Last week I walked by a Sephora store in Bangkok, with a person that I had met for the first time on the same day. For the sake of this story, let’s call this other person Mr. Man. Mr. Man and I had met at a work assignment that morning after which we decided to celebrate over coffee. On our way to coffee I spotted Sephora and asked if we could walk through the store. I promised to keep my eager hands in my pockets and only allow my eyes the satisfaction of admiring the beautiful bottles containing skin miracles. Just as we entered one of my favorite places on earth, my nose was hit with a huge wave of fragrance. I quickly turned around and walked out before my body had the chance to realize that it has just missed a bullet. Mr. Man followed suit and before he could say something to match that quizzical look on his face, I walked ahead faster, delaying the conversation till coffee came. 

I stood in line at Starbucks (I am not a fan) and ordered one of the only few coffees they serve without whipped cream, syrup, sugar and artificial flavoring. I picked up my cup of black coffee with soy milk (they didn’t have almond milk) and joined Mr. Man who had made himself comfortable on an armchair along his nameless cuppa-something. As I sipped on my seemingly unexciting brownish fluid, Mr. Man asked me why I preferred soy milk, to which I responded that I like to limit my daily dairy intake and had already consumed too much cheese and yoghurt at breakfast. He looked at me for a few minutes, as if ensuring that the little piece of information I had just shared with him had been thoroughly digested.

After a few sips of something overly sweet, he offered me a cookie that I assume he bought along with his cuppa. I declined, explaining that I am gluten intolerant. His silence could have meant that he had no idea what that meant. With crumbs on the corner of his lips, he asked me why I had hurried out of Sephora considering I had just finished educating him on the black and white striped Promised Land. I calmly began telling him one of my most told short stories.

“I am allergic to perfume, deodorant, nail paint and certain other products; but the smell of any perfume is enough to induce an hour-long sneeze-fest and if it gets in contact with my skin, I turn into a beetroot with a diaper rash. So, yea I ran out.”

Mr. Man licked the crumbs off his lips, and beyond, and when he was done with that cookie, he looked at me and said, “You are really high maintenance.”

That is all. Just that one line. I did not know if that was a question-kinda sentence that I could possibly answer with a “No. I am a girl with allergies and intolerances. If I were high maintenance I would probably be at a cafe that served a damp towel with every cookie order.” Instead I began explaining my deodorant situation, thinking maybe he would tell me that he misjudged me.

“I use real lemons as deodorant.”

“Real lemons?” he said suspiciously.

“Yes, actual lemons. Nimbu. Those yellow citrus balls of sour juice.”

“Oh. Weird. How?” is what I got next.

“I cut them in half, remove the seeds and use one half after every shower by squeezing the juice on my underarms and then gently patting it in.”

“Isn’t it time-consuming?”

“I mean it only takes 17 seconds per underarm. I am actually training to increase my juice-the-lemon-with-your-fingers speed, so that I can beat the existing Guinness world record.”

“Oh.” said Mr. Man, appearing dumbfounded.

“Do you ever smell?” he asked.

“When I am low on confidence, I take a whiff and the smell of room freshener and lemonade immediately boosts my ego. Also, my underarms have less pigmentation since they befriended lemons and my skin does not have to unwillingly absorb all those carcinogens found in commercial deodorants.”

“Wow.” he said.

“Wow it is.” I said, sipping on my now-cold coffee.

If he hadn’t already called me high maintenance, I would have probably gone back to the counter and asked them to reheat my coffee. I like it hot.

P.S: You do not have to use lemons as deodorant only if you are allergic to fragrances. I know a lot of people who use it because they have a history of breast cancer in their family and/or have eczema. Lemons are a fail-safe natural way to smell fresh for hours, that most commercial deodorants fail to do. If you prefer using a store-bought solution, then I suggest Truly’s cream deodorant, which is what I use when I travel. It has organic coconut oil – you know I am obsessed – but does not leave you feeling oily or sticky.

Stay fresh and let me know what you do with your lemons.

P.P.S: For your convenience, by clicking on the underlined products, you will automatically be redirected to the website where I buy them from or from where you can learn more about them.

Photographs taken by the extremely talented and patient Nithin Barath

6 Comments
  • Swati
    August 10, 2015

    You know what? I was buying my monthly provisions the other day in the super market. But somehow I skipped buying my deodorant. Off late, I am getting sick of chemicals. And, I saw this post today on your blog. Lemon is a great substitute for deodorant. But does it not sting / burn (like deodorant) after you wax or shave the underarms?

    • Ishika Sachdev
      August 11, 2015

      Hi Swati, it does sting/burn if you apply it directly on ‘freshly’ shaved/waxed underarms. The day I wax/shave, I apply baby powder, and go back to applying lemon the next day onward. Hope that helps! Do try it out and I assure you that it is going to change the way you rely on chemical based deodorants. When life gives you lemons, do make deodorant! 🙂 Keep me posted. Big hug.

  • Richa Dubey
    April 9, 2015

    Hii Ishika..

    I just stumbled upon your video on youtube..Coming to know you are a blogger I checked your website and it is amazing 🙂 Reading this blog confirmed me that every guy takes girls as “high maintenance” which is just a small step in our beautiful routine..;) Anyways I use lemon a lot and just wanted to share that these “yellow sour citrus balls” work wonders for me :D.I use it for removing tan,hair rinse,hair tonic which includes equal amounts of honey and lemon juice,astringent,facial mask using aloevera gel and lemon juice as I have oily skin and hair..Hope you like this comment and it was great to see your blogs and videos..Keep sharing your ideas..Bii and take care…:)

    • Ishika Sachdev
      April 9, 2015

      Thank you so much for your sweet words Richa! Makes me so happy to know that my posts are relatable. I’m also a huge lemon fan, and I’m excited that we have that in common! Do keep me posted and have a lovely week. 🙂

      • Sarah
        January 29, 2016

        Hi Ishika,
        I am not one to reply to much online & this is a quite untimely response to your lemon post, but I felt compelled to send you a note. We have astoundingly different backgrounds, as I am a country/beach Florida girl in America, but there’s something in your matter-of-fact health awareness & essence that I vibe deeply with.
        Mr.Man, who called you high-maitenence, seems to have cloned himself & multiplied infinitely in my edge of the universe as well. There are just sooo many hopelessly clueless/ignorant ways of looking at health that many seem to have, yet are held by people who think a health-conscious person is “High Maintenance”… and that calling names is proper etiquette over coffee.
        I am not an ” us vs. them” kind of person but I feel as though it’s getting to be people who care for their health and those who dont. As a Type1 diabetic, the daughter of a woman who’s battling Ovarian Cancer for the 3rd time, and a nurse, I am ready for a change in the way people who are working to be as naturally health-conscious as they can are treated.
        Send the middle-finger American Gesture to Mr.Man from me if you cross paths again & he doesn’t produce a heartfelt apology for his inconsiderate/ignorant wording for your beautiful awareness. Or, forget him, take a whiff of your underarm & know you have my lemon-fresh support from across the globe. 😉
        -Sarah Hays

        • Ishika Sachdev
          February 4, 2016

          Dear Sarah, thank you for taking the time to write to me and resonating with the experience I shared. It’s comforting to realise that emotions, expressions and passions are experienced in similar ways across the world.
          Being health-conscious does not make one trendy or hippie or posh, it simply means that one cares about the quality of life being lived. I truly hope that more and more people begin to make healthy choices so that the world can consciously shift into a space of awareness.
          I wish you and your family well and am grateful that you are actively contributing to the betterment of so many lives.
          Wishing you a lovely week and hope to hear from you again.
          Best,
          Ishika

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