When a friend told me you can buy pads for your underarms to absorb sweat, I thought he was joking. I pictured nappy-like lumps wedged into armpits – uncomfortable, unnecessary and a pure disaster in terms of aesthetics. But after trying them out for myself – think pantyliner for your pits – I’d have to say they’re no bad thing to have handy for the right occasion.
Jane McTernan (26), from Newbridge, first came up with the idea for an adhesive underarm pad when she would have been grateful for a couple herself. She was on her way to meet up with a friend on a warm day when she realised her fitted, light orange top was tainted with growing sweat stains.
“I decided to put tissues under my arms,” says McTernan. “After a short distance, the tissues had fallen out. I tried again and the same thing happened. It was so frustrating.” She searched for such a product in shops and online, but couldn’t find anything that came close. So, she decided to invent something herself.
Two years later, in August 2014, McTernan launched MONDSS Underarm Wear – discreet, flexible, adhesive pads that can be worn with or without deodorant. Each 10-piece box is available exclusively online through mondss.com for €9.99.
“The box is specifically designed to be small enough to fit through an average post box, so people won’t have to collect it in the post office after ordering online,” says McTernan, a speech and language therapist who has “always been an entrepreneur at heart”.
And the name? “I got the idea for the name from a funny saying my grandmother in Gorey had years ago, which was that ‘women don’t sweat, they sparkle’, so diamonds came to mind.”
Reluctant, but game, I gave them a go – and it turns out they work. As promised, they lock in odour, absorb sweat, protect your clothes from sweat marks and they definitely adhere to the skin.
To my surprise, they weren’t uncomfortable. When I first applied them, I was convinced I wouldn’t last the hour without ripping them off, but I quickly forgot they were there and happily wore them for the rest of the day. And they’re discreet under sleeves.
So they work, but are they practical? That depends. For everyday use, probably not, even when you put aside the expense. They claim to be suitable for sensitive skin, but given the strength of the adhesive and the gentle tugging I had to do to remove them, I wouldn’t be confident that any skin could cope with daily use.
Then there’s the routine of it all – having to remove them at the end of each day, along with adhesive residue, is kind of a nuisance.
Plus, the adhesive’s list of ingredients is unavailable, so there’s no knowing exactly what you’re putting on your skin.
That said, they’re great for special occasions, job interviews or times when you may need to get multiple wears out of your clothes or to protect clothes that are difficult or expensive to clean.
McTernan’s customers include “business women, brides, Irish dancers, people who wear fake tan ... and people who suffer from hyperhidrosis [excessive sweating].”