Beauty hacks test: a cheap alternative to anti-chafing powder

The hack
A natural powder made from household items to reduce friction, absorb perspiration and prevent chafing on the body.

The promise
Anytime our skin rubs against itself, especially if we’re sweaty, the friction can cause irritation and soreness – particularly between the thighs. DIY beauty enthusiasts say we can avoid pricey sports balms, dusting powders or sweat-wicking creams, which draw moisture away from the body, and look instead in our kitchen cupboards.

The test
My research found two DIY anti-chafe remedies: cornflour – corn milled to a silky powder – and arrowroot, a thickening agent made from a tropical plant. Using an old face-powder brush, I daubed a little of each powder between my thighs. The mix worked well on a brisk walk to the shops but it couldn’t contend with an hour of tennis: I’d applied it underneath my sports bra, but it congealed with my sweat to make a sort-of “underboob” paste.

The verdict
On a warm day, I felt zero thigh chafe, but it left an unfortunate white gunge all over my clothes. Worse, cornflour and arrowroot are sugars, which can trigger yeast production (unless they’re cosmetic-grade or preserved). So when a friend said I smelled “a bit like sourdough”, that sent me straight back to my dusting powder.