How to go anti-perspirant free!

I stopped using anti-perspirant about three years ago now, and I will NEVER go back. I made the choice because I didn’t like the idea that I was blocking a natural process. I can see that it might seem like the kind of thing only inconsiderate ‘hippies’ might go in for. Well, I am a bit of a hippy, but that doesn’t mean I’m inconsiderate, because the thing is, going perspirant free does not increase the number of times I get body odour! Read on to find out how I keep myself smelling nice without stopping my body doing what it needs to do.

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How to keep body odour at bay without anti-perspirant

  1. Use a good deodorant. Of course, going anti-perspirant free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a good, natural deo. I’ve tried them all, and for my everyday, morning application I love PitRok and Salt of the Earth. I use PitRok if I’m not showering, but if I do shower I use Salt of the Earth which needs to be used on wet skin (or wetted before use). These both do an amazing job and I often find they last all day. 
  2. Keep underarm hair sweet. If you’ve decided to dump the razor as well as the anti-persp, I have one great tip for how to help yourself feel more confident with your newfound armpit hair, and that’s to look after it. Apply a scented oil or balm like Lush’s Elbow Grease and your armpit hair will be smelling like a fresh bouquet all day. You can’t beat it.
  3. Re-deodorise at your desk. Whatever your job, you will find that occasionally you have some odour to cover up. This can easily be sorted out with Weleda Sage Deodorant, which eliminates odour in seconds, and lasts for ages. If your job is less sedentary than mine, you may have to do it more often, but to be honest I walk (briskly) two hours a day and my boyfriend cycles to work and works on his feet and neither of us have ever had a problem that Sage Deo couldn’t fix.
  4. Nighttime protection. This is an important one for the summer. If you start to smell at night because you’re entwined in sweaty sheets (or a sweaty significant other) it’s very likely that some BO will set in overnight and be really difficult to shift come morning. You can prevent this with a sprinkling of dusting powder before bed – Lush’s Silky Underwear is my all time fave though they have others, some of which I think are actually designed to combat odour!

So, there are my tips! As I mentioned, I don’t have a hugely active lifestyle (I don’t work on a building site) but I do exercise and I do walk a lot to and from work, and this routine works perfectly for me.

Are you thinking of going anti-perspirant free? Or have you already done it and have your own fave products? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Thinx: Period Underwear

Two months ago, I discovered my holy grail. Not skincare, not hair care, not make-up. My holy grail? Five pairs of period underwear that make me feel sexy, comfortable and confident. These pant(ie)s have changed the way I feel about my period, and I honestly believe they are the best investment I could ever have made for myself.

Also…I would never in a million years have expected to be posting a picture of me in my underwear on this blog, but that just goes to show how amazing Thinx underwear make me feel. Read on to find out why!

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I’ve always been very forward about periods – I don’t find them disgusting and have never felt embarrassed by them. When I started my dad was the first person I told, and he reacted with pride. I cannot express how important that was, his joyously positive response to something that women are shamed for and silenced about. It taught me not to accept men’s immaturity in the face of a bleeding vagina, and to question phrases like ‘oh my god don’t make period jokes that’s disgusting’. I think this is one of the reasons I’m so annoyed by the lack of options when it comes to sanitary products, and allow myself to loathe both pads and tampons.

For a long time, I used a Mooncup, which I loved. However I’ve had an IUD for a year and was told by both my doctors and the Mooncup team that using a cup in conjunction with an IUD is a bit squiffy – so the cup went back into its box, and I went back to using pads. I never use tampons because my flow isn’t heavy enough and it’s like lighting a match EVERY SINGLE TIME I take one out… but after a while I got sick of pads, especially since discovering that the only brand I actually liked now puts perfume in all their products (really, Always?) So I started looking for an alternative.

And that’s when I discovered Thinx. Made of four ingenious layers of absorbent, antimicrobial, leak-resistant and moisture-wicking fabrics as well as an incredible design that just fits PERFECTLY, Thinx underwear come in six styles that can hold up to TWO tampons worth of blood! The level of absorbency varies depending on the style. As you can imagine, the hiphugger holds a lot more than the thong, so you can choose your pants based on your own flow. I bought five pairs of hiphuggers because I decided to use them without anything else, and I thought the style looked really comfy. Thinx recommend that you use them with tampons or a cup, but also stress that you know your own flow, and if you think it’s light enough to go it alone, that’s up to you.

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I went with the large size, which is bigger than I would usually buy in the UK (I’m a 12, sometimes even a 10) but about right for American undies – genuinely I think they make them differently as I’ve bought medium size underwear in Peru, New York and Toronto and they’ve ALL been to small! Anyway, large fits PERFECTLY. Despite being thicker than normal underwear, it doesn’t feel like you’re sitting in a knicker-sized sanitary pad. It does feel different, but not uncomfortable, or even noticeable after a few minutes.

It’s amazing to just be able to get up in the morning and simply pull on some underwear, without having to worry about packing enough pads for the day. To be able to wear my skinniest jeans, and to be wearing underwear that I actually like! Washing them is so easy too. You rinse the top layer of blood off at the end of the day in cold water, and then pop them in a cold delicates wash with natural detergent (I use Ecover’s Delicate Laundry Detergent) along with all your other underwear and delicates.

Thinx are more than just an amazing underwear company though. Their factory in Sri Lanka is a family run company that is committed to training and educating their female employees so that that they can become empowered leaders in the community. Thinx ALSO contribute some of their profits to ARFIpads, an organisation that trains women in developing countries to sew reusable sanitary pads. They sell these pads to girls in their communities who are then able to attend school whilst menstruating, something that they wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

In total my pants took me to about £100, which I was completely happy with to be honest. Yeah they’re not cheap, but the technology, ethics, the comfort, confidence and convenience make them more than worth the investment. Take a look at their amazing range here.

Elizabeth Arden Fragrance Free Eight Hour Cream

I am SO disappointed in this product. I don’t write negative reviews very often, because it doesn’t feel good, but I recently realised that it really wasn’t fair to people who are trying to work out whether or not they should spend money on something. So, here we go…

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The product claims are promising. It’s supposed to help moisturise flaky skin, dry hands and cracked lips, you can use it to shape brows, (though I have no idea what this brings to the table that an eyebrow pencil would not) and to ‘revitalise shine’ (I’m assuming this translates to ‘makes you shiny’).

Over the Christmas period I was getting a few flaky patches on my face, and being a sensitive skinned individual, I decided to try the Fragrance Free version of Eight Hour Cream. I have to say, I completely swallowed the hype. Looking at the ingredients now (salicylic acid, lanolin, petroleum jelly, corn oil, vegetable oil, castor oil and two plant extracts, one of which doesn’t have any skincare benefits – seriously, tonka bean extract is JUST a perfume) I don’t know why I bought it, I should have known better.

My skin was not happy about it. First of all, it did nothing but make my lips and hands sticky when I tried it as a lip balm/hand cream, and it smells vile. I put it all over my face as planned, for three nights in a row. I used it for three nights despite hating the texture and smell because I wanted to give it a fair chance at getting rid of my dry patches. Well, they actually got worse. Plus, by the end of the three nights the rest of my face was red, oily and I was starting to get spots. Usually, I have a very even complexion, and spots are a rarity.

I think perhaps I had too-high expectations for this legendary product. I’ve used it as a foot cream a few times since and it’s very nice for that, but I haven’t liked it for anything else. I know some people say they use it for eczema but I tried that on my hands and it made me so itchy! It could just be that my skin really is quite sensitive, and a thick balm with salicylic acid in it (although I really did think the simple base would make it ok!) just isn’t going to work for me no matter what. Either way, Elizabeth Arden’s Fragrance Free Eight Hour Cream is just like every other multipurpose balm, but with a ridiculous £26 price tag and a dreadful smell. You’re much better off spending a tenner on some Weleda Skin Food because at least that smells good and will actually do something about flaky patches.

What do you think of Eight Hour Cream? Did I use it wrong? What do you use it for? If you’re looking for a good multipurpose product, here are some links to a couple I’d recommend:

Lush Elbow Grease

Dr Paw Paw Balm

Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub

Exfoliation is probably one of my favourite aspects of skincare. However, I have to be careful not to overdo it when I scrub my dry, delicate skin. I really think that when you have sensitive skin, you should be very careful about the quality of the exfoliators you buy. Which is why I feel absolutely no guilt about enjoying the wondrous, luxurious Geranium Leaf Body Scrub from Aesop.

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The exfoliating granules in Aesop’s Geranium Leaf Body Scrub are made from finely ground pumice and bamboo stem powders, which lift away dead skin gently, but amazingly well – my skin has never felt so smooth, and I suspect it’s because they’re so fine and therefore able to really get under the dead skin. The thick gel makes it a gorgeous product to massage into the skin, and, enriched with oils of mandarin, bergamot and geranium, it conditions and deeply cleanses the skin without drying it at all. These oils also make it smell glorious. 

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I adore body scrubs and have tried so many over the years, but the fresh, refreshingly sweet scent, gorgeous texture and gentle effectiveness of Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub makes it the best one I’ve ever used, by a long shot. It’s £25 for 170ml, which isn’t cheap, but if you’re looking to splash some Christmas money on a treat (or you can afford it anyway, in which case good for you!) I really think you’ll be glad you did. You can get it on Beauty Expert here – link

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Lush Elbow Grease

I’ve been posting about Lush a lot recently (see here, here and here). This adoration is well deserved, because their new products are seriously amazing, and I think this melty, fragrant and intensely nourishing Elbow Grease moisturising bar might be one of my favourites.

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A fragrant, rich moisturising bar that can be used anywhere you need to nourish some dryness, Elbow Grease contains a gorgeous mixture of butters and oils held together seemingly by magic. The nourishing coconut oil, cupuacu and murumuru butters keep it in a bar shape, but only just. It’s so finely balanced that almost as soon as it comes into contact with your fingers it melts into a rich, thick oil. There’s candelilla wax in there too, which protects the skin like beeswax does. I keep my bar in its original paper to make sure it doesn’t melt on me. I’m sure it won’t, as it does hold its shape really well when your skin isn’t in direct contact with it, but still.

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I’ve never seen a product do this before (not even coconut oil on it’s own melts this quickly) and I absolutely love it. Melty gorgeousness aside, one of the best things about Elbow Grease is the smell. Holy crap, this stuff smells like heaven. It’s an intoxicating blend of neroli, orange blossom, rosewood, sandalwood and ylang ylang that wakes you up and makes you smile as soon as you smell it. Apart from the gorgeous fragrance, there were a few other reasons I bought it. First, I thought it would be good for the rough skin that I sometimes get on my hands and feet (to put on at night since there’s no way I’d be able to use my hands after slathering it on!). Then I thought it would be perfect for softening, perfuming and conditioning my underarm hair. But finally, and most importantly, I had an inkling that Elbow Grease would be amazing for my thick, dry, coarse, frizzy and curly hair.

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And that’s what this post is really about, because seriously, I was RIGHT. The first time I tried Elbow Grease on my hair, I had it up in a frizzy, annoying ponytail. I was in a rush so I just pinched a bit out and rubbed in between my fingers before smoothing it through my hair… and the frizz was gone. I had smooth, shiny curls all day. I’ve used it several times since, particularly when my hair gets that annoying bouncy frizz thing going on. Every time I use it end up with defined, shiny and nourished curls. Here’s the proof:

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Same handful of hair, but before the second pic I quickly ran some Elbow Grease over each curl. Now, it goes without saying that if your hair is thinner, oilier or generally more well behaved than mine, Elbow Grease will not have such a subtle and desirable effect on your hair. However, my boyfriend, who’s hair is completely normal and acceptable, has started using it about once a fortnight on his hair before he goes to bed, to soften and nourish it like an intense mask, and it looks gorgeous. He’s sitting with it on right now and actually it doesn’t look oily at all!

I am SO impressed with this stuff, and am secretly hoping I end up with my annual ‘winter dry hands’ so I have an excuse to use this on more parts of my body. I’m gonna get them anyway, may as well have a reason to look forward to it! Get Elbow Grease on Lush for £5.95 – link

Learning to love my armpit hair

Today, I went to my first ever yoga class, and I was a bit nervous. Being naturally flexible and weirdly good at balancing (thanks, five years of gymnastic trampolining), actually being able to do the poses wasn’t the thing that was worrying me. My nerves were to do with the fact that I haven’t shaved my underarms for almost a year. I was wearing a vest top and sports bra, and was about to spend an hour with my arms up in the air, surrounded by beautiful strangers.

I love my underarm hair. It’s so soft, and it curls like the hair on my head. My partner thinks it’s pretty. think it’s pretty. The fact that I can have body hair, not worry about people seeing it and still feel confident is a huge thing for me. I struggled with body image until I was about 22, so here I am making myself less attractive in the eyes of society, and I still feel good?!

The yoga class was a blip – I was unsure of the people I’d be around, and knew that if anyone looked at me there was no chance they wouldn’t see my underarms.This experience was definitely the most intense ‘armpit hair display’ I’ve ever had, and I got through it because I knew that I liked my armpit hair, and I wanted to share with you the way that I actually learned to love it. Yep, that’s right, this is my underarm hair beauty routine. And what?

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Step one: Washing. 

My boyfriend sports a lovely Aragorn-style 5 day beard, which looks insanely sexy but has a tendency to scratch my delicate face apart when we make out. When shopping around for something to tame it, we came across this Kalamazoo Beard Wash in Lush and he bought a small tub. A couple of weeks later, he went back to buy this bucket size, because this mixture of pineapple, almond oil, jojoba oil and cupuaçu makes body hair INSANELY soft. I asked James if I could try it on my underarm hair one morning and he enthusiastically agreed, and ever since my hair has been baby soft and super smooth.

Step two: Deodorise. 

I haven’t used anti-perspirant for almost a year. Natural deodorants are great as they allow you to sweat (which you NEED to do) but if used correctly, do help prevent body odour. I use Pit Rok Spray in the morning, as this prevents the smell, and then Weleda Sage Deodorant later in the day if I need to cover up. I’ve tried tonnes of natural deos, and these are definitely the best. I keep my arms pressed to my sides to make sure the liquid gets through the hair and all over my skin.

Step three: Conditioning.

Using oil on your armpit hair is entirely optional, I usually only do it when I’m wearing something sleeveless. It is, however, the most absolutely gorgeous thing you can do with your underarm hair, and an excellent way of feeling more confident about it. When you lift your arm up to point at something and are greeted with the smell of some beautiful essential oils, how could you, or anyone else, think anything bad about your body hair? It smells of flowers and fruits! I had this little bottle of Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil and have been using that because it smells divine and my hair loves it – while it’s pricey, I am SO tempted to buy some more when it runs out. But I’ve also recently bought some Elbow Grease, a exclusive Lush Oxford Street product that is without a shadow of a doubt the most gorgeous collection of oils EVER. It melts into skin and hair immediately, and actually smells just like my Serge Lutens Fleur d’Oranger perfume. When I put oil on my armpit hair, I like to comb it through with an eyelash comb. You’d be surprised how tangled  an inch of armpit hair can get! It curls and sits beautifully after I do this (and no, it doesn’t look greasy, the hair is too thick for that!)

Step four: Nighttime. 

I often shower before bed rather than in the morning as it helps me sleep, and as part of my night time skincare routine, I always sprinkle some dusting powder on my underarms to make sure they’re fresh in the morning. If I’m showering in the morning instead, I don’t bother, but it’s lovely to go to bed with fragrant, dusted underarms. Lush’s dusting powders are the only ones worth using if you ask me, and their Princess Dusting Powder, bought for me as an in-joke gift by my boyfriend (and another Oxford Street Exclusive), is gorgeous. Silky Underwear is another stunning option that I’ve raved about before.

So that’s how I grew to really enjoy, embrace and normalise having underarm hair! Is it different? Yes. Do I care? Hell no, I’m having SO much fun. One day I might even dye it green. 

Benefit Bathina “Take a picture…it lasts longer…” Review

I have wanted this stuff foreeeever. In my early teens I thought Benefit and Lush were the ultimate in beauty, and I was obsessed with their quirky, cool products. Bathina “Take a picture…it lasts longer” like Silky Underwear from Lush, has been on my wishlist since I was about 13. So the other day when I was faffing around on Feel Unique I decided to treat myself, because I’m an adult now (right?) and I have disposable income (…right?)

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Let’s not dwell on how stereotypically 90s kid it is of me to buy what is essentially glorified body glitter. To be fair, it does pack an impressive shimmer, but it’s so much more than that. The glitter is a warm golden colour and the balm is a beautiful pink, so when it reflects in the light it gives this gorgeous peachy shimmer. Perfect for people who don’t tan, and so have no use for bronzer.

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The scent is ludicrously gorgeous, and has some serious staying power. I’ve worn it on bare legs (hellooooo summer!) for the past two days and not only have they been gorgeously shimmery every time I look down, they’ve been silky soft and lightly scented. Something in the fragrance reminds me of summer really vividly, in the same way that suntan lotion always does. This is such a gorgeous treat for the warmer months, and if like me you just do not tan, this’ll give you a break from that milk-bottle leg feeling.

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I did a silly little summer leg shaving ‘step by step’ the other day where I recommended Silky Underwear Dusting Powder or Korres Bergamot Pear Body Milk as the final step – but I think it’s safe to say that this is the perfect finishing touch. Get it from Feel Unique for £23.50 – go on, treat yo self.