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Green Pill Reduces Odors, Plain as the Nose on Your Face
By: Greg Morago
March 31, 2002

Will BodyMint replace deodorant, cologne or soap?
It reduces scents — for big bucks.

I have not used deodorant for a week. I’ve pushed aside mouthwash, foot sprays and body talcs, too. My signature cologne sits untouched on my dresser. Though I have showered each day and brushed my teeth, no odor-containing or odor-altering product has touched my skin. I’m living the hygienic equivalent of going commando.

Except for my little green pill.

My little green pill is supposed to reduce body odors from the inside. It’s a swallowable Mennen Speed Stick, a digestible can of Lysol. The size of a Tylenol but the color of moss, my BodyMint pill claims to reduce breath, underarm, foot and feminine odor (hey, what the heck?) courtesy of chlorophyllin, derivative of chlorophyll.

BodyMint, which advertises itself as a ‘100 percent total-body deodorant,’ is the hot new commodity in the personal-grooming realm. It’s flying off the shelves at pricey boutique stores such as Henri Bendel in New York and Fred Segal in Los Angeles’ two particularly odiferous cities, where the rich and famous will go to any lengths to smell like anything other than themselves.

Curious, I decided to forgo my usually rigorous daily hygiene routines to test BodyMint for a week. For someone who, while neither rich nor famous, will go to any length to smell like anything other than himself, this was also a personal test of will. How could a little green pill take the place of dozens of cleansing and grooming items to which I’m slavishly devoted?

It was a week of living dangerously. It was a week I thought a lot about smell (both its physical and psychological manifestations) while contemplating the oddly diverse subjects of sweat glands, foot perspirations, body image, pheromones, animal magnetism, flatulence, “natural” living,

Let me pop another green pill and tell you about it.

I was brought up believing that men smell, women don’t. Men are stinky pigs, and women are dewy lilacs. Men can sweat all they want, but women don’t. Sure, Dad and assorted uncles might smell like English Leather and Aqua Velva in the morning, but it was only a temporary curtain over the inevitable odors of armpit, beer, smoke, wet dog and après-workout gym bag.

Which is why I started at a very young age to aggressively deodorize myself. It’s not that I wanted to smell like a woman; I just didn’t; want to smell like a stinky man. By the time I was a teenager, I could recite the pros and cons of every smell-good product on the market. I did them all—from Old Spice to Brut to Canoe. My body reeked, not of sweat but Palmolive, Vitalis and British Sterling.

Today, I have graduated from dime-store after-shaves and odor eaters to designer lathers and lotions. I have spent ridiculous sums–$24 for a bar of Hermes soap, $28 for a Aqua di Parma deodorant—in my mad quest to keep from smelling the way a man was meant to smell (like himself). On the first day of eschewing all that, I swallow two BodyMints.

There are about 2 million sweat glands in the average human body, but men sweat about 40 percent more than women. On Day 2 BodyMint, I can detect no unpleasant odor. “Smell me!” I push my underarm into a co-worker’s face. “You mell like starched shirt,” he says. I don’t believe him. I ask another co-worker to smell the other pit. “You smell clean,” she says.

On the third day without deodorant, I should smell somewhat unclean. And yet, surprisingly, I don’t. Could BodyMint be working so effectively from the inside? Well, it makes sense. After all, if you eat garlic, your reek of garlic. Is the little green pill making me smell, well, green? Clean Green?

A friend, who is perfectly happy making a meal of sprout and assorted lettuce, wonders if vegetarians smell better because they’re already eating green. But then I recall all those vegetarian, hippie-dippy granola eaters I’ve met in my life. They are the kind of people who eschew deodorant and fast food and save all their yogurt containers so they can be recycled into toothbrushes. And while they may have the faint whiff of patchouli, they still stink. Body odor visits even the leaf-eaters among us.

I do not alter my diet during my experiment. My diet usually consists of coffee, tuna sandwiches and potato chips, takeout Chinese, pizza, cigarettes and gin. Come to think of it, despite being a smoker, my friends claim I do not smell like smoke. Perhaps BodyMint is also neutralizing the fumes.

Olfactory receptors in the nose are remarkably sensitive. Humans can distinguish thousands of different odors. Women are said to have a better sense of smell than men.

I have a keen sense of smell. At work, I can smell a tuna sandwich or vegetable soup an office away. If someone’s eating licorice or Fritos, I know it. And yet, on the fourth day of BodyMint, I smell nothing.

I am only mildly worried that BodyMint, whose glowing statements of success have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, might be turning my insides green or worse. On my sixth day with out using my roll-on, I am convinced that BodyMint is working and that deodorants are useless. BodyMint, however, costs $20 a bottle (a one-month supply). Sure, I could ditch my $2 stick deodorant, which usually lasts me about three weeks. That’s about $35 a year I spend on deodorant. BodyMint would cost me $240.

This, however, doesn’t make deodorant the automatic winner. I am a product of the Jacqueline Susann generation; I love taking pills. Popping a green doll is much more fun and glamorous than swiping a pasty white stick back and forth over a hairy patch of skin.

Whatever. I am happy and, surprisingly, odorless.

I realize now I’m becoming a tad too fixated on the subject of body odor. But don’t blame me: I’m American. Americans tend to have an obsession with being clean and avoiding natural odors. When compared with people of other countries, we bathe more often and spend more money on products to reduce odors. Products like BodyMint.

Today, I go off the green pills. My experiment is completed. I return to Right Guard. But, even if only for a week, it was easy being green.

DISCLAIMER BodyMint – USA, LLC’s reproduction of the LA TIMES article on its website is not intended to suggest or imply any endorsement, sponsorship, approval, affiliation, connection or other association by or between the owners and publishers of LA TIMES and BodyMint – USA and its BodyMint product.