What I Learned from Quitting Deodorant

 2011 November 8
by jessica mullen   15 Comments 

sure

I stopped using shampoo almost two years ago and never looked back (shampoo strips your hair of oil, which causes your scalp to overproduce oil, making you need to shampoo to remove the oil!). I wanted to see if deodorant was a similar hygiene scam, so I stopped wearing it about a month ago. I still use plenty of soap and most of the time I smell great. Occasionally I am pretty repulsed by the smell of my sweat, and I began to wonder what that meant vibrationally.

What does it feel like to smell bad? To me it feels stressful. A couple nights ago I realized I only smell when I’m under pressure, and that must be significant. In fact, it’s a blessed indicator that I’m stressed out and I should chill my thoughts out.

Covering up body odor with deodorant is a way to mask a symptom. Remember those “Sure! Unsure!” deodorant commercials? They were about hiding the fact that you’re stressed and sweaty so people would think you’ve got it together. But why cover up the stress when you can remove it at the root?

Our bodies do the things they do to help us know what’s going on in our heads. Body odor is an indicator of stress, which is an indicator of negative thoughts. Stop the negative thoughts, stop the stress, stop the smell. Perhaps that’s not as easy as swiping one’s pits with chemicals, but it’s definitely more rewarding.

So while I work on destressing, anyone have any good deodorant alternatives? ;]



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  1. Ayanna Kafi permalink
    November 8, 2011

    Cornstarch is always a good place to start. Soaks up all of the moisture and doesn’t have to be reapplied that often. LUSH makes a natural deodorant that you might want to read up on: http://lushusa.com/shop/products/body/deodorants/aromaco

    I’m shampoo and conditioner free as well and have just gone cold turkey on the hair creams and moisturizers. I’m using only baking soda, apple cider vinegar and olive oil for now. Cooking up my beauty and hygiene products makes me feel more connected to the entire process. I also think that I look and smell much better when there aren’t so many chemicals sitting on my skin. I found the deodorant recipe (below) but have yet to try it. Report back if you make a batch.

    Homemade Natural Deodorant

    Ingredients:
    5-6 Tbsp Coconut oil
    1/4 cup baking soda
    1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

    Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder. Then slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon until it maintains the substance you desire. It should be about the same texture as the store bought kind, solid but able to be applied easily. You can either scoop this into your old dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. After applying the product, you can just rub the remains into your hands as a lotion! This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

  2. November 8, 2011

    Thank you Ayanna! You are awesome! And the LUSH bar looks great!

  3. Pete Steadman permalink
    November 8, 2011

    Hi Jessica! I have had luck using deodorant crystals like this http://www.amazon.com/Thai-Deodorant-Stone-Natural-Crystal/dp/B000S83JR0/ref=pd_sim_hpc_1

    You can find them at most natural food stores along with whatever natural non-chemical soaps you may need, and they last forever. It isn’t quite the same as traditional deodorant, but seems to work better than the days when I just raw-dog it with my armpits. Perhaps it is just a piece of mind from rubbing something under there, but at least it isn’t a bunch of weird heavy metal particulates.

  4. Mar permalink
    November 8, 2011

    do you think i can replace the coconut oil for coconut butter?

  5. November 8, 2011

    First of all: I thoroughly <3 this post, lol.

    I've used "natural" deodorants in the past and have been very happy with them, assuming my stress level stays low (like you mentioned).

    The most readily available one that I've seen and, consequently, the one I use the most of is http://www.tomsofmaine.com/products. Walgreens usually has it. :)

    In my current lifestyle though I stick to prescription-grade men's deodorant. XD Maybe that means I should make some changes. ;) hahaha

  6. November 8, 2011

    Hi Pete! So nice to hear from you! Thanks for the suggestion!

    And thank you Ace for the suggestion too!! I love y’all so much!

    Haha well I’m raw-doggin it until I go to Walgreens or Whole Foods or make my own, I’m also wondering how much massive amounts of espresso affect the smell :P

  7. November 8, 2011

    love this post!
    i must admit i’ve never tried it, but i’ve been thinking about it: you can use scented oils (lavender, sandalwood, rose, whatever) as “deodorant”. it doesn’t stop you from sweating, but whatever sweat is produced smells like whatever you’ve been rubbing in your armpits! :D

    i really want to try to go shampoo-free, as well. i just have hugely tangled hair, so idk what to do about conditioning.

  8. November 8, 2011

    I stopped wearing deodorant a year ago (unless it’s REALLY hot and I know I’m gonna sweat), and when I do it’s degree (no aluminum oxide in it). I don’t know if I can go without shampoo (when I was younger I did use soap)

  9. November 9, 2011

    I love that commercial.

  10. November 9, 2011

    I’m with Pete Steadman!

    I stopped wearing deodorant about 3 years ago when I started dating an engineer who didn’t wear deodorant. Here was someone totally rational and not smelly (which to me gave him great credibility) who was totally into hippy dippy crystal deodorant. For a present he bought me one (and a bike helmet, this was the start of a history of practical gifts).

    I was totally sold almost immediately. It doesn’t prevent you from sweating, it just helps you be less rank if you do. I actually like the way that sweat smells, and supposedly sweat contains sexy sexy pheromones. I personally love when my lover smells like a PERSON instead of a freaky chemical.

  11. November 11, 2011

    It’s not really the deodorant that’s an issue as much as antiperspirant. Antiperspirant clogs your pores with aluminum to keep you from sweating. Sweating is important because it releases toxins, so you’re also keeping all that bad stuff stuck in you by blocking it.

    I use Tom’s deodorant (that Ace mentioned) in lemongrass. It doesn’t have any aluminum, it’s not an antiperspirant, and it’s not made of chemicals. Plus, I’ve found the lemongrass is a strong enough and pleasant enough smell to last a low-key day.

    Smelliness is something I’ve always struggled with, and I really like your take on it. I’ve recently given up conditioner but I don’t know if I could do shampoo, my hair gets really nasty after a week without it. I’m currently using a more natural, sulfate-free shampoo we found at the store. What do you do? Does the greasiness go away eventually if you just quit?

  12. Ayanna Kafi permalink
    November 11, 2011

    To the Jessica who’s worried about hair: I (non)shampoo my hair with a baking soda and water mix (1 tablespoon of baking soda per cup of hot water) and (non)condition with an apple cider vinegar mix (4 cups of HOT water, ¾ cup of vinegar, A bit of fresh rosemary,1 bag of chai or your favorite smelling tea). I generally prepare these both on the stove. The non-poo is ready in minutes. The non-ditioner I like to make at least a day in advance so the rosemary can steep as much as possible.

    When I started using these concoctions on my hair, it got super oily for about 2 weeks before everything calmed down. If you try non-poo, I suggest to test it out in a time that isn’t heavy on interaction with strangers. It might take a second for you to get used to having all of your natural oils remain in your hair.

  13. Jayanthi K permalink
    November 11, 2011

    I really really enjoyed this post and all that you guys had to say. I grew up in India and I dont remember using shampoo till I reached college. Shampoo was always an emergency thing. We used natural products like soap nuts which my Mom powdered at home with a lot of other natural stuff. Shampoo was always considered evil :) If you ever complained abt hair fall the 1st thing people will say is stop uing shampoo. Same with deo. It was never even available in the market till 15 or 20 yrs ago. Having grown up using all natural products I am now englufed in all these chemicals. I understand the importance of not using them. I just need to start paying more attention and eliminate as much as I can. Thank guys :)

  14. November 11, 2011

    Jessica, I agree with Ayanna’s shampoo advice. I definitely used the baking soda shampoo & apple cider vinegar conditioner for a long time. Over time I had to use it less and less. I would use it now only if I felt like my hair was actually dirty.

    Oh and I just mix them in the shower, I don’t heat them. The rosemary is a great idea!

    Thank you for all the suggestions everyone!

  15. November 28, 2012

    I tried this deodorant. It works and doesnt stop you sweating. It just stops the smell.
    http://www.frescanatural.com.au

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