let's talk about sweat, baby...

Hi friends,

Summer's in full swing here in Vancouver, and we are all sweating more.  For those of you who know me well, you know I am a HUGE sweat-er.  I'm the gal in HIIT class dripping on the floor, the gal on the dance floor shaking my tail with my friends whose bangs are stuck to her forehead 10 minutes in, and the gal who is begging for someone to turn down the heat.  What can I say, I'm a pitta dosha through and through ;) And truthfully, it's been a source of embarrassment for me, almost my whole life.  Let's face it, sweating and body odor have become issues in our society to be ashamed of and we go to great lengths to cover it up.  We are quick to label people who sweat more than others as somehow unhealthy or out of shape, and many of us are not comfortable around the slightest scent of body odor.  Indeed there are medical conditions out there that might be causing excessive sweat and odor, but for the majority of us, it's just our amazing bodies doing its job to cool us down!  Sweat itself is virtually odorless to us. However, the bacteria in our skin (which we ALL have!) is particularly attracted to the proteins in our sweat and rapidly multiplies in sweat's presence, and breaks down (eat, digest, expel) these proteins into, shall we say, 'aromatic' acids.  So if you need someone to blame, blame your skin bacteria's fatal attraction to your sweat!

For many of us, (ahem, me), the summer months can mean using deodorant a few times a day.  If you read either of my previous posts on chemicals in personal hygiene products, you know that commercial deodorant is a frequent offender.  It's a great idea to read labels and consider choosing a more natural brand of deodorant, and getting a bit more comfortable with your own natural odors.  I've tried a couple of more natural brands out there, starting with the deodorant crystal which works really well.  It does need to be wet though, so it can be a difficult option for when you're on the fly.  I've also used Kiss My Face's brand (Natural Active Life deodorant stick), which the Environmental Working Group rates as a 3. I like it...but I don't love it and find I have to reapply it a lot. So, I decided to make my own.  The following is the recipe I used, which one of our instructor's shared with us.  It only takes 10 minutes!  Here's what you'll need:

 2 tbsp of organic coconut oil (coconut oil has lots of wonderful antimicrobial properties)
* 3-5 tbsp of arrowroot powder** (this measurement is personal preference, I like my deodorant to be less oily, so I recommend starting with 4 and you may wish to add a bit more.  If you would prefer it to be a bit oilier, start with 3 tbsp)
* 4 tbsp of baking soda (make sure it's aluminium free!)
* 6 drops of tea tree oil (this is a must! we need its antibacterial and antifungal properties - by the way, it works great on pimples, too!)
* 6-12 drops of your favourite essential oil (this is optional! Some of the essential oils have antibacterial properties as well, such as Lavender)
* a fork for mashing
* a small glass jar or an empty deodorant container (including the little tray that sits in the bottom of the container)

**I got my arrowroot powder from The Soap Dispensary on Main Street.  Apparently you can get it in the bulk section at Whole Foods as well, but I love to support local businesses!

Fill a pot with about an inch of water and place on medium heat.  Scoop your coconut oil into a glass bowl and set the glass bowl into the pot of hot water.  Let the coconut oil melt.  Once it's melted, carefully lift the glass bowl out of the pot (it's hot!) and dump your powder in.  Add your tea tree oil (and essential oils) and make sure you mix it really well!

From here, it's your choice whether you want to scoop it into a glass jar or reuse an old deodorant container. I understand from other friends who have made this recipe and used a glass jar to store it in, they have to scrape it with their nails or a spoon but then once it's applied to your armpit it melts quickly and easily.  If you're using an old deodorant container, make sure the little tray is pushed all the way to the bottom and just pack the mixture in to the top and let it cool.  You'll know when it's ready cause it'll be really hard.

So far, it works amazingly well and I'm liking it the most out of any commercial brand I've tried!  My only complaint is that it is tending to melt in the warmer temperatures.  I have been keeping it in the fridge to help with this, but that's obviously not super convenient.  I read on another blog that beeswax is a good ingredient to substitute some of the coconut oil with during the summer months as it will keep the deodorant from melting - so I'll give this a go next time!  In the meantime, I can deal with a little inconvenience in exchange for knowing exactly what ingredients my body is absorbing : )

put your best smell forward,