Cancer is almost always at the forefront of my mind. It preys on my consciousness, multiplying every fear I have of aluminum, tobacco, hair dye, cell phones, Teflon, talcum powder, parabens, and, of course, the sun, among other things.
As our exposure to environmental toxins increases, our chance of eventually falling victim to some form of cancer also grows. This influences the majority of my decisions regarding the products I buy and the foods I eat. Yes, I admit; fear drives many of my daily decisions.
The Internet has a funny effect on people with my form of neurosis. Each published article has the potential of exacerbating an idea that is not wholly accurate, blurring the lines of reality, which brings me to the crux of this piece: The aluminum in deodorant hasn’t been proven to cause cancer. Really, it hasn’t. However, the eternal skeptic/neurotic in me is still pretty certain it may cause cancer.
So naturally, it’s frightening for a cancer-fearing consumer like myself to walk down the personal care aisle of any store that sells deodorant. Shelves upon shelves are lined with products that promise dryness and promote confidence under the guise of brightly colored vessels containing myriad scent options. This brings me to my next point of concern: What is the deal with ambiguous deodorant scent names? I’m pretty sure I’d prefer not to smell like denim or an ocean breeze. Moreover, what exactly does it mean to smell “mountain fresh”? Behind the vibrant packaging design of these products, however, lurks a complex assortment of chemicals that are often difficult to pronounce and even more difficult to define in terms of practical purpose.
This has led me on a pilgrimage to find the paragon of natural deodorant in the confidence-shattering world of organic antiperspirants, which are typically found on the very bottom shelf, far away from their chemically infused counterparts. I’ve tried them all, from the widely used Tom’s of Maine (which doesn’t work) to the elusive Real Purity (which I found in a moment of desperation through an Amazon search for off-the-grid natural deodorants). One particularly noteworthy mention is the Crystal Body deodorant stick, which is basically a rock that needs to be saturated with water before you apply it, and when you do, it feels just as you’d expect, like you’re stroking your underarms with a wet rock, the antiperspirant benefits of which remain to be seen. Needless to say, I was often left disappointed, dejected, and, most importantly, less than fresh.
Why did I put myself through this painstaking process? Perhaps it was just an irrational fear of chemicals over a fear of cancer. Either way, I finally found something that works, contains only four (or five) ingredients, and doesn’t leave an embarrassing wake of offensive odors wherever you go. In fact, this is so good that even my husband, who is more cynical than I am, swears by it. Additionally, the recipe is simple, cost-effective, and lasting. Who knows? It may even restore your confidence and remedy velociraptor syndrome, which is when you walk around all day with your arms tightly affixed to your sides in order to mask unsightly pit stains.
The Best DIY Natural Deodorant
Combine equal parts baking soda (Bob’s Red Mill is a reliable brand), coconut oil (be sure that the coconut oil is unrefined and organic), cocoa butter, and cornstarch into a smooth paste. I typically use two tablespoons of each, but you could vary it depending upon how large of a batch you’d like to have on hand. The final step of adding an essential oil is optional if you’d like to have a fragrance. I’ve recently used just a few drops of lemon essential oil in mine because I like the citrus scent.
The deodorant applies like a lotion and will absorb into your skin as such. Be sure to store it in a cool, dry place.
With your brand-new natural deodorant in hand, you can feel confident enough to conquer the world, or just simply make it through the day without feeling the need to discreetly sniff your underarms at various intervals. You’ll also enjoy all of the benefits of commercial deodorants with a lower-priced alternative that doesn’t contain so many potentially harmful ingredients.
Don’t forget to tell your friends. The whole world deserves to smell this good!
Do you use a natural deodorant?
Also in Natural Beauty: DIY Tamanu Oil Serum
Photo: Angela Miller