Monday, May 5, 2014

DIY deodorant

DIY deodorant

Another one of my "I didn't invent this idea but it's so awesome I have to share it!" posts.  I am not sure whether aluminum in antiperspirant is cancer causing or gives you Alzheimers, but why take the chance?  Besides, at the end of the day my armpits would be a bit smelly, no matter what brand I used, so clearly it wasn't working all that well for me.  Why not try to make my own?

As I've mentioned in my No Poo post, baking soda is incredibly drying to me.  And I've read many a reader review who said that the DIY deodorant made their armpits sting and itch, so I cut way back on the baking soda and increased the arrowroot powder instead.  I've had little red bumps in my left underarm for 30 years.  I thought they were ingrown hairs but when I'd attempt to extract them nothing came out.  So if my skin is that sensitive even to store bought stuff, I wasn't going to go nuts with the baking soda.

I used:

3 tbsp coconut oil
3 tsp baking soda (that's teaspoons, not tablespoons)
2 tbsp shea butter
3 tbsp arrowroot powder
Optional - essential oils and/or vanilla

I put a saucepan with an inch or so of water on the stove to boil.  I put a Pyrex measuring cup in the pan so that the water was surrounding it.  You can also use a mason jar or a double boiler.  I like the Pyrex cup because you're not supposed to rinse melted coconut oil down your drain for fear that it will solidify in your pipes.  I just wipe it out with a paper towel until it's as clean as I can get it and then stick it in the dishwasher.

Ok, back the the instructions.  I put the coconut oil and shea butter in the measuring cup and stirred frequently till it was all melted.  Then take it off the heat and add the baking soda, arrowroot, and I used about a teaspoon of vanilla.  Stir really well till all the powder has mixed in.  It stays a little grainy if you don't mix well enough.  Still works, just feels gritty.

I bought some deodorant containers from Amazon and poured the mixture into them, thinking I'd make stick deodorant.  I got these:

 But honestly?  The formula is just not solid enough to work.  As soon as the mixture touches your underarm it starts to melt and run down the side of the container.  Next time I'll just put it in a small glass screw top container.  In fact, I'm going to go buy a 12-pack of mason jars in the smallest size just for beauty concoctions like this!  To truly work in stick form I think you'd need to use beeswax or a LOT more arrowroot.

So to use, I just scoop out a pea sized amount and rub it in on each side.  It has very little scent (almost none) since I didn't use any essential oils.  You can use whatever fragrance you want, of course.  But the best part?  At the end of the day there is still no body odor!  None!  This kind of boggles my mind.  I figured this recipe would work ok, but probably not as well as store bought deodorant.  Wrong!  It's 10 times better.  Unless I go to the pool and forget to reapply when I come home and change clothes.  I've done this a few times and noticed I was a bit aromatic by bedtime.  But that's because it had pretty much washed off in the pool!

I've heard that over time it also helps you sweat less.  I've only been using it a few weeks so I can't comment on that yet, plus it's been 90 degrees and 80%+ humidity so I'm sweating a ton anyway, but so far, I'm hooked.  And this probably cost me all of $1 at most in ingredients.  

Cheaper and better, I tell ya!

***UPDATE 6/21/14 ***

I tried another, easier variation using only room temperature coconut oil, baking soda, and lavender essential oil.  You just mash it all together in a bowl with a fork and then smush it into the clean deodorant container.  Here are my thoughts:

A) It was certainly easier than using a double boiler.  And it almost works just like regular store bought deodorant because it's solid enough to rub on using the applicator.  It does start to melt down the side from your body heat so I just wipe it off and then rub it into my skin.  But…

B)  It's really gritty because the baking soda didn't dissolve into the hot liquid.  Since I used solid coconut oil it doesn't dissolve at all.  I used more baking soda than in my previous recipe and after using it a few times I have a horrible red rash under my arms.

So I'm back to my original recipe using shea butter.  I like the texture and consistency MUCH better.  The shea butter makes it more like a really thick body lotion instead of a gritty paste.