Unpopular millennial opinion: I'm not stoked about aluminum-free deodorant.
Why the F not? you may be wondering. Well, the reason is layered, and it begins with an embarrassing story from middle school.
In 6th or possibly 7th grade, I was called into the P.E. teacher's corner office of the girls' locker room. The basis for this summoning was beyond me. I was a good student. I followed the rules. I wasn't very athletic, but did my best in P.E. class nonetheless. Remember Mrs. Mann from Scary Movie? The gym teacher in question looked kind of like that.
The way my P.E. teacher looked is not the point here, but now the scene is set. So I sat down, and as my heart raced, she very gently informed me that some of my friends had brought my body odor to her attention. The problem was that I hadn't started wearing deodorant yet. She said that my preteen buddies had tried to offer me their deodorant, but I had declined, which is true.
Needless to say, I was MORTIFIED.
Beyond the humiliation of being the smelly kid, the thought of my friends having a meeting about my stank, trying (and failing) to help me out, and then going to the authorities as a last resort was pretty much enough to make me shy away from basically everyone and everything for the next few months. Not only that, but my mother was called to assist with the problem. Of course, my mom sweetly offered her assistance and bought me a shower-fresh Teen Spirit stick.
At first, I felt betrayed that my friends ratted me out over my deodorant defiance, but in their defense, they did try to give me a hint. I mean, we were twelve. I'm not sure if I would have had the balls to tell a peer they stunk at that age.
So why wasn't I wearing deodorant?! It wasn't because I was too much of a hippie or anything. It was honestly just because I was still a kid and it hadn't occurred to me that I actually needed to wear any—I don't even think my pits were getting wet yet.
I mean, seriously, I hadn't even gotten my first period. I thought deodorant was for teenagers, like Maxi Pads and mascara. The only deodorant that had ever been handed to me was a little sample-size stick of Secret in those swag bags we got during our annual special girls-only edition of health class where we learned about our developing bodies.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the righteous "aluminum deodorant is the devil and gives you Alzheimer's and breast cancer" argument of today. Besides the fact that my mother hadn't supplied me with deodorant prior to this incident, I had no excuses. I was just smelly.
Why I'm Sticking with Aluminum Deodorant Now
The irony is that as an adult, I've been shunned for using aluminum deodorant. I can't win! It seems I'll somehow always be a deodorant outcast. For now, I'm sticking to the chemical kind that everyone's been panicking about.
People seem to be pretty gung-ho about the "dangers" of aluminum deodorant, but it appears that there have been no studies directly examining a link between aluminum antiperspirant and the risk of Alzheimer's disease. In the case of breast cancer, some have suggested a correlation, but it looks like no clear link has been made between aluminum deodorant and breast cancer either.
So I don't know. People can obviously do whatever they want, but it's kind of amazing how many strong opinions there are on the subject when the science really isn't there yet. The natural deodorant trend even made it on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Remember when Kim goes to the natural grocery store with Mason to pick out some noncancerous deodorant?
I feel like there's also a lot of crowd-sourcing on social media for all-natural deodorant recs. That's cool and all—no judgment. I'm just not there yet and may never be there with aluminum-free antiperspirant. I work out a lot and I sweat a lot!
My sister and I tried licking deodorant once when we were younger for reasons unknown. Have you ever done that? Probably not. Well, it dries out your tongue for a second which is how I know aluminum really wicks your sweat! (We tried licking batteries on another occasion which gives you the teeniest, tiniest shock.)
I'm also just big on smelling good all the time and I usually only shower every other day, so I can't really afford to take the herbal route in the armpit department. One time, I forgot to wear deodorant to work, so I Googled "what to do if you forgot to wear deodorant to work". Guess what? Applying hand sanitizer to your pits kills the smelly bacteria and will hold you over until you get home.
I read in my husband's GQ magazine that charcoal deodorant can be a good stepping stone to aluminum-free deodorant because it's super absorbent. I'd maybe try that out, but we'll see. Apparently, your body can adjust to non-aluminum deodorant, and you won't always smell scary, but whatevs. For now, I'm just gonna stick to my chemical stick.
As the mom in Obvious Child hilariously states regarding the potential association with aluminum deodorant and Alzheimer's: "I'd rather forget that I smelled good than remember that I stunk!"
Am I totally alone in my aluminum antiperspirant stubbornness? Have you hopped on the all-natural armpit product train? Do you stink? Do you have any embarrassing personal hygiene stories from middle school? Let me know in the comments below!