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What to use instead of Talcum Powder

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What to use instead of Talcum Powder

If you’re concerned about recent litigation claiming that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder contributed to ovarian cancer, you’re not alone. Many large retailers pulled the iconic powder from their shelves last October after a sample tested positive for asbestos. 


Luckily, there are many talc-free powders to choose from, and many are made by fantastic small mom-and-pop brands. All of the talc-free alternatives on the market today have mostly the same function as traditional talcum powder- to absorb sweat and odor. But in case you need a walk through the ingredient list, we've compiled a list of common ingredients that might show up in your new talc-free body powder so you can figure out which work best for you. 

1. Cornstarch

You probably have some cornstarch in your kitchen cabinet. This corn-derived powder is used in many industries as a thickener and anti-sticking agent, and is a good alternative to talc for absorbing moisture.  

2. Arrowroot

Arrowroot is a tropical root cultivated in the Caribbean. The indigenous people of St. Vincent used the plant for food and medicine for centuries before it became the island’s biggest export in the 1900s. Today, some 80% of the crop is still cultivated by small farmers on the island. 


Arrowroot has seen a surge in demand over the last few years as a nutrient-rich alternative to gluten. In powders, arrowroot gives a silky texture very similar to traditional talc, with excellent ability to absorb moisture.

3. Tapioca

Tapioca is a starch obtained from the cassava plant native to Brazil. It serves as the basis of many diets from Africa to South America, and is a good alternative to talc for absorbing moisture.

4. Kaolin

Kaolin Clay, or China Clay, is a white mineral minded all over the planet- from China to Europe to the US. Kaolin is ubiquitous in the skincare industry for its ability to absorb oil and cleanse the pores. Its soft fine texture makes it a great addition to body powders. 

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda is used in powders to absorb odor and is used in many natural deodorants as an alternative to aluminum. Although effective, baking soda can be harsh for people with sensitive skin, and has a grainy texture.

6. Magnesium

An essential mineral for maintaining your heart and musculoskeletal health, magnesium is also very effective deodorant that can be used by those with sensitive skin.

7. Zinc

Like Magnesium, zinc is also an essential mineral needed for numerous healthy bodily functions. It is also the main ingredient in diaper rash cream and calamine lotion as it soothes the skin, heals wounds, and encourages skin regeneration.

What to use instead of Talcum Powder
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  • Julia Kahlig-Garuba
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