I got thinking recently about what happens to my beauty products when they “sink in.” Now, the answer, which you need not be a science wiz to conclude, is that they go into your body. To exactly what degree various chemicals get through the pores seems to be up for much feverish internet debate. But to be honest, when looking at the ingredients on my lotion, the idea that any percentage of those things absorbed into my face freaked me out. I took a look at what was in that stuff and wondered if it would be considered ingestible in the traditional sense of the word. Most of the products had warnings, hotline numbers and medical instructions in case of such an event, so my answer, clearly, is a resounding no.
I began investigating what natural choices I could make that would not involve ugly, awkward words such as isodecyl neopentanoate. My goal was to try to use only beauty products that I could eat. Actually eat. Sure, it might induce a troubling gag reflex, but you could take a lick of baking soda infused with olive oil and be no worse for wear.
One of the first things I was interested in experimenting with was deodorant. There is lots of info available online if you are interested in learning more about the ingredients in traditional deodorants/antiperspirants. The National Cancer Institute offers some info about aluminum. Basically, the aluminum creates a temporary plug that blocks the sweat from coming out your pores, giving your deodorant it’s antiperspirant properties. Because of the close proximity of the breasts, some have suggested aluminum can cause estrogen-type hormonal effects on the body and estrogen has the ability to increase the growth of the cells connected to breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute says there is nothing concrete in the research, in fact, the studies can be downright annoying with all the conflicting findings. However, I do feel comfortable concluding that "aluminum pit plugs" sound kind of sickening. I would just rather be safe than sorry. I have lost friends to breast cancer, it’s not something I care to mess around with. I love my boobs.
I first tried “natural” deodorants (without antiperspirants) from several different companies. One caused alarming pit peeling; my skin came off in sheets. Not really sure what that was about. The others just didn’t…well…work. I tried going without deodorant at all and while most of the time that was fine, sometimes a girl wants a little stench fighter. Primarily when Husband mentioned I smelled “earthy.”
I started searching around and was introduced to – cue the angels singing and glorious light from the heavens – coconut oil. This stuff is awesome. Not only is it fantastic for a bunch of different uses, from dry hair to stir-fry, but it is fun. It has a melting point of 75 degrees, so you are never quite sure what you are going to get from it. In the fridge it is a hard block you can chip sharp shards from. Depending on the temperature in your home, it can be soft and silly-putty-like or a milky oil slick. It’s versatile and refuses to be defined as liquid or solid and I respect that. It is edible, silky smooth and smells like vacation and I don’t know what else I am looking for in a product.
Add baking soda (it absorbs odor in the fridge, why not in your armpits?) and corn starch (for some wetness protection) to the glorious coconut oil and voila, a deodorant you could eat if you were really really hungry and had no textural aversion to a combination of gritty and creamy.
Here are the concoction ratios
1/4 cup of corn starch
1/4 cup of baking soda
5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil
(I prefer the extra virgin unrefined coconut oil because it retains a bunch of the goodies - including the yummy coconut smell- that are processed out otherwise. The refined coconut oil is practically scent-free, if you’re not going for that Eau de Honolulu.)
Mix ‘em up. Warm the oil up if it is in shard-form for easier combining. If you are looking for pretty smelling, rather than just reek-free, add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil. Apply a pea sized amount. If you have a distaste for rubbing your armpits, some have chosen to place the concoction in an old deodorant stick. But I just get in there and rub.
So, I have freed aluminum from my life and rather enjoy the looks I get from people when I tell them I make my own deodorant. It works better and longer than even the conventional products I used to use. The one difference however, is that even though it does contain the corn starch, there is still some wetness. This is not an antiperspirant so you are still going to sweat, but the smell is completely managed. This, for me, is a fine trade off for something that is chemical-free. I am not a dog and can not sweat through my tongue, therefore, I am a-ok with my body cooling itself in the manner intended. I would just rather not stink the place out while that happens and my little homemade concoction succeeds in that regard.
And this stuff holds up like a trooper through Bikram yoga (yeah, that’s the one that’s 90 minutes in a 105 degree room) so you can go ahead and consider me an expert in this one, very specific and very random area.
For more from Lisa, check out www.justherejustnow.com