Are you one of those people who cannot go for a minute without deodorant after your shower? Ever wonder if there are better deodorant options than what the big chemical companies have to offer? Is there such a thing as a natural non-toxic deodorant that actually works?
I have been wondering the same thing, and today I am going to let you in on my little secret on how you can smell great without gooping on toxins ever again.
See, the little warning about keeping this “out of the reach of children” along with the suggestion of calling poison control? Ask your doctor if you have kidney disease? That just makes me nervous…
What’s wrong with the stuff from the health food store?
I recently discovered my reason when I bought some while cruising the isles at my favorite crunchy hangout. For once I actually remembered that my musky teenager was dangerously close to running out of deodorant. When I spied a familiar brand I grabbed a couple of sticks, tea tree for him, lavender for me and I was on my merry way.
But after a couple of days of using the new “natural” brand, it became very clear that it just wasn’t going to cut it, for me anyway. Okay, so a new deodorant not living up to its promise is not unusual, right? But upon closer examination I felt duped. The big “come-and-buy-me-and-I-will-keep-you-smelling-like-lavender” promise that had lured me in turned out to be, well, not exactly true. The only lavender component listed was “linolool” – at the very bottom of the ingredient list.
What is the point in paying extra, thinking you are doing the right thing and then wind up with a worse result? For me that was the last straw. Challenge accepted. I was determined to find a non-toxic deodorant recipe once and for all. This was not my first time around the deodorant making block. But last time my efforts turned out to look and work less than optimal. Would you put this on your pits???
Didn’t think so.
So I set out on my quest, determined to find the recipe. That turned out to be more difficult than I had anticipated. There are a lot of different recipes to be found, but most of them contain ingredients like baking soda, which turns out to be quite irritating for many due to the wrong ph level.
So what would make my recipe the one? Here is a list of criteria I knew it had to meet in order to be declared a success:
- no baking soda
- safe ingredients
- easy to make
- keep stink at bay all day
- control wetness
- cost effective
- stick form
The last requirement is really mainly for ease of use and convenience. My son will not let me use anything other than stick deodorant on him and I am just used to this form. Simply omit the bees wax pellets for a (vegan) creme version, if you prefer.
Several recipes later I zeroed in on the proper list of ingredients. Just to be sure, tested one with the above mentioned baking soda. It left me smelling okay, but not for long and I found the consistency to be just a little too gritty and a little itchy. All of my
guinea pigs testers agreed.
Another ingredient that intrigued me was magnesium chloride. The recipe that had sounded so promising wound up an utter failure. Even though I had ground the magnesium chloride flakes into a fine powder, as instructed, I still wound up with gritty sludge at the bottom of the bowl that refused to dissolve. I do hear magnesium oil in spray form is an effective deodorant, but haven’t tried it myself.
So, here is the list of ingredients that made the cut into the final product:
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I have to confess I was not too enthusiastic about this at first, because I was worried about staining. But so far so good on that front! The key is to use use virgin unrefined coconut oil.
The reasons I opted to include it in my recipe are fairly straight forward. It is readily available, has well documented anti fungal and anti bacterial properties and it will give the finished product glide. Many of the ingredients are very versatile and can be used to make a number of other beauty recipes!
Arrow Root Powder
Arrow root powder takes over the role of “wetness absorber”. I chose it over cornstarch, because it is non-GMO, ph-balanced and has both antiseptic as well as anti inflammatory qualities. It is safe enough to be fed to babies:)
This ingredient kept popping up in recipes that lacked baking soda and was featured as the active ingredient. Zinc oxide is more commonly used in homemade sunscreen recipes and diaper rash ointment (there is the baby safe thing again!), but I found out that quite a few people actually swear by using the rash ointment as a substitute for deodorant.
When ordering zinc oxide, make sure you are purchasing the non-nano kind that is also pharmaceutical grade.
The addition of Shea butter allowed for a slight reduction in the amount of coconut oil used. Katie over at Wellness Mama has a handy list with the many different uses for Shea butter. It is an ingredient I keep on hand for all kinds of homemade concoctions from hand cream to body balm to lip balm.
Bees Wax Pellets
This ingredient is necessary to give the deodorant enough firmness to be put into stick form. I buy mine locally whenever possible, but you can order high quality bees wax pellets online. Bees wax forms a protective barrier to environmental assaults on skin. Its water attracting properties are offset in this recipe by both the zinc oxide and the arrowroot powder.
Vitamin E is a powerful anti-oxidant that reduces the damage done by free radicals. It is included here for it’s ability to fight off toxins as well as added skin pampering.
Many of the recipes I researched treated essential oils as an optional ingredient. At our house therapeutic grade essential oils are used for many different reasons and I consider them a very important part of this recipe. Not merely for smell, the oils can add calming and even cooling properties, depending on which ones you use. You can really individualize the recipe to suit your own taste and need! If you are going through the trouble of making your own deodorant, use the best quality oils you can get.
Not ingredients, but necessary nonetheless, are either deodorant tubes to fill for the stick version or small jars like these glass ones to store your deodorant in for the creme version. You can either use a couple of empty clean tubes or purchase fresh, reusable ones. The recipe will make the exact amount for two of them.
The combination of cedar wood, vetiver and lavender drew praise from my testers, male and female. It is the same combination of oils I have been applying to my son morning and evening to calm him, so using the deodorant does double duty.
This recipe yields a formulation that is soothing and holds up well to average stink. If a stronger formulation to combat odor is desired, tea tree oil, thieves or purification (my personal fave, it smells so good) are all safe bets. Be aware that while it goes a long way in the odor department, you will notice more wetness. When I added betonite clay to the recipe, it turned into something resembling concrete, even with a relatively small amount. The addition of betonite definitely calls for either a reduction in the amount of beeswax or the addition of extra coconut oil.
This recipe will yield 2 regular size stick deodorants.
- 2 tbsp coconut oil virgin, unrefined
- 2 tbsp shea butter organic, unrefined
- 1/4 cup bees wax pellets
- 1/2 tsp vitamin E oil
- 2/3 cup arrowroot powder
- 2 tbsp zinc oxide powder non nano
- 15 drops lavender essential oil therapeutic grade
- 10 drops cedar wood essential oil therapeutic grade
- 6 drops vetiver essential oil therapeutic grade
Combine coconut oil, shea butter and bees wax pellets in a double boiler (shallow pyrex glass bowl over water). Wait until all oils and bees wax pellets are completely melted. Turn off heat and add vitamin E oil, arrow root powder and zinc oxide powder. stir until very well combined. Let cool slightly, then add essential oils. Stir to combine. pour mixture into two deodorant tubes or sterilized mason jars. Let cool on tray or small plate until completely solid, at least one hour.
Use as you would any regular deodorant.
You can experiment with essential oil combinations. I have also found that Purification, a Young Living Oils blend works very well.
It is best to designate a glass bowl for this recipe as it will be difficult to clean afterwards due to the bees wax. A tempered glass bowl from the thrift shop is ideal.
For vegan version, omit bees wax, fill deodorant mixture into small glass jars. Use small spoon or Popsicle stick to scoop out small amount, apply to arm pits as needed. (Also works well on feet)
A final note: Citrus oils will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, use with caution.
Simply omit the bees wax pellets for a (vegan) creme version, if you prefer.
Be sure to pin for later!
And here you have it! A natural, non-toxic deodorant recipe that actually works!
Inspired? Curious? Sure, making your own deodorant may sound a little bit too “crunchy” for some, but to be honest, it is a whole lot easier than it sounds. Once you have all of your ingredients on hand, it’s a snap to make.
Have you found your own favorite blend of essential oils to add? The possibilities are endless!
Keep it simple!