Want to use a natural deodorant? I've tried them all! Here's the smelly truth.

I am, in many ways, a dirty Westcoast hippie: I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair, I shave my legs about twice a year, I make my own skin oil out instead of using store-bought moisturizer, and every summer, I make jam from local berries.

Before you get too impressed/grossed out, I have a confession. In the past year or so, I lost a lot of Dirty Hippie street red.

First, my boyfriend moved in and I permitted him to bring a microwave that I promptly began using on the regular. More importantly, however, I went from using various homemade/rock crystal/natural deodorants to buying conventional antiperspirant. The kind that is packed with heavy metals and death.

I'm SORRY, okay!!! I just borrowed some antiperspirant once in an emergency and realized that you can go an entire day without your armpits getting clammy and smelly and without sweat dripping down your bicep. Yes. That happens. It doesn't even have to be all that hot. The pictures of pretty girls in flowing dresses with flowers in their long, mermaid-like hair don't show the trails of sweat running down her arm. "Oh, it's okay, it's natural to sweat." Yes. It's also natural to die a million deaths.


Listen, being a dirty hippy might be gross to some people, but it gives you a natural sense of superiority ("natural" - get it?), that you are making difficult choices and are more real and pure than everyone else.

So if you are a budding hippy, looking to shun "chemicals"* from your life, I am here to help you navigate the world of natural deodorants. Trust me, I've tried them all.

Now, just to be clear, this analysis is only comparing these deodorants based on their performance against regular, run-of-the-mill, sweat induced from everyday activities. Sweat born out of stress or weeping is its own beast: cruel and pungent. Very little can stand in its way.

Baking Soda: 

DOES NOT WORK. You will smell.

Lemon Juice: 

Works very effectively as a short-term solution to remove stank, but doesn't have a lot of long-term sticking-power.

Corn Starch Mixed With Tea Tree Oil: 

DOES NOT WORK. Your friends will say things like, "oh, does that work?" when they see your bottle of powder on a weekend road-trip and learn that this is your deodorant. They are trying to hint to you smell bad, but they are unwilling to tell you that.

Rock Salt: 

I actually had pretty good results from both the spray and stick varieties. You WILL get the rivers of sweat down your arm, but it won't necessarily smell. The downside of the rock crystal is that you have to get it wet and then stand there rubbing it on your armpit for five minutes. If you drop it, it shatters and then you have pointy shards of salt to sand down and rub on your sensitive pits.

The spray is quicker to apply, but then you start your day on a damp note.

Essential Oils:

What? No. I mean, sure, the scent will cover things up a bit, but it's not going to actually do anything about anything. Plus, what are you using as your carrier? You want an oily pit?

Coconut Oil:

NO! We need to move on from this "let's use coconut oil for EVERTHING on our bodies" movement. Pinterest lies. Coconut oil is great for many things, and deodorizing is not one of them. It's just not that miraculous. I'm sorry. And again with the oily pit.

Other Store-bought Natural Deodorant (like Tom's): 

It's like putting some perfume in your armpit. It covers up the smell okay, it sticks around for most of the day. So long as you don't get stressed or weep too much, you should be left with just the slightest whiff of BO at the end of the day.

Scientific Sweat Relief:

Here's a new one I never tried, for the truly dedicated among us: someone else's armpit sweat. Maybe the new hippie high-five can be an armpit smush? Who wants to give it a shot?

Finally, here is the natural deodorizer's mantra: "We are not meant to smell life flowers all the time. A little body odour is perfectly natural." Repeat this to yourself, your friends, and your mother when they question your life choices.


*Everything is chemical. Like, everything. But it's cool, we know what you mean. Sort of.


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