Making lifestyle changes as a result of a yoga practice is a great thing. We can be proud of our healthy diets, our amazingly soft skin and hair, and fight the urge to tell everyone we meet about them. But what we don’t want to do is advertise negatively. Being a crunchy hippie is one thing. Being a smelly hippie another. When I decided I wanted to stop using regular deodorant and switch to a more natural deodorant, I knew I had to be very careful. If I’m going to be an advocate for lifestyle change, I want to be a clean and nice smelling one!
First, the why. There are several reasons to consider switching from conventional deodorant to something more natural. For one thing, your skin is the largest organ of your body. Things you put on your skin are absorbed into your body, and can affect your cells and tissues. Some of the ingredients in conventional deodorant can clog pores and cause skin irritation, and others are potentially carcinogenic. Beyond health reasons are environmental factors. Not only does most deodorant come in plastic containers, which often end up in landfills, but there are also the manufacturing process and shipping of the products around the country to consider. Finally, the cost of using alternative products can often work out to be cheaper than using conventional.
I don’t want to smell completely natural (meaning sweaty), so I knew I needed to use something that would act like deodorant without being deodorant. After reading online about the success some people have had using baking soda to control their body odor, I felt I had to give it a try. I mixed equal amounts of baking soda and cornstarch, got a small powder puff (you can also use a clean makeup brush), and dabbed it on after a shower. By the end of the day, I definitely noticed that while not 100% shower fresh, I didn’t smell bad. I know this because in my relationship there is no shyness about telling the other that they smell!
Basically this baking soda and cornstarch principle works because baking soda naturally deodorizes (that’s why people keep open boxes in the fridge), and cornstarch acts as a light antiperspirant. It washes off easily, unlike my old, conventional deodorant, and if you get any on your clothes you can just brush it off. I have no idea how much money this will save me, because I have no way to measure the tiny amounts of powder I am using with each application. And again, other than the reusable container I keep the mix in, there’s no plastic involved to end up in a landfill when I run out.
If you try this, do be aware that different bodies produce different amounts of natural odor. While I use a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and cornstarch, another person might need to adjust that based on their own experience. Also, baking soda can be abrasive and irritating if you use too much. That’s another benefit to the cornstarch, which is very gentle on the skin. So if you shave under your arms, I’d recommend waiting a little while before applying the mix. Finally, if you like essential oils you could put a few drops in the mix which would give you a nice smell instead of the neutral smell of the mix by itself.
Although I’m still learning and adjusting, I have been so happy since I switched from conventional to alternative deodorant I want to do a little dance. How about you – do you use any deodorant alternatives?