Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nope, I don't stink - Homemade Deodorant

Update on September 9, 2009. I've stopped using this deodorant for reasons posted here.

Ahh yes, another installment in the "what will Marielle try next?" series. A few months ago I decided I wanted to give homemade deodorant a try. I saw Amy's post several months before that but never really thought it would be something for me. A few months ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and thankfully (blessedly) it was caught early and a lumpectomy removed it all. I figured with the risks associated with aluminum in deodorant even if minor it just hit too close to home.

On to the recipe and my tweaks. I've mentioned with nut allergies we avoid shea butter. Also you've heard me wax and wane about my wonderful unrefined coconut oil. I figured this would be the perfect application. It has slight antimicrobial properties which along with the baking soda, tea tree oil and lavender should knock out any nasties I might be able to produce. Plus with the slightly lower melting point (76 degrees) it would be perfect to scoop out with my finger. Since it does have a slightly lower melting point and to avoid melting in the summer I included 1 tablespoon of unrefined cocoa butter. I also reduced the baking soda slightly. The vitamin E works as an antioxidant and the cornstarch tempers the baking soda which can be harsh in large quantities.

I've read this warning on other pages re: shaving. Don't put this deodorant on if you shaved that morning. Instead I opt for straight coconut oil the morning of shaving or I just shave at night. Problem solved.

Homemade Deodorant
adapted from Angry Chicken

4 tablespoons coconut oil - unrefined is preferable
1 tablespoon cocoa butter - unrefined as well
2 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 vitamin E gelcaps
15 drops Tea Tree Oil
10 drops Lavender essential oil - you can certainly switch up the essential oils but aside from creating a lovely different scent these two have antimicrobial and soothing properties

First measure out the coconut oil, cocoa butter, baking soda and corn starch in a microwave safe bowl. If you add the essential oils in now they will evaporate and it's not good to heat the vitamin E with everything else. Microwave in 30 second intervals until the coconut oil is melted and the cocoa butter is starting to melt (the cocoa butter takes a bit of stirring and more nuking to melt). Give the mix a good stir to dissolve the baking soda and corn starch.

Now pierce the vitamin E gelcaps and squeeze the contents into the bowl. Also add the tea tree and lavender oils. Stir.

Pour into a clean 4-8oz container. I used an 8oz spice tin but any small container that allows you finger clearance will work. Put in the fridge to set it up.

I scoop out about a peasized amount for each arm and with the coconut oil my body heat pretty much melts it as I rub it on. Doesn't feel greasy thanks to the baking soda/corn starch and like Amy mentioned, doesn't leave white residue on me or my clothes as it rubs on clear. Also it is true there's a period of "detox" when you go off traditional deodorant/antipersperant combos and on this. I sweat a lot (but didn't stink) the first two weeks then I tapered off on the sweating. The best part is the homemade deodorant works and I don't get that awful chemical burn on my armpits from the traditional deodorants. I know, probably way too much information but I felt like putting it all out there.

Again, some if not most of these ingredients are found at your local healthfood store. If you prefer shopping online I've loved doing business with any one of the following:

Mountain Rose Herbs
Mystic Mountain Sage
Lotion Crafter
From Nature With Love
The Herbarie


Marin!! said...

Yay!! Thanks for the info. I SO want to make this. How much were the vitamin E caps at Whole Foods? I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Marin!! said...

Also, I want to use shea butter instead of coconut oil. Do you think I should use 4T of shea and 1 of cocoa like you did, or should I go with 3T of shea and 2 of cocoa like Angry Chicken recommends? I guess I shall have to experiment!

Marielle said...

Nah, you'll be fine with using 4T of shea butter. She mentioned she had a tough time of picking up a glob of the deodorant so she was going to try to add glycerin to the mix next time. If you do a higher ratio of shea butter you'll get an easier to scoop mix. Can't wait to hear how it goes. :)

Jeremy said...

What's the vitamin e for? I found a similar recipe for homemade deodorant but it doesn't have vitamin e so I was just wondering what it adds -

Marielle said...

The vitamin e is an antioxidant to keep the fats (like shea butter, cocoa butter, etc.) from oxidizing.

I actually have a little update that I've been meaning to post (and will do so soon). But the short of it is that I did experience a little irritation with this deodorant. I did avoid it by splashing under my arms in the evening with apple cider vinegar. So it seems that even in minute quantities the baking soda is a bit too basic for my skin. That's why the apple cider vinegar worked well to keep the irritation at bay (it neutralized the baking soda).

For now I'm using the salt crystal deodorant which seems to be working well as long as I apply it well.

Thanks for the reminder, I'll be updating more thoroughly soon.