How to Stay Dry and Smell Good the DIY Way

July 2009
Last month I ‘fessed up that my sweat had wreaked havoc on my shirts and offered ways to restore white garments. Along the way, my post got linked around the Internet (slightly embarrassing), and one of the blogs to pick it up, from Elizabeth Yarnell, made me pause and think. While I had been worried about the embarrassment of yellowed armpits, Yarnell was concerned that my heavy deodorants contained equally heavy amounts of aluminum, which she says have been linked to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and breast cancer. But my search for store-bought aluminum-free deodorants was a bust. Most women's products offer an antiperspirant, which includes aluminum. So I turned to my DIY roots to find out if I could make my own aluminum-free deodorant. Here's what I found: 1. Pure Baking Soda. I'm starting to suspect there is very little that baking soda does not do. I watched this video testimonial by an adorable Aussie who says she puts a bit of baking soda on a small cotton wipe, dabs on drops of water to make a paste, then rubs it under her arms.  She says the baking soda, a natural antibacterial, is the best deodorant she's ever used. I like the idea of putting pre-made cotton wipes in a Ziploc baggie before I go camping---an easy and portable way to smell better after a two-day backcountry trip. 2. DIY Deodorant. This is a few steps more complicated than plain baking soda, but it's still easy and effective. You'll need cornstarch, baking soda, coconut oil, your choice of essential oils, Vitamin E, and a container (one of your old deodorant containers works great). The essential oils and Vitamin E are optional (the oils give you a fragrant smell, and the E keeps your skin softer). Instructables promises the process takes just five minutes, and while I like this recipe for being cheap and natural, I especially like it because I can choose my own scented oils.