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Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

15 Feb

homemade deodorantphoto by lorigami

Alternate titles considered: “Going Native” or “To Stink or Not to Stink”

Hehe!

In all seriousness, I truly AM making an effort to go a little more native in areas dealing with purchasing/consuming synthetic chemicals. I’m guessing true natives didn’t worry too much about deodorant at all, so I’m not quite going all the way. BUT, I’ve started making my own foaming soap that I use for dishes, hand washing, showering, bathing, shampoo, and even general cleaning! I’ve even started making my own laundry detergent. I hope to post on both of those products at another time.  I’m making these changes in an effort to limit the number of synthetic and potentially toxic chemicals that I’m not only absorbing through my skin, but also adding to the environment and the world’s water system.  {Side note: The key, active ingredient in commercial antiperspirant/deodorants, for example (along with many other synthetic chemicals), is aluminum. We’re rubbing it into our skin and the sensitive lymph tissue frighteningly near our breasts. Yikes!} I’m also making a concerted effort to minimize the amount of waste I produce (especially plastic), and hand soap dispensers, laundry detergent bottles, and deodorant containers are items I was frequently discarding with very little thought. Ugh. Shame on me. Finally, I’m pretty happy that those changes also tie in to a pretty significant savings in the area of our checkbook. You can’t beat that!

Today, I made the switch to homemade, natural deodorant. I held off on this step longer than the others for one fairly obvious reason. I don’t want to stink. I’ve tried MANY natural deodorant alternatives over the years, and I’ve just never been impressed. I always felt like I ended up with at least slight body odor (if not SERIOUS BODY ODOR) that was often mixed with a weird herb-y smell. Eww. Just…..Eww. Since having a baby and a hysterectomy, I swear that body odor creeps up on me faster than it used to, so this is a serious concern. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a researcher at heart. I’ve read all kinds of recipes for natural deodorant as well as a plethora of reviews. I finally found this one that many people swore by who had gone through many years of trying other natural alternatives and feeling frustrated.  Here’s the recipe:

5-6 Tbsp Coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

That’s it! I’m not sure it could get any easier! When mixed, it has a pasty, gel-like texture like what you see pictured above. I simply spread it on with my fingertips the same way I would any lotion. If you want to add a scent, you can add a drop or two of the essential oil of your choice, or even a squeeze of lime! I’ve considered a drop of tea tree oil due to it’s antibacterial qualities (bacteria are what create the stink) but am slightly concerned that it might be too drying. I didn’t add any scent to this batch, and the coconut oil has a very soft, unobtrusive scent of its own.

I’m giving it a seven day test and will update this post each day with my general level of activity, how sweaty I felt & how stinky I got. Hehe! I’ll end with my overall satisfaction with the switch and let you know if I plan to stick with it or not. If you want to join in, please leave a note in the comments and let me know what YOU decide!

Here’s the post where I originally found the recipe. Fingers crossed for no stinking!

  • Day 1: Moderate activity (vacuuming, light exercise, yoga, & usual Mommy stuff). No stink! Didn’t feel sweaty! Like the slightly coconutty scent.
  • Day2: Big test = no shower today. DID re-apply deodorant in the a.m. Ran errands & got very hot in winter coat, due to spring thaw in progress. Worried about stink. Guess what? NO STINK! Color me impressed.
  • Day 3: VERY active day. Laundry, therapy w/J (I do steps & squats, too!), yoga, exercise bike, cooking, & errands. NO. STINK.
  • Day 4: Good news & bad. Good news: still no stink, I LOVE the soft coconut scent, no residue/oils on clothes (commercial deodorant is MUCH worse), and I really think it works. Bad news: I developed a rash today. Ugh. I am TOTALLY bummed. I love everything about this stuff. Except the rash. I’m guessing that it’s a reaction to the cornstarch, so I’m going to abort this test and make another batch. I’ll substitute arrowroot powder from our co-op for the cornstarch and see if it makes a difference. Hoping to get some arrowroot powder to have a new batch mixed tomorrow or Saturday. Will do a new post & a new 7-day test from there. Sorry to leave you hanging!

Update: Have been doing some research and am learning that allergies to any of these ingredients are VERY RARE. Hmmmm. So why do I have a red rash?? I think I’m going to delay my next batch a bit longer and do some skin testing with each individual product to see if it causes redness. My other thought is that my rash is possibly heat/moisture related. Since there is no antiperspirant involved, I’m sure there’s some sweating going on, and the coconut oil itself kind of creates a perpetually moist environment. If that’s the problem, I’m not sure how to solve it. Will research more, do some testing, and keep you posted.

Update #2: Everything I’m reading seems to be pointing to the baking soda as the rash culprit. Who knew?! Apparently, sodium bicarbonate can be irritating to sensitive skin. I think I’m going to try cutting the baking soda in half and see what happens. If the rash is from moisture, & possibly fungal realted (Eww!), tea tree oil might help, but essential oils can be irritating, too, so I think I might try the soda solution first.

 

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8 Comments

Posted by on February 15, 2011 in Going Green, Health, Recipes

 

Tags: , , , ,

8 responses to “Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

  1. Allyson

    February 15, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I will be checking back. I have tried several natural brands and none have worked for me, so I’m still slathering aluminum. I cringe a little every morning when I put deodorant on.

     
  2. PsychMamma

    February 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Allyson –

    Yeah. That’s what I was doing, too, and I finally decided it was time to try something new. Will keep you posted!

     
  3. Barbara

    February 16, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I like the simplicity of the recipe. I hope to try this – but getting on my list of things to do does not ensure a quick action! Be sure to tweet when your full review is finished but I am already sold on the idea.

    I’ve recently made a nice natural cleanser from white vinegar and orange peel. Several days of steeping and then remove the peel. Cleaned-up a raw egg mess nicely! Well, really, I did the cleaning but it was effective! 🙂

     
  4. PsychMamma

    February 16, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Barbara –

    I’ve switched to cleaning with natural ingredients, as well! I have vinegar and water in a spray bottle, but I LOVE the idea of adding orange peel! Will definitely tweet at the completion of my seven-day test!

     
  5. Barbara

    February 19, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Oh, my, but I’m grateful you are doing all this ‘research’. I am very interested in the outcome. Realizing that this is deodorant and not antiperspirant might complicate things for me – I live in Texas and sweat must be managed about half the year. Still this might serve for our short winters. (Baby steps) Also I’m beginning to believe I sweat less as I age….saw your tweet about not dying your hair. I am an a-vowed no-dye person. Proud of my salt-n-pepper, I am! I also have never had a professional manicure/pedicure. Just the smell of those places keeps me away!

     
  6. PsychMamma

    February 20, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Barbara –

    One of the convincing reviews for this recipe for me was from a woman in Texas! She did a similar test to mine, and was convinced and converted! Don’t lose hope! I’ll keep you posted.

     

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