Sunday, April 24, 2011
Homemade Natural Deodorant
Many thanks to Jennifer from It's Not Easy To Be Green for igniting an idea that I could make and use my own natural deodorant. Jennifer most graciously passed along a small sample of natural deodorant that contained only four ingredients: cocoa butter, coconut oil, baking soda, and corn starch. The deodorant worked so well and the ingredients seemed so simple, I thought I'd try making some myself.
Before receiving the deodorant sample, I hadn't worn deodorant in over three years. I used to wear "Secret" brand antiperspirant, but stopped after I had a painful, inflamed lymph node under one arm. The lymph node remained enlarged for a couple of months and I was concerned that it became blocked perhaps because my underarms weren't draining toxins properly. After all, we have sweat glands for a reason- it may be more healthy for our bodies to naturally perspire odors and fluids rather than prevent these functions from happening.
My underarms are naturally pretty stinky, but not necessarily sweaty. When I stopped using antiperspirant, I thought that eventually my body might reach some sort of equilibrium and I would stop stinking. My big, athletic boyfriend doesn't stink or sweat excessively, so why would I? After over three years of embarrassing stinky-ness, I still haven't reached an equilibrium. I think that people just have different genetic and hormonal make-ups; some folks need deodorants or antiperspirants and others don't. Jennifer's deodorant sample came in the mail at the right time, just when I was ready to suck it up and start using deodorant again.
I hadn't really realized until after I started using the natural deodorant, how stressful it was being stinky. This natural deodorant works great- it's been a huge relief. I feel like my underarms are still able to breathe, especially during exercise, except now I don't have to worry about offending others with my odors. This deodorant works so well, I don't even need to apply it every day- every other day seems to suffice. You could literally eat this deodorant if you wanted to; I feel like it is a healthy compromise for my body.
For a deodorant vessel, I asked a friend for her leftover plastic deodorant applicator. I washed it out with soap and water, then sterilized it for a few minutes in boiling water. I can reuse this applicator over and over- that's one less piece of plastic thrown into landfill! The ingredients are cheap and easy to find. I already had bulk cocoa butter left over from a homemade body lotion experiment, which was purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs, but can also be found at your local natural foods store. The coconut oil can be found at your grocery store in the cooking oil section and you probably already have baking soda and corn starch in your cabinet.
Homemade Natural Deodorant
1 tablespoon cocoa butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons corn starch
Cocoa butter and coconut oil are naturally hard/solid at room temperature. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of each oil and microwave in a glass jar until the oils liquefy. Stir in the baking soda and cornstarch until dissolved. Pour mixture into a reused deodorant applicator and let harden at room temperature (or place in refrigerator to speed the hardening process). Making this deodorant takes just minutes. If you have a perspiration problem as well as an odor issue, my friend who is a clinical herbalist recommended that a few drops of sage oil can be added to the liquefied oils. Sage is a natural antiperspirant and also has antibacterial properties.
A variety of different natural deodorant recipes can be found online. I kind of made up these ratios of ingredients myself and it has resulted in a smooth, yet hard-enough consistency that applies easily to the skin. If you have a similar natural deodorant recipe, I'd love to know how you made it and how it has worked for you.