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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

DIY Deodorant--it actually works!

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Folks, you can make deodorant.


That's right, you can.

I did. And then I took a picture of it in the middle of the night so I could prove it to you.



Why should you make your own deodorant?
  1. Most deodorants are made with toxic chemicals. It is, in fact, REALLY hard to find lady's deodorant that doesn't contain aluminum as an antiperspirant. Which makes sense. Ladies don't like to perspire. But aluminum has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimers: NOT what I want to be slathering on my skin everyday.
  2. Healthy deodorants—as I've experienced them, anyway--are expensive, irritating, and/or ineffective.

Okay, how do you do it?

It's really easy. And the most expensive ingredient you'll need is coconut oil which I have found for $5.99 a jar. Based on how much I've used so far, I'd estimate you could get 8 or more average sized sticks of deodorant from one jar. So it's definitely a frugal fix!

To start off with, let me say I am hugely indebted to Crunchy Betty who has written about and/or provided recipes for homemade deodorant here, here, and here. In fact, if I gave you a recipe at this blog it would look like plagiarism; so I'm merely going to explain the ingredients and what they do, and direct you back to Crunchy Betty. If you try out the recipe in her first post and add a little beeswax, you'll be golden.



Here's what you really need:
  • Coconut Oil —this is the big kahuna. Coconut Oil has a melting point of 78 or 79 degrees, so it will store solid but melt on contact with your skin. It's the base for your deodorant and it is: 1) Moisturizing and 2) Antibacterial! Bacteria is the starting point for BO, so in a pinch, you could even just slather on some coconut oil for some mild deodorizing.
  • Beeswax —don't skip it. Just add a 1 or 2 TBsps (melted) to whatever recipe you're using. This will help your deodorant to stay a little more solid. I didn't use it in my first batch and was annoyed by how quickly and thoroughly the coconut oil melted with skin contact. Talk about a greasy mess! (Buying it in the little pellets as in the link provided makes melting easier.)
  • Baking Soda —this is for odor control. It's pretty abrasive, so don't overdo it. The first batch of deodorant I made was heavy-handed on the baking soda and kind of irritating. (Baking soda is so useful for random stuff around the house you might as well buy it in bulk ....)
  • Cornstarch OR Arrowroot Powder —You get a choice. They do the same thing: promote dryness (they don't exactly STOP you from sweating like an antiperspirant—my understanding is that they whisk away moisture to help it evaporate.) Cornstarch is cheaper but some people have allergies or other health concerns with it.
  • Essential Oils —These are optional, but highly recommended. Tea Tree Oil is a good place to start, as it's common and antibacterial. Lavender , Peppermint , and Eucalyptus Oils are good, too, and are often included in "starter sets" where you can get a really good deal.

Does it really work?

Amazingly, yes! As well or better than any deodorant I've ever tried, healthy or mainstream. When I got off work yesterday, it was about 150 degrees inside my car, and even that did not pose a challenge to my homemade deodorant.

The important thing to remember is that no recipe is written in stone. You can experiment, adding more or less of the dry ingredients until you find just the right proportions to work for you.

I find it convenient to mix up a batch in the evening and let it set up in the fridge overnight. So if you're ever rummaging around my refrigerator in the middle of the night and find a suspicious looking tube of deodorant next to the eggs, now you know what's up.

What do you think? Are you going to try it?

(I have added affiliate links to this post. In particular, the coconut oil and essential oils starter set listed are ones I personally use. :)  Other links were chosen for value and/or good health practices. For instance, I am recommending an organic corn starch but personally just used the cheapest in my test trial--but hey, we're putting this on our skin and certainly do NOT need to be absorbing any new pesticides and chemicals...Do as I say, not as I do?)

26 comments:

  1. Awsome! I'm definitly going to try it- I have severe allergies to alot of the additives in mainstream deodorant and the "natural" products are soooo expensive! Thanks :)

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  2. I am not sure I hve the time and money to buy a** the ingredience and fo**ow through... maybe you shou*d put up a stick for sa*e :)

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  3. Nice, I'm going to try this for sure! I'm hoping whole foods will have beeswax. I really appreciate that you've test drove these recipes and methods and share your cheat sheet.

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    1. Craft stores like Hobby Lobby sell the wax but if you really want to get a good deal try and find your local honeybee raisers, they will not only sell you honey but many of them dont use the wax that they extract and will be willing to sell it pretty cheap in comparison to the stores

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  4. I have all those ingredients! I am in LOOOOVE with coconut oil! I am ready to buy the 5 gallon bucket of it. lol

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  5. Can the coconut oil leave an oil mark on clothing?

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    1. I'd say no more than any other deodorant. However, since it's not an antiperspirant, you may end up with sweat stains. All through March-May I was perfectly satisfied with the recipe as-is, but since hot summer weather's here, I'm finding maybe I'd like to experiment with adding some clay or something. :)

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  6. I've been dusting on Bicarbonate of soda for months. Much less trouble, doesnt leave marks and very effective. If you use food grade, its very fine and not irritating. I buy it online by the kg.

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  7. I've been using a similar recipe for the past 7 months, and I LOVE it!. The only thing I don't use is beeswax, and I just put it in a smaller mason jar and apply with fingers. I've found that this stuff, for me at least, seems to last longer and work much better than store bought deodorant/antiperspirants anyways. Helpful little hint too. The first week or so may or may not be a little bit more smelly than usual because (apparently) there's a detox process in which your body is readjusting to the healthier deodorant.

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  8. Most definitely trying this as my neice is allergic to most if not all mainstream deodorants she has nickel free skin and so does my mom.

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  9. Most definitely trying this as my neice is allergic to most if not all mainstream deodorants she has nickel free skin and so does my mom.

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  10. I will definately try this! Good to know I won't be poisoning myself trying to 'keep it dry' LOL.
    Question: Do you know how I could make this into a cake-substance (like powder make-up), let it go solid in an old pancake countainer and use 'on the road'? Eons ago I bought one (I believe by Dior) but have never seen it anywhere since, it was sooo handy, deodorant and body-powder in one!

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  11. I'm definitely going to try this. Thank you for the information and for pointing us in the right direction.

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  12. how do your beeswax to melt and your CO to stay solid? My deodorant is full of beeswax pieces and is irritating/cutting my underarms.. ouchy! please help!

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    1. Hey Anna! I just melted the wax and coconut oil together in a non-stick (I know, I know) pan over very low heat, and then stirred in the rest of the ingredients. I'm surprised the wax is bothering you! Usually, I think, the baking soda is the most likely culprit. I know I've made batches with too much baking soda in them, and that's no fun!

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    2. Oh, and coconut oil does have a very low melting point--something like 78 degrees. So if you don't have AC and you live in a warm location, you may need to store it in the fridge.

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  13. Ice been using this for the past 8 months and I never smell. I do sweat under my arms, but I don't have body odor. My only problem is it melts in transport in hot weather. Does the beeswax fix that?

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  14. Thank you for the great receipe. I will have to gather the ingredients and try to make my own. I would like to share an excellent all natural, aluminum free deodorant (it has been almost 4 months). I've tried the salt crystal, Tom's, etc.. but they seem to work only for so long. However, I have experienced nothing but success with Nutural. After wearing this deodorant all day, and completing my 5 mile run before dinner, there is still NO! stink. I love it.
    www.nuturalife.com

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  15. I have used this (minus the beeawax) and it was very effective. I had to stop because something started bothering me and I couldn't figure out what. I actually think it was the coconut oil but it is really hard to be sure so I just stopped. I would love to find a way back to it though! I used it through some very hot summer months and I can say with absolute certainty that it worked better than commercial deoderant for me. I did keep it in my bathroom so it never stayed hardened during those hot months but I just had the mixture in a little container and gave it a little stir with my finger and then used that same finger to apply a thin layer. I would definitely recommend giving this a try!

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  16. There is a new 100% natural scentless deodorant which is 24 hours or more effective, It’s called MgDeo, short for Magnesium Deodorant its water based, so no oiliness and mess, it has dead sea minerals, organic food grade ingredients, and vitamins, no aluminum, no baking soda, I read the ingredients list, and its clean from nasty chemicals, my wife is using it also while breast feeding, two pregnant woman in my family too, they are vegans, use gluten free products, and nature freaks. Works great for me.

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  17. There is a new 100% natural scentless deodorant which is 24 hours or more effective, It’s called MgDeo, short for Magnesium Deodorant its water based, so no oiliness and mess, it has dead sea minerals, organic food grade ingredients, and vitamins, no aluminum, no baking soda, I read the ingredients list, and its clean from nasty chemicals, my wife is using it also while breast feeding, two pregnant woman in my family too, they are vegans, use gluten free products, and nature freaks. Works great for me.

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  18. Do you have a recipe with exact measurements on each ingredient?

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  19. Do you have a recipe with exact measurements on each ingredient?

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  20. Has anyone tried zinc oxide in their deodorant recipe??? If so, please share results...if not, please share thoughts on why you decided against it! Thanks!!!

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  21. Has anyone tried zinc oxide in their deodorant recipe??? If so, please share results...if not, please share thoughts on why you decided against it! Thanks!!!

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