Most of us love to feel fresh and smell good throughout the day. Let’s face it, we live in the 21st Century, not the Middle Ages when it was completely normal to bathe once a year and sweaty, stinky bodies were socially acceptable. If you’re reading this it probably means that you are looking for healthy alternatives to the commonly available deodorants containing toxic ingredients but wondering how effective the DIY deodorant can possibly be. Let me tell you from my personal experience and the people I know who have tried the recipes I listed below – it is MUCH more effective than any deodorant we’ve tried from the typical cosmetic store including well known brands like Secret, Dove, Degree or Old Spice.
Before we get to the recipes let me tell you why I don’t use regular store bought deodorants. If you take a closer look at the ingredients in most of them you’ll be amazed by the amount of toxic chemicals they contain. These are some of the most common ingredients and their properties:
- Aluminum – this is one of the most dangerous components of the majority of deodorants and other cosmetics on the market. It’s purpose in deodorants is to block the pores from releasing sweat. This carcinogenic metal is not only related to several neurological problems but is also known to cause many types of cancer including breast, prostate and liver cancer. It also negatively affects the kidneys and heart.
- Parabens are synthetic preservatives often found in deodorants and antiperspirants. They disrupt the way hormones work in our bodies by playing tricks on them. Imagine confused hormones floating around your body and transforming one into another causing huge imbalances among each other. These kinds of increases or decreases in hormone production causes the cells to finally die prematurely which leads to all sorts of health issues like thyroid problems, menstruation problems, birth defects etc. Due to a high toxicity they’re also damaging to many organs.
- Phthalates are components found in many body care products including deodorants and their main purpose is to break down certain ingredients making them work together more smoothly and effectively. Similarly to parabens phthalates disrupt the hormonal balance causing cells to mutate and die prematurely commonly leading to miscarriages and birth defects.
- Propylene glycol is a petroleum based substance that keeps cosmetics from drying out. It causes all kinds of skin issues and negatively affects many organs including liver and kidneys. Interesting fact about propylene glycol is that it was actually developed for anti-freeze.
- Triclosan – this commonly used in cosmetics substance has strong anti-bacterial properties and therefor it keeps the body odor under control as one of the active ingredients in most of deodorants. The bad news is that it irritates the skin and strongly affects hormone production causing thyroid dysfunction, birth defects, cancer and many other health problems. Due to its strong anti-bacterial properties it also disrupts the natural balance between good and bad bacteria which contributes to creating a super strong mutated bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Triclosan is actually classified by FDA as a pesticide.
- Artificial fragrances – again, like the most of toxic substances mentioned above artificial fragrances affect hormonal balance in the body causing thyroid problems, premature puberty in children, miscarriages, birth defects and many other health issues.
Ok, enough of talking about the toxic chemicals, let’s get to the best part and let’s Green It Up! Since we all have our preferences in terms of deodorant consistency and a way of application I have listed three of my favorite recipes for DIY deodorants that work like a charm. All three of them have been tested in the craziest circumstances by several people including man and boys in my family. That says a lot! 🙂
1. DIY Deodorant paste (also known as pit paste)
This is probably my favorite option because it nourishes my skin like a lotion leaving it wonderfully soft. I have a jar of this deodorant paste sitting in my bathroom counter and I apply it every morning. I keep it in the shallow glass jar I found in a thrift store and it actually works like a nice decorative accent in my bathroom.
Pit Paste Ingredients:
- 3 Tbs Coconut Oil
- 3 Tbs Baking Soda
- 2 Tbs Shea Butter*
- 3 Tbs Arrowroot powder or Organic Cornstarch
- 10-15 drops of essential oils – I use grapefruit, geranium and lavender
*if you want to skip Shea Butter in this recipe make sure you replace it with 2 Tbs of Coconut Oil to keep the consistency of the paste. Also keep in mind that Coconut Oil melts in a warm temperature and hardens when it’s colder so adjust the ingredients according to the current season or just a temperature in your bathroom. It may take a few hours before it hardens completely.
2. DIY Deodorant bar
This is the recipe I first saw on Wellness Mama‘s blog and so far it’s my favorite deodorant bar recipe of all times. It’s very easy to apply and it’s not messy like the deodorant paste (which is still my top choice btw. 🙂
Deodorant Bar Ingredients
- ½ cup coconut oil
- shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter (or a mix of all three equal to 1 part)
- ½ cup + 1 tsp beeswax
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil – optional
- 3 tablespoons baking soda (Omit this if you have sensitive skin and just use extra arrowroot or cornstarch)
- 1/2 cup organic arrowroot powder
- 2-3 capsules of high quality probiotics that don’t need to be refrigerated (optional)
- Optional: Essential oils of choice – I used about 20 drops of lavender essential oil and also like citrus and frankincense
Deodorant Bar Instructions (as presented by Wellness Mama)
- Combine coconut oil, shea (or other) butter, and beeswax in a double boiler, or a glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it. Combine in a quart size glass mason jar with a lid instead and place this in a small saucepan of water until melted. This will save your bowl and you can just designate this jar for these type of projects and not even need to wash it out…
- Turn the burner on and bring water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth:
- Remove from heat and add the vitamin E oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder, probiotics, and essential oils. Make sure the mixture is not hot to the touch (warm is ok) so that the heat doesn’t kill the probiotics.
- Gently stir by hand until all ingredients are incorporated.
- If you will be making these into bars, pour into muffin tins or other molds while still liquid. If you will be putting into an old deodorant container to use like stick deodorant, let the mixture harden for about 15-20 minutes at room temperature to harden and when it is about the consistency of peanut butter, use a spoon to scoop into the deodorant tube and pack down to fill. Then, leave the cap off overnight to completely harden before using.
3. Roll-On Deodorant
The reason I like this deodorant is simply the fact that it doesn’t stain my clothes and it’s very effective. I usually use it when I go out or need to dress up more professionally. For a while I used to replace the magnesia milk with a coconut milk and it worked fine but I actually like the thicker consistency of magnesia milk.
This recipe originated in a post of Joyelick.
Roll-On Deodorant Ingredients:
1/4 cup milk of magnesia (with no inactive ingredients other than water) *
1/8 cup arrow root powder
1/4 cup baking soda
1/8 cup aloe vera concentrate (Update: Try aloe vera gel for a thicker consistency)
1/4 cup witch hazel
1/8 cup filtered water (Update: Omit the water for a creamier consistency)
10-15 drops essential oil of your choice (tea tree oil has great antibacterial properties, I like the citrus oils like grapefruit, orange oil etc.)
6 x 1-ounce roll-on bottles
Makes approximately 3 2-ounce bottles (or 6 1-ounce glass bottles).
*Make sure you use the pure milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) with no additives like citric acid, xanthan gum, flavors, sugars etc.
INSTRUCTIONS (as presented by Joyelick)
Mix it up: Making the roll-on formula is simple. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Fill each roll-on bottle, then snap the ball into place.
Store it: Store your roll-on in a cool dry place and use within 3 months. To apply, shake the bottle gently to mix anything that may have separated then apply to skin. Allow skin to dry before dressing.
How each ingredient helps this formula work:
- Milk of Magnesia: This is the main active ingredient in this formula! Magnesium is what controls odor. If you know you’re sensitive to baking soda (as some people are with prolonged use on the skin) you can use just the magnesium and still have an effective deodorant. But magnesium as an odor-control is only one of it’s benefits. Our bodies need magnesium, yet studies have been done that show Americans to be consistently consuming lower than the recommended amounts of magnesium daily. Since we absorb magnesium best through the skin, applying it to your armpits is great for more reasons than one.
- Arrow root powder: Helps absorb moisture to keep you dryer. Arrow root is like cornstarch minus the risk of exposing yourself to GMOs.
- Baking Soda: Helps maintain a proper pH balance, and absorbs moisture and odor. Note: Some people can develop an itchy rash after prolonged exposure to baking soda on the skin. If this happens, simply make the formula without the baking soda. Since this isn’t the main ingredient that makes this product work, you probably will never miss it.
- Aloe Vera Concentrate: Soothes the skin and helps with the consistency of the product. Also gives it a mild pleasant natural scent. Aloe is also healing to the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Witch Hazel: An astringent to help close your pores and reduce wetness from sweat.