Roxy and Ben from So Vegan think it’s about time we started talking about our armpits…
Armpits? Bear with us! Over the past few years we’ve both been slowly making changes to our lifestyles in an effort to live more sustainably. Whether it’s big switches like adopting a vegan diet or small steps such as buying a reusable coffee cup, we’re constantly learning about the impact our lifestyle choices can have on the planet.
This also includes the deodorants we use. It might not be the first thing you think of when making an effort to live more sustainably, but there are plenty of reasons why we should consider what deodorant we use to keep our ‘pits’ smelling good.
For example, did you know around 50 million people in the UK buy deodorant as part of their weekly shopping? As you can imagine, that creates a lot of waste. Plastic roll-ons are difficult to recycle, meaning they often end up on landfill, taking up to 450 years to biodegrade. Meanwhile, the UK uses around 600 million aerosols each year. Sure, some of these will be recycled, which is great, but lots will still end up on landfill.
What’s more, common shop-bought deodorants often include ingredients which might be harmful to our oceans. When we wash, we effectively rinse-off the chemicals used in our personal care products (like deodorants and soaps), which can contain toxins that are harmful to marine life.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is: what can we do about it?
A couple of years ago we started buying natural deodorants. If you’ve tried using these in the past, you’ll know about the pitfalls (excuse the pun) that come with using them. Sometimes they’ll leave a mildly irritating rash, while other times they’ll simply not work, leaving you feeling very exposed!
After months of trials, and a few odd looks from passers-by, we struggled to find a product which kept us smelling fresh. Also, while the ingredients were all-natural and cruelty free, the products themselves were packaged using plastic so the likelihood is they still ended up in landfill.
We were frustrated, but still determined to find a sustainable solution to a smell-free and guilt-free lifestyle. So we started creating our very own DIY natural deodorant using ingredients we already had in our cupboards.
And lo and behold, by combining shea butter, bicarbonate of soda, coconut oil, arrowroot powder and any essential oil of your choice, we now create our very own deodorant at home, which is not only better for the environment, but keeps the smell at bay for the entire day. Sure, we still sweat, but we don’t smell. You can find the full recipe on our YouTube channel.
The truth is, trying to live a low-impact lifestyle is still fraught with contradictions. We try to buy as many of our ingredients from zero-waste stores, but worst case scenario we buy in bulk online, which lasts for ages and helps reduce our plastic consumption.
Likewise, if making a natural deodorant from scratch is one step too far, we’ve also tested many brands. The Lush ‘Aromaco’ packaging-free deodorant came out on top. It kept us both smelling fresh all day.
So don’t be too hard on yourself. Personal hygiene is exactly that: a very personal subject. But if you’re up for it, try making your own natural deodorant at home.
Roxy Pope and Ben Pook are the founders of So Vegan, one of the world’s largest vegan recipe platforms with over 1 million followers.