‘The Guv’ner‘ Deodorant by Lush: When Form Lets Function Down

When The Style Examiner came across ‘The Guv’ner’ (the latest addition to Lush’s natural deodorant range) with the intention to review it, the first thought that came to mind was a reminder of how, for a consumer product to be successful (and particularly if it is a new product in the market), its form needs to follow its function. In other words, how a product looks or is presented is as important as its quality. This does not mean that the form of a product needs to be luxurious; it can simply mean that a product needs to be mindful of the most adequate shape to facilitate its usage, as any good product designer can explain.

And this is where we could not take ‘The Guv’ner’ seriously. We were happy to ignore its uncouth name (apparently an homage to a piece of music called ‘The Guv’nor’ by Simon Emmerson of the band The Imagined Village), and focus on its inherent qualities. This new powder deodorant for men contains charcoal powder combined with lycopodium powder to control perspiration by absorbing it. It also contains ‘antiseptic and astringent sage and patchouli for its cooling, astringent properties on the skin, and a calming essential oil blend of lavender, chamomile and rose absolute to soothe the under-arm.’

Even if we were ready to accept this exotic mix of ingredients, we were not able to recommend this product owing to its texture and difficulty in using it. Imagine applying talcum powder on your skin; and then imagine replacing that talcum powder with charcoal powder, and you start getting it. Now picture attempting to apply an amount of fragrant grey powder under your arms. The result is not good: if you try sprinkling it into your hand before applying to to your underarm, more often than not the powder goes on parts other than your body. Not to mention that, by doing this, you will be bound to find speckles of grey powder everywhere for a few days afterwards. After trying it for a few days at home, and attempting to find a position that precluded powder to go anywhere than on your skin (suffice to say that the most appropriate position involved bending backwards in a manner not entirely comfortable early in the morning…) we realised that this would most certainly not be a deodorant to try in the men’s changing room at the gym.

As much as we would be happy to be open-minded about the effectiveness of ‘The Guv’ner’ (as it did seem to do the trick when it came to dealing with perspiration), we could not finish the bottle and consigned it to the dust bin. If Lush are to continue making this product, their focus will need to be on making it easy for men to use. At a time when consumers have a plethora of deodorants conveniently designed for their use, eco-friendly sprays or roll-ons would come higher on our list; charcoal powder, not so much…