Should I Quit My Toxic Deodorant?

I smell great, I hope!

I smell great, I hope!

According to the Internet, your average, basic drug store deodorant is full of crap. Aluminum, parabens, steareth, propylene glycol and tricolsan-- I have no idea what most of those words are, but according to a lot of people, they are not a good thing to rub on your under arms. 

The jury is out on whether or not anti-perspirant is linked to cancer, Alzheimer's and kidney disease. 

But people are constantly doing studies on it, so there must be some there there, right? Plus, the Internet is full of stories about how toxic deodorant is. And if the Internet says it's true, it must be true!

When I really think about it, it does seem harmful to apply a daily dose of a chemical that blocks sweat glands from releasing what they were designed to do. Your skin is your biggest organ, and if it needs to sweat, we should probably let it. 

So I decided to quit anti-perspirant.

But guys, this was a really hard decision for this once extremely sweaty Betty. 

It started when all embarrassing things rear their ugly head: Puberty. I remember realizing that I kinda stunk at Christmas, circa 1992. I stole my dad's Dry Idea (the idea is to be dry.... I never really understood that branding), and then a month or so later, graduated to Teen Spirit's Orchard Blossom. Things were all fine and dandy until about age 15, when I started pitting out every shirt. Like, in an incredibly humiliating way. 

My life was this commercial:

This is when I discovered Certain Dry, which is a prescription-strength roll-on number that stung like hell, but worked like a charm. I could raise my hand in class, anxiety-free! Bonus (or horrifying): it outlasted showers, so I only had to use it a few times a week. And eventually, when Secret came out with their Platinum line, I downgraded from the stinging clinical stuff to something strong enough for a man, but PH balanced for a woman (I know that was some other deodorant's tag line, but I still love it 'cause OBVIOUSLY MEN SWEAT WAY MORE THAN WOMEN... except for me when I was in junior high, whatever).

Ten years ago, a doctor friend told me she's quit anti-perspirant years ago (cancer, Alzheimers, blah blah blah), which prompted a bunch of my friends quit. But I was so scarred from my teenage years of being "unsure," that I didn't think this move was for me... even though I had forgotten to apply deodorant on a few occasions and hadn't noticed much sweating or smell.

"Natural" stuff doesn't every really work, does it? I mean, I've tried a lot of natural remedies, and results have been mixed. Like natural bug spray? Puhleeze, I tried it and immediately turned myself into an Old Country Buffet for mosquitos. 

However, I keep reading about the negative side effects of anti-perspirant and thought, oh what the hell, let's give this a whirl.

And just to really take it to a hippy-dippy momma level, I did an armpit detox first. Basically, I applied a bentonite clay/cider vinegar mask to the area for a few days in a row.

My DIY bentonite clay detox mask.

My DIY bentonite clay detox mask.

I was completely skeptical, but noticed less odor and sweating immediately. 

New thing: Armpit Selfies.

New thing: Armpit Selfies.

The same day I started the pit detox, I decided to try Primal Pit Paste's natural deodorant-- both the primer spray and pit paste, to be used in succession or alone (PS this is not a paid placement; I wish!). I'd heard good things from friends, plus the branding and fragrances sounded great. Coriander sage? Why don't we spray it in my mouth while we're at it!

Dear Primal Pit Paste, Fingers crossed I still have people who want to hug me after I use you. Love, Molly

Dear Primal Pit Paste, Fingers crossed I still have people who want to hug me after I use you. Love, Molly

It's been two weeks since I quit my anti-perspirant, and I've had zero regrets. Not only do I not sweat as much as I thought I did, but I'm way less smelly, too. I do some pretty sweaty exercise, but I haven't missed the anti-perspirant at all. I asked the hubby to do the ol' sniff test, and I passed with flying colors. Plus, I love how the Primal Pit Paste smells and it's kind of a delight to spray on the olde under arms. I feel fancy!

I guess somewhere in the past 15 years, I grew out of sweating like crazy. Maybe it's cause my hormones are under control, maybe it's because I don't regularly feast on Pop Tarts and Cherry Coke (hello, freshman in HIGH SCHOOL 15!). Whatever the case, I'm glad I took the leap and tried going the natural deodorant route. 

You guys, the natural stuff is working just as well, if not better than the chemical junk.

Yes, you should quit your toxic deodorant!

 I'm taking my hippie pit spray and Chacos and never looking back.

* * *

I'm considering trying other natural products. Next up? DIY sunscreen with coconut oil and some other non-toxic stuff-- a terrifying prospect since I burn faster than a handful of almonds in a frying pan.

What other natural products have you wanted to try, but are too scared? Tell me & I'll be your detox/natural product guinea pig.

PS Other earth momma Hey Eleanor moments: the time I quit shaving my armpits, the time I quit makeup (loved it!) and the time I went four days without washing my hair