Our editorial team has had many a discussion about natural deodorant versus antiperspirant. Some of us are super sweaters and need the aluminum to keep us dry; others have used quarantine to experiment with more non-aluminum formulas and have found a few we can rely on to stay fresh (even if it’s only while we’re working from home). Schmidt’s falls into the latter group, but one pet peeve was that there wasn’t enough slip for a smooth glide under the arms. Now, the cult-favorite formula developed by Jaime Schmidt more than 10 years ago—she started selling it at farmers markets in Portland—has received an upgrade we’re very excited about.
“Even if you’ve used Schmidt’s in the past, I encourage you to test the new formula,” says Mollie Crudden, head of Schmidt’s Naturals at Unilever. “It’s made with truly natural ingredients and has the perfect balance of baking soda and magnesium for a smoother experience. The new Signature line offers a smooth glide and is gentle on skin, and it lasts 24 hours, so no more FOBO (Fear of Body Odor). It’s also the first certified-natural deodorant in the United States by EcoCert Cosmos Natural.”
As part of the FOBO campaign, Unilever commissioned a study that revealed 79 percent of people ages 18 to 35 feel anxious about their body odor on a daily basis. “Not only does this hold people back from daily activities and living their lives with confidence, but it can also make them weary of trying natural deodorant, even if they’re interested in it,” says Crudden. “The good news is that with Schmidt’s, that doesn’t have to be the case because it actually works. We also have over 20,000 five-star reviews.”
Another key cornerstone of Schmidt’s mission is inclusivity, which is directly reflected in the brand’s new celebrity partner. “Jaime created Schmidt’s for everyone, and this campaign takes on the stereotypical gender norms in the beauty industry that have become so commonplace,” says Crudden. “We can think of no better partner to help us with our challenge to the industry than Megan Rapinoe, a soccer superstar, activist and author who constantly works to stand up for her beliefs and encourages us all to do better and be better.”
On a Zoom call this morning with the brand and Rapinoe, the athlete’s enthusiasm about the campaign really shone through. “Every now and again a campaign comes along that just makes sense and fits my personality perfectly, and this is one of them,” she says. “The campaign video sort of pays homage and pokes fun a little bit at the original beauty and grooming ads while sort of flipping the outdated and stereotypical gender tropes on their head, which the beauty industry could use for sure. Schmidt’s products are really made for everyone—all the scents are made for anyone and everyone who just wants to smell good. The goal of the campaign is to celebrate the inclusivity of the brand, which obviously is really important to me. I know we’re just talking about deodorant here, but I know the stereotypes—whether it’s gender, race, homophobic, sexist—are so pervasive in so many ways, both large and small, so every little thing matters. That’s part of what we all need to understand a little bit more, that the language we have and the things we’re taught are oftentimes pretty retrograde and need to be upgraded at the very least.”
Rapinoe says she knows it’s unrealistic to think that everyone is going to become a full-time activist, “but we can all use the platforms we have or the businesses we have or the skills we have to impact things in a really positive light. I would encourage companies to use the platform they have to challenge the status quo within that. You can obviously do that internally with the way your board is set up, who’s working for you, how you pay your people, and just the general vibe, but you can also do that with your products and the language around them, and who’s in your campaigns. There are not only big ways to support, but also lots of little ways too. All those things matter in society. There’s always an opportunity to make the world a better place.”
The ingredient story was also important to Rapinoe, who appreciates that the formula uses sustainably sourced ingredients that she can actually pronounce, like magnesium and coconut. “As an athlete, I’m always thinking about what I’m putting in my body, how am I training, what am I doing to recover, but I haven’t thought a lot about what I’m actually putting on my body. It’s kind of wild because it’s stuff I use every single day, and it’s with me in the locker room, and after training and before training,” she explains. “But as I’ve sort of progressed in my personal life and my career, I’m starting to understand more the importance of thoughtfully choosing all of the products that are going to put me in the best position to not only smell good, but also to be my best self. I can’t take any chances with any wild chemicals that might set me back.”
Additionally, the FOBO campaign messaging really resonated with the soccer pro. “The FOBO is real,” says Rapinoe. “I think we all have that. Even in our virtual world, just sitting on Zoom, you want to make sure you’re fresh and feeling your best. The Lavender + Sage is my favorite scent, and I put it on once and it lasts me all day. And I’ve definitely put it to the test: Anybody who exercises in Dri-FIT knows that if you don’t smell after exercising in Dri-FIT with this deodorant on, it actually works.”
When asked about a time she experienced FOBO, Rapinoe shared a pre-pandemic anecdote: “I was at a runway show once and I had borrowed clothes from the designer—I won’t call out the designer—but I was getting wafts of BO as I walking around, and I was thinking, this is embarrassing for somebody. I went to the bathroom and took my trench coat off so it wouldn’t fall in the toilet, and I was like, ‘Oh my god it’s me!’ I had borrowed a shirt from the designer and someone clearly had not worn Schmidt’s the day before. So for the rest of the show I kept my trench on and kept it tight because I was really self-conscious. I’ll say it again, the FOBO is real.”
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