The summer heat this year has been intense, and with heat, comes sweating. And for most of us, from about the age of twelve or so, with sweating, comes stink.
Nobody likes to smell stinky.
In order to ward of stinking, most people wear deodorant. This is not a bad thing, given the previous statement. Nobody likes to smell stinky, and I may also add that nobody likes to smell stink. It goes both ways.
But have you ever read the ingredients on your standard stick of deodorant? It’s scary. Almost as scary as stinking.
Fear not, friends. There are better ways to ward of stink. First, a word on sweating and body odor.
Sweating is a healthy and natural function of our body, and stopping it through the use of harsh chemicals that absorbed into the body through the skin just seems a bit, um, icky. Even ickier than stinking. After not using antiperspirants for some time, I honestly can’t recall why in the world I ever thought they were necessary. Sweating is normal. Let it happen. You will not, in most normal cases, end up with large sweat circles under your arms.
Next, if you think that you have excessive stinkiness, you might want to consider if you’ve been drinking enough water. Sweat is one way that our bodies can detoxify, and if you aren’t flushing waste out of your body by drinking enough water, it is possible that your sweat might become a bit potent. Coffee, black and green tea, pop, and other caffeinated drinks do more to dehydrate you because of their diuretic properties, so if you drink those (but please don’t tell me if you drink pop), fill up on water a bit more generously. Before you look to cover up a symptom, always try to find the cause.
When it comes to natural deodorants, there really are many options to choose from. Some are more costly, and some are quite inexpensive. If you are new to natural deodorants, you might have to do some trial and error until you find what you like.
- Baking Soda: This is what we use at our house. I started using just baking soda under my arms when I was tired of buying more expensive natural deodorants, but hadn’t gotten around to making my own from one of the many available recipes. We’ve found that it works just fine for us. I just get two fingertips slightly wet, tap them onto the baking soda, and gently rub it under my arms. As a lady, you definitely want to do this gently after shaving, or you might be in for an unpleasant sting. Some find that it burns after shaving, though I haven’t had that trouble. If that is the case for you, you might want to try something different. I’ve always thought it would be nice to mix an essential oil, like tea tree or lavender, into the baking soda that we use as deodorant. I haven’t done it yet, though, so if you try it, let me know what you think!
- Purchased Natural deodorants: There are many brands of traditional stick deodorants that also stick to more natural ingredients. Tom’s, J/A/S/O/N, and Nature’s Gate are a few options. If you are interested in an option like this, check major stores like Target or Wal-Mart, both of which are now carrying a larger selection of natural personal care products. Vitacost is also a great place to find products like these at a discount.
- Mineral Salt Sticks: These look like big sticks of crystal or salt in a plastic deodorant tube. The thought is that they naturally keep bacteria at bay, thus preventing odor. I haven’t used them myself, but have had friends who did. They are more expensive, but are supposed to last quite a while. Crystal is one well-known brand, and it available at their own website, from Vitacost, and also through many other local and online stores.
- Homemade Recipes: Lots of naturally-minded and frugal ladies have found that homemade deodorants are inexpensive, nontoxic, and easy to make. I haven’t made any of these myself, but you might be interested in trying out one or more of these recipes. One of the most common is simply a mixture of 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup corn starch or arrowroot powder (Arrowroot powder is an edible starch that adds nutritious to food, while also not being genetically modified. Either will work fine here, but if you use corn starch, opt for a GMO-free brand.) and 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil. The oil is antimicrobial, helping keep bacteria in check; the baking soda naturally kills odors; and the arrowroot or corn starch help with sweat without clogging pores. Keeper of the Home shares a great solid stick deodorant recipe that sounds like it would be perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to get their fingers messy with a paste deodorant. Andrea Fabry from momsAWARE also shares a recipe on her blog for a powder deodorant that works wonders with a teenage son. If it works for a teenage son… I’m thinking it’s a keeper!
Do you use any of the options above, or perhaps something else that you’d like to share? Chime in!