Rate your 'stinky hippy' factor: Do you really need deodorant?

Do You Need Deodorant%3F photo

Photo via Jeff the Trojan @ flickr.

An informal survey of the global TreeHugger gang revealed an interesting (and perhaps slightly redolent) tendency to move away from the use of deodorant each and every day. In fact, the majority of responding TreeHuggers have partially or even wholly given up on deodorant, primarily kicking the habit due to trouble finding them without pore-clogging aluminum chlorohydrate or petroleum-based propylene glycol.

"At the risk of ostracizing myself I will reveal I haven't used underarm grooming products in over 15 years." - Anonymous TreeHugger blogger

Getting away from deodorant reduces the amount of products a person needs to use each day and the plastic receptacle count in the bathroom. In addition, the overall stink factor may not be as terrible as society would have us believe. Not convinced? Read on for four ways to help with a low-deodorant but not-too-stinky lifestyle.

1. Rate your stink factor, turn to the crystal
Some people just sweat more and are more odoriferous than others - due to genetics, individual body chemistry and hormonal influences, even diet - and you probably need to check with friends and loved ones on how pungent your personal stink is. Plus, your personal smell, if not overpowering, is important in finding the right mate, some say. If you are one of the people that has a higher sweat and body odor factor, you can try out the alum crystal deodorants, composed of mineral salts (especially good are those without packaging). Spread these on right after a shower or wash, when you are still just damp but not wet. If you are really worried, take the crystal with you for mid-day touch ups. Sally at the UK's Natural Spa Supplies believes washing up with a naturally deodorizing soap or Rhassoul clay is a good way to get the most out of crystal deos.

"One suggestion for guys: Some judicious grooming of the underarm hair can really cut down on odor retention. Embrace your inner metrosexual on this one."

- TreeHugg'er Matthew McDermott

2. Low to medium stink? Make your own deo
Nearly nobody wants to be considered that stinky person people shy away from on warm days and in crowded elevators. But if you trim underarm hair and "strip wash" regularly, possibly with clay, you can cheaply make your own deo according to Annie B. Bond's natural recipes. Either mix equal parts cornstarch and baking soda and a few drops of essential oil in a glass jar and pat on with a washcloth, or combine 1/4 cup witch hazel, 1 tbl glycerin and a few drops of oil in a small spray bottle.

3. Do a good detoxification ritual before starting a no-deo regime
Sweating is one of the body's natural ways to clear out toxins, and we all know our world can be filled with environmental nasties that we can't totally control. One way to counteract the build up of toxins that can lead to a less-than-pleasant body odor is through saunas, steams, and internal detoxification rituals like a juice fast. And yes, more water! Some of these, like a juice fast, are easier to do in the summer and on vacation. After a spa ritual or fast, try to go deo-free and see how it feels.

4. Have a backup plan for high stress or "social situation" days
In the great, unscientific TreeHugger survey, the consensus seemed to be that low-deo or no-deo is a feasible lifestyle choice for a majority of people. However, certain days and certain situations require tools to cope. In this case, a majority seemed to favor using the deodorant that you know works for you best, but not becoming slavishly addicted to it. TreeHugger favorites: Terra Naturals and Lavinila.

Read more about deodorants at TreeHugger:
Can a Handful of Clay and a Deodorant Rock Save a Journalist From Stink?
Lavanila Healthy Deodorant Offers Sweet-Smelling Armor for Your Underarms
How to Sweat Without Staining
and check out the Forum

Rate your 'stinky hippy' factor: Do you really need deodorant?
Four ways to help with a low-deodorant but not-too-stinky lifestyle.

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