For the past year I’ve been crafting and re-crafting deodorant recipes to find one that really works well. I know I may get thrown out of the granola-hippie-club, but when the summer heat is on, I like to continue smelling good!
However, smelling decent shouldn’t mean we have to slather ourselves in a slew of chemicals that pose serious health risks!
In this newsletter we’ll take a look at commercial deodorants and why they are so bad for our health and then dive into my perfected stick deodorant recipe.
The potentially harmful chemicals in commercial deodorants...
Commercial deodorants often contain a variety of chemicals that have strong implications with serious diseases. These chemicals are then rubbed onto the underarms, at least once daily, where sensitive mammary glands and important lymphatic glands are located.
One group of chemicals are parabens, which are commonly used as preservatives. Parabens have been widely implicated in an array of diseases, including the poor development of infants and cancers.1
Another common chemical is aluminum, which is added for its antiperspirant abilities.
Basically, it stops a person from sweating.
Anytime we stop our natural bodily functions red flags should be going off! Is that really safe? We sweat for a reason. Stopping this natural function can clog our lymphatic system and inhibit our natural eliminatory functions, creating a backup of metabolic wastes. High aluminum levels have also been implicated in Alzheimer's and cancer of the breast and prostate.2
Some people are concerned that they “sweat too much” and so they use antiperspirants more and more. However, many people notice that when they stop using antiperspirants their tendency for excessive sweating dissipates. Some hypothesize that the body just tries harder and harder to sweat in an effort to restore natural function and overrule the antiperspirant. By letting your body perform its natural function, you can achieve more balance.
If you are still using commercial brands of deodorant I hope you are ready to ditch the chemicals and make the switch to a more natural personal health care.
Wait a second! What is natural?
I encourage you to walk down your health food store aisle and check out their “natural” (and incredibly expensive) deodorants. I did this recently and found a whole slew of chemicals that I didn’t want to touch with a ten foot pole. Actually, what first inspired me to make my own deodorant was that the “natural” and expensive deodorants from the store often gave me a painful rash.
The best way to trust what goes on your underarms is by making it yourself!
I’ve been making and recommending homemade deodorants for years and what I’ve come realize is that we are all different (duh!). What works great for one person doesn’t work for the other. So if this is your first foray into homemade deodorants, stick it out until you find what works for you. Poisoning yourself with chemicals from commercial deodorants is not the best choice!
Before I share my newest deodorant recipe here are a few other simple ideas.
Yep, plain old limes. My dad learned about using limes for deodorant when he first moved to the Yucatan of Mexico. I was dubious at first but limes are some of the best, truly natural deodorants out there. To use them, simply slice a lime in half and apply the fresh juice directly to the underarm. Store the lime (well labeled!) in the fridge and it can be used repeatedly for about a week and then it becomes apparent it’s time to get a new lime.
Some people find that simply shaking baking soda under their arms is a great deodorizer (think of what it can do for your fridge!). The con is that this can be a little messy and won’t work well with your black tank top. (You can buy powder containers from Mountain Rose Herbs to make application a bit easier).
Witch Hazel and Essential Oil Spray
Simply adding some drops of essential oil to a spray bottle filled with witch hazel is a simple and easy deodorant. Most essential oils are also antimicrobial, which also helps to improve smells wafting on an especially hot summer day. Some of my favorites are pine, lavender, citrus and sage.
Lavender smells great and is a wonderful antimicrobial.
Okay, so maybe they’ll let me back in the granola-hippie club after all! Going without deodorant at least once a week is a great idea just to give those sensitive underarms a break. While I like to have a more neutral smell when working closely with others in a professional setting, I don’t think we should be brainwashed into thinking our natural scent is gross.
Granted, after a week of heavy labor in the hot sun most people will smell extra special. But for those of us who shower more regularly, our natural scent, while different than the commercial deodorant smell of “Tropical malibu,” isn’t repulsive! If you feel that you have an especially strong scent even with regular showers you may want to look into the health of various eliminatory organs such as the lymphatic system, digestion and skin to make sure everything is operating optimally.
Rosalee’s Deodorant Recipe
Like I said, I’ve been working with this recipe for about a year. You’ll notice that it calls for some strange butters like kokum and illipe. My first batches didn’t have these hard butters and instead called for more beeswax. However, I found that the beeswax left a waxy orange residue on my clothing. This latest recipe creates a firm, stick-like deodorant without leaving a waxy residue. I apply it once a day and it’s been working great, even on hot summer days.
For this recipe you’ll need...
To begin, weigh out all of your different butters and beeswax and place them in a pot or double boiler. Heat very gently, stirring continuously.
Once they are completely melted, turn off the heat and slowly pour in the oil. (I like to make an herbal infused oil for this using aromatic anti-microbial herbs. Sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary and cottonwood are all great ones to use. Here’s a video on how to make an infused oil. If you aren’t using an herbal infused oil you may want to add essential oils instead.)
After a couple of stirs the mixture should again be clear with the butters and oil completely combined.
Next add the baking soda and stir well.
Then add 1/8 tsp of lime juice. When you add this it will react slightly with the baking soda and produce a more combined end product (before the baking soda was probably all clumped at the bottom of the pan).
Keep stirring to let it cool briefly.
Then, while still liquid, pour it into a used (or new) deodorant container.
There you have it! My best deodorant recipe that has taken me a year to formulate. I hope you enjoy making your very own deodorant!
I’d love to hear some of your favorite homemade deodorants - please share in the comments below!
Enjoy the summer!