Saturday, April 30, 2011

Homemade Deodorant

I guess I'm on a blogging spree - three posts in less than two days? But I've had this topic on my mind to write about for a few weeks now so I'm finally getting around to it.

I made my own deodorant and I love it! When I first started looking into it there seemed to be so many methods with so many complicated ingredients that I gave up very quickly. Didn't seem worth it! But once I found the perfect simple recipe and tried it out I got hooked. Please note, this is a recipe for deodorant, not antiperspirant. It will not stop you from sweating. Antiperspirants work by blocking your sweat glands, using aluminum and other nasty chemicals, and they have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Also they are usually heavily scented, often not a big deal but there are an increasing number of people out there with scent sensitivities who won't be able to stand next to you if you're wearing a scented antiperspirant. I'm sensitive to this because my younger sister used to be very allergic to scented products and had to miss a lot of classes in high school due to inconsiderate people (sometimes teachers!) loading themselves up with smelly stuff.
Anyway, deodorant simply works by absorbing some of the smell. The active ingredient in this deodorant is baking soda. Know how it absorbs smells in the fridge? Works the same way in your armpits! I still keep a stick of antiperspirant on hand for occasions where I really wouldn't want to be sweaty, like if I were wearing a nice dress to an event or something, but for day-to-day use I love this stuff. Keeps me feeling fresh and non-smelly! Cory uses it too - under protest. I simply stopped buying his regular stuff so he has no choice, but honestly the man doesn't stink anyway. Seriously, he can go weeks without putting on any deodorant or antiperspirant and you would never know. I'm not so lucky.
But enough blabbing, on to the method. All you do is take equal parts coconut oil, baking soda and arrowroot and cream them together with the back of a spoon until totally smooth and combined. Two tablespoons of each is a good place to start. It takes some elbow grease because the coconut oil is quite solid, but once you finally get it all combined you can pack it into an old, empty antiperspirant stick, pop it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up and then apply it just like you would the store bought stuff. It's still a bit softer than regular antiperspirant so you have to be gentle so you don't make a mess, but the coconut oil makes it pretty firm. Personally, I keep mine in a jar and just use my fingers, but if you don't like the idea of that (and Cory didn't!) the empty container method works too. Another option: you can, if you want, add a few drops of essential oils if you absolutely must have a pretty smell. Lavender is popular. A lot of people also put some tea tree oil in it, because that's an antimicrobial, but I prefer to leave mine plain. With skin as sensitive as mine I worried that essential oils would just bother me, and I prefer the unscented product anyway.
One last note - a lot of recipes call for corn starch instead of the arrowroot. That's fine, it would do the same thing, but I try to stay away from corn starch as much as possible because of how highly processed it is. It's not a "natural" product. Arrowroot on the other hand needs no chemicals or high temperatures for processing. It's readily and fairly cheaply available at the Bulk Barn.
So those are my thoughts on homemade deodorant. It's great if you're trying to stay away from chemicals but still don't want to be stinky! I haven't looked into the cost breakdown of this, but I'm sure it's also cheaper than a regular store bought stick, and WAY better for you and the environment. Think of all the plastic packaging you're also saving!


  1. That's great! Tim and I used Baking Soda dry for a while, just patted some on. It worked great but then summer came so we switched back to the bad stuff. I like the idea of making a stick though. Coconut oil is pretty expensive, where do you buy it?

  2. I usually just buy it at Superstore. It IS expensive, like $9 a jar even still, but I use it sparingly. Wish I could afford to use it more, it's supposed to be so good for you!

  3. I made this deodorant last fall and I love it. I'm still on my first jar. I used a baby food jar to keep it in and use my fingers to apply. It's great!