Posted on February 23, 2012 by
If there’s one thing that gets a Greenist’s attention, it’s armpit talk. Do a search on this site for “deodorant” and you’ll get 20 posts that at least mention the word, most featuring intimate details.
Let’s make it 21. Blackjack!
The brave quest for inoffensive yet chemical-free and environmentally sound underarms almost seems like a right of passage for folks who already take their own bags to the supermarket and carry a reusable water bottle and are looking for the next step. But when it comes to B.O. as opposed to, say, shampoo or toothpaste, many people draw the line. I’ve gotten the sense over the years that there are a lot of people out there making their own yogurt and raising chickens in suburban coops yet steadfastly refusing to forgo the toxic cocktail they smear in their pits, because a hippie is one thing, but a smelly hippie is a whole different level of commitment and ostracism.
But we want to believe. Somewhere out there is a magical substance capable of leaving us smelling springtime-fresh with nary a paraben or aluminum chloride in sight, and it doesn’t come in a plastic container.
I’ll let you off the hook here: I haven’t found it. But I have found something that works for me. It’s not perfect, but I swear to you up and down that it has worked better than anything else I’ve ever slapped up in the dark, humid recesses ‘neath my shoulders. That doesn’t mean it will work for you, though. If there’s one thing I’ve learned on the quest it’s this: You are smellier than I.
Actually, the one thing is this: When it comes to pit stink, we’re all different and what works smashingly for one person leaves another smelling like a Yeti in a sauna.
My own Yeti-proofing goes like this: A mixture of baking soda and corn starch with a bit of commercial all-natural deodorant to help it stick.
I started off using straight baking soda applied to water-dampened underarms, which I believe was a trick recommended in this space by Allie. I could run five miles and still pass the sniff test, except my pits were getting seriously irritated. Looking into the issue, I discovered somewhere a suggestion to cut the baking soda with corn starch, like a drug dealer trying to get more mileage out of a kilo. I played with the ratio until I settled on roughly a fifty-fifty mix. Enough baking soda to knock out the funk, but not so much that it over-dries and irritates.
I already had a stick of Trader Joe’s unscented deodorant, which didn’t work for me at all on its own but is a great first layer to get the powder mixture to stick. Of course, the TJ stick comes in plastic, so I haven’t eliminated that, but I use very little of it so it goes a long way.
I keep my deodorant in a repurposed glass cinnamon shaker. When we traveled overseas last year I was a little concerned with how the TSA might interpret my white powdery substance in a container clearly marked as Private Selection Organic Cinnamon, which explains the label you see above, but suspicions were not raised, and I was able to visit the European continent dry and odorless as ever.
Anyone like to share their secret to pits you can be proud of?