The worst advertising is the kind that convinces you you have a problem you don't really have. It aims to make unhappy with what you have or who are when you would otherwise have been content.
Sometimes it seems to me like our society gets shaped more by the worst kinds of advertising than the best.
 By best and worst, I mean most beneficial to the person/people viewing the advertisement. An advertiser or deodorant executive would probably have a different opinion on the matter.
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Not that I disagree with you, I think that the mix of increased population density in cities combined with chemistry made it all but inevitable. But the cynic in me finds the idea of self propagating ad campaigns brilliant.
Certainly, the idea of what smells "good" and "bad" is subjective, but as history proves out, I think our societal aversion to odors is 1. deeply seeded and 2. probably practical - if you smell bad, you are likely dirty (and need to wash up)
Art thou angry with him whose armpits
stink ? art thou angry with him whose mouth
smells foul ? What good will this anger do
thee ? He has such a mouth, he has such arm-
pits: it is necessary that such an emanation
must come from such things: but the man has
reason, it will be said, and he is able, if he
takes pains, to discover wherein he offends; I
wish thee well of thy discovery. Well then,
and thou hast reason: by thy rational faculty
stir up his rational faculty; show him his error,
admonish him. For if he listens, thou wilt
cure him, and there is no need of anger.
It really is a problem, one people tried to solve long before we had modern advertising. Try going somewhere that deodorant hasn't really caught on yet (e.g. India).
The question is whether we would find it offensive if no one had told us that our body odor was repulsive.
I could honestly go either way on this. I've seen plenty of evidence that people's reaction to odors is quite context dependent. I remember someone ruining a popular brand of cheese-flavored chip at my old office when they realized that when you asked someone to smell of chip bag with their eyes closed (and without them knowing what you would put in front of them) they'd recoil in disgust. It turns out some kinds of cheese smells indistinguishably like vomit.
Come to think of it, why do teenagers like Facebook again?
In the same token, you should know that while other people might not detect your BO, I certainly can and will. But I won't mention it - I'll just get my desk moved to the other side of the office and generally try to avoid you entirely.
Just hope that people like me are never in a position to influence your life - because your BO can and will play a factor to those people.
The only times I've heard them complain about smelly BO was when everyone else could too and the person in question should have had wiggly smell lines draw around them if they were in a comic.
One of the problems I noticed when I decided to start using scent free products is that it is extraordinarily difficult to find deodorants or products that are truly scent free. I have found that even most of the ones marked as "scent free" or sensitive have a slight odor to them.
I'd rather people err on the side of not smelling like an armpit.
Asking your friends if you smell is like asking them if you're fat.
Good luck getting anything close to an honest answer, particularly when you clearly believe otherwise.
Just like the last time you encountered body odor or anything else annoying in public and immediately, openly confronted the person about it, exactly as you would have if they had approached and questioned you with a "doing an experiment disclaimer".
It's pretty typical for crass, frank, rudeness applied to on subject to be completely acceptable while speaking freely on another could easily end a friendship.
This "problem" is constructed and would not exist without a profit motive.
I am of the same opinion. It is also mostly an American or Western phenomenon. People in other countries, it seems, don't mind they way sweat smells as much, or at least don't consider it so offensive.
Or is it five hundred years? I forget.
You first have to raise the problem before you list your solution and benefits.
His full page ad: "Curve of a Woman’s Arm"
(If the above long link doesn't work, go to books.google.com and search for the book "The 100 Greatest Advertisements: Who Wrote Them and what They Did" - the ad is on page 30.)
Google books has a link button (6th icon from the left, looks like a chain link). It took me a while to spot it, even when looking for it.
You can purchase a mineral salt-rock crystal (it's a smooth solid peace of salt, about as cheap as it gets) "de-odorant" that you wet and apply, it leaves nothing behind except an undetectable amount of salt on the skin. That is ... no chemicals, no fragrances, nothing but salt.
That salt kills-off the bacteria that are responsible for odor (through various means, directly and indirectly).
After a week or two of this, you're done. Your sweat lessens, and becomes clear and odorless.
No more deodorant is required after this. Just shower and apply some soap to your skin.
The bigger story here is that advertisers have convinced you that their more expensive "formulas" are required, and there are no good alternatives.
Their products are specifically designed not to kill-off the bacteria, and hence to keep you purchasing the product.
They do this because you can't make money selling a $1 peace of salt-rock that lasts the customer a life-time.
The "rock crystal" you're using contains either potassium alum or ammonium alum, both of which are both chemicals (so for that matter is water and everything else).
And FYI, aluminium chlorohydrate (one of the "harsh chemicals" that Crystal-brand deodorant claims not to contain) is also a salt, and indeed used in water purification just like the alums. I believe that aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly is also a salt (or rather contains a salt), but I'm not certain.
All the major antiperspirants and deodorants are aluminum-based.
> After a week or two of this, you're done. Your sweat lessens, and becomes clear and odorless.
> No more deodorant is required after this. Just shower and apply some soap to your skin.
This is not a claim that Crystal makes. They specifically indicate that their rock lasts about a year. They don't even claim that it has antiperspirant qualities, just deodorant qualities.
There is no magic salt that you can rub on your skin for a week that stops you from sweating and smelling indefinitely.
> Their products are specifically designed not to kill the bacteria, and hence to keep you purchasing the product.
This is ridiculous conspiracy theory. Their products are designed to stop people from smelling. No one is sitting around twisting their mustache and creating deodorants and antiperspirants that specifically protect underarm bacteria.
You're also covered in bacteria. Even if Crystal managed to kill all the bacteria under your arms, it would be back the next day. If sanitizing your underarms was sufficient to get rid of odor and sweat indefinitely, then a big iodine swab would do the job faster and even cheaper.
They make several claims.
It's also a claim I've made based on personal experience with both "mineral salt crystals" (alum - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alum) and regular deodorant, and knowing the ingredients in both and how those ingredients affect bacteria.
> even if Crystal managed to kill all the bacteria under your arms, it would be back the next day.
One killed off all odor causing bacteria after a few weeks (I no longer have to use it, maybe once a week). The other just kept it masked even after YEARS of use. I'll let you guess which one that was.
> No one is sitting around twisting their mustache and creating deodorants and antiperspirants that specifically protect underarm bacteria.
No, they just don't put the same amount of alum in their products to make it effective. Their game is to mask the odor, and not to prevent it from happening again. LTV of customer is the #1 metric in business.
> a big iodine swab would do the job faster and even cheaper.
Never tried it. But if it works for you, use it.
But notably not that one. And their claims specifically contradict yours.
> It's also a claim I've made based on personal experience with both "mineral salt crystals" (alum - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alum) and regular deodorant, and knowing the ingredients in both and how those ingredients affect bacteria.
You can make whatever claims you want. That doesn't make them valid. Lots of people have "personal experiences" with homeopathic medicine and are convinced of its efficacy. That doesn't mean they're correct.
I also question how much you actually know about how the ingredients in various deodorants affect bacteria.
> One killed off all odor causing bacteria after a few weeks (I no longer have to use it, maybe once a week).
No, it didn't. Are you really under the belief that those "odor causing bacteria" existed only on your armpits? That they don't exist on the skin around your armpits, or you know, all over your body? That they couldn't and wouldn't simply spread back to your armpits if you managed to kill them off there?
I also hate to break the news to you, but there's a pretty good chance that you're smelly and just don't know it, because over the course of "a few weeks", you trained yourself not to notice it.
> No, they just don't put the same amount of alum in their products to make it effective.
Many of them don't use alum at all, because other ingredients are known to work better, especially for people who also want antiperspirant effects.
> Their game is to mask the odor
Masking the odor would mean covering up. Alum, aluminium chlorohydrate, and aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly don't have any significant smell of their own. Indeed, you can buy unscented deodorants from the major manufacturers, and they are exactly as effective as the scented ones.
> with homeopathic medicine and are convinced of its efficacy. That doesn't mean they're correct.
I don't see how that's even remotely a valid comparison. There is nothing homeopathic about alum crystals.
> That they couldn't and wouldn't simply spread back to your armpits if you managed to kill them off there?
Then why didn't they spread and colonize the next day, as you have claimed they would? Ohh, you've already explained that away.
My skin is not my armpits. The other areas don't have the same temperature, humidity, and sweat. Those areas don't have and breed bacteria like armpits do. And it takes time for the bacteria to spread, multiply, and get below the surface. Once you've eliminated an area, it's going to be a while, regardless of the small amounts of bacteria on other areas.
> Indeed, you can buy unscented deodorants from the major manufacturers, and they are exactly as effective as the scented ones.
I have no idea what you're trying to convince me of. That I'm a crazy homeopathic guy with no sense of smell, covered in massive colonies of armpit-smelling highly-mobile bacteria that spreads like a fire? You might as well claim I'm a paid shill for the product.
No, I'm saying that your claims are so outlandish that even the manufacturers of alum rocks don't support them.
> I don't see how that's even remotely a valid comparison. There is nothing homeopathic about alum crystals.
Maybe it'd be clearer if I used the word placebo.
> Then why didn't they spread and colonize the next day, as you have claimed they would? Ohh, you've already explained that away.
They do, which is why a good scrubbing with antibacterial soap doesn't make them disappear forever.
> My skin is not my armpits. The other areas don't have the same temperature, humidity, and sweat. Those areas don't have and breed bacteria like armpits do. And it takes time for the bacteria to spread, multiply, and get below the surface. Once you've eliminated an area, it's going to be a while, regardless of the small amounts of bacteria on other areas.
You drastically underestimate how much bacteria is on the rest of your body, and how quickly those bacteria spread and multiply.
Potassium alum is an astringent/styptic and antiseptic. For this reason, it can be used as a natural deodorant by inhibiting the growth of the bacteria responsible for body odor.
How Does Crystal Body Deodorant Work? Odor is caused by bacteria that form on the body. Natural mineral salts form a barrier on the skin that creates a very unfriendly environment for these bacteria.
> You drastically underestimate...
All I have to say is try it for yourself.
Unless you think you're an expert on under-arm bacteria and odor... Which is odd concidering you work for Microsoft.
A friend of mine was raving about the crystal ("smell my armpits, they are odorless", etc etc) so I tried it....after a few days, voila, odors gone. I'll start smelling some by noon the next day if I don't shower, but otherwise I'm good.
Placebo you say...well, it's a damn good one, because it has fooled not only me, but my close friends who always used to playfully razz me.
However, it seems not to work for everyone, or at least, some people I know who've tried it say it didn't work for them.
If you use it in the morning and it makes you smell better for the rest of the day, then yes, that's the expected effect (and I'm happy that it works for you). If you use it for a couple of weeks and then think you're smell- and sweat-free for years, then you're delusional.
There are a couple of sentences that I didn't do a very good job with delivering here, but you're reading into it too much.
I don't claim that 1) it has any type of significant antiperspirant effect (just that it did seem to help a little via perhaps a secondary effect) and 2) it has long term effects after you completely stop using it (just that now I don't need to use it as consistently as before).
Maybe I was a bit overzealous delivering some of that in a few posts here.
My only real claim is that it works for me, and others, better than the regular stuff.
You should try it.
> After a week or two of this, you're done. Your sweat lessens, and becomes clear and odorless.
> No more deodorant is required after this. Just shower and apply some soap to your skin.
You're quite clear in claiming that after a few weeks of the salt rock, you don't need to use it, or any other.
That said, I use this stuff too because my armpit skin is sensitive to certain deodorants and gets red and itchy if I use them. So I switch to the crystal brand for a few weeks, and it works, but it definitely does not confer any more effect than any other deodorant. I have to apply it daily, like any other.
Personally, I don't need to use the alum-salts anymore. Once the bacteria is "gone" (okay... reduced to the lower, natural levels), it's just a matter of using soap and nothing else for me. It's a sign of good health, but your results may vary.
The notion that bacteria #s comes back (in a few days) to the same over-realized levels that you've grown over the previous 20+ years is ridiculous. You have natural balanced levels and types, that get augmented over time via lack of proper management.
Once you kill off the extras, those #s get back to lower natural levels which are manageable by other means (soap during shower). As long as you manage those #s, they stay leveled.
Maybe we're just different. Maybe we're in different environments. Etc.
They do. Armpits are smelly because the sweat glands there excrete bacterial nutrients designed to feed smelly bacteria. Aluminum compounds plug the outlet of the sweat glands, choking off the supply of nutrients. The plugs last for days.
> Once you've eliminated an area, it's going to be a while, regardless of the small amounts of bacteria on other areas.
The other areas have 1 million bacteria per square centimeter that are easily spread, and a population doubling time of around 20 minutes in a favorable area like a damp armpit. Run the numbers on geometric growth at that rate. Even if you reduce bacterial density by 99.99%, they will be back in a few hours.
My suspicion is that you just aren't prone to sweat very much, or can't smell yourself. Did you notice that the salt rock itself smells bad once you've ever used it, whereas sticks don't?
I'm willing to concede the possibility that it works as you describe for you, but your experience isn't universal. It didn't work that way at all for me; I went back to mostly using the sticks because the salt rock didn't work very well.
Though when you say "just shower and apply some soap to your skin", that could work if you were using a deodorant soap. :-)
Never. You would always put it under a stream before (to moisten up a layer) and after you use it (to clean it). And only after you've showered and washed with soap first.
It sounds to me like people are not using it correctly and consistently, are mixing it with regular deodorant, or have very extensive bacterial colonies on skin and transdermally.
AKA no true Scotsman. You are doing a great job of speaking in patterns used by advocates of homeopathy and spiritualism.
Similar, claims of does not work under all conditions are not the hallmark of a true Scotsman fallacy, otherwise tylenol should be considered homeopathy and spiritualism, since it doesn't work for certain types of pain, or certain levels of pain.
Incorrect accusations of fallacy indicate personal vendetta. What is your problem?
Non sequitur/strawman/slippery slope.
What is your problem?
Did you read the rest of the thread? I'll concede that my specific quotation does not, in isolation, appear to be a "No True Scotsmen" fallacy, but considered with the rest of the crystalline deodorant alternative thread, and with spritualist arguments in the form of "It doesn't work if you have unrepented sin/if you don't pray hard enough/maybe you need to fast longer/maybe it's just not God's will", my comment makes more sense.
You might be confusing that I've said you have to do 1, 2, 3 while using this product, for random, mystical, steps.
The reason you wash up first is because the alum salts have no effect on the odor substances/chemicals already on your skin (and what permeated below the surface).
The reason you use the product consistently is because it takes time for the salts to kill-off the bacteria (to permeate in and below the skin) and to help eliminate the odor.
The reason you don't use regular deodorant while you use this is because it just makes it so much harder for it to make the proper and consistent contact with the skin.
The reason why it doesn't work so quickly if the person has massive bacteria colonies, or dosn't give it a proper go, etc, well, you should be able to figure that one out yourself.
At no point is spirituality, god, or homeopathy claimed here.
You can read about alum salts on wikipedia.
They are already an ingredient in the deodorants that you use, and have known effects.
With one of these "crystals", mineral rocks, stones, whatever you want to call it, you're getting the above in it's more potent amount.
Nope. Not a non-sequitur because it also fits the themes of:
a) items which must be used as directed otherwise results are lessened or negated, b) affect bacteria in relation to the human body and c) could be claimed as magic/voodoo by your exact argument.
Not a strawman, because most other medical chemicals must be used as directed, and are not dismissed as homeopathy as a result of this. Your argument must be taken as given, not as you wish it to be applied.
Not a slippery slope, because I am not arguing we must take tylenol and antibiotics to be homeopathy if this crystaline deodorant is also homeopathy, nor am I arguing cascading results of one declaration of the other. A comparison of like things does not constitute a slippery slope.
* What is your problem?
Again, no - and ad hominem attack would be for me to state "you have a problem with the deodorant, therefore your statements are wrong or untrustworthy". I did nothing of the sort. I merely asked why you have a problem with the stuff after otherwise dismantling your argument.
Did you read the rest of the thread? I'll concede that my specific quotation does not, in isolation, appear to be a "No True Scotsmen" fallacy, but considered with the rest of the crystalline deodorant alternative thread, and with spritualist arguments in the form of "It doesn't work if you have unrepented sin/if you don't pray hard enough/maybe you need to fast longer/maybe it's just not God's will", my comment makes more sense
By my reading the rest of the thread is by many other commenters, some state the stuff works for them, some state it doesn't. Some claim you have to use it right, and without things that are claimed to be confounding. They aren't religious arguments, they may be incorrect arguments, I don't have the understanding of it. Some commenters seem to be a bit more hand-wavey than others. Some simply state they only get results when the salts are applied to clean skin, and in absence of other product, and may take a couple weeks to become effective. That seems reasonable to me for a number of reasons.
Some of the claims that seem overzealous such as "never needs to be applied again" are a bit much, but that same guy later says "never needs to be applied again, maybe once a week". Such a statement could be religious addling, or could be the result of a non-native English speaker having a problem with correct phrasing or translating an idiom.
Point being, your claims are unwarranted, and are fairly judgmental in a way that is more "anti homeopathy/religious" than anything that is fact based. Your claims of religiosity only really work if you twist some of the stuff said hard, and pretend multiple posters are one person.
Funny, you never hear about people using regular ol' conspiracy deodorant incorrectly.
I don't have a preference for any brand (it's all the same) but here is what I have now: http://www.thecrystal.com/
You should be able to buy these in any good organic food and health store.
BTW, you wrote "Your sweat lessens" with this product, but it does not. The FAQ stresses that it does not reduce sweat. "Crystal is not an antiperspirant. It is a deodorant ... Deodorants are generally considered cosmetic product because they simply control odor."
The answer is absolutely yes. They admit that it contains an alum, but don't specify which one. The "it's all natural because it's a salt" angle is BS, because aluminum chlorohydrate is also a salt.
Though it's probably just 1 in a mixture of many salts.
Even if regular deodorant has this listed as an ingredient, it's quantity is questionable, and it's mixed in with other substances that prevent the alum from making full contact on the surface of the skin.
> Your sweat lessens" with this product, but it does not. The FAQ stresses that it does not reduce sweat.
It does a bit. But not to a significant effect. It's probably a secondary effect (clean pores, less sweat ... something like that).
Will be trying this. Less for the "all-natural" aspect than the annoying masking scents they put in standard deodorants that I can smell on myself.
I also shave my underarms, which probably helps -- less surface area for bacteria to grow and sweat dries faster. If I'm wearing a tight shirt, I'll sometimes use baby powder in case I sweat, but in general it hasn't been a problem.
I bike to work occasionally, but usually change my shirt and wipe the sweat off with an alcohol wet-wipe. That helps as well.
Also, natural fibers are your friend! I will get stinky if I wear a polyester or rayon shirt all day, but that happens even if I wear normal deodorant.
And there is no reason to sell a 1 usd stone. You can properly sell it for 50.
They still don't smell nice, but they don't seem to notice it.
On a more conventional note, while we're recommending deodorants, this is hands down the best I have ever used: http://www.amazon.com/MenScience-12031-Advanced-Deodorant-2-...
That is the only deodorant I've ever encountered which can last me through 4 hours of chatting in a hot stuffy bar, which was truly a revelation to me, silly as that may sound. No association with the product other than as a customer.
Your preferred brand can't either, they sell it for $7.
(Duhigg is a NYT writer and that piece about how Target knew that a girl was pregnant before her father did was an excerpt from this book)
When I saw the HN headline I thought it might be referring to Febreze, a product that Duhigg devotes a chapter to. The sales strategy wasn't about convincing people that they stunk, but pitching Febreze as a product that you used after you cleaned a room, to associate it with the "reward" of a clean room.
Duhigg's book also touches on how Pepsodent became a breakthrough product partly because an ad-man convinced Americans they needed to battle the film that naturally covers their teeth.
Another that comes to mind is bottled water. When soft drink company profits were declining, someone had the brilliant idea of just selling water. How would they get people to be gullible enough to buy rebottled tap water, though?
By telling people tap water was bad. It worked, very well.
When I buy bottled water today, I want an unflavored drink that is healthy. In my view, what I am actually paying for is not water. I am paying for a disposable bottle, convenience, and usually cold. That's why I pay extra for the sport bottles with the better top. There was probably latent demand for this, but people didn't know they actually wanted it. In general, at least in the US, because of the abundance created over the last 30 years through the production of cheap manufactured goods and innumerable process improvements, people are more willing to pay for things they never would have before.
And also, I am glad they succeeded in selling deodorant. It is definitely a quality of life improvement, as I notice when I visit places where deodorant usage is not prevalent. I generally don't view marketing as adversarial like many people though. If something exists that will improve my life, I want to know about it.
Now I live near Madison, Wisconsin, and I realized recently that my current filter has been in use for more than a year and it filters water just as quickly as the day I started using it. I contacted PUR to see if there might be something wrong with my dispenser, but the rep suggested that my city's water must be very clean.
So I learned that some cities have water that is much cleaner than others.
When I moved to Edinburgh from a small town in Moray that got its water from the Spey I thought Edinburgh tap water tasted disgusting.
Even when I moved back, I still hated the taste of tap water, and am now moving over to bottled water as regardless of anything else, it tastes so much better, therefore I drink more, which is good for me. Its disgraceful that I have to do this, but that's another argument.
[NB I can remember by father saying the water supply comes from the Spey - no idea whether this is true or not! Certainly tastes pretty good compared to most water supplies.]
So we buy filtered water in bulk (refill multi-gallon jugs). There are also filters you can put on the tap. I think it's wasteful to buy bottled water, so I avoid it.
Around the same time as some of these advertisements started, indoor plumbing was becoming popular. Until then it wasn't really practical to bathe every day.
Additionally, odor didn't matter as much if you worked on a farm, but urbanization meant Americans spent more time indoors in close proximity, where smell was more of a problem.
I'd be more concerned about circumcision, if you want to question social mores, since it's a much more permanent and painful cut than the surrounding hair.
For the "jungle down", I think shaving it make boys and girls look like prepubescent kids, or some kid of caricature of kids. When I said weird I meant it because presence of pubic hair has been for a long time the marker of the beginning of sexual life.
It's funny; I moved out before Viagra came to market, and didn't watch much any commercial TV. Of course, I was bombarded, like everyone else, with spam and other online advertisements for viagra.
But yeah, the first time I saw a viagra ad on television, I was visiting my parents, and I couldn't stop laughing. I mean, this was something advertised in spam, and thus something linked in my mind to dubious 'penis enlargement' pills, girls who "saw my profile online" and 419 scams. Not the sort of thing you expect to see on broadcast television. (I'm not casting aspersions on viagra the drug... just the marketing I had been exposed to associated it, in my mind, with dramatically... less legitimate products.)
But yeah; I'm looking at ridiculous meatspace advertising opportunities for my own company (which targets technically skilled customers) and TV isn't even on the radar.
Now, if Netflix could figure out how to advertise things other than movies without pissing off their customer base? that'd be pretty great. I'd buy space on the inside of the DVD envelopes where they push other movies, if I could geographically target tightly enough, and if I could afford it.
The other interesting thing, I think, is that to a non-tv watcher, viagra, is inexorably linked to poorly-done scams and obviously-fake drugs. Because of how this product was marketed to me, I associate it with illegitimate and dangerous products. It seems there is an advertising lesson in that, as well, though I'm not sure what the lesson would be.
That's true, but I believe the pharma ads started because of a change in regulatory restrictions that allowed them to advertise.
If the demographics were different, cash-rich pharma would probably still use a ton of air time, it would just be ads for different target markets. Acne medications, ADHD meds, anti-depressants, smoking cessation drugs, etc.
Doesn't sound like they had to convince anyone they smelled bad, just that there was a new, more effective way to prevent it.
edit: My bad, read on and actually to an extent the headline is correct, so I withdraw my complaint.
Lets see some marketers do some good in the world, get them to realize that BO smells bad, a gallon of perfume/cologne smells bad and BO and a gallon of perfume/cologne together makes you smell worse.
I think the condition of "halitosis" was similarly invented.
On the other hand, a safety razor will last you a lifetime, replacement blades have been standardized for close to a century and even the "premium" brands cost less than $0.15/blade. A nice quality safety razor and wetshaving set can be had for about the price of 6 months of cartridge razor replacement blades, and beyond that, you can probably buy a lifetime supply of safety razor blades for around $200. Shaving cream will cost you about the same either way, so it's not a factor.
The convenience of a modern razor, including the fact that it's much easier to learn, makes it worthwhile. Everybody on HN is always talking about how they simplify their lives by throwing away everything except their macbook and a few day's worth of clothes or whatever; I think for most people the simplicity and ease of a disposable razor and a can of shaving cream beats saving a few bucks a year.
It is the main factor. The prime reason wet-shaving works so well is the preparation (hot towel, lather), not the razor.
I'm writing from my own experience.
Guess even the name has a subtle meaning, be fair "and" you become lovely :)