Typically female: Judith Springer not only has a PhD, also she is a lawyer and studied culture and media management. And hold on – she worked as a curator for ten years. Did we forget to mention that she is also a yoga teacher and a mother of two children? Well, here you are. But the funny thing is, that this isn’t what we want to talk about. Because on top of that she is the founder of Fine. An aromatic deodorant without aluminium, made of organic ingredients, so pure that you can actually eat it. Although Judith herself doesn’t recommend it – probably she would prefer pizza. She always had a more intense relation to odours than other people: When she was a little child she could smell the pizza around the corner. We talked with her about odours and emotions, childhood memories and the smell of paradise.
Judith, when did you notice that you have a more intense relation to odours than other people?
My parents often told me a story when I was about two years old. At that time we lived in Rome and when we were on the streets I suddenly was telling them „Smells like pizza!“ – and in fact the pizzeria was right around the corner. I have so many scent-memories from my childhood, it is like a photo album to me. But I guess a lot of people do have something like that. I really love that, once I smell that scent everything is back in a second. You know that odours are directly connected to your emotions and do not pass the thinking part of the brain first – to put it simply.
What would say: a blessing or a curse?
Well, that is really difficult to say. Sometimes I am in the underground and I have to inhale in my scarf because I am close to throwing up or feel totally uneasy. But I love that burst various scents can give you, it is very satisfactory in a way. I avoid some people because I do not like the way they smell. Also I do not like cheap artificial scents – that often come in big clouds on people. I change wagons or seats on the train. We had a discussion with our housekeeper lately which uses a perfume that makes me sick, and she uses a lot. It is a really sensitive topic and hard to get people to use at least less in your presence. And by the way I am a big fan of that wonderful Norwegian artist Sissel Tolaas, who is known for her work with odours!
After all these stages in your life you wanted to create a deodorant. Why?
It was never planned, it just happened. And I still work my other jobs. Fine just came into my life, unexpectedly. I was looking for a good natural deodorant for years when I came upon some American brands which worked very well. But I was not happy about their smell, consistency or design. A dear friend of mine suggested to make my own, which, that is what she said, is very easy. So I started cooking in my kitchen and showed the results to friends. They were all very happy about it. Okay then, I decided to make it official. When a student of my Yoga class asked me for a one-on-one class and I told her that I was not allowed to take money – at that time I was still in training –, I suggested to swap what we were doing as she is a graphic designer. And what she did for Fine was so super professionally looking that it immediately imagined a real brand I had never foreseen. So I just went along. Soon I realised that cooking it myself was not an option for me so I found a very good producer that optimised the recipe and created the scent together with me. That was just perfect.
Why a deodorant and not a perfume or something else connected to odours?
Fine firstly prevents bad odours – that is the most important, to let people really smell of themselves – not bacteria work – and second it gives a nice subtle scent which to my opinion does not linger too long. It was never my idea to create something that was already on the market. It did not feel the urge to create a perfume because I did not miss one really.
“I was looking for a good natural deodorant for years. A dear friend of mine suggested to make my own. So I started cooking in my kitchen and showed the results to friends. They were all very happy about it. Then I decided to make it official”
The Name is „Fine“, the italian word for end. On the brown little glass can it says: „La fine della preocupazione; la fine del sudore; giungere alla fine del libro; la fine di ogni illusione; scolare la bottiglia fino alla fine.; Alla fine, finalmente.“ The end of preoccupation; the end of sweat; to reach the end of the book, the end of each illusion, to poor out the bottle until the end. To the end, finally – why fine?
Fine preliminary puts an end to your search for a good efficient deodorant, and an end to smelling bad. Pause. And it is really not the end of sweat, as sweating is healthy but the end to stink because of sweat. But first of all end of worries, you do not have to be preoccupied with thoughts like „oh, my god. Do I stink? Does somebody smell that?“.
And why Italian?
I have a very original connection to Italian – just remember the pizza smelling experience I told you – actually now that I am thinking of it, Italy was the country where I made my first smell memories. So coming back to that makes sense. But the truth is, it is because of the name Fine. When I was on the look for a good name I asked my husband whether he might have a good suggestion. You have to know that he is the type of guy that talks a lot when you only prefer short information and is very monosyllabic when you want more information or like to talk about something. One of his most favourite words is the German word „Fein“, which means good, great. So, when asking him for a name suggestion he just replied „Fein“, which was not really an answer to my question. But I just decided to take him by the word, and „Fein“ sounds like the English „fine“ which was too simple as a name. So I decided to take the Italian word, which is written alike but sounds different. But it is of course intended that both meaning are present: end and wonderful, beautiful and good.
What’s in it?
As I am for transparency you can of course read all the ingredients on the website. All the essential oils are listed there and explained with all the good they do in Fine. Fine is mainly containing good natural plant derived oils such as cocoa and Shea butter and coconut oil. A fine selection of essential oils and baking soda to guarantee no stink. The secret is really more how all this is mixed together and made so smooth and long lasting. Thanks to my producer who worked hard on finding the perfect combination and recipe.
“Always have a look at the ingredient’s list of the beauty products you use, I would always suggest only to use products where you understand this list fully. Less is more!”
Why is it good to use Fine and not another deodorant?
As aluminium salts are said to trigger Alzheimer and breast cancer it is strongly advised not to use them, and the good news is that Fine is preventing stink the same way as these anti-transpirants do. Also it helps you stay healthy and is even good for your skin. Fine’s ingredients are food grade, you can eat it, if you like – but I would not recommend it because it does not taste really nice. Always have a look at the ingredient’s list of the beauty products you use, I would always suggest only to use products where you understand this list fully. Less is more!
Which odours trigger particular experiences in your personal life?
That is really funny, in fact. When I was young my friend and I used to go to Wertheim on Tauentzin here in Berlin and I went on sniffing on things my parents would not buy me. I loved the smell of Mochichis and these gel pens. Lately I bought my kids a Monchichi and I realised that they changed the scent. Too bad! Also the smell of Patchouli and Ylang Ylang always bring up the memory of me being a teenager and listing to The Doors and Nirvana. Especially Ylang Ylang, which I cannot use anymore because of that strong connection. And as thinking of scents in my past life the cologne of my Latin teacher comes to my mind. I would recognise it in millions. I once had a very interesting experience: When I lived in Cologne I was preparing for my law exams and I was sitting in the repetition course everyday together with 80 people. In front of me, about eight meters away there was this guy sitting, whom I admired from far away for some time. At one point we happened to meet on the bus, so he was suddenly 30 cm away and I could smell him the first time. And it was repellent. My fling was over in a second.
“Paradise smells like my kid’s hair when they were babies, the smell of my skin after a day with sun and beach, freshly baked cake and bread and freshly ground coffee”
That’s funny. It’s not for nothing that there is a German saying “einander gut riechen können”, literally meaning to smell each other well, which is to like each other. So talking about perfumes. Which one should get a price for being the most marvellous?
My favourites change constantly. I remember starting with Minotaure by Paloma Picasso when I was a teenager. A top favourite was Chaos by Donna Karan which was discontinued unfortunately, later it was Black Cashmere also by Donna Karan. I like Oud smells, so now I have Idole by Lubin in my drawer, but I use it only on rare occasions because it is quite intense. Then I generally have a favour for many of the Comme des Garçons perfumes. For example I loved Hinoki – a cooperation with Monocle Magazine. But there is not the perfect perfume to me.
Which perfume do you wear at the moment?
I am right now in the phase of using less perfume than before. Although this is quite wide spread right now. I love Molecule 1 by Geza Schön and use it every other day.
Talking about odours: How does the paradise smell in your imagination?
My kid’s hair when they were babies, the smell of my skin after a day with sun and beach, freshly baked cake and bread and freshly ground coffee.
Like old men, which is the most horrible everyday scent I can think of. And like plasticiser.
Are you planning on expanding your product line?
There will be a new citrus like scent coming probably end of March and soon to follow a version without scent and with a different active ingredient for baking soda sensitive people. And I also work on a bunch of medicinal products together with a friend, but this is still in the creative phase.
That sounds great, keep us informed about your future projects. And good luck!