Musings: My (Natural) Deodorant is Giving ME Anxiety

I don’t follow most of the fads…

I think sometimes people think I don’t follow them on principle of not trying to be a cool kid. But really, if I’m not into it, I’m just not into it. And so no need in faking like for vampires (they truly scare me), books that hype up S&M or some wizard child. I’m not here to judge your liking of it all, it’s just not my thing.

But I do follow some of the fads.

I guess I wouldn’t call them fads, per se. After repeatedly hearing that too much soy is not good for women, guess who switched to rice milk? There are a few other examples of me doing something different after hearing/reading/learning of different alternatives, but it isn’t an always for me. I can watch all the PETA videos and still go eat McD’s. Not everything effects me in the same way. However, for a long time now, I’ve known that antiperspirant is harmful, especially for women. But to be honest, I’ve been too scared to make the switch. It’s even a little too hippy for me, to be honest.

Honestly, it has more to do with my (VERY) irrational fear of smelling! And sadly, I’m sure I smell sometimes, I’m human. I truly have a very HUGE insecurity about smelling. I think it stems from my excessive sweating. I always joke I sweat just thinking about a workout. I run on hot all the time (thanks, Mom)! I am always the first to break a sweat in our warm-ups at Midtown or on the pitch. Don’t even get me started about during a workout, it gets pretty gnarly. The Bestest used to always tease me about the amount of sweat on my shirts when we worked out together. I didn’t take her teasing to heart, but I am beyond self-conscious about my overactive sweat glands.

That being said, I am obsessive about putting deodorant and perfume on each morning. If I forget, I will go buy a deodorant to make sure I don’t smell. If I forget perfume, I’m anxious about it. Like I said, this irrational fear of being smelly is a little over the top.

All I knew about making the change to natural deodorant was that I might smell for a while and there could be a transition period while switching. This alone, turned me off from trying it for many, many years. Even though I knew the benefits would be good for my body. So is eating clean, but I also eat tons of bad stuff and drink all the wine 😉

After my last discussion with the Bestest and Trin-Monies, I finally decided I’d give it a try. I didn’t run out to buy the all natural stuff, but it was clearly on my radar. The Bestest made the switch way before I did, as Trin-Monies has been doing it forever. And mind you, neither of them smell. At all. So my fears were definitely unjustified, rather all in my head! HAHA. Trin-Monies gave us the inside scoop on the brand she uses, Schmidt’s. She told us she and Cuterson love that brand and buy it at TJ Maxx/Marshall’s/Ross at half the price, coming in around $5/bar. Geeze, that’s even more than I pay for my Secret powder fresh goodness!

So, I found myself at Ross the other evening and I looked, to no avail. Then I walked next door to Marshall’s and it was like I hit the Schmidt’s jackpot. From our convos, I knew there were a few scent options to choose from, but they had over five scents and of different sizes. The scents I did take time to smell were too overpowering and usually, those types of fragrances set off my allergies. I decided to go with the Fragrance-Free option. However, I had some serious reservations with this, since I love the powder fresh smell. And like bubbles to shampoo, I need deodorant to smell good to think it is working! I equate ‘clean’ smelling deodorant with being non-smelly, even though this isn’t the case, per se. But with this, there was no smell. But the other options I saw were too overpowering, so I went with the least offensive.

The regret sunk in like the new oily deodorant did as I broke it in. At first, I didn’t really think about it at all. Even though it was the middle of a Sacramento summer and the heat was blazing. It wasn’t until about two weeks in did I start to overthink it all. I started to awkwardly sneak a sniff of my armpits at work, in the car, and at Midtown. There was no overwhelming B.O. radiating off me, that I could tell. But I told myself that no one tells you when you stink, they just talk about you behind your back. Cue the anxiety. I then started telling everyone that I switched, in the off chance I was offending them unannounced to myself. I even went to the extreme and put my finger in my armpit and smelled it, like a true anxiety-ridden crazy person. And yes, it was a little stinky. And after that, I was really paranoid. I know TMI and letting my freak flag fly here. Then, I did what an anxious, possibly smelly person would do and I turned to the interwebs. I googled “all natural deodorant change” or something akin to that. A whole slew of articles came up on the topic. Many referred to the first part of making the change as a ‘detox’ or ‘transitional’ phase of switching to all natural deodorant. Here is a Schmidt blog post that sums it up pretty well. Even though I felt more educated and understood there might be a transitional period depending on my body chemistry, I could still be found walking with my arms taught to my side and asking my friends/coworkers/fellow gym goers if they could smell me. Just because I’m educated about it and understand the risk, doesn’t mean the rest of the world knows I’m trying to use all natural deodorant.

Either everyone was being really considerate or I just don’t smell that offensively, but no one said they could smell me. I want to believe it is the latter, but the self-conscious, anxiety-ridden part of me says everyone is just being kind. So, to alleviate some of my anxiety, I went back to Marshall’s and looked through the scents again, this time a little more thoroughly. I decided on Coconut Pineapple for my gym bag. I guess I didn’t explain it earlier, but my propensity to care about smell means my gym AND soccer bag have deodorants in them for use before a workout and/or soccer game. I know its inevitable to smell bad after sweating/working out/playing a soccer game, but I will try my darndest to make sure it takes a lot get to that point! Want to hear a funny story? Well if not, then you can just close this tab on your window, HAHA! I was so excited to use the new coco-pineapple smelling all natural stuff, I didn’t even think about the fact that it had been in my car all day while I was at work. So when I went to put it on, a quarter of the stick came off in my armpit. What a mess! To make matters worse, I thought I had myself situated, but then it got all over my clothes during the workout. I was a hot mess express. I made at least three trips to the bathroom to clean it off my clothes, I could barely focus on my workout AND the smell was intense! At least it was fun and fruity, right?!

Did I just write an entire post about deodorant? Yup! I think I may be a little more entertained about this whole situation than those who come to the blog. But if I can help one person making the transition, then I think this random story will be worth it. I was at an event and told my friend about all this and she said she has slowly made the change too, but still wears the bad stuff on the hot days. She uses EO spray and said her husband uses it too and if he can use it, anyone can use it! When she said spray, I immediately questioned how that was good for the environment. But she quickly corrected me and said it was not aerosol spray, it was literally just a ‘spritz’ type of spray. I was intrigued and the price point isn’t too high either, it is on par with what I’m paying for Schmidt’s. I haven’t tried it, but I may invest in a bottle and give it a go.

Remember how I mentioned I did some research. I also read that some of the all-natural deodorants are oil based and those ones mess with your clothing, so be wary of those ones if you try that option. I have no idea if Schmidt’s is one, but my clothes don’t seem to be affected. Becuase of my non-smelling obsession, I don’t wear my shirts twice before washing now, all things go directly into the hamper. I’m still not convinced the all-natural stuff is doing its job. I don’t know what would make me think it is, but it may just take some time.

This post has been marinating in my drafts section for a while and it was so fitting when Sydney Leroux Dwyer hilariously tweeted something about all natural deodorant recently. I died and of course, had to respond to her. That day specifically, I was anxious about how I smelled, so this made me laugh. It’s nice to know even famous people struggle through the fads, one smelly day at a time! …And then, she LIKED my response. Day. Made.

Okay, after I hit publish, Trin and I started conversing via my FB post for the blog. So I did a little additional research on re-application and switching (again) in general. Here is another article from TreeHugger.com that I thought was helpful and wanted to borrow some of their info and share:

Make sure you’re clean.
Lather up those armpits thoroughly to ensure all traces of sweat, old deodorant, and bacteria are gone by the time you apply. If you do detect an odor during the day, wash with soap and water, or give your pits a quick wipe-down with some apple cider vinegar, then reapply natural deodorant.

Apply more than once.
With natural deodorant, you can’t apply in the morning and forget about it. If you’re going out for the day, take your deodorant along and reapply a couple times throughout the day. If using a liquid roll-on, such as the Geranium Deodorant, let it dry fully on your armpits before putting on a shirt.

So, now I have to carry around apple cider vinegar before I reapply at the gym and/or soccer? Ugh, this all natural life is really time-consuming. The articles that pertain to this topic are so interesting and I even read that the link between aluminum in deodorant may not be correlated with Cancer for women. With so much information at my fingertips, who am I supposed to believe? I will keep trying this for a while, but I cannot fully commit to this au natural lifestyle just yet. There are days when I just want to be blissfully unaware of my armpits and their potential offending odors. Instead, for now, you can probably find me walking around super stiff, not wanting to raise my arms for fear of offending someone’s nose!

For the sake of health, I’m walking around an anxious smelly mess…on purpose.

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