Fresh as a daisy, that's the way we gals are told we ought to smell! What makes me laugh is that we equate this fresh, naturally occurring smell to the variety of scents found in our local drugstore deodorant aisle. These conventional sticks smell great, with scents like Tahitian vanilla, or exotic coconut. The problem with these deodorants is that they have some questionable ingredients that we apply to our skin, our largest organ, and then absorb.
EWG's Skin Deep database has a comprehensive list of products with ratings for how toxic they are, what ingredients are in them, and an explanation of each ingredient. I use this database to search all of the products I use. It’s helpful to understand what ingredients to look for when switching to low tox products.
A key ingredient I’m looking to avoid in deodorant is aluminum which is found in antiperspirant. Aluminum gets absorbed into our bloodstream and tissues. Chemicals found in the body cannot be broken down or digested, so they pose a threat as they build up. Other harmful ingredients are triclosan, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol and fragrance. You can look each of these ingredients up on the Skin Deep database for an in-depth review of how toxic they are.
Today I wanted to talk to you about deodorant because this was one of the hardest things for me to change. I loved my stick deodorant, I didn't want to give it up. But, when you spend as much time as I do researching ingredients, I knew I had to make a change.
Deodorant is one of those items that we are used to buying at the grocery store, so making the switch to something less conventional can be daunting, it was for me. I waited until the stick I used had nothing left, then I went for it. I started by giving my pits a week long break to expel all of the chemicals it had been exposed to for years. You’re suppose to give it about two weeks, but, I couldn’t wait, I was stinky!
The first deodorant I ever made came from the blog Going Zero Waste. I was hesitant to make DIY recipes that have coconut or other oils in them, because I heard they leave oil stains from sweating. I used a small empty spray bottle I had and threw the recipe together, I was impressed. As someone who once obsessively applied a white chemical stick to my pits, this seemed to do the trick! However, it was a temporary solution. The spray bottle quickly became jammed with salt, and needed cleaning often, it wasn’t my ideal solution long term.
Determined not to go back to the chemical options, I kept searching. Then I came across Meow Meow Tweet. Their baking soda free deodorant comes in a little glass jar and spreads on my pits smoothly, while also smelling like fresh grapefruit (hello, better than a daisy!) I love this deodorant! In doing research for chemical free brands, I came across this adorable comapny. Transparent about their awesome ingredients, mostly organic, cruelty free and fair trade, they are an ethical company dream come true! I quickly ordered their baking soda free deodorant cream, exhausted from making my own, and this one comes in an adorable glass jar, no plastic here. Meow Meow Tweet is a company I feel great about supporting.
I still wanted something more, however. I’m a fairly active person and I find that one the days I walk about three miles or more I need to reapply it to stay fresh. It’s applied with your fingers, which I realize is not for everyone, but I don’t mind. I do find I have to be careful when applying it under clothes, so it doesn't get on the fabric, though it does wash out. I wanted to keep doing research to perfect my deodorant routine, that's when I watched Kate Arnells video about her daily routine. Kate uses baking soda on her pits and claimed it worked great. Why hadn’t I thought of that! I gave it a try, and was totally hooked! It’s very cost effective, and keeps odor at bay all day.
Getting into the groove of a low tox deodorant routine has taken me since July to figure out. Now I have a small jar of baking soda in my bathroom with a makeup poof I had never used in it, that I use to apply the baking soda to my underarms (think of powdering your nose, but your armpits instead). On days when I’m walking or moving a lot and need extra protection, I keep the Meow Meow Tweet jar in my day bag to freshen up. It’s the perfect routine for me!
As a blogger and low tox researcher, I still want to try Schmidt's deodorant. I’ve heard endless good things about Schmidt's, and their stick comes conventionally packaged so it’s great for people who don’t want to rub baking soda on their pits!
Living a low tox life does not mean you have to smell bad, you just have to be willing to be creative and try something new. Since embarking on a low tox journey I feel less in the dark about what’s going on my body, and that makes me feel even more nourished by my routine. What have been your trials and errors in natural beauty? I definitely had a few afternoons of stink in the trial and error process. If you want to see pictures of my zero waste deodorant checkout my instagram!