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In a past life, I worked as a receptionist at a tony private school for girls. The office was down the hall from the Grade 6 classroom and on warm days, we would all suddenly be aware that many of these girls were still learning the ins and outs of wearing deodorant. Crossing into the realm of adult hygiene is a critical rite of passage. Updating regular grooming routines such as taking showers instead of baths and using products such as deodorant can be a tricky experience to navigate – and let’s be real, no one wants to hear that they smell.

I contacted Nikita Stanley and Aleksandra Jassem, founders of the parenting site The Rebel Mamas and authors of the new book The Rebel Mama’s Handbook for (Cool) Moms, for their tips on personal hygiene for kids including how to stick to those new hygiene habits. “We’re coming to realize that our kids learn more from observing us than they do from our actual attempts at teaching them things,” they wrote in an e-mail. “Maybe all we can really do is try our best to model healthy habits and hope that our kids will one day regard things like hygiene – and generally taking pride in one’s personal space and outward appearance – as adult non-negotiables.”

Ask a grownup, you trust to take you deodorant shopping and lean on their years of masking wetness and scent to help you pick out your own. Many of the suggestions here leave out the nasty elements found in harsh antiperspirants. The sooner you learn that you don’t need to risk your health for vanity, the better.

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What to try

Available in Fresh Cucumber and Soft Rose, these aluminum-, butane- and paraben-free deodorants are air-propelled to a light mist that leaves no residue behind.

J­ason Dry Spray Deodorant, $15 at grocery stores and through well.ca.

These travel-friendly roll-ons use plant-rich formulas that don’t block pores. Available in Pomegranate, Citrus and Men varieties, they’re also easy to apply.

Weleda 24H Roll-On Deodorant, $7.50 at Whole Foods, natural stores and through well.ca.

This mix of plant oils and mineral powders comes in a push-up paper tube that’s biodegradable and is available in Eucalyptus Lemon, Lavender Bergamot and Grapefruit.

Meow Meow Tweet Tweet Grapefruit Baking Soda Free Deodorant Stick, $27 through thedetoxmarket.ca.

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