A Stinky Problem at Our Little House

It’s never good when this conversation takes place:

Me: “I don’t think my new all natural deodorant is working very well.”

Dale: “I’m glad you noticed.”

Alexandra Grabbe, a member of our Living Large community that also runs a green B&B on Cape Cod and writes the  B&B blog, Chez Sven, is my anti-chemical hero and after learning a lot from her writings, I decided to embark on my own quest to eliminate as many chemicals from our lives here at Our Little House as possible.

That includes ones we ingest and that come in contact with our skin. I’m using the fabulous all natural Indigo Wild products and some all-natural skin care products.

I decided to try an all-natural deodorant last month.

It’s “All Natural Deodorant” tea tree and lavender scent by Earth Sciences. I bought it at the organic store nearest our house.

I asked the clerk if they could recommend one and they said they sell this one “a lot,” but personally couldn’t recommend any, so I bought their best seller.

Shortly after, I was sharing a pretty small NYC hotel room with Roxanne Hawn, another Living Large community member, who was at the conference to talk about her excellent dog blog, Champion of My Heart.

I asked her if my new deodorant was working and she was either too polite to tell me the truth or maybe I was more vigilant about applying it there than I am here in the woods.

Or, it could be the night sweats that I am now suffering.

Either way, I’m thinking of going back to what I’ve been using since I was a teen, Secret, despite the chemical additives.

Often, the only person I see is Dale for 7-10 days at a time. I still can’t do the whole all-natural-not-bathing-or-washing-my-hair-or-not-applying-stuff-that-makes-me-smell-good thing.

Any ideas, Living Large community on natural deodorants and other personal care products that actually work?

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49 Responses

  1. Charity says:

    Due to an ANNOYING allergy (artificial fragrance) I had to switch to all natural “hippie” products for absolutely everything in my house. I have tried everything and Arm and Hammers (( http://www.armandhammer.com/Products/arm-and-hammer-essentials-natural-deodorant.aspx )) all natural deodorant works the best. No stinkies or wet pits even when I am running around serving at restaurant. Though for everthing else I will swear by Castile Soap. All natural and still gets the feet stink out of my house. LOL

  2. sarah henry says:

    I’ve recently switched to Body Shop’s DeoDry deodorant (no aluminium or parabens) and it works for me and I’m a sweater.

  3. I stopped using drug store deodorant years ago. There are plenty of days that I’m “fragrant” but if it’s just me at home, I don’t worry so much. The brand you picture above is one of the best ones I’ve tried (though my husband and son like Tom’s). I’ve been wanting to try to make a homemade deodorant that’s a little different from Kiwi’s recipe, based on information from a naturopath friend. Meanwhile, I just use tea tree oil, straight out of the bottle. One drop in each pit, and then if I’m really concerned, I’ll use my natural deodorant over the top of that. (PS: I found when I was using chemical deodorants I could go days without re-dosing – probably because those chemicals stay in the system that long!)

    • Kerri says:

      That’s a good point, Kris, about the chemicals remaining in the system that long. I found the same true with chemical deodorants. Maybe it is a matter of becoming accustomed to applying more often.

  4. Alisa Bowman says:

    My husband is into all natural deodorant for years and I will admit that his pits stink pretty much all the time. I’ve gotten used to it. But I’ve gone without anything for weeks, mostly because I’ve been too lazy or just keep forgetting to buy more at the store. The remedy is just to soap your pits more (1 x or 2 x a day). You don’t have to take a full shower. Just sort of a pits bath, so to speak. But if no one is around and I’m not planning on having sex, then I just let it go. Not a big deal. You have to be pretty close to someone to smell it…. unless it’s really hot out or it’s been days since the last shower.

  5. Jane Boursaw says:

    I never wore deodorant in my early life. I mean, maybe people were just being kind to me, but I honestly don’t think I sweated or smelled that much. Healthy eating maybe. But then somewhere into my 40s, all that changed and now I use it every day. I still haven’t found a good natural deodorant that works – will try out some of the suggestions here. And definitely check out Frugal Kiwi’s home-made recipe. You guys are all my heroes.

  6. Margo says:

    Love this post, Kerri, and all the comments.

    I quit using deoderant and antiperspirant over two years ago, opting instead to use plain baking soda. It’s cheaper, has no aluminum (or other icky chemical ingredients), and because I buy from the bulk bin, no packaging to throw away. If I’m going out in the evening, I reapply. (I mix the soda with a little water and then dab it on.)

    I also started taking a calcium / magnesium supplement about the same time, and I have since learned that the magnesium may be helping as well.

    So far, no complaints from my family and co-workers. . .and I have no doubts they would tell me!

  7. I tried the crystal myself and didn’t find it hard-core enough. I’ve got the night sweat problem – and day sweats too when I get my heart rate up walking or running!
    Personally, I opted to make deodorant the exception to my all-natural policy. Actually a second exception is nail polish; I can’t live without a pedicure in the summer and I tried the chemical free nail polishes and they chipped too quickly.

    • kerri says:

      I’ve never been a nail polish person, so I don’t have to worry about that. 🙂 Never had the patience for the drying.

  8. Frugal Kiwi says:

    I make my own. Recipe at http://frugalkiwi.co.nz/2010/03/diy-clean-green-deodorant/ I find it works well for me most of the year, but in the dead of summer, I buy a commercial one made in Australia with Tea Tree Oil. Your mileage may vary.

  9. Call me spineless or a cave-in, but I use Almay. I can live with their seeing me sweat — but not with their smelling my BO.

  10. Kristen says:

    I didn’t know there were so many options out there. I did try Tom’s at one point, but it didn’t work well for me. But I’ve been meaning to look at Trader Joe’s for other ideas. For now, Secret’s my pick too.

  11. Virginia at Beauty Schooled just posted on this same topic:

    She recommends baking soda (really!) and a Burt’s Bees brand – check the post for links.

  12. Susan says:

    This is the Cyrstal deordorant they are talking about. I use it and it lasts a long time.

    • kerri says:

      Thanks for the link, Susan. It looks like I have a lot of options now from which to choose.

  13. Too funny. That’s an unexpected context for a blog mention. :o) For the record, folks, I am indeed the kind of girl who, when asked, will give you a good sniff and report back the results. Honestly, Kerri, you smelled fine to me.

    After a similar experience with a more natural option, I decided to try the “long lasting” version of deodorant (not antiperspirant … due to aluminum issues mentioned) from Tom’s of Main. It says it provides 24-hour protection.

    I did not have it with me on the NYC trip because it’s too big to fit into my tiny TSA baggie.

    • kerri says:

      I knew that would surprise you, Roxanne! 🙂 And thanks, I would have expected nothing less than honesty, especially given the importance of networking at that conference! Thanks for the Tom’s. I don’t know why I didn’t pick that one up at the store.

  14. Kim says:

    I switched to a deodorant (rather than an anti-perspirant deodorant) about a year ago. I got it at Wal-Mart– I think it’s degree brand, tea tree and something scented. Little cylinder. Works just fine as long as I apply daily.

  15. Anita says:

    Soap and water, then alcohol based formula (I like Weleda sage deodorant or just rubbing alcohol but you can make yourself a nice tincture of lavender or anything you like)to kill bacteria then deodorant stone, to slow regrowth. If you perspire heavily, you may need to repeat later, a washcloth with a little soap and water comes in handy sometimes.

    • kerri says:

      Thanks, Anita. That reminds me of a sign a gym teacher used to have up that said something like, “Deodorant can’t hide what soap and water can take away!” 🙂

  16. Deana Griffin says:

    I use Thai spray mineral deodorant. It is the liquid form of the mineral stone mentioned in the above blog. I think it works much better and I have a tendency to have BO more easily than most.

  17. Brenda-Joyce says:

    Eliminate meat and all animal products from your diet, and you will never need deodorant again!!
    –and as a bonus, your simplify your life on several levels–time, money, health.

    • kerri says:

      Welcome to Living Large, Brenda! Thanks for the tip. I have definitely cut down on the meat consumption. Would love to go meatless, just need to convince my husband. 🙂 I knew it had a lot of benefits, but I didn’t realize it would eliminate body odor. Makes sense, though.

      • Elaine says:

        Eliminating meat will not stop body odor, its just a different smell. It all depends on your body chemistry and how much you sweat. Btw? absolutely love love love this blog ..and wish i could live the life :).

  18. I was at an airport once on a short layover between flights, and realized that not only had I forgotten to pack deodorant, I’d forgotten to apply any in my hast getting ready to leave that morning. I searched around for one of those airport shops with all kinds of toiletries, but none had deodorant. Then I stumbled across something I’d never seen before, an actual vending machine with all kinds of personal products, including deodorant.

    “Yay!” I thought, then looked at the prices- eight dollars for a small deodorant. I guess they knew that if you had to buy deodorant from a vending machine, you were probably desperate, so priced accordingly. The deodorant was “all natural” and the label bragged about the very exotic fruit extracts and herbal ingredients it contained. It did smell good- unfortunately, it didn’t work at all!

    My eight dollar investment was a complete waste and I had to shower as soon as I got to my hotel that day, hoping I hadn’t offended any passengers on the last leg of my flight. For myself, the only kind of deodorant that has ever really worked well, is the kind that is white and slightly powdery. I use Dove. The clear and all natural types smell good, but don’t do anything to prevent body odor, at least not for me. Lesson learned.

    • kerri says:

      I don’t know if there are studies, but I did read something once about the link of breast cancer and deodorants (I hope I’m not perpetuating a myth here). I’m just hoping I can find a solution as I really don’t like the idea of all of those chemicals being soaked into my skin everyday.

  19. Sarah says:

    Second thought – one of the things in the traditional antiperspirants is aluminum. NOT GOOD for the body or the brain. Be a little cautious about “natural” deodorants is that they too, sometimes contain aluminum. Check the labels

  20. Sarah says:

    Use a himalayan salt stone. While not an antiperspirant, what makes the smell is bacteria on your skin and the salt stops that from forming. You will still perspire (as you should) but 😉 no odor.

  21. I have one of those crystal deoderants. What I do is I use my regular deoderant one day then if I need more deoderant in the next day or two (it lasts a while for me, maybe I am unusual), I apply the crystal one.

  22. Alexandra says:

    Thanks for the mention! Wish I could help you. I don’t use deodorant myself, which is how I have avoided this issue. We have B&B guests right now who are the darkest shade of green you could imagine. Because of the awful weather, I gave them an upgrade to our cottage, to have more space. She left behind her deodorant, by mistake, and I noticed it was a brand I had never heard of before transporting it to the cottage. I will try to find out what brand and report back.

    • kerri says:

      Thanks, Alexandra, I would appreciate it. And I hope your guests feel better. What a bummer.