From the-world-is-on-fire stress sweat to the excess body odor that inevitably comes with summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about perspiration lately— more specifically how best to keep it (and my exorbitant dry-cleaning bill) at bay.
Accordingly I, like many TikTok users, can’t get enough of rising creator @MadameSweat, also known as Mary Futher. She’s the founder of Kaia Naturals, a beauty brand proudly dedicated to “solutions for awkward body discomforts.” From subjects like thigh chafing to questions about why one armpit smells more than the other, Futher—with her signature dark tousled pixie, black-rim circle frames, and deep fuchsia lip—leaves no stone unturned in addressing all things sweat.
In terms of keeping underarm odor under control, one of her guiding principles is cleansing underarms thoroughly for a clean slate: Pits that have been purged of smell-causing bacteria set the stage for deodorant, natural formulas especially, to boost its overall effectiveness. This is the inspiration behind her brand’s detoxifying Underarm Bar soap, made from charcoal (which draws out impurities) and other natural antibacterial ingredients like salt and apple cider vinegar. “Sweat doesn’t smell—it creates food for bacteria to feed on, and this is what causes the odor,” says Futher. “When you address odor-causing bacteria, you will push your odor-free hours much farther. It’s a necessary step for a natural-deodorant routine, especially as it does not prevent sweat, it stops you from smelling.”
Over the past month, including a sweltering New York City heat wave, I’ve been putting the Underarm Bar to the test, using it to wash my underarms daily (at least 20 seconds per armpit, following Futher’s advice). While it’s admittedly messier than my typical bottle of body wash—such is the way with anything that’s charcoal based—the results far outweigh any murky water. (I also just love the tactile feel of a bar soap.) No matter what deodorant I’m swiping on (I tend to oscillate between natural and conventional depending on the day), there’s a dramatic difference in how much longer I can go odor free. My underarms just feel fresher, smoother, and clearer. Essentially it’s a swift detox mask for the armpits and one that’s extremely satisfying, both as a treatment and insurance for a long, hot summer’s day.