How do we develop our daily living consumable tastes? I have no idea. But I’ve been using Ban-brand antiperspirant for as long as I can remember, the unscented variety, as I’ve no wish to smell like “fresh cotton” or “satin breeze,” two of their other varieties. Here’s a photo I took in a Boston hotel in 2012 showing it as part of my gels-and-fluids collection in my luggage, along with toothpaste, hand sanitizer, gold printing ink and lip balm.

Photo of 5 liquids and gels: toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, printing ink, lip balm.

I’ve had difficulty locating Ban Unscented for the last year or so: sometimes it’s available a Sobeys or Shoppers Drug Mart and sometimes it’s not, and, more often than not, if it is available it’s only in “powder fresh” scent.

Ban is a brand of the Japan-based multinational Kao Corporation, which also owns other familiar brands like Curel, Biore, and Jergens. In other words, it’s not a small-batch artisanal deodorant maker.

Last I decided to get to the bottom of the apparent Ban ban on PEI and used the contact form on the Ban website to send a query. The initial response, an automated one, was curious for its inclusion of this mystical incantation:

In addition, please be advised that for increased efficiency, we use message preview panes that allow us to read your message without actually opening it.  If you track how your messages are handled, you may get a message that states that your message was deleted without being read.  Due to how we operate, the tracking message will not be accurate.  You can be confident that we read all correspondence that we receive.

Including that smacks of a “someone thought we deleted their email before we read it — get through to legal and make sure we’re protected!!” exchange at corporate. Regardless, this morning came the reply:

We are sorry that you are having difficulty locating our product.

Our products are now sold online only through and

Unfortunately, we are not able to sell directly to consumers due to licensing issues.

We hope this information is useful and we look forward to your continued interest in our products.

Sure enough, Amazon sells Ban Unscented for $8.17/container, and Walmart sells it for $3.98/container.

Has it come to this? Must I really go to Walmart for my deodorant?


Kathryn's picture
Kathryn on January 19, 2021 - 17:03 Permalink

Perhaps it is time to investigate options. Personally, I just get whatever is on sale (and gives Air Miles or PC Optimum points as a bonus if possible). At $3.98 as a regular Walmart price, you should be able to find several satisfactory choices to test. Great that they were able to respond with an actual useful answer.

Clark's picture
Clark on January 20, 2021 - 13:03 Permalink

Try Schmidt's Natural Deodorant. It's available locally.

elmine's picture
elmine on January 20, 2021 - 16:11 Permalink

All North-American brands are unfamiliar to me so no advice from Europe, but just want to say that I love the fact you travel with letter press ink in your bag.

Signe Andersen's picture
Signe Andersen on January 21, 2021 - 06:13 Permalink

Imagining early morning mix-up of toothpaste and letterpress ink.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on January 22, 2021 - 12:41 Permalink

My brand is Aarid Extra Dry. It has also disappeared from shelves far and wide. When I was in Arizona a year ago (escaped just before Covid started spreading widely) I went to several drug stores in search and was able to find a few years' supply; however, at one store, it was a clear-out as they were discontinuing. This is not limited to deodorant. In the category of canned beans, I am a devoted Graves brand buyer. At Sobey's, Heinz dominates the section and Graves has been relegated to a few columns on the very bottom shelf. Corporate consolidation and shelf space buying power are having a sizeable impact.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 22, 2021 - 14:50 Permalink

Grocery shelf space is a weird, weird world. I remember working with a PEI brand many years ago that planned to take their locally-produced product into the retail grocery market, and found that they simply couldn’t afford the pay-to-play fees the big chains required to get any exposure/traction.

At Sobeys I find it odd that there are certain brands–Unico comes to mind–that have their very own section, often disconnected from the natural home for their constituent products, and in a different aisle. I suppose they’re trying to telegraph, by position “there are commodity olives, and then there are Unico olives.”