Soapwalla founder Rachel Winard invites us to be the sous chef in her kitchen as she whips up her all-natural deodorant.
We don’t really give our armpits a whole lot of love because, let’s face it, they’re dirty and sweaty and smelly. During pregnancy, when our hormones are raging, they’re even more dirty and sweaty and smelly. So it’s no wonder we’re tempted to reach for the strongest stuff available to stave off the sweat -- and stench. But covering this lymph-node rich area of your body with chemicals while you’re cooking a baby is a bad idea, no matter how hot you get. Unfortunately, finding a natural deodorant that doesn’t stink can be a lifelong search. And when you’re pregnant, you have enough stuff to search for. So we’ll save you days of internet trolling and armpit experimentation because, ladies, we’ve found the holy grail: Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream. There’s a reason Soapwalla’s founder Rachel Winard refers to herself as the “chef” of the “kitchen” -- all the ingredients in her natural skincare line are healthy enough to eat. The brand’s creamy deodorant (meant to be applied by hand) is no exception, made from superfine vegetable powders and clays, lavender, peppermint and tea tree essential oils. It’s no wonder that birds and bees literally gather outside her Gowanus workspace while she’s cooking. In addition to steering clear of harmful additives and chemicals, Soapwalla’s deodorant is free of aluminum zirconium, a chemical that many deodorants and antiperspirants use to prevent sweat -- and toxins -- from leaving the body. Um, we’re pretty sure that while baby is on the inside, you want those toxins on the outside. We recently stopped by Soapwalla’s light-filled Brooklyn kitchen and got a little deodorant cooking lesson that had us -- ok we mean our armpits -- sweating those pretty little blue jars of magical cream. Rachel starts out with some mixing bowls filled with food-grade powders and clays, all of which are non-GMO. She combines ingredients with carrier and essential oils in -- what else? -- a giant stock pot. Then warm shea butter, sourced from a women’s co-op in Ghana, is poured into the powders, and stirred for about five or so minutes with a whisk, until the ingredients create a creamy mixture. Next the chef carefully measures out each jarful and gently pours the mixture into her signature Soapwalla blue containers. They’re stacked in a refrigerator and cooled for 2-3 hours, until solid. Once cooled, Rachel brings them back to room temperature, then labels and boxes them. The entire process is done entirely by hand -- including the part where she individually packs each order and sends it on its merry way to your medicine cabinet. Photography by Evan Gubernick of 485 Creative.