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Natural Hair and Skin Care Tutorial 2010-01-19 08:00:49

The Natural, Week 4: Adios, Antiperspirant

Hi! I'm just one week away from having been natural for a full month, and a ton has changed since I started. If you want to see what beauty recipes I'm using now and see how a cheek and lip stain made of cherries looks, just check out my mid-week post from a few days ago.

Since then, everybody's been on deck at Sugar HQ for all the award shows we've been covering. This week, I kept my goals simple: go antiperspirant-free for the first time ever. It's been an enlightening and sweaty experience, and if you're considering switching I've got  a few tips. I'm also getting ready to make a couple of new makeup recipes, and I'm really excited for them. To find out what I've done and what I'll be doing, just keep reading.

This week, I gave up antiperspirant for the first time in my life and replaced it with tea tree oil and baking soda. I know there are a lot of natural deodorants out there, many of which I'm sure are great, but I wanted the least expensive and most natural possible, and both of these options came reader recommended. I find that they both deodorize well, but they also have their drawbacks, and neither one of them stops you from sweating, so if you've got a big presentation or a hot date, I'd say hold off.


The tea tree oil smells very clean, but it stung going on, and I experienced some underarm redness from it. As far as lasting power goes, it held up well for hours, but then I went for a walk, and when I got back and took off my coat the house was filled with a pungent tea tree and B.O. melange that brought back memories of junior high gym class. I'm torn because it lasted a long time and the initial scent was good, but I'd be pretty embarrassed if I was on the elliptical and it just stopped working.

For the next couple of days, I dusted baking soda under my arms. This one eats odor really well, but it gets on clothes, so I either need to wait a while to let it sink in, put it on the evening before, or avoid pulling any dark-colored clothing over it. It lasted really well and was gentle on my skin, though it did get a little crusty at the end of the day. It also initially absorbed sweat, but it didn't stop it for long.

As a control, I went without any kind of deodorizer for a day. The difference, honestly, wasn't enormous, but I could tell at the end of the day, and that's when it really counts.

As for the makeup I'll be cooking up this week, readers Ishyy and Little Pepper (who also told me about her fab sea salt spray) both have awesome cosmetics recipes that could make me say goodbye to store-bought stuff forever. Ishyy's is a family recipe that uses a mamey (aka sapote) or avocado pit to make mascara. I'm still drying the pit, per the recipe, so we'll have to wait a few days for this one.

Little Pepper tipped me off to a great eyeliner recipe that uses nothing but a single almond and a spoon. I'm doing this one tonight, so stay tuned for pics in the next couple days.

Join The Conversation
kharanya kharanya 7 years
You could also check out Tom of Maine's Crystal Confidence 24hr deodorant. I developed congested, swollen lymph glands from antiperspirant (was using Secret Clinical at the time) and had to completely using anything for a week (yuck, thank God I was home). Since then, I've been unable to tolerate any chemical deodorant, so I've been trying many natural deodorants. First thing I tried was the crystal stick (solid natural alum salts in a tube) and it works ok, but only lasts 6 hours and that's if you're careful not to sweat too much, plus it was a bit annoying to apply. If you miss a single spot, that's it, protection compromised. I also tried baking soda, but that burned my underarms horribly. I've tried both the stick from Tom of Maines and the roll-on (crystal confidant 24hr) and the roll-on is far superior. The ingredients are better, you don't need to apply as much (it only takes a minute if so much to dry) and it works for a good 12-24 hours even working out! I still use the crystal stick when I'm home, but on really hot days, Tom's 24hr is my best friend.
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 7 years
I learned the hard way when I converted to natural deodorant. It's not for when you have a hot date, a nice sweater, or anything that has to be dry cleaned. :( Otherwise, I love crystal deodorant. :) Good luck w/ your new endeavors. I'm curious about this avocado pit...
JeanneLo JeanneLo 7 years
I tried a stone called Alun stone and stops the perspiration. I found that in Morocco... I dont' know where to find it in the US. Any idea
ClassicalTorture ClassicalTorture 7 years
For those who use the baking soda/corn starch/coconut oil method, how does this affect your clothing? I've had a lot of trouble with deodorant stains on clothes throughout all different brands that I've used. Does the homemade method seem to cake under your sleeves at all, or leave any greasy marks?
Little-Pepper Little-Pepper 7 years
I guess antiperspirants are good as they are easy to use, (let's say after a shower in the morning) and you don't have to worry about reapplying too much, til the next time you shower and you just get used to this lazy option, and I also wonder if the skin gets a little bit addicted to it. Natural options, or aluminium free deodorants, are just something we would have to worry about throughout the day, wash your skin, reapply, etc.. I guess this is what keeps some of us away from the natural options. I wonder if antiperspirants cause any serious skin problems other than irritation or darkening, and I wonder if it's worth going all 'natural' and going through all the hustle. I am sure if someone investigated it we would have a better view on this, because - to be honest - I cannot justify and I simply don't know! also, I guess everybody is different and different natural products will have different effects...
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
I had to stop using antiperspirants because I would break out and my pits would darken. So far I am having a tenuous success with these vegans deodorants. I think you tried some of those already.
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 7 years
Try lemons for armpits. People who had money in the 1800's used those. I guess it helps. Rose water sounds good too!
LuniaFloria LuniaFloria 7 years
Bella, you look fantastic without makeup! I don't think (for the sake of those around me) I could do the no antiperspirant thing. Here in the Sunshine State, the weather is a little erratic even in the winter... it can get pretty warm and the humidity never leaves. :D Also, I like a lot of outdoorsy stuff... and unfortunately, the old saying "Ladies don't sweat, they perspire" doesn't hold true for me. I've been enjoying these articles and am looking forward to the eyeliner and mascara recipes.
oni1 oni1 7 years
when i foolishly burned my armpits by over exfoliating i couldn't wear deodorant for several days so i would cover them with coconut oil. also tried shea butter. it helped block odor, but i can't recall if it helped with perspiration.
kittyhawk78 kittyhawk78 7 years
Kudos for going natural! I've gone without deodorants or anti-perspirants for years now. I live in a tropical country and my chemical makeup makes me sweat a lot. I used to be dependent on Secret for the sweat control but they made my pits very dark (again, Asian skin problem: pigments heavily). So I stopped deodorants altogether and choose my wardrobe carefully. I still use Secret once in a while when there's a resurgence of BO or when I'm going to an important meeting and I need to wear formal clothes. I keep alcohol wipes in my purse, using them to wipe up if I catch a smelly whiff. One other popular deodorant used in the Philippines is tawas (TAH-wahs) crystals. My Aussie boyfriend buys them from Perth in a tube much like the regular commercial deodorants, though in third-world Philippines, tawas comes in chips of rock. They look like raw crystals literally. You smoothen the surfaces with water and rub it on after a shower while skin is still damp. I'm not sure it's available in that form in the US. I don't use tawas any more though. My rule of thumb: make sure bacteria can't flourish in the area. This keeps the BO in check. Also means I wax regularly. I mean, it's summer all year round here and sleeveless tank tops are a staple. It's worked well for me for over 5 years and I hope there's something you can use from this post.
any any 7 years
gummibears, i try that one too AND it left my skin so irritated!! and i couldn't use any deodorant, cause everything make me sweat!! have to start using drysol, twice a week, like for a month, then the problem stop! now i have been using cream secret deodorant! no IRRITATION/BURN OR SWEATING LIKE A PIG SENSATION! :D
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
I read somewhere that rubbing a lemon or lime helps with the odor because the acids makes it inhospitable for the bacteria to thrive. If you try that, please let us know.
hooligan hooligan 7 years
I use Kiehl's Deodorant/Anti-perspirant. It is more natural than store brands, doesn't mark up my clothes, kills the B.O.!
debstar75 debstar75 7 years
Try one of Arm & Hammer's deodorants--they contain baking soda, and are easier to apply! Plus, they were only about $2.50 the last time I checked at the grocery store. I can also recommend Kiss My Face crystal roll-ons, they're a little pricier but really work.
adrian44 adrian44 7 years
these are great posts - been enjoying it every week!
weffie weffie 7 years
"I'm still drying the pit," haha you're so punny :)
any any 7 years
woaaaa thanx bella! i once try "not to use deodorant" thing, but unfor Panamanian weather ITS TERRIBLE! i try the baking soda and it BURN MY ARMPITS!! :( i couldn't wear any ANY deodorant brand, for a week!! it was awful thank good i wasnt either working or at college!
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