Stores stock a variety of deodorants and antiperspirants, but if you’re concerned about the health or environmental effects of using such products, there are alternatives. While some people are worried about common deodorant chemicals like parabens, formaldehyde and triclosan, most concerns focus on aluminum, the ingredient in antiperspirant that blocks pores and fights wetness. Aluminum is rumored to be linked to breast cancer and other diseases; however, the National Cancer Institute says this research is inconclusive. In addition to these potential health risks, aluminum mining is also destructive and polluting. If you’re thinking twice about putting such ingredients on your body, check out these natural deodorant alternatives.
1. Natural deodorants
If you're looking for a more natural deodorant, there are a variety of options available. Deodorant stones are large, smooth crystals of potassium aluminum sulfate that must be wetted and applied like a regular deodorant stick. The difference between potassium alum and aluminum chlorohydrate, according to natural health proponents, is that potassium alum is a much larger molecule that's not thought to be absorbable through skin. However, if you want to completely eliminate aluminum from your armpits, there are many natural deodorants on the market. Burt's Bees, JASON, Trader Joe's, Kiss My Face and several other companies all offer aluminum-free deodorant sticks.
2. Baking soda and cornstarch
Using baking soda as a deodorant is a simple way to combat body odor without subjecting your pits to a variety of chemicals. Try mixing 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda with a little bit of water — don't dissolve it — and rub it under your arms. You can also create a baking soda and cornstarch mix to fight odor and help prevent wetness. Simply mix one part baking soda with six parts cornstarch and dust a little on your underarms.
3. Lemon juice
Never underestimate the power of a lemon. (Photo: electric.porcupine/flickr)
The citric acid in lemon juice can kill odor-causing bacteria, and there are people who swear by the lemon deodorizing method. Jennifer Palmer, chief executive of an organic skincare line, told The New York Times that she swipes her armpits with a sliced lemon on a daily basis. Just be sure not to apply lemon juice to recently shaven armpits — ouch!
4. Rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is another inexpensive and easy deodorant that kills odor-causing bacteria. Simply fill a spray bottle with alcohol and spritz your underarms with it. You can even add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to give it a scent — witch hazel absorbs oil and is mildly astringent, and tea tree oil can help relieve body odor.
5. Make your own
Making your own deodorant is a simple process that allows you to customize your deodorant to your needs and preferences. The internet is full of DIY deodorant recipes, but here are two from popular bloggers.
Tammy Luna's deodorant
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrow root powder or cornstarch
5 tablespoons coconut oil
Combine baking soda and arrow root powder in a bowl and mix with a fork. Start with about 4 tablespoons of coconut oil and add it to the baking soda mixture, working it into a paste. You can store the deodorant in a small, air-tight container or put it into an empty deodorant stick dispenser.
Amy Karol's deodorant
3 tablespoons shea butter
3 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa butter
2 vitamin E oil gel caps (squeeze out the oil)
Melt all the ingredients except the oils and stir. Then mix in the oils, pour the mixture into a container, and place the container in the fridge to set. This recipe filled a 1/4 pint jar.