You know all of those articles that quote doctors who claim that using antiperspirants with aluminum won't cause breast cancer? I don't believe them. I mean, 50 years ago, no one thought cigarettes caused lung cancer. We coat our bodies with all manner of chemicals—chemicals we would never eat, by the way—and expect that they won't be absorbed through our skin? As someone whose family has been affected by breast cancer, I'm not taking any chances. In my quest for dry, pleasant-smelling armpits, I've tried nearly every natural deodorant on the market, from that crazy crystal crap they sell at Whole Foods (emphasis on crap) to the fancy stuff they sell at Sephora. Some brands have given me horrible rashes, some have made me smell like Indian food, some have—I swear—made me sweat even more. After over a year of experimentation, I've finally landed on a formula. No, it's not as easy as swiping yourself with a stick of Degree, nor is it perfect. But it works for me, so here's how to do it.
Step 1: Dust your pits with talc. This is the most important step, because talc absorbs moisture, and let's face it, you are going to perspire at least a little bit (or, like now, a lot). Without it, you're just going to have damp pits that smell like hippie deodorant. My talc of choice is Vanilla Puff Powder Dusting Powder from LUSH Cosmetics. (I used to hate this store because the scent of it can be nearly overwhelming, but they really have a lot of great products, most of which are vegan, free of nasty chemicals, and not tested on animals.) I sprinkle it on a washcloth, then swat myself. I also dab my lady bits and below my boobs, because I sweat there too—sorry if that was too much information, but let's be real, this is a post about B.O.
Weleda Wild Rose deodorant spray, which also comes in citrus and sage scents. I like the scent, the lasting power is really good for natural deodorant (if I'm going out or to the gym, I usually give myself another spray around 6 p.m.), and the formula doesn't irritate me. I feel like the spray dries a lot faster than roll-on or stick versions; it complements the talc quite well. Weleda products are a little pricey, but the bottle lasts a long time (I do four sprays in each pit), and it's glass, which is much better for the environment. Win-win!
As I said, this isn't a foolproof technique; on super-humid days like today, you may smell a bit ripe by the end of the day. But for the most part, it works, and I at least feel better that I'm not slathering myself with potentially hazardous chemicals. Well, except when I get my hair colored, but one step at a time, right?