Smell great and use something that is natural. Yes, it can be done! Eliminating products with questionable ingredients has been a step by step process – I did not go through my house and throw everything out without anything to replace it (ok, maybe with a few things, but not everything). The ingredients in my deodorant/antiperspirant worried me before I decided to change my cleaners so I have been playing with various alternatives for years. This recipe is by far my favorite! But first…
Why care what ingredients go on your skin? The skin is our largest organ designed to protect us from external contaminants, regulate body heat, and manage nutrient levels and water loss. Many chemicals reach our bloodstream (and later our organs) via absorption through our skin. What goes on our skin is as important as what goes in it.
NOTE: While the amount of the toxic chemicals found in one product used for a specific period of time, might be deemed acceptable enough to get the product on the shelves, scientists are finding it difficult to test over extended periods of time with vast amounts of chemical and product combinations. Just think of how many products you have used over the last year, never mind the last five. Logic tells me when the human body is bombarded from multiple sources over a long period of time, these toxins will have an impact.
Here’s a quick look at the toxins found in commercial antiperspirants/deodorants:
Aluminum compounds (chlyorohydrate and zirconium tetrachlorohydrex) – neurotoxin
Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl and butyl)– disrupt the body’s hormone balance
Propylene glycol – damaging to the nervous system, heart and liver
Phthalates – may disrupt hormone receptors, linked to birth defects and increase the likelihood of cell mutations
Triclosan – is classified as a pesticide by the FDA and as a possible carcinogen by the EPA
Want to more in-depth research on the ingredients in your deodorant? Take a look at the SkinDeep database.
This is how antiperspirant works. Sweat is a natural function intended to rid the body of toxins – why stop it, especially with something toxic?
When you are super stressed out while sitting in the hot seat, your body will sweat regardless of what deodorant or antiperspirant you use. Plus, sweat itself does not have an odor, the bacteria in the skin cells does. Sometimes diet and not drinking enough water can affect it as well.
So, if we are supposed to sweat and going to sweat anyway in those crazy uncomfortable situations (which let’s be honest is when you are trying to hide it anyway) – what are we really worried about? Smelling stinky, right!?
I am not an expert on any of these ingredients or on the research that surrounds them, but I am confident that there are non-toxic ingredients that are gentle on the body and the planet, plus are easy to find and simple to put together.
Natural deodorant ingredients from the pantry or a quick trip to the store. Start with a small batch to ensure that you like it (which you will, so feel free to double this recipe from the start)
1oz or 2-3 Tbsp Coconut Oil – virgin, unrefined and organic are best. Coconut oil is naturally anti bacterial, plus it is a moisturizing. Remember that melts into a liquid at temperatures above 75° F
¼ cup Baking Soda – Absorbs odors
¼ cup Arrowroot Powder – Helps keep the silky texture. Some people use cornstarch, but I suggest arrowroot.
Supplies include small mixing bowl, fork (whisk or hand mixer) and an air tight storage container (2oz or ½ cup size should do it)
Cool variations if you have the supplies on hand or want to get them:
1/8oz Beeswax – Besides being great for your skin, this will keep your deodorant solid in the container even during warmest months.
4-6 drops Essential Oils – optional Not necessary for your odor fighting needs, but a great variation and you have lots of scents to customize it to fit your preferences. Depending on the oils you choose you will add more anti bacterial and deodorizing strength to your deodorant. Of course there is the obvious reason – it smells nice. Suggestions of my favorites are citrus (deodorizing and uplifting), lavender (anti bacterial and smells so great) and Laurel Leaf and Grapefruit (great for lymphatic system, deodorizing and uplifting). Some other ideas lemongrass, vetiver and tea tree.
Instructions In a small mixing bowl, sift together the baking soda and arrowroot then add to the coconut oil and mix until well blended. Transfer it to your airtight container. If it is hot out, you might want to stick it in the fridge to harden it. Variation – If adding beeswax, melt beeswax in a double boiler* stirring often, then add the coconut oil. When beeswax and coconut oil are melted and combined, add the arrowroot, baking soda and essential oil, then pour into your storage container(s).
Additional supplies Use mini deodorant holders instead of a jar from home. Check out SKS options
*Create a double boiler by heating water in a small sauce pan until it is at a low boil then place your glass pyrex measuring cup into the boiling water. Leave the handle out of the pot so it is easier to pick it up when you are done.
ENJOY your new deodorant!
Environmental Working Group Cosmetic Database (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/)
Aluminum, antiperspirants and breast cancer (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013405001613)