Deodorant

I have one thing to say about deodorant: deodorant is fucked up. 

I once read that Cameron Diaz doesn't wear deodorant and my young self found that fact disturbing. I remember in the interview about her seeming lack of hygiene, she said she thought it was unnatural to try and stop yourself from sweating. At the time, I thought Cameron Diaz was unnatural for not trying to stop herself from sweating, because sweating is literally the worst. Then I went on with my life, applying the same Dove brand deo/anti-perspirant every day until recently when I looked at my almost entirely new collection of all natural cosmetics and toiletries and realized that I had neglected to replace my deodorant. I had thrown out everything.... makeup, shampoo... but my Dove deodorant remained. So I threw that shit away too. "There must be an all natural alternative," I IGNORANTLY THOUGHT TO MYSELF. 

I went to CVS and picked out a deodorant that was the same brand as my toothpaste: Tom's of Maine. And how I LOVE my toothpaste! Except, every day that I wore that Tom's deodorant, was the new worst day of my life. I went through a 12-hour shift with wetness and what felt like possible chaffing, as well as the general anxiety that comes with being convinced that you smell awful. And my nose isn't great, so if I did smell, I would have a hard time knowing about it. Guess what... my Tom's deo was just that: deo only. No anti-perspirant. So, I went back to CVS. 

When I got there, Tom's miraculously had a new anti-perspirant out, and I read the label. And then I got out my phone, and started googling all the shit that was listed on it. Two ingredients stood out to me: aluminum, and talc. Aluminum, the very ingredient that Tom's boasts is NOT in ANY of their other deodorants. And talc, which Johnson & Johnson was just SUED over. After Johnson & Johnson is finished paying out $72 million to this poor family, maybe they should invest another $72 million into finding an alternative to stuffing cancer-causing ingredients into all their "baby-friendly" products. I bet those chemists would pump out some great alternatives if you paid them $72 million to find a sweat-absorber inside a tree somewhere. As I started pulling deodorant off the shelves in a frantic attempt to find one that didn't have either ingredient listed, I realized... deodorant is fucked up because unless you seek out a brand that is made with all natural ingredients, it's hard to come by (and to find one that works is another story altogether).... but anti-perspirant is fucked up because the very concept of it is unnatural, so unnatural products will be used to make it. Naturally, I left CVS empty handed.  

Talc sometimes contains asbestiform fibers, but talc is not regulated, so there is no way of knowing if the talc in your deo has it or not. The Tom's website acknowledges the rumors that talc might be the equivalent of toxic waste, but they claim they did their research so, not to worry. Tom's also acknowledges the aluminum in their new deo/anti-perspirant, which, newsflash, comes with a warning that if you have kidney issues you should stay away from it. I guess when they say aluminum is in your deo, they mean literally, THE METAL, ALUMINUM. The same aluminum that the British kid in your high school chem class used to pronounce "al-u-min-ium" like a pompous a-hole (but which actually sounded debonair as shit). If it builds up inside your body and your kidneys aren't in tip top shape, they can't fight the forces of evil and get rid of it, and then you're left with toxic levels of metal in your body, just because you were so opposed to sweating. 

In case you don't believe me, I took screenshots of Tom's trying to be "transparent" about their rock solid lies. Just kidding. To be fair, it is possible that Tom's magic talc doesn't contain asbestiform fibers (asbestos... as in, the reason law firms have an advertising budget), but there's no way to know, so I always like to be pessimistic and assume the worst. 

 The Risks of Talc: Cancer

The Risks of Talc: Cancer

 The Risks of Aluminum: Alzheimer's, Breast Cancer, metal toxicity (casual)...

The Risks of Aluminum: Alzheimer's, Breast Cancer, metal toxicity (casual)...

The moral of the story is that maybe Cameron Diaz, although she has been wrong about many things before (i.e. her collection of hats), might have been right about deodorant. You will be hard pressed to find an anti-perspirant that doesn't contain chemicals that are either cancer causing or toxic in some way. Natural deodorant is easier to find (also more expensive), but maybe it's okay to just let ourselves sweat a little, too. My best friend in middle school was born in Singapore, so she always had a sizable stash of this special tea that was for people with the flu or severe head colds. I used to have a cup whenever I went to her house because I thought it tasted like a liquid cough drop, but she informed me that the idea behind this tea was to make you sweat profusely, and that would accelerate the healing process. Literally... a tea that makes you sweat until you're cured of the flu. So if sweating can get rid of the flu, why stop it from getting rid of all the other crap we have in our bodies on a regular basis? Maybe I can sweat out the half a lasagna I ate at 11pm on Friday night. 

As a parting gift, I want to share a list of ingredients to avoid in deodorant (and by vast extension, everything, I suppose) from Organics.org. Click here and it will make you smarter. 

For the record, Tom's of Maine's original, unscented deodorant is actually decent (ingredient-wise), and I am considering pairing it (somehow, I don't know how) with Ora's Amazing Herbal Body Powder. It has 4 ingredients and one of them is arrowroot powder, which might be the closest I come to an all natural anti-perspirant. Plus, Ora sounds like a witch doctor so maybe she can cast a no-sweat spell on my bottle (or body?) and voila: problem solved.