Saturday, April 18, 2009


So I've been using deodorant less and less. This may sound radical but hear me out. First off, I am not a product person. Even before I went green I didn't wear makeup or lotions or powders or perfumes often. Then a a couple years ago when I started to think about how to lessen my carbon footprint, I tried to cut out products as much as possible or use ones with more natural ingredients. Because I suddenly realized I wasn't comfortable with applying dozens of unrecognizable ingredients, chemicals, and preservatives to my body. I stopped wearing make up entirely (except for special occasions like work galas and halloween). I started using natural soaps and shampoos and so on. I switched to Tom's of Maine deodorant. But then I read this post which says that even Tom's of Maine may have parabens in it. I also don't like the idea of using products I don't actually need.

So sometime in the past year I stopped wearing deodorant on the weekends, when I'm not out to impress anyone (nor did I get any complaints of being smelly), but still wore it to work out of propriety. Then I realized that when I go to the gym at lunch and forget to bring deodorant to apply afterward, I've always been fine for the rest of the workday.

I've now decided to try to go totally deodorant free. I'm curious to see how long this lasts. I imagine I will have to bring it back out when New York City's sweltering humid summer hits and I'm sweating a lot more. Although, come to think of it, I actually spend most of my summer in an air-conditioned office so cold I wish I could wrap myself in blankets galore, so I likely won't need it a lot this summer either.

I'm kind of surprised because I think of myself as a person who sweats easily, especially when exercising. Maybe weaning myself off of it slowly helped my pores adapt and be less stinky? I think as long as I always shower right after exercise I'll be ok. Plus, you know what? I just don't care. The only person who is gonna get close enough to smell me is my boyfriend and he certainly doesn't care.

Even the New York Times agrees that the feeling of needing deodorant is mostly in your head. Anyway, if you're not ready to go full dirty hippie like me, some other options out there include green deodorant brands that have fewer scary ingredients, a crystal rock, coconut oil, or baking soda. I'm kinda intrigued by the coconut oil and will have to keep my eye out for it since I don't know where I could buy it.


  1. woohoo! while i haven't sworn off deodorant for good, i stopped using anti-perspirant about two years ago (scary, scary shit + i would still sweat+ i swear it would stain my clothes!). i've found an aloe brand that i really scary stuff (including no fragrance). i have to admit though, once in a while i'll steal my boyfriend's old spice. somehow smelling decidedly manly is less obnoxious to me than smelling sweaty...there must be something wrong here...great post!

  2. so. i haven't worn deodorant for like, most of my life. like, honestly, i didn't smell bad. then, within the last year or so, i started noticing that maybe i had some extra funk (haha - this is turning into a gross comment) but i figured no biggie. and THEN my fiance asked me a couple weeks ago, "have you stopped wearing deodorant?" ACK. this means i smell.

    i use his deodorant now.

    (ps. antiperspirant is what stains your clothes yellow.)

  3. thanks erin and very married, you helped me feel a little less crazy for not wanting to wear it! i think it's funny you both wear your guy's deodorant. i've done that when we go on trips just to save suitcase space by sharing.

  4. Just thought I would note that tons of sellers on Etsy make deoderants and makeup that are all natural and earth friendly. I order mineral makeup from beautybysaria and I love it.

  5. Miz November - oh what a good idea. i've never thought of looking for that kind of thing on etsy. thanks!

  6. ummm..i can't really comment on not wearing deodorant (as i live in Phoenix and you would probably get arrested if you didn't)...but I think it's so rad that you are SO conscious about your carbon footprint - it's hard to do. Mad props to ya.

    (and to answer your question: no, he will not be traveling with me as I travel for med school, and it's normal for MY med school (my sister's med school only has one or two months where they go somewhere i dunno) but yea - it's gonna blow - but at the same time be an incredible adventure!)

  7. I tried to do this too recently for pretty much the same reasons as you listed. I felt quite pleased with myself when my clothes didn't smell at all in the evening, and I didn't feel any more sweaty. Then I asked my boyfriend if he'd noticed any more smelliness than usual, and unfortunately the answer was yes...

    So, being a geek, I thought the next logical step is to test whether this was really to do with the deodorant or not - to randomly wear ordinary deodorant, a more green deodorant, or nothing each day then to ask the boyf each eve how much it smells - then add up the scores at the end of the experiment!

    however haven't got round to doing as yet because 1. not that organised! and 2. whilst it's handy to have someone intimate enough to give you a sniff-test, I'm not sure I should foist this on the boy every night... Also makes me sound more than a little strange ;-)

    maybe one day though. in the meantime, I am applying a haphazard approach to the issue... interested to see how you find being totally deo-free!

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