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Sniff and Tell: The History of Deodorant | Prep U Products

Sniff and Tell: The History of Deodorant

Teenage guys smell sometimes ...okay all of the time. Well, they would if it weren’t for a useful invention called deodorant. Deodorant plays such an integral role in everyday life that we rarely think of life without it. Today, almost all Americans use deodorant, but there once was life without it. We’ll discuss the origins of deodorant and its history in the western world below. 

Humans Used to Stink

Back in prehistoric times, humans didn’t care about being stinky. In fact, body odor probably helped cave people identify each other in the dark and protect them from predators out in the wild. Most likely, the stinkiness of our armpits (and other areas) helped keep predators at bay and on to less foul-smelling prey. Thank you, armpits! 

But as humans evolved and became less nomadic, villages and then towns formed. Only then did masking body odor turn into a priority.

The Deodorant Origin Story

I suppose we have to ask when deodorant was invented or maybe a better question is how long has deodorant been around? The first known recording of deodorizing came from the Ancient Egyptians and Romans who applied crushed carob pods to their bodies, took frequent baths, and used scented oils to deodorize. And later, ancient Greeks and Romans became known for constantly bathing and dousing themselves in perfume. Things were smelling kind of rosy back in distant times until… church officials attacked nudity.

Return of the Stink

During the Middle Ages, church officials made being naked bad - even while bathing! And since most commoners used bathhouses, people just stopped taking frequent baths. Although the rich also stopped regularly cleansing, they didn’t stop masking their odor with perfume. 

Who Invented Deodorant Anyway?

Fast forward to 1888, when the first-ever trademarked deodorant, Mum, hit the scene by an inventor named Edna Murphy in Philadelphia. Deodorant in its earliest form was different; Mum was applied as an underarm paste. Basically a combination of zinc oxide and alcohol that acted as an antiseptic. And soon, in 1941, an antiperspirant was patented by Jules Montenie. Everdry, an aluminum chloride solution put on with a cotton ball, followed. Everdry had its issues and was known to be so acidic it often ate through clothes. Yikes! 

Still today, aluminum-based antiperspirants raise concerns. That’s why more and more people are gravitating to all-natural deodorants like Prep U Natural Deodorants, a baking soda and aluminum free deodorant made without harsh chemicals. 

Modern Times

Modern-day deodorant didn’t roll around until 1952. Inspired by the design of the ballpoint pen, Ban launched the first roll-on deodorant. A decade later, Right Guard introduced the first aerosol deodorant spray. More than a decade after that in the late 1970s, stick deodorants gained popularity and remain in demand. In fact, though roll-on and aerosol deodorants still exist, stick deodorants (like our Natural Deodorant) continue to be the most popular form. 


Keep Smelling Good

Today, deodorant has become a multi-billion dollar industry and is used by nearly everyone, from teenage guys to elderly women. However, the manner to smell fresh has evolved. Some people use traditional deodorants while others look for all-natural options for sensitive skin like Prep U Natural Deodorant. Then others take it a step further and use salt crystals or home remedies. The way you stay fresh for yourself and others doesn’t matter as long as you do!


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