Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Natural Deordorent - The Pits or Worth It?

Hippie chick alert - this post is full of dripping wet tidbits about air pits, sweat, and deodorant.  Oh yes, I'm going to shave right through social norms and talk about body odor.  Get ready!

My tentative venture into the world of natural deodorant started because of a mole.  Tucked away in the crevice of my arm pit, this raised clump of cells has given me pause for thought lately as he appears to have grown a little larger.  He certainly wasn't that size when I was a kid, though I'm not putting too much stock into my memory.  

Couple that with my dad's recent run in with melanoma carcinoma (after years of hotly turning down sunscreen, might I add), I've been a little more mindful of my body's oddities. 

I've been a user of gel deodorant for years and never had any complaints.  But recently, my brand (Secret) started to burn a little when applying.  I switched to an unscented version and problem solved.  But it got me thinking about deodorants in general and whether there was a Mother Nature-approved version.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people who thinks an antiperspirant causes breast cancer.  However, I do think we humans would do well to lessen our chemical exposure in all areas.  What better place to start than a part of your body you voluntarily slather chemicals on every day?

If you've never looked at the ingredient list on your stick of Old Spice or Dove, you might be surprised to know it contains synthetic parfums, heavy metals such as aluminum, and preservatives called parabens.  Call me crazy, but if I don't want artificial ingredients in my food, then why do they exist in a product that's absorbed by my body?

Knowing how much more "natural" or "organic" products can cost at the store, I was skeptical that I could find a suitable replacement without breaking the bank.  I was pleasantly surprised that Walmart had a nice variety to offer at reasonable prices.

They carried natural sticks from brands like Tom's of Maine, Burt's Bees, and Arm & Hammer.  I was tempted, particularly when their prices were competitive with my original brand (ok, about 60 cents higher) .

But something else caught my attention - a deodorant crystal.  I'd read about these substitutes before and had been curious to try them.  They work by eliminating the bacteria that causes your pits to stink - sweat itself is odorless.  

For $2.39, the crystal stick would keep my underarms fresh for up to a year.  A pretty good value considering I spend $3.49 on deodorant every 2 months.

You just wet the crystal, apply to your pits thoroughly, and that's it.  I gotta say, this stuff works fairly decently.  No scents, no sticky residue, no white marks on shirts.

Having used an antiperspirant for so long, it's been weird actually sweating again under my arms.  Not buckets or enough to leave a mark, but there nonetheless.  

But I'm not fully sold.  Even after a normal day of working at a computer, I am ever so slightly pungent at the end of the day.  But that's really only noticeable when I shed my clothes for the night - it's not like Mike is starting to call me Pig Pen.

But I may not be so cool with that slight twinge in the nose come this summer, after an long night of dancing, at the end of a tradeshow, or while wearing a strapless top.  Since I've only been using the crystal for two weeks, I'm going to continue testing its performance, particularly as the weather gets warmer here.

And if you think I'm being pitiless with deodorant, rest assure that I'm carefully picking my way through the rest of my bathroom supplies for alternatives to soap, conditioner, body wash, shampoo, and tooth paste.  Thank goodness I don't wear makeup!

Are you concerned about chemical exposure?  What natural bath products have you tried?  Did they work or were they just overpriced experiments?   


  1. I don't sweat much and as such I rarely use anything under my arms. Not quite as much of a blessing as you may think living in the South as I now do, months on end in 90+ degrees and minimal sweating is miserable. But maybe the crystal dealie would work for my slight BO issues...

  2. Yuck, those temperatures sound miserable. I'd say the crystal is certainly worth a try, and at such a low price, it's pretty low risk. I am curious whether these products work well for men since, stereotypically, they are stinkier creatures ;)

  3. It's not really a "bath product" per-say but I've recently started making laundry soap. And of all the things that are packed full of chemicals that you don't really think about laundry soap/softeners have to top the list. It's rediculously easy to make the powder version, though the internet is full of ways to make it in a liquid form. AND it's super cheap. There's only 3 ingredients, borax, washing soda (different than baking soda!!), and a laundry bar soap called Fells Naptha.

    I just ran across this a few weeks ago and thought I'd give it a try. All the ingredients were easily found in the WalMart laundry isle near the stain pretreaters. All together they cost less than $10.

    Its super easy, 1 cup Fells Naptha (grated on the cheese grater) 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda. Mix it up well and you're done. Use 1TBS per load. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some soap-scent for less than $3 and mixed several squirts of that in with the powders so I get laundry that is not only clean, but also nice smelling!

    Like I said, I've been using this for 2 or 3 weeks now and have not noticed a bit of difference between this and the All Free and Clear that we've been using for the past few years. And let me tell you, 3 small children means stains ranging from grass/mud stains, to nose-bleeds, to OMG how did that much poo come out of a baby!!, and it's gotten everything out.

    Google "homemade laundry detergent" if your interested. It's all over the place. Almost shocking, really, that I hadn't run across this one earlier. Of course, I tend to avoid anything that has to do with laundry like the plauge, so perhaps it's not too surprising after all. :-)

    1. Wow, this is great Emma! Yes, I've been wanting to try homemade laundry detergent for a while; just haven't set up the time to test it out. While Mike is on deployment, I intend on squeezing every penny out of our budget and experimenting with these strategies. Thanks for the tip!!!

  4. Great post!

    I switched to the Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal a long time ago. It's 100% pure and natural plus does not contain the harmful aluminum or parabens found in conventional deodorants. The Boxed Crystal Stick is now at Walmart for $2.97, so that's less than a penny a day to keep me smelling fresh!