I realize that in sharing this I risk shunning by friends and family who are proponents of antiperspirant, but hopefully none of my personal relationships are so shaky as to be severed by any underarm-related decisions I may make now or in the future. Right? ... Right?!
As a person who wants to be considerate of others, I try to avoid producing offensive body odor as a general rule. I want people to smile when they see me coming, not wince. But even though the American Cancer Society says it ain't really a thang, the idea of antiperspirants makes me nervous. Plus I hate the idea of buying and throwing away all of that plastic packaging.
Enter le Google. I found this post by Angry Chicken about homemade deodorant, and it occurred to me that I didn't have to buy deodorant from the store. I don't know why making my own never occurred to me, but it hadn't. Her recipe looks awesome, but it involves lots of ingredients and steps and it's probably not that hard but I can be lazy and I wanted to find an easier solution. I still want to try that recipe someday (soon-ish, hopefully), but what I'm using in the meantime is way simpler.
I can't remember exactly where I came across this idea, but general googling led me to understand that you can use plain baking soda as a deodorant. Let me qualify that by saying that while using straight baking soda will work, it can be a bit harsh and irritating to the skin. So it's better to mix it with cornstarch, which makes it feel smoother and even provides some antiperspirant-like qualities, as it is somewhat absorbent. Shoot for a 6:1 ratio of corn starch to baking soda. I didn't really measure, to be honest, I just put more cornstarch than baking soda into a tupperware container, shook it up, and called it good.
It worked pretty well, but I have to say, I missed the nice smells you can get with conventional deodorant. So I took it one step further and bought a powder puff (to make me feel fancy when I apply the powder) and some scented body powder from BonnynClyde on Etsy. I take the scented powder and mix a little of it in with the baking soda/corn starch mixture. It doesn't change the texture or the effectiveness at all, but it makes it smell nice (in a pleasantly subtle way).
I still sweat a bit, which I don't mind too much because that's a thing your body does on purpose. I have occasionally noticed a bit of BO towards the end of particularly long work days, which can sometimes be exacerbated by the fabric of the shirt I am wearing, but I check myself on the regular to make sure I'm not ruining the olfactory lives of my coworkers. I'm currently trying to figure out a way to make this whole operation portable so I can do touchups if I'm going to be out for a long time. Other than that, this is an extremely cheap, "green" solution to a problem that had been bugging me since puberty, so I'm pretty happy.
Here's a post from The Greenest Dollar with a few other homemade deodorant ideas, if you're interested.