Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Anti-antiperspirant Experiment, pt 1

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, I'm sure you've noticed that I take life with a pronounced natural/alternative tilt to it.  This extends all the way to my underarm hygiene: I don't shave them hardly at all anymore unless I'm really getting stinky or the hair starts to pull, and for years I tried dozens of different deodorant products, with varying success.  I gave up antiperspirant while going to massage school in Arizona (of all places to give up sweat protection!) because I wanted to stop piling little bits of unhealthy things like aluminum salts and petroleum products into my body as much as possible.  Oddly enough, I didn't stink (which I attribute to the increased intake of liquid chlorophyll in my diet as a prescribed treatment for anemia) even when sweating, which was a common occurrence for a big gal like me in the dry Arizona heat; however I also seemed to sweat less, which I appreciated.  During that time, I could get by with some good old Tom's of Maine and be hunky dory.  Well, long story short, things changed, I changed, my body chemistry changed, and I gave up the fight and returned to using antiperspirant. I wasn't happy about it, but at least I didn't smell (because I'm American, dang it, and I can't smell!  Right?)

Then about 5 weeks ago, I started my "no 'poo" hair experiment, which is going great.  I love the fact that I'm not spending gobs of time in the hair aisle or gobs of money at the check out to find the next thing that's going to transform my hair experience.  It's simple, it's easy, my hair looks great, but every week or so, even with washing, it gets a little greasy up top.  So, I started using corn starch to absorb the excess oil and then brush or rinse it out.  No problems.  And that got me thinking; all I really need is odor and sweat absorption.  Could corn starch be the answer I've needed all these years?

So here I am.
Day 0
Last night I busted out the cornstarch and aloe and experimented with mix ratios.  A 1:2 (cs:aloe) produced a very fine film of cornstarch once dried, almost invisible, possibly ineffective.  I went to 1:1, which produced a thick, visibly white and persistently clingy layer once dried.  I am currently experimenting with the 1:1 ratio.

Day 1
Washed my underarms to start with a clean slate: no antiperspirant, no stink.  Cut a small hole in the bottom corner of the baggy to pipe on my goop.  Note: A little goes a long way, a lot spreads beyond your armpit, even after being thinned out.  It felt a little weird at the very first, my hair felt stiff and crackly but the feeling faded quickly.  The result is a pale patch of cornstarch visible around my axila (pit) that doesn't appear to shed or sprinkle too much, though there is some "snow".  I'll let you know how things turn out later.  I've got errands to run.

By the end of the day, the patch of cornstarch was gone from sight.  I walked downtown for almost an hour, got a little warm, didn't notice any smell.  By time for bed, noticed maybe a tiny whiff of my natural odor coming through.

Day 2
Applied about a nickel's worth on either side and rubbed in.  No extra-axila spread or excessive white residue: looks identical to application of regular antiperspirant.  I do get a thick film on my hands but it's easily washed off.  Have to lotion up, though.  See you after work.

I got rather warm today, as warm as I ever do on a normal Spring day.  I did not stay dry all day, which is slightly disappointing (but not unexpected for the small amount of mix I donned this morning) but I did not stink.  This is promising and progressive.

Of course, by the evening, I did notice a particular aroma shortly after my period arrived.  Ah, body chemistry, how I love and adore you. (Okay, I shouldn't be so sarcastic to my body.)  This is good, though; This will be a real challenge to this idea I've concocted to see if it'll work.

Day 3
All right, some of the odor has dissipated.  I've added about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of orange flower water (hydrosol) to the goop to thin and perfume slightly.  The aroma doesn't last very long after drying with a hair dryer, though.  More later.  I'm off to run errands again.

I can conclusively say that this thin layer of cornstarch really does nothing to absorb significant amounts of sweat.  Surprise surprise.  Thought I detected a little funk, still, toward the end of the day.  Bought chlorophyll, and introduced it back to my diet in the evening.  This will be Experiment aspect 1.2.

Day 4
Now attempting method of just smearing to distribute rather than rubbing in, in the hopes of attaining a thicker layer of starch.  Doing two massages today.  Let's see how it goes. 

There was a minor funk at the end of the day, and quite a bit of wetness, but they weren't in proportion.  Thus far it appears the cornstarch is blocking/absorbing odor, but not much wetness.  Interesting!

Tomorrow is an antiperspirant day because I'm volunteering and working with the public, so this is a good time to enter the log thus far.  Unless I am still sick/sore tomorrow (I woke up with a cough this morning), I'll resume on Sunday.

 Peace be with y'all.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

P.S.: Sorry about the run-on sentences.  It's part of my charm.

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