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Acid Deodorant: A Fashion Lover’s Dream

by Cheryl Fork

An Intellectual Style Newsletter, with tips for living your best (real) life.


For my first issue of the Soap As Fashion newsletter, I am discussing the best choice for deodorant I've found – especially for those of us who love clothes and hate deodorant stains!

While this intro may sound like some sort of random ad (lol), this is not a sponsored post. It just doesn't seem like most people are aware of this newer category of deodorant yet and my aim here is to help! Topics for each issue will vary a lot. If you are interested in fashion, clean beauty, health, and/or life simplification, read on…

Dear Reader,

Welcome to my inaugural issue of Soap As Fashion*…my new newsletter, where topics will include fashion, beauty, health, well-being, mothering/parent stuff, relationships, culture, human psychology, things that make life better, random interesting things, and more - ranging from the most trivial to the more weighty. If you missed my initial introduction and are wondering what in the world this is, click here. If you ever want to see the full archive of past issues, click here. Thank you for being here. Please bear with me as I experiment with different topics and formats. I welcome your generous feedback during the entirety of this expedition (!)

The inspiration to write about acid deodorant, aka deodorants using alpha hydroxy acids as their active ingredients in lieu of aluminum or baking soda, etc., came when I was recently looking in my closet for something to wear. Now that the weather has changed, I was attempting to resurrect some older items** more appropriate for the fall, and I noticed my black chiffon Stella McCartney top with gold foil discs (that I haven't worn in ages) had a smudge of white showing in the arm pit area. It made me realize that I am overdue for a trip to the dry cleaner. And it also made me appreciate how finding deodorant stains on my clothes is thankfully something I don't have to deal with anymore. Partly because (alas) I much more rarely wear dry-clean-only items in my current era of being mom to a toddler and mostly working from home. But mostly it is because I've finally found the perfect deodorant that doesn't stain your clothes! It's a relatively new, random little thing that a lot of people don't know about yet, so I wanted to share it with you.

If you've known me or have been following FORK & MELON for a while, you know something about my prior fertility issues and subsequent quest to replace all the products I was using with healthier, non-hormone-disrupting ones. This ended up being the primary reason I started my company in the first place. Along with our body care products, one of the first products I swapped out was deodorant***.

When I initially made the switch to natural (aluminum-free) deodorant, most of the available options were formulated with baking soda, which made my armpits itchy and irritated. As different formulations became available, I went on to try several different baking soda-free versions and found a few that I kept in rotation. They worked well enough, but they were still somewhat messy and they still left my clothes with the signature white (or sometimes clear) marks of a regular deodorant…until Kosas (a beautiful clean makeup brand that has blown up in recent years****) launched their first deodorant. I already loved a few products of theirs (remember when they first came out with their Rosewater lipstick?) and something made me want to try the deodorant enough to purchase. Lo and behold it was nothing like any other deodorant I had tried before! It comes in a tube rather than a stick, and it has a clear roll-on application. One of the chief ingredients is lactic acid, that I recognized as one of the gentler alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) exfoliants that is generally deemed to be safe to use during pregnancy (which was a must as I was perpetually in a state of trying-to-conceive or pregnant during this time). The benefit of using lactic acid and other AHAs is that not only does it eradicate odor completely (something about neutralizing your pH), it is also a gentle exfoliant for your under-arms. For me this has greatly reduced the irritation and bumps that inevitably seem to come from shaving such a sensitive area all the time.

So not only is this acid-based deodorant healthier, good for your skin, and effective in eliminating BO – you also never have to worry about it getting on your clothes!! When you use it, it's almost like using a toner on your underarms; it sinks right into your skin. It magically neutralizes/removes any body odor without leaving any of the gross residue that has always been a constant when using deodorants of the past. Since using the Kosas deodorant for quite a while and loving it, I actually switched to the one by Nécessaire more recently, only because it was on sale at Violet Grey and I also like the neutral packaging better (as you might have guessed by my preference for all things black and white). It also seems like the Nécessaire version is even better for me in terms of reducing skin irritation so I will probably stick with this one unless something changes. I prefer the fragrance-free versions of both.

I do have to mention that this type of deodorant will not stop you from sweating. It is not an anti-perspirant. Sweating is one of the ways that your body removes toxins from your body, so you really don't want to stop yourself from sweating on a regular basis*****. But what this will do is stop you from smelling! Stop you from putting sketchy ingredients on your underarms every day! Improve your skin under there! And stop you from staining your beautiful clothes!!! And maybe in some cases even allow you to (dare I say it) get more than one wear out of a dry-clean-only item…

Simple. Clean. Chic.

Though it's a little thing, I hope this has been helpful. The next issue topic will be something a bit weightier so I hope you will stick around for that.


Cheryl Fork wearing Stella McCartney top.JPG__PID:5fe76e90-aa50-4d54-a552-a826f2ef3cc3

*Will sometimes be referred to as Soap AF ;) And when I tell you I wrote down the name “soap as fashion” over 2 years ago and this abbreviation just occurred to me while writing this issue I am not making it up. Definitely feels meant to be.

**Or as I like to refer to it, “pulling from the archives” (ha). I often hang onto clothing items for many years (if they still fit), especially if they are designer items from my <single-girl-with-discretionary-income-sans-kid> days. Almost everything comes back around again, it's more environmentally sound (less consumption!!), and a lot of the time it's just cooler: if you've had it for a while you can bet you won't walk into a room where someone else is wearing the same thing ;)

***When looking to reduce your toxic load, deodorant is almost always near the top of the list of products recommended to start with, along with fragrance, sunscreen, products that go all over your body like body wash & lotion, and products you use every day. In other words, the products you expose yourself most to are the ones you should be the most discerning in regards to healthier ingredient formulations.

****I am currently loving their lip glosses as they are a super quick way to look more polished in a natural easy way. The glossy sheen ends up morphing into more of a matte lip stain after a little while, so your lips are moisturized and left with a wash of color that doesn't leave a mark on your coffee cup/wine glass. So good!

*****I am not a doctor and nothing in my newsletter is meant to constitute or substitute for medical advice. I am sharing my personal experiences with the hope that it is helpful!

^Low-res photo is me wearing the Stella McCartney top referenced in the article, with an artist friend taken ~10 years ago, omg. I've worn the top since then, but this is the last photo I could find of me wearing it!

Please note, any products I share are things I actually use and/or are genuine recommendations of mine. I may earn some money if you purchase through one of the links above. If you enjoy this newsletter and decide to purchase one of the items- using my links helps to support the continuation of this newsletter at no cost to you, so please use them! :)

If you ever want to see all my picks in one place, click here.

If you enjoyed this issue, please share it!

1 comment

  • KathleenNov 26, 2023

    You have a charming way of writing, Cher. I’ve been looking for a better deodorant cause I was getting skin irritation, and I’m concerned about aluminum and other sketchy ingredients. So now I know what to try!

    Also glad you shared about keeping clothes for a while. That’s what I do. It works out well because I don’t tend to choose trendy clothes, instead more classic, and I only like to wear certain colors. So I have a repetoire of tops, skirts, pants, sweaters and jackets that I can mix and match and make new outfits, even though the items aren’t that new. This product you are recommending will help to preserve my favorites. Yay!

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