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Axe Fumes Faceoff – Ask Annie

Submitted by on Wednesday, 17 February 2010One Comment

IT Support TeamDear Annie,
My boyfriend uses  Axe Shower Gel body wash and cleanser, and Axe Deodorant Stick. I can’t stand the smell and have gotten so sensitive to it I now can pick it up on guys at work. How do I get them to stop using it without causing them to be offended? –Sara, NM

Dear Sara,
I had been alerted to the strong smell of Axe when my daughter told me of having to walk through clouds of Axe on the guys end of the hall as she went to and from her dorm room last year. I also know Axe products are incredibly popular.

So I started investigating. First, I had to get over my impression that I had mistakenly landed on a pornography site when I first went to the Axe site. All the sexual innuendo surrounding the product line caused me to expect that they contain hormone disrupting chemicals because the advertising notes about their deodorant stick that it has “hook-up friendly scents,” and their body spray is “available in nine powerful scents.” That language doesn’t sound good at all to someone like me who has an eagle eye for toxics, because it appears as if the products contain synthetic scents designed to affect your hormones (I can’t find evidence that they contain pheromones although many suspect this is the case). Who needs that in the cubicle next to you at work? Somebody should look into whether or not such products can be considered sexual harassment!

I put Axe into the cosmetics chemical safety database Skin Deep. Low and behold, 66 products showed up and they fell into a range of moderately hazardous to the most highly hazardous categories. Axe Shower Gel Recovery,  the bodywash/cleanser, had a highly hazardous score because the ingredients in the product are linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity , violations, restrictions and warnings, allergies/immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, bioaccumulation, organ system toxicity, and more. Need I go on? Your body is telling you the truth. This stuff isn’t good for you.

I came across this quote on the Internet from a woman who wrote about nestling up to her husband who was wearing an Axe equivalent. She wrote, “My husband wore this several times. If I was around when he first put it on I got a headache and became nauseous. But after it wore off so I couldn’t smell it anymore, I definitely felt some loving feelings stir.” Someone should tell the guy that if he had a shower with plain,real soap his wife would find him more attractive.

Sarah, you might be doing your boyfriend a favor to let him know that his Axe is hurting, not helping, his cause. 

As for the office, while searching around the internet I came across a few stories of male managers asking guys wearing Axe to cut back because the entire office was affected. Maybe find a male manager and ask them to take the issue into their hands.

Readers, any ideas about what would work?

Ask Annie at askannie[at]greenchicafe[dot]com.

An earlier version of this Ask Annie appeared on Care2.com.

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

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One Comment »

  • treehuggie says:

    I’d first like to say how much I appreciate the information you provide on green and diy living options. I would however like to say that it is medically proven that sex is very healthy, from boosting ones mood, immune system, and maintaining weight. Pornography is one way that couples or singles can enhance and improve their love life. Personal views on the subject based on male dominated religious repression of women does nothing other than continue to tell women that sex is bad and they should not be ok with their bodies.

    Sexual harassment is a real and terrible situation to be in and is rarely handled correctly by businesses or our police system. To say that men trying to wear pheromones in the hopes of getting a woman is the same as a man forcing himself on a woman, thing trivializes the real abuse women face.

    Axe may be stinky and have a tacky website that speaks to the lowest common element but the relevance is that it is chemically bad for you and one should consider avoiding it.

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