There are a dizzying range of products to reduce the impact of one of the realities of being a human animal. The fact that we sweat. The beauty industry has played on our insecurities in this area. Creating a £500M UK industry to make us smell better, and reduce sweating.
Types of deodorant
There are two main types of deodorant: simple deodorants that eliminate odour, and antiperspirants which contain ingredients (most commonly aluminium or aluminum chlorohydrate) to block pores to reduce sweating. Some research suggests that aluminium-based compounds may be absorbed by the skin and cause oestrogen-like (hormonal) effects such as breast cancer. Other studies suggest that blocked pores result in the spread of cancer-causing toxins. However there is no firm evidence either way. See Ethical Consumer Magazine’s report on deodorant.
This, and the other ingredients in deodorants / anti-perspirants, mix with other chemicals. For example; those we expose ourselves to on a daily basis, in our beauty regimes, homes (see cleaning products post), at work, or outside. There are many natural, or organic, deodorants including crystals. These are potassium or ammonium alum. A natural mineral salt that inhibits the growth of the bacteria responsible for body odour.
It is important to note that the rules around labeling organic and natural beauty products are very different to those of food. There is little, or no, regulation. The manufacturer can insinuate a product is natural or organic to a much greater degree than it actually is. Check Ethical Consumer best buys, or products with a recognised certification such as the Soil Association logo.
But what about cost? Leading mainstream brands are Triple Dry (£7.58) and Lynx Attract (£3.29). Compared to Ethical Consumer best buys, Faith in Nature (£3.99) and Green People (£9.50). Being green, can take a bit of financial commitment but not as much as you might think. However there is a lack of widely available recycling for the plastic packaging of all of items once the product is finished!
Make your own
I used the Trash is for Tossers You Tube video.
Ingredients, places you can get them, and cost (for the whole item and per jar made);
- Bicarbonate of soda, also called baking soda – Doves Farm do an organic one, most supermarkets sell this. I use this for baking anyway. £1.35 per 200g / 1tbsp 15g 10p
- Arrow root powder – your local health food / natural store will most likely have this. £3.99 500g bag / 2 tbsp 20g 15p
- Shea butter – your local health food / natural store will most likely have this. £4.99 100g / 1tbsp 15g 74p
- Coconut oil – sold in most supermarkets. Try to get a fair trade and / or organic one so the farmers have been paid a good price. I use this for cooking anyway. Optima Organic £13.99 500ml / 1tbsp 15g 41p
- Essential oils – like me you probably have some of these hiding in a cupboard from the 90’s craze in oil burners! £0
- A clean glass jar that’s easy to get your fingers to the bottom of. Soak the label off with vinegar and hot water if it’s proving tricky. £0
Total cost per jar; £1.40 I estimate this will last me around 3-4 months based on current usage. So far it’s working as well as the Faith in Nature one I had been using, and I have tested it extensively while swing dancing.
Different things work for different people. If this recipe does not work for you try some of the others on the web or vary the ratio of ingredients slightly.