Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Doesn't Smell Like Teen Spirit
One of my favorite board games as a child was Monopoly. My sister and I would have marathon games that involved convoluted rules and hiding of assets (under the board or behind the back was our version of off-shore accounts). We practically knew the board by heart, but it always made us snigger when we landed on the B&O railroad. BO...hehehe.....Body odor....hehehe. Hey, we were kids, ok? Body odor, like any other bodily function that involved gas, liquid, or solids leaving the body, was hilarious.
I had my fair share of actual experiences with body odor over the years. There was a college roommate who's body stench was actually nauseating and eye-watering. The smell permeated the room, infusing the bedding, lingering for 45 minutes after she'd gone to class. We slept with the windows open (even though it was winter) and I didn't spend a lot of time in my room that quarter.
My son had a crew of friends with whom he'd have overnight marathon sessions of video gaming, accompanied by mountains of pizza, junk food, and Mountain Dew (ughhh!!). I knew whenever they came over I'd have to fumigate the next day. Teen boy sweat - bleh!
I fortunately, was not one of those people. I sweat a bit, sure, but used deodorant and antiperspirant to keep things in check. Well, my feet smelled bad, that's true. Actually, fairly bad. And I'd pit out occasionally. And my shirts started having underarm stains. And then one day I realized that my deodorant/antiperspirant wasn't cutting it. I started using industrial strength shellack that you applied at night to clog up all the pores.
When I started to pay more attention to what I was putting in my body, I also realized that I'd been putting a big burden on my body by filling it up with crud, then not allowing my body a way to get rid of the crud. Body odor is a cry for help from your body. It's trying to detox, to sweat off all the nasty stuff inside. You need to sweat to detox, particularly if your body is full of nasty crap.
I'd been a hard-core Diet Coke drinker for years. When I weaned myself off that, as well as making other eating changes, my smell started to improve. I also realized that shellacking my pores closed wasn't healthy, either. I stopped that cold turkey and starting just using coconut oil. My perspiration seemed to increase for about two weeks as my body adjusted to not having the sweat glands blocked up, then it was fine. And that nasty smell was gone. Even on my feet!
Coconut oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so it keeps the bacteria which cause the odor in check. But, it is an oil. Some people don't enjoy the feeling of straight oil on their armpits. My husband is one of those people. Seeing the success of my deodorant experiment, he asked me to try making a natural deodorant for both of us. After a bit of tweaking, I think I've got it down. I added baking soda as a deodorant, cornstarch as an absorbent, and tea tree oil as both an antimicrobial agent and as a scent. You can add a few drops of essential oil, if you prefer a different scent.
When I make his, I pour it into his empty stick deodorant container and he uses it just like a normal stick deodorant. For mine, I just pour it into a small container and use the back of my thumbnail to scrape out a rind to rub into my armpit. Either way works, it's just a matter of preference and convenience. EXCEPT - if you live in a hot climate, the stick deodorant container won't work. When it's warm, the oil melts and you have a liquify slurry. When we went to Hawaii last year, we just took my little tub of deodorant and would pull a small glob of the gloop out with the fingertip to rub on.
You can play around with the amounts, proportions, and scents to get it just the way you like it. This is a good starting point, though.
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup organic cornstarch (regular cornstarch most likely is made from GMO corn)
tea tree oil
essential oil (optional)
1- Gently liquify the coconut oil by placing it in a heatproof bowl set in a pan of hot water.
2- Remove the bowl from the water and stir in the baking soda and cornstarch. Stir till smooth.
3- Add several drops of tea tree oil and essential oil (if you're using any). Stir it in.
4- Pour the deodorant into your containers. This makes enough for 2 stick deodorant refills and some extra. If you have more than you can use right now, pour the extra into a small glass jar, label it, and store it in the refrigerator. When you want to use the extra, just gently reheat in hot water to liquify and pour into your container.