Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Mitchum Powder Fresh Anti-Perspirant: Smell Like A Caron For £1.50? No sweat!!

Readers may be familiar with Mitchum, a personal care brand within the Revlon stable. It is the AK 47 of anti-perspirants, famous for its 48 hour protection and accompanying advertising slogan: "So effective you can skip a day". I always take a roll-on of Mitchum on my work trips, as it is guaranteed to keep you dry, however hot, bothersome and nerve-wracking your day. Once I risked taking the new and very fetching Marks & Spencer Magnolia anti-perspirant away on business, and instantly regretted it. Yes, given the lack of air conditioning in my car, and the many other stress factors involved in business travel, when it comes to personal hygiene products you need a heavy hitter.

Today, however, I am wearing Mitchum Powder Fresh on my wrist, strange as that may sound. For though there are sweat glands all over the body, most are of the "eccrine" type - it's the "apocrine" variety found in armpits and other unsavoury locations which produce body odour. (I learnt these names today!)

Powder Fresh is the latest "flanker" in the Mitchum stable, and its extreme powderiness prompted me on a whim to conduct a side-by-side comparison with Lady Caron, the notes of which are as follows:

Magnolia, jasmine, neroli, tuberose, raspberry, peach, rose, sandalwood, oakmoss.

The "notes" in the Mitchum roll-on are undisclosed(!), but the following aromachemicals are listed towards the bottom of the label, after a whole bunch of other things which look resolutely non-fragrant in nature. If any technically minded readers care to decode these fragrance ingredients, I would be most interested to know how this particular combination is meant to smell:


Sadly, my blunt instrument of a nose cannot pick up on any individual notes, and I just get a soft, subtle, vaguely feminine, powdery blend.

Going back to Lady Caron, I'd have sworn there was a touch of "imperious carnation" in there, but apparently not. I chose LC because I happen to have a sample of it, but from memory most of the women's scents in the line are powdery to some degree, some extremely so: Aimez-Moi, N'Aimez Que Moi, Fleur(s) de Rocaille, Nocturnes, Nuit de Noel, Parfum Sacre, Bellodgia and Montaigne all spring to mind as sharing the Caron counterpart of "guerlinade". Tabac Blond not so much, and as for Narcisse nemesis scent....well, suffice to say that the testing of that one two years ago was so traumatic that my left frontal cortex suppressed the memory, including the key fact about whether it was particularly powdery or not.

So, sniffing the Mitchum versus the Lady Caron, they are both powdery for sure, but the latter is more angular and retro and spicy, while the Mitchum is gentle and soft, and to my mind, more wearable. It is like comparing the austere beauty of Katharine Hepburn to the contemporary good looks of Sophie Dahl. I haven't got these samples to hand, but I think the Mitchum could actually hold a candle to the likes of Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige and Micallef Note Poudree, both of which I find a little too "up your nose" sneezy-powdery, whereas the Mitchum pitches the powder about right.

So really I guess I am coming round to the controversial notion that for the modest outlay of £1.50 you can stay dry for two days straight AND smell better than a Caron - well, this particular one in my view, which has great bones and a classic beauty, but is ultimately too "spiky" for my taste. Mitchum Powder Fresh, meanwhile, is approachable, without tipping over into full blown "cuddly-toy-sitting-on-the bed-clutching-a-red-satin-heart" "fluffy". Plus Mitchum could knock a few other niche scents out of the water.

That said, I don't suppose we will see a wholesale trend to using anti-perspirants as fine fragrance unless this turns out to be a double dip recession after all - OR we start to develop apocrine glands on our neck and wrists.


Carol said...

I might just have to get some - I'm pretty non-american in that I rarely wear deodorant but some days (like today when it's 95 degree) I just have to!

La Bonne Vivante said...

This is AWESOME! Although I prefer the Caron profile you describe--angular and a little more sharp, I am definitely not averse to smelling like mitchum! I am always looking for a better deodorant, that's for sure. Thanks for the tip/rvelation! Off I go to the supermarche!

BF, if it's as hot there as it is here, I totally feel your pain!

Vanessa said...

PS I just noticed that Katharine looks as though she is discreetly trying to catch a test whiff of her deodorant! : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi guys,

One curious thing to mention is that I liked the scent of the Mitchum even more on my wrist armpit. If you get one of these, I urge you to try the wrist test too to see if you agree. It may be that I was quite tentative about applying anti-perspirant on a non-designated area, so it came across as more subtle and "higher end" there than under my arms which I gave a generous slathering. So in short: very effective, and for that reason best used sparingly!

Wordbird said...

As a perfume wearer, I often find antiperspirants annoying because they can interfere with the fragrance I'm wearing. So thanks for this!

lovethescents said...

I agree with Wordbird; I only wear unscented deodorants. I've heard of Mitchum but don't think it's available where I live. Next time I'm in the US, I'll check it out. That's hilarious!

ScentScelf said...

Ah! Ah ha! Ah ha ha ha!!! Why has no one else taken an anti-perspirant head to head (or apocrine to apocrine) previously? Love it.

Brilliant the revelation...and chuckling, too. Always fun to visit here. :)

As for Kate...indeed, she seems to be giving a casual check of whether it's day #2 or 3 on her Mitchum. As for contents...I'll leave that for knowledgeable folk, too. But I'm sure you've already made note of the presence of coumarin, which is an oft-used perfume ingredient (sweet or hay or both, right?; in tonka bean), and which my brain often wire-crosses with the anti-coagulant.

I like vintage Caron; pretty much stick with Parfum Sacre in the newer stuff. Unless I'm crossing the aisle into the men's department...then there's plenty I'll spritz.

Narcisse Noir has changed pretty dramatically over the years. The current version, which is unfortunately that which I came into a FB of, is very orange-y. Vaguely powdery. Not very Noir. I tried some old stuff once, and that was my reference for purchase. (Early, naive days of perfume geekdom. Seek and acquire stage.) Am a Tabac Blond fan, too...again, the earlier, the better.

Dang those mouses and their powdery sex. Mousse de saxe, indeed.

Speaking of (not Tabac) blond...who's the miss? (Am I being totally American doltish here?)

Vanessa said...

Wordbird, Lovethescents,

I quite agree that deodorants can interfere with your SOTD, and for that reason I counsel sparing application of Powder Fresh or the same problem may arise. I wore a smidge of it yesterday and was not able to catch a whiff of it wafting up from my axillary area, but care is definitely needed. A little goes a long way, as this stuff is super effective.

I think I do still prefer unscented deodorants in general, however, it amused me to see how pleasant the Mitchum was on an unconventional body part!

Vanessa said...

Hi ScentScelf,

Yes, coumarin was the one "note"/ingredient I recognised from that list!

Interesting to get your take on Narcisse Noir - I expect it was primarily the civet that did me in, though as I say the memory is hazy.

The Caron masculines seem more varied in style than the women's scents for some reason - not so powdery, for sure. I'll give Yatagan a miss, mind.

That is a picture of Sophie Dahl, author, former (plus and minus size) model, celebrity cook, and granddaughter of Roald Dahl.

Anonymous said...

I came across this blog because I honestly googled "is there a perfume that smells like Mitchum Shower Fresh deodorant" and I'll have you know- I wasn't the first to do so! I'm addicted to this scent! I'll catch an occasional whiff of it while I'm working and it sends me every single time. I love it so much that I make sure I have 2 back-up bottles stocked at all times so that I'm never, ever out. I would absolutely love to find an actual perfume dupe for this scent!