But why the need for a natural deodorant? It is important, to me, to avoid deodorant, or more specifically antiperspirant, because
- Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s.
- Aluminum may impact breast cancer risks.
- Parabens, or preservatives, are increasingly being linked to cancer and other diseases.
- Parabens have been found in many breast tumors.
- Aluminum blocks sweat glands (clogging your underarms is how they work).
For more information on this, see Analyzing Aluminum in Antipersperants: Hazard or Hoax and Concern Over Deodorants and Breast Cancer.
The chemicals used in deodorants and antiperspirants are especially of concern because not only are they applied to your largest organ (your skin) but they are often applied to skin that has just been shaven, making it absorb even faster and easier.
While the dangers of deodorants and antiperspirants may be inconclusive, since these products are considered safe by the FDA, I would rather play it safe and not use them. So if you are ready to ditch your old deodorants and make your own, I will walk you through making your own step-by-step.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients. You will need coconut oil, baking soda, cornstarch (which is in the Tupperware container) or arrowroot powder, and *essential oil (which is totally optional). Baking soda is used to keep the smells away by killing or eliminating bacteria while the cornstarch is used to keep you dry. The coconut oil is mainly used to keep it all together (as a carrier oil), though it adds a nice scent.
You will also need a container to put the deodorant in. You can go as simple as putting it in a resealable container and then you would apply it with your fingers, or you can do like I did and use an old (clean) deodorant container.It ur is best to get your container ready before you mix everything together so you only have to get your hands dirty once.
Step 2: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) together. Add coconut oil. You will need 4-6 tablespoons. Start with a small amount, you can always add more.
A note about coconut oil if you have never used it before. Until it reaches 76 degrees it is solid and is sorta like shortening (only healthy!). I bought my oil from Amazon because I wasn't sure at the time how much I would use it for, but next time I will order it from Mountain Rose Herbs in bulk because they seem to have the best price.
Step 3: Mix until it all comes together. You can use a fork or spoon here, but I found my hands worked the best. I think that is just because my hands warmed the cold oil (remember - my house is cold!) enough to distribute it evenly throughout the powder.
You can also add in your *essential oils here before it completely comes together. Just a couple drops will do. I chose lavender.
Step 4: Put in your container. Though it probably would have been better to have saved a little for a refill, I decided to pile it all in there. Again, my hands worked best for this.
There you go. Four easy steps that you can complete in five minutes or less to have a completely safe deodorant. Now the big question. Does it work? Yes! I have had no odor complaints and I think my armpits smell rather nice. It also has a much better smell than anything on the market. I haven't been able to test it out in the middle of a hot humid summer, but from what I read it works well even then. Of course, when it gets hotter it will need to be stored in a cool place so it won't melt.
* There are many essential oils that you can use (if you choose to use one) and here are a few ideas:
- Patchouli has a sweet and musky scent and is moisturizing to the skin. If (when!) the husband ever decides to try homemade deodorant, I will make his with this.
- Lavender is said to be soothing, gentle, and cleansing to the skin.
- Peppermint and spearmint are cooling to the skin and are clean-smelling.
- Eucalyptus is cooling and deodorizing with a clean, sharp smell. It has anti-bacterial properties.
- Rosemary fights bacteria and is a natural astringent.
This recipe would be fun to make with kids, but use caution with the essential oils and either add them in yourself or only use with an older child. Do not apply homemade deodorant to broken skin.