Yesterday, I talked about my attempt to decrease the amount of harmful chemicals in my life and told you the story about the time I tried to go no poo. Although I can’t really call my no poo experience successful, it was enlightening and worth the effort. I had a comment from a reader yesterday that directed me to her blog where she has a few no poo recipes available! I’m excited to check that out and try again.
Today I want to tell you about a do-it-yourself (or DIY for those of us who frequently attempt taking matters into our own hands!) project of mine that was successful. I now make my own deodorant! For a really long time deodorant/antiperspirant has scared me. It contains aluminum, talc, parabens and synthetic fragrances, and it is a product I use every single day. Aside from skin irritation and a possible link to cancer, I learned that the aluminum in antiperspirant actually clogs up your pores to stop sweat from coming out of your body. Sweating is one of your body’s methods of removing toxins, just as urination and defecation are. Plugging that system up on a constant basis cannot be a good thing!
While looking for clear cut answers about whether the ingredients in deodorant are harmful, I found explanations on both sides of the fence. The conclusion I drew is that they just don’t know for sure because there isn’t a whole lot of push to find out. Such is the case with most products that are huge money makers for enormous corporations. If you don’t do the research, the research can’t hurt your profit margin. Unfortunately, they can claim something is safe until it is proven otherwise instead of the other way around. The FDA takes no responsibility for testing cosmetic products; that is left up to the manufacturers of those products. You know, the people making all the money from selling their possibly unsafe stuff to you.
The articles I read ended with vague statements like this: There is not enough evidence to suggest deodorant is harmful, though we aren’t totally sure so just go ahead and keep buying it and using it or your friends won’t like you any more. Thanks!
OK, not exactly like that but you get my point. I decided to try to make my own deodorant because I felt like it was worth it to know for sure that I wasn’t putting cancer cream on my armpits every day. I do sweat quite a bit and am one of those lucky people that get smelly when I do sweat, so I was also concerned about making a product that actually works.
First, I ran out of regular deodorant completely, so I bought some Tom’s of Maine natural stuff to use until I perfected my recipe. It did not work at all for me. I put it on right out of the shower and expected that if it was going to wear off, it would do so toward the end of the day. Wrong! My armpits smelled funky by 9:00 am, when they wouldn’t normally smell by then if I used nothing at all. This deodorant was making me smell worse! I reapplied and swear it intensified the funk. I had to find a DIY recipe, and fast. I suffered through with Tom’s for a few more days until Saturday rolled around and I had time to experiment.
I started looking at recipes on Pinterest. When I make anything on my own, I look for the clearest cut, shortest route to get a good end result. I wanted an ingredients list of fairly common items, nothing I had to special order or search ten stores for. I recently got my Young Living essential oils starter kit (if you want to order any oils from me just message me any time!) and was anxious to play around with them, but I didn’t want to waste oils on a huge batch of deodorant if it wasn’t going to work. I noticed that the two most common components in the Pinterest recipes were baking soda and coconut oil. I have both of those things. Saturday morning I threw a little of each in a bowl with a drop of essential oil, mixed it up and rubbed it on my pits.
An hour later, I smelled just fine, but had the sorest underarms you can imagine. They were red and rashy and stinging so much I couldn’t handle it! I found myself in the bathroom at our normal breakfast place, scrubbing my armpits with wet cold paper towels. I threw on some Tom’s of Funkytown. Somehow I felt like I had to wear something even though the results were worse than going without. Why? I guess so I could say, “Well, at least I put deodorant on, so it isn’t my fault that I smell like chopped onions and pine needles!” (I don’t even get myself sometimes.) Anyway, I sat there smelly, burning and sulking. First attempt was a failure.
The next day, Sunday, I found a recipe on Pinterest that seemed very simple and contained an ingredient that I knew right away would take care of the burning rash. Cornstarch. I use cornstarch on the boys for diaper rash and it takes care of it immediately. (Truman calls it dry-dry.) I did not follow this recipe exactly, because I didn’t have arrowroot powder on hand and I am too lazy to find out what it is and where to buy it. I simply omitted it. I ended up with this easy-peasy recipe instead:
1/4 cup of baking soda
1/4 cup of cornstarch
4-5 Tablespoons of Organic virgin coconut oil
6-10 drops of therapeutic-grade essential oil (I used Young Living Joy blend, and have since made a second batch with lavender and lemon.)
Just mix it up and put it in a glass jar. Done. You can play around with the ingredients a little, add more oil or cornstarch or baking soda depending on your desired consistency and scent preference.
I was a little nervous to try it that Monday, so I brought it with me to work in case it stopped working half way through the day and I needed to reapply. I was gun-shy after my Tom’s experience, plus I had been sweating constantly since I stopped using the regular deodorant. I later learned that excessive sweating is a common occurrence when you give up conventional antiperspirants since your pores are no longer clogged by the aluminum. There is a little adjustment period while your body clears out all of the left over junk! The first day went great and I never had to reapply. Thinking it may be a fluke, I continued to bring the deodorant with me for the next few days before I trusted it enough to stop carrying it around. There has been no going back. I’m hooked on my DIY deodorant.
I scoop out a small marble sized amount for each under arm and rub it on in the morning. It is smooth, basically like lotion and disappears with no white chunkiness. I rinse my hands and that is that. I stay fairly dry, I smell good and I have peace of mind knowing that I am not using a product that could eventually make me sick. Win!
So, try out DIY deodorant if you want to! Monday I’ll tell you about my home made toothpaste, and how my husband makes fun of me about it.