Oh, no! She didn’t! Did she? Oh, yes she did! Oh, no! My family is in a frenzied panic over my latest addition to the DIY replacements I am using to eliminate costly, health-damaging products that previously entered our home as cleaners or personal care products. They’ve been completely won over to my homemade laundry detergent (I have a new, powdered version that will be posting, soon, too!) and foaming hand soap. But, in their minds, I have finally crossed a line, and so now, the burden of proof that this much less expensive, and incredibly healthful, DIY deodorant is also effective, is squarely on MY shoulders. Thank goodness I am genetically big-boned and happen to have very wide shoulders! 😉 Seriously, though, this really was the next logical step and after using it myself, for the past three days, I am totally convinced. I also know it’s only a matter of time to convert my skeptical crew.
Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to explain my thinking on this subject.
- There are TONS of homemade deodorant recipes on the Internet and you should check out all that you can. There are even formulations out there that use fewer ingredients, meaning they would be even more affordable than the money-saving recipe I am going to share with you, today, but the deciding factor for me was that first and foremost, it had to work. I mean it REALLY has to work. Then, it needed to be safe for my family to use. And thirdly, it needed to be simple. Being a full-time wife and mom, along with homeschooling and writing this blog are important, and time-consuming jobs. Adding a new chore to the list, needs to make sense, time-wise, too.
- I bought my ingredients in bulk. I will use them in several different types of personal care products for our family and it is much less expensive to purchase them in this way. Plus, I don’t want to be constantly running out of ingredients. I shop on Amazon, a LOT, and I will provide links to what I used, where I can. In the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to let you know that they are, indeed, affiliate links, so if you order something I receive a small commission. However, these ARE the products I am already using for our own family. I am happy to share the recipe with you and have you purchase ingredients anywhere that works for you, because I’m excited about the idea of you saving money and improving your family’s health at the same time. 🙂
- The recipe I decided to use, and ended up loving, uses the powder from a probiotics capsule. This makes perfect sense to me, but for those not familiar with probiotics, I want to share a little information. Probiotics are a part of my everyday health routine. Each and every day we are exposed to dozens of chemicals and additives in products that kill bacteria and are supposed to “protect” us. From toothpaste to dish soap to toilet bowl cleaner and shower gel, it’s pretty common to see the words antibacterial emblazoned across the labels of the products we use in our homes. Sadly, those same labels don’t share the fact that our bodies have both good and bad bacteria living in and on them. Good bacteria is mostly found in the intestines and is helpful with digestion and the absorption of nutrients. They aid in the production of B vitamins which are critical for the proper function of the nervous system, too. They help in the synthesis of certain fatty acids and vitamins so that our bodies can use them. The problem is that antibiotic and antibacterial products don’t discriminate when they kill bacteria. They kill both good and bad. Antibacterial products are not the only culprits in this crime, though. Poor diets, smoking, and antibiotic drugs, among other environmental and cultural factors, can also destroy this protective bacteria, so critical to our good health. (Did you know that sugar is a natural antibiotic? Food for thought, huh?) Probiotics (good bacteria) help us to manage body odor, bad breath and keep the bowels healthy to prevent constipation or diarrhea. There is a lot of new science that is showing the benefits of probiotics in regard to preventing and treating illness, as well, and it seems that taking it both internally or topically has benefits. Probiotics have been shown to have an impact on allergies and in boosting weakened immune systems. They actually “fight” bad bacteria, by starving them out, consuming the food that the bad bacteria would have used to grow. It makes sense to me, to make a healthy balance of good bacteria available to my system in order to counteract the barrage of bacteria-killing products it’s exposed to on a daily basis. So, I add probiotics to my deodorant to prevent bad bacteria that can cause rancidity in the product, to provide health benefits to my skin and to help reduce odor. When you choose a probiotic for this recipe, be sure to purchase one that is shelf-stable and contains highly resistant beneficial bacteria (bifido probiotic cultures and lacto probiotic cultures). You will see that there is a wide range of prices when selecting one. Generally the greater the number of live cultures contained in a capsule, the greater the cost. The price can vary from between .25, per capsule, to .75 or more. The probiotic I use has 100 billion probiotic microorganisms per capsule. The one recommended by the author of the recipe I found, contains 2 billion plus per capsule, which would be more than adequate, and definitely less expensive, for DIY health and beauty products.
- Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It is as sensitive to chemicals, toxins and poisons as the rest of our organs. If you wouldn’t rub it on your liver or kidneys, why would you rub it on your skin? Did you know that some over-the-counter deodorants still contain parabens? Look for names like: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isopropylparaben, and isobutylparaben. These are chemicals added to health and beauty products and cosmetics, as preservatives, to help prevent bad bacteria from growing in them. They act like estrogens inside the human body, though. More and more evidence is beginning to show a possible link between cancer and these chemicals. According to WebMD¹, a recent study shows that at least one paraben existed in 99% of breast tissue samples taken from women with breast cancer. The same study showed that 60% of the samples showed up to 5 parabens in the tissues. It’s also important to note that some of these women did not use any type of underarm products, so their exposure would have had to come from other products that contained parabens. Another culprit, commonly used in deodorant, that has potential links to cancer, is aluminum. Many deodorants also contain triclosan, a pesticide used as an “antibacterial”, which I explained in my handsoap post. Regardless of the studies, and whether they can be 100% conclusive, these dangerous chemicals are DEFINITELY not something I want to be applying to my skin or rubbing into my underarms.
- Lastly, I don’t want to need a chemistry degree to understand what’s in the products I, and my family, are putting on our body, deodorant included. Read the back of any commercially available deodorant and the likelihood of finding any ingredient you can pronounce, much less know what it is, without a strong background in chemistry, is pretty slim. By making my own, I know exactly what’s in it and that my family will be safe using it.
Just a couple more comments, about the recipe and ingredients. I made this recipe two different ways. I started with the extra-strength deodorant which is the same as the regular strength, except that it reduces the amount of arrowroot and baking soda and adds in bentonite clay. That accounts for the pale green color of the finished product. Those are the pictures you will see in the recipe tutorial. I wondered if the green would actually show on skin, but my worrying was for nothing. It’s not apparent at all when the deodorant is applied.
I also added essential oil to that first batch. It turns out my husband and kids are not as keen on essential oils as I am. True essential oils are not the sweet, flowery fragrances we all think of when someone says “lavender” or “lilac”, etc. They are very “earthy” and smell much like the plants from which they are derived. It takes a few days to become accustomed to, and eventually enjoy (Yes, there are several that I have actually grown to love!), the scents of properly extracted essential oils, so I have simply omitted essential oil from the batches I make for them. Guess what! The deodorant, free of any added scents, makes them hungry! It smells like chocolate because of that wonderful organic cocoa butter. Win! I knew I would convert them! “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.” 🙂 What? No Trekkies reading, here?
We also had one super hot and humid day, where the deodorant got extra soft and I tossed it back in the fridge. Other, than that, it is a perfect healthy solution that actually saves our family money! Woohoo!
- ⅜ oz or 12 grams (about 1 Tablespoon) cocoa butter
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (I almost always buy this on special.)
- 1 Tablespoon shea butter
- ⅛ oz or 4 grams (about 1 Tablespoon) beeswax
- 2½ Tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 1 Tablespoon baking soda (purchased at Walmart)
- ¼ teaspoon vitamin E oil (purchased at Walmart)
- ¼ teaspoon essential oil of your choice, optional
- 1 powder-filled probiotic capsule
- I always manage, somehow, to forget to put out an ingredient or add an extra one for the pictures. I will show close up's of individual ingredients, as I go. Baking soda is missing from this shot and for some reason, I have a zinc oxide stuck in there in it's place.
- Measuring out cocoa butter and beeswax proved to be a bit of a challenge, since they are both hard at room temperature.
- The original recipe I used called for 1 Tablespoon of each. I found that I was going to be able to be more consistent and calculate my costs, more easily, by weighing the amounts I used, so I have included those in my version of the recipe. To measure them into Tablespoons, I first tried grating the beeswax, but wasn't too successful. The method that actually worked best was to shave pieces off with a vegetable peeler. Then when I had a Tablespoon, I weighed the amount, so I could be sure and use the same amount, each time I make it.
- Place shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter and beeswax in a small saucepan.
- Melt the oils on the very lowest heat setting on your range. Mine is actually, LO. Remove from heat as soon as the oils are melted. It's important not to over heat the oils to preserve the maximum health benefits that they offer.
- Remove from heat and add the arrowroot and baking soda. Whisk them in to combine. (In this picture, you will notice three dry ingredients, because it was a shot during the making of the extra-strength deodorant, which adds in bentonite clay. That recipe will be posted, below.)
- Mix in the Vitamin E...
- ...and, if you choose to add some, the essential oil.
- Once the arrowroot and baking soda are completely mixed in, leave the mixture to cool on the counter until it is cool to the touch and the consistency of pudding.
- Empty the probiotic capsule into the mixture and stir it in thoroughly. (It's important not to rush this step. Putting the probiotic in, while the mixture is still hot, will kill the beneficial bacteria you are trying to add.)
- Pour the mixture into your empty container and place in the fridge to become solid.
- Once it is solid, it will keep on the shelf, in the bathroom. I purchased the reusable deodorant containers on Amazon and I love them! It's a huge plus to me, that we can just use them over and over.
3/8 oz or 12 grams (about 1 Tablespoon) cocoa
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (I almost always buy this on special.)
1 Tablespoon shea butter
1/8 oz or 4 grams (about 1 Tablespoon) beeswax
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda (purchased at Walmart)
1½ teaspoons bentonite clay
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil (purchased at Walmart)
1/4 teaspoon essential oil of your choice, optional
1 powder-filled probiotic capsule
Prepare the deodorant using the same instructions as in the recipe for regular strength, adding the clay at the same time as the arrowroot and baking soda.
I love this simple and healthy recipe to make deodorant for our entire family! Be sure to let me know, if you give it a try! What are some other ways that you have been eliminating harmful chemicals and additives that pop up in your home? Are you purchasing ready-made natural products or making them on your own?
After using this deodorant for about ten days, now, I had a couple notes and tips I wanted to share with you.
In the warm summer weather, even though the deodorant stays solid, it is still very soft. I find it is easier to apply with my finger, so I’m not using more than is necessary. I think that anyone used to using commercial brands will be tempted. at first, to use more than they need. A little, really does go a long way and it is just as effective.
If you prefer to use it as a traditional roll-on, year-round, the alternative to applying with your finger would be to simply keep it in the fridge, which COULD be pretty refreshing in the summertime. I just feel weird applying deodorant down in the kitchen. 🙂
The posts where I have read other deodorant recipes mentioned a period of “detox”, usually a couple of weeks, that people experienced when making the switch. As the toxins that had previously been held in their bodies by commercial deodorants began to be released, they experienced a period of heavier perspiration odor or even a mild skin rash. I have not experienced any odor, however, on day 6 I did have a mild rash under, one arm, that reminded me a little of a heat rash. It cleared in a day or two and I have had no issues, since.
On another post, I read that someone found the baking soda to harsh on their skin. This has definitely not been my experience and I am confident it is part of what makes this recipe so effective at preventing odor. If you experience this, however, I have read that those who have difficulties have omitted the baking soda and added back the equal amount of arrowroot powder.