My family isn't Catholic, but we do practice Lent. Lent in a nutshell, is fasting or abstaining from certain things for the 40 days preceding Easter. This is done to prepare oneself for the most important Biblical event in a calendar year, the remembrance and celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Although the Faith shared by my family strips religiosity out of their relationship with God, Lent is a practice we have carried on because of its ability to cleanse our hearts and souls. Think of it as a juice cleanse for the soul.
One of our first Lent seasons we collectively chose to stop purchasing anything outside of food and gas. Nothing new, or used was purchased. While 40 days doesn't seem like an extreme amount of time to abstain from buying stuff it was actually very difficult. It was post Christmas clearance season, plus lots of new things coming in for Spring, and for someone stuck in the consumer mindset it was hard. All of this to say that this first observance of Lent led to a lot of changes in me.
Removing myself from the buying culture made me so happy. I felt relieved and more satisfied and ultimately duped by the system I had so unconsciously become a part of. This led me to challenge other beliefs within that system - such as makeup, shaving, deodorant, etc. Things society told me I needed to be happy just as it had with buying stuff.
Enter the hairy armpits.
I do not own the copyright to this photograph.
Sophia Loren - one of the greatest beauties of all time, showing off her glorious underarm hair.
I committed to a year. A year without make up. A year without shaving. A year without deodorant. A year without buying (I did make exceptions for buying used clothing on half off days). A year of deciding what I want and not what I'm told to want.
Although I could expound on what I learned about myself during that time, I will save you the Lena Dunham introspection (I love her, that wasn't an insult) . The result was I made decisions for myself.
I love shaving my legs. I like shaving them, wearing shorts to bed and feeling how soft and silky they are.
I like wearing makeup for special occasions. I don't want it every day. I don't feel the need to put it on every time I leave the house, go to an event or visit a friend. There's also nothing wrong with putting on a pinch of makeup. Eyebrows and lipstick are what I do 99% of the time.
I like deodorant. It's an essential thing for me. I'm stinky. Almost to the point of inhuman. I didn't want to go back to deodorant full of aluminium and chemicals so I shopped around trying many (if not every) kind of natural deodorant and have found the stuff my husband makes me works the best. I'm sharing the recipe today (see below).
I love my hairy armpits. Yes, there is a small part of me that probably loves it because it grosses a lot of people out. I also have a slightly larger part of me that loves to challenge typical standards for beauty. Society's insistence on us shaving or waxing absolutely everything except our heads is ridiculous. What the big payoff is, and 90% of why I don't shave my pitts is that my armpits feel and smell better. No more razor bumps or ingrown hairs. No burning when I put deodorant on after a shave (although that wouldn't happen with the deodorant I use now). Nothing but glorious, soft, and what I consider beautiful, hair.
You don't have to take a full year to try this. You don't have to try it at all if you don't want. If I can insist on you doing anything, just take the rest of the day and consider why you do things. If you feel pressured to look and be a certain way, identify those pressures and relieve yourself of them. People who love you will allow you to change (if it is a healthy change).
1 tbsp cocoa butter
2 tbsp shea butter
1 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp corn starch
Essential oil of your choice
Melt cocoa and shea butter and add remaining ingredients. Choose your essential oil wisely. I love bergamot and patchouli, but lavender, or peppermint are also great options. If you have sensitive armpits use less essential oil (or none at all) and add as many or little drops as you'd like. Mix well and pour into muffin paper or an old deodorant applicator. Allow to set for 24 hours before using.