that includes a host of antibiotics, chances are it will affect your body odour.
Drink more water, fluids, herbal teas and natural juices. The idea isn’t so that you smell like green tea or chamomile, but rather, to allow your body to better absorb the medication so that you are not left with its concentrated aftermath. Consider taking probiotics to reset your system.
If two weeks have lapsed and you have not washed your hair, it has an odour. Whether good or bad depends on how much you sweat with the added value of product build up. Most women “sanitise” their scalp with antiseptic or spirit to eliminate the smell. Some rinse with ACV in between shampoos. Some just wash their hair.
Whether your hair is in braids, weave or open, good hair hygiene helps you take care of scalp. There is no rule as to how frequently hair should be washed. It is about personal preference. So long as you note that smelly hair well, smells.
Ideally, if you shower and brush your teeth daily and wear clean clothes, you should be fine. If you do all the above and still smell, you might have an underlying medical condition such as halitosis, a yeast or bacterial infection.