Monday, June 1, 2015

Staying Fresh (Homemade Deodorant Recipe)







Over the past few months, several friends have asked what I use for deodorant now that I've gone non-toxic with my personal care regime. It just so happens that I made a new batch of homemade deodorant this weekend, so I thought I'd share my approach to "staying fresh" and the recipe. Just in time for summer, right?

As many of you know, I ditched the commercial antiperspirant once I learned that the active ingredients (namely aluminum and parabens) have been tied to breast cancer and other concerns. While I was committed to the change, I was exceedingly nervous that I'd immediately become the "smelly girl," and it was with much trepidation that I tossed the ol' Secret in the trash. But to my great surprise, after a just little experimentation, I found the solution to suit my body chemistry.

For me, using Tom's of Maine as my base, with my homemade deodorant stick as a top coat is the answer. Somehow, neither the Tom's nor the homemade version worked on their own for me, but together they are a dynamic duo. The result is a fresh-smelling Kelly. As an added bonus, I no longer have to worry about that nasty white residue from antiperspirant getting all over my clothes (seriously, that stuff was the WORST. That said, I do recommend waiting a few minutes before getting dressed after application of this to allow the oils in the mixture to absorb).

What I've learned from my limited consumer research (i.e. feedback from the few friends and family members I've coerced into trying this), is that it works great for some, not at all and for others, and can even work as a stand alone for certain folks. That's the thing about body chemistry: We're all different and what works for one person may be totally different for another.

So if this recipe doesn't work for you, I've included below several other natural deodorants we tested in our house (and please offer any other suggestions in the comments!). All of these pass the sniff test for me (get it?) as far as the ingredients.  

You may need to go through some trial and error to find the right fit for you, but if you give it a chance, I think you'll find it's possible to both stay dry and smell lovely, all without the damage caused by chemicals in antiperspirants.

One last note about making the switch to natural deodorants: For some reason, it took about a week for my pits to adjust to the new world order, so see if you can stick with it for about a week before deciding whether this method or any given brand work for you. You may find that day one is a little touch and go, but by day seven, you're as dry as the dessert. The trick to getting through that first week is to reapply often, as the coconut oil will help alleviate any odor that may have been generated.

Homemade Natural Deodorant Stick
(Makes enough to fill about six 1-2 oz. deodorant tubes; Adjust as necessary)

Ingredients
3/4 cup shea butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup beeswax
1/2 cup corn starch
2-3 probiotic capsules
Optional: 10 drops of lavender essential oil, 1 drop tea tree oil
6 empty deodorant tubes (you can use recycled and cleaned empty tubes or purchase new ones on Amazon).

A note about the ingredients: The coconut and tea tree oils have natural antibacterial properties. As you may recall from high school biology, it's not the sweat itself that causes the odor; it's the bacteria on your skin. By addressing the bad bacteria with the oils and encouraging the good with the probiotics, it's possible to stay fresh without actually blocking your sweat glands. This is also good because the sweat glands function as a method of detoxification, so you're still allowing your body to get rid of some of the toxins it's so diligently working to clean out for you.

Directions:
Empty and clean deodorant sticks. Line bottom with a small amount of wax paper cut to fill opening, just to prevent any leakage (I trace the lip of the tube on the wax paper). Wind them down so you can fill all the way.

Melt shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax in a glass liquid measuring cup in the microwave in 30 sec. in increments until melted. Let cool for a couple of minutes. Then add corn starch and probiotics and essential oil(s) if using.

Pour into deodorant sticks and allow to set. You can put them in fridge for a little while to speed up the process. If you don't have empty deodorant sticks on hand, you can use a small round container lined with a muffin cup.

Note, you can also make this recipe without the beeswax and shea butter, which makes more of paste than a solid. In that case, melt the coconut oil and mix in the corn starch, probiotics and essential oils, if using. Pour it into a resealable bowl and use your fingers to apply.


Other Natural Deodorants We've Tried