This past week I’ve been refilling and remaking my stock of hand-/homemade bathroom supplies. I quit using conventional deodorant, shampoo and conditioner earlier this year, and opted instead to make my own or buy products that don’t contain chemicals or aluminum, in the case of big business deodorants. Aluminum has been found in breast cancer tumors and in brain autopsies of people who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. The proximity to the lymph system, plus application on broken (shaved) skin makes the absorption of aluminum especially potent for women. There are conflicting reports about this possible causal relationship, and supports the uncertainty of what exactly causes cancer. It seems like everything causes cancer! And to single out one specific thing would be nearly impossible. So I choose to err on the side of caution and pick products that don’t contain aluminum.
One problem I’ve solved myself is simply moisturizing my arm pits after I shower. The over-drying effects of deodorants and harmful soaps cause our bodies to overcompensate and produce more oil/sweat. I find this to be true, too, when I use brand-name shampoos that strip all the oil from my hair, only to wake up with greasy hair the next day because my body was replacing all the oil I washed away. It creates a vicious cycle.
I don’t make my own deodorant, but I find natural zinc-based products to work best as an alternative. The best one I’ve found is actually used to treat diaper rash. Formulated and manufactured in my old hometown of Missoula, Montana, DaySpa Body Basics has a great line of products that I’ve used over the last five years. I love their soaps, the powdered sunscreens (perfect for absorbing oil on my forehead from my bangs), Body Butters, and more. I love this company! Check out all their amazing products. Their philosophy is one of the best reasons to invest in companies that choose natural, carefully chosen ingredients. For deodorant I use their Zinc Balm Stick.
It lasts forever, smells natural and check out the ingredients! You could almost eat this! (Ingredients: Organic coconut oil, organic mango seed butter, zinc, beeswax, organic safflower oil, meadowfoam oil, castor oil, and essential oils of lavender, chamomile, and tea tree) Zinc is a great skin healer, which is why it’s used so often for the treatment of diaper rash. So it helps to heal any razor burn that might happen while shaving. And since it is so healing, I use it (everywhere) after waxing appointments, too. And instead of drying out my skin, it actually helps moisturize and heal the area where it’s applied.
One other reason why I wanted to try something different than regular deodorants was because all my tee-shirts were stained with sweat. I hate, hate, hate that ugly yellow haze that lives on my clothes. I think there was a correlation between the deodorants I was wearing and the stains. I’m still waiting to see some long-term effects, and I don’t have any white tee-shirts right now to test my hypothesis, but I will keep you on the up & up. (I quit wearing white shirts because of this problem.) But I am sweating less, and that certainly helps. On stressful or really hot days, I will dust a little baking soda under my arms to help absorb even more moisture.
A little bit about me: I am a former profuse sweat-er. I used CertainDri for years. I had the embarrassing problem of visibly sweaty underarms for years. I had a prescription for deodorant in high school, and as I’ve gotten older the problem has subsided a little. I’m happy now that I can use natural methods to control this problem without relying on chemicals to mask it.
I’m still trying to perfect the No Shampoo Method of washing my hair. Using baking soda as the “shampoo” and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as the “conditioner” eventually the natural oils of your hair will balance themselves, oil production slows and washing with the baking soda takes place maybe every four-five days. I’m not there yet, but getting closer. I’ve been using ACV to help treat dandruff and think that the application causes more oil production on my scalp. Fine. I’m hoping the combination will help combat my dry scalp.
There is a lot of chemical shit in shampoos, and I’m avoiding them by making my own. Small steps toward chemical freedom.
According to dermatologist Amy Wechsler, the most common cause of dandruff is an overgrowth of a yeast called Pityrosporum ovale, though bacteria can also be a culprit. The result is dead skin cells that accumulate on the scalp, flake off and itch. Apple cider vinegar is an effective fungicide and germ killer, making an apple cider vinegar dandruff treatment a natural, affordable alternative to commercial dandruff products.
I think I will add more baking soda to my bottle, and try that for oily hair. I use a plastic 12 oz. kitchen bottle with a narrow nozzle with currently about 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda. I use a spray bottle in the shower to apply the vinegar and water to my hairline around my face where I have dry skin/dandruff. It is also a great way to just hit the ends to condition. I use the vinegar maybe once a week.
On those days when oil production is out of hand, but I don’t want to shampoo just yet, I absorb excess oil with my homemade dry shampoo. I love this recipe. My dark hair doesn’t play too well with the white powder. This time when I made it, I skipped the essential oil and added cocoa powder, about 4 tablespoons. It turns into a light brown powder, so much easier to blend than regular white. I store my dry shampoo in a metal shaker and dust it right on at the roots.