Deodorants are very important to me. I DO NOT LIKE body odour. But neither do I like the chemicals that are in most commercial deodorants/ antiperspirants. The human body is meant to sweat to cool the body. The bacteria from our skin and hair cause body odour when we sweat. Deodorants neutralise and/or kill the bacteria. Antiperspirants use aluminium that actually blocks the pores and stops the sweat from leaving the body. Control Your Impact explains that antiperspirants are actually drugs which “change the function of the body” and are thereby regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Both types regularly contain parabens, aluminium, propylene glycol, Triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, fragrance, talc, and many more. These ingredients have links to Alzheimer’s, cancer and allergic reactions. After discovering this information it was clear to me that I needed an alternative.
My safe deodorant search began when I was pregnant with my first child. I tried the commercial all-natural brands from the crystal, to Tom’s of Maine and while these had acceptable ingredients, they didn’t work. I finally settled on a Kiss My Face liquid rock that still contained ingredients I didn’t like. I had myself convinced that no totally safe, chemical-free deodorants worked.
Last summer at a farmer’s market I purchased an all natural deodorant made locally. I bought it with suspicion… and LOVED it! It worked. It smelled good. It felt good. And did I say, it WORKED! The best part about it was that I recognised all the ingredients and could find most of them locally. This was encouraging. I knew that I could make my own deodorant if I really tried. I started searching the internet for recipes and came up with several that had some of the same ingredients. So I tried them. The baking soda/coconut oil/corn starch deodorant worked well. But it could only be used as a putty applied with finger tips because the coconut oil would melt in the steamy bathroom during showers. I wanted something that could be poured into an old deodorant container and applied conveniently. So I knew it needed something to make it drier and something to make it more solid.
And I found it. My homemade deodorant contains:
Coconut Oil: naturally antibacterial and a great moisturiser.
Baking Soda: deodorises
Arrowroot Powder: adds extra dryness
Cocoa Butter: moisturiser for shaving and stabiliser (solid at room temperature)
Bees Wax: stabiliser (makes the deodorant more solid)
Essential Oil: antibacterial, antimicrobial, and smells good!
***UPDATE! I have since changed the recipe to exclude kaolin clay since it does contain aluminum which I was unaware of. It is a naturally occuring aluminum, and from my research does not absorb into the body but I removed it from the recipe regardless. The ingredients have been adjusted and the recipe works fine without it. If you want to include the kaolin clay, use 2 heaping tbsp. clay, and 2 heaping tbsp. arrowroot powder. Thanks!***
All ingredients can be found in natural health food stores. Alternatively, ingredients can be ordered online from Mountain Rose Herbs: “Exceptional quality certified organic herbs and spices, with a strict emphasis on sustainable agriculture.”
By clicking on the links above you can buy directly from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Does it work? Yes it does! Both my husband and I have put it to the test. I have gardened in it, worked out in it, and stressed out in it with no smell! My husband works a physical job and worked all day in it, and still didn’t smell the next morning.
Recipe (by weight, or use the measurments in brackets if you don’t have a scale):
1.1 oz. cocoa butter (1/8 c.)
2.0 oz. beeswax (3 Tbsp. melted)
1.5 oz. coconut oil (3 Tbsp.)
1.5 oz. baking soda (1/8 c.)
1.0 oz. arrowroot powder (3 1/2 heaping Tbsp.)
15 drops clary sage essential oil (for men) or other
10+10 drops of vanilla essential oil and cinnamon essential oil (for women) or other
Wash and roll down your empty deodorant container.
And you are done!
- Use OLD dishes! Bees wax is hard to get out of your bowls and spoons!
- Make sure your deodorant container doesn’t have holes in the bottom of it. If it does, cut out parchment paper to the size of the container, and seal the edges inside the container with melted beeswax before you get started. You don’t want your product leaking all over the counter before it hardens.
- Keep heat low to prevent burning. MELT. DO NOT BOIL.
- If mixture hardens before you have put it in the container just reheat and stir to melt again.
- If final product is too hard, roll it up, take it off the deodorant container, reheat and add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or cocoa butter.
- If final product is too soft re-melt it and add 1/2 Tbsp melted bees wax.
- If final product is too greasy re-melt and add 1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder.
- Be careful when rolling up the deodorant for the first time. It may be a bit stuck at first and you can easily break the turner if you force it.
- Other essential oils will work fine with the recipe. Lavender and Tea Tree oil have great antibacterial properties. Just be cautious with essential oils: some are not supposed to be put directly on the skin. Always read your labels first.
- If you would like to make the recipe without a plastic container, simply do not add bees wax, pour into a glass jar and use your finger tips to apply.
Making your own body care products is fun and satisfying. Keep in mind that you may have to play with recipes to get them perfect for your own body type.
For a link to more essential oils that have masculine fragrances click here. You can make your own combinations of essential oils too. For a link to mixing your own essential oil fragrances click here.
Some people’s skin is very sensitive to baking soda. You can make the recipe without the baking soda but I find it less effective.
I would love to hear your experience with the product! If you make changes to the recipe that make it work better for you, please share!