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This is a post about body odor

December 14, 2012

checking for BO

So, after a memorably stinky phase in early adolescence, for many years I felt that I had my armpit situation well under control. I even switched to that Tom’s of Maine hippie deodorant and I live on a sweltering tropical island and managed not to stink unless I was doing some kind of organized sporty activity, in which case I think it’s socially acceptable to be smelly.

My new master’s program changed that. I don’t know if it’s the stress of being in school again, or being nervous about seeing clients (wait, they let me do therapy already? with, like, real people and their problems?!) but in the past couple of months I’ve started carrying the deodorant around with me, and I had to reapply it several times throughout the day. This was no good at all. So I asked the internet for recommendations on other natural deodorants I could try. And then I found a recipe for homemade deodorant.

It is: 3 tbsp cornstarch, 3 tbsp baking soda, 4 tbsp coconut oil (melted), 10 drops essential oil of your choice (I used ylang-ylang, because I like it). You slowly stir the coconut oil into the dry ingredients and then add the essential oil at the end. According to the recipe, this results in a “creamy” texture, and you just spread a little on your armpits and go about your day.

Now, I know that even the phrase “homemade deodorant” sounds like a bad idea. But I had all of the ingredients in the house, and I didn’t have a very long day ahead of me, so I decided to give it a try. And it works! It works really, really well. It works better than Tom’s ever did. (okay, except for the “creamy texture” part. Because it’s too warm here for the coconut oil to re-solidify, the texture is more like “slippery goo.”) The first day of the homemade deodorant test, I saw two clients, did some work in the library, and then met up with some people for an end-of-semester-happy-hour-thing. I smelled awesome all day. There were some chalky marks on the inside of my sweater (the air conditioner was too cold), but they went away. I raised the stakes on homemade deodorant test day two: nervous-making meeting with professor, last day of my research methods class, then I took a POLYGRAPH test, which is extremely nervous-making. Again, I smelled awesome all day. In fact, I still smell awesome and it’s the next morning. Further testing is needed, of course, but so far, I’m giving homemade deodorant an A+.

(In case you’re wondering why I took a lie-detector test: my supervisor at the clinic where I’m doing my internship is a licensed polygraph administrator, and she has to do practice ones to keep her license. In case you’re wondering what it’s like: it’s weird and stressy and uncomfortable, and takes at least two hours, and you have to wear an inflated blood pressure cuff for a really long time. In case you’re wondering how I did: the polygraph confirms that I am very honest and also a terrible liar.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2012 11:35 am

    Dude! Liz and I totally have been on the homemade deodorant tip for about 2 years now. Our recipe is basically the same as yours, but substituting arrowroot for the cornstarch and tea tree oil for the ylang ylang. It does indeed work great, and even performed admirably this summer when temps in ABQ were in the 100s. The best thing is that it’s insanely cheap since I only use a pea-sized (pigeon pea, not big starchy english pea) amount every day. Pretty much the only problem is that when it’s cold, it does sieze up and we have to kind of scrape it out of its container. No biggie. Congrats on your newfound non-smelly hippiness!

  2. jjowdy permalink
    January 7, 2013 5:32 am

    About six years back I was having a problem with “the stink” and had all kinds of ideas about why, at least one of which was crazy: (1) maybe these things stop working after a while– you know, you breed stronger bacteria or some such; (2) well, I’m getting older now, so maybe now I’m starting to smell like an old person smells too; (3) maybe they changed the formula.

    After weeks of frantic deodorant trials, I eventually ruled out the saner options 1 & 3. This left me (an otherwise vibrant and, at the time, single man) with a troubling conclusion: I was destined to smell like old man on bus and forevermore be repellent to the objects of my desires, unless they had anosmia. It wasn’t until I looked for the answer within that I started thinking about my diet. I realized the only significant change in my life was that I had begun taking fish oil supplements. I stopped taking them, and within a few days I was back* to my old smell.

    Now, if I’d sought out your recipe, perhaps I might never have had this satori experience.

    *This result probably does not apply to you.

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