Have you ever given any thought to the hygiene and beauty products you put on your skin?

To be honest, for the majority of my adult life, I never had given any real consideration towards the safety of my hygiene or beauty products.  I used to only care about whether a beauty product was non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) since my main health concern has always seemed to be acne.  In January 2012, my husband and I started really considering the food we were eating and started changing our lifestyles to include mainly all natural, whole foods.  Deciding to cut out artificial anything was one of the best things we have ever done.  We started having more energy, felt better, and both lost some unneeded pounds.  In our pursuit of “clean eating” knowledge, we stumbled upon a wealth of information about “clean living” and “clean beauty.”  We started cleaning our home with ingredients found in our pantry and using more natural shampoos and soaps in the shower.

One of the more challenging components of using natural products has been trying to find an effective deodorant.  My beautiful friend, Erin, was actually the first person to bring this issue to my attention.  She wrote about this very subject in her blog World at the Wayside during the Summer of 2011, which sparked my curiosity about the safety of the deodorant I was using.  Upon reading that informative entry in her blog, I bought the deodorant that she was using at Walmart.  Sure enough, it did smell quite lovely and the ingredients seemed to be less scary than those found in the women’s antiperspirant I had faithfully used for years.

Cleaner Deodorant Attempt #1

I used this deodorant for about nine months and it really seemed to mask any unpleasant odors that may have been there.  As I began to weed out more and more of my other hygiene and beauty products in the quest to find the most natural options, I decided that maybe I should try a different deodorant without any dyes or ingredients that I couldn’t really pronounce.  I hadn’t done really any research toward the safety of the ingredients in Old Spice, but thought it was time to try something different.  So, I purchased this bad boy (…err, girl?).

Cleaner Deodorant Attempt #2

I bought this at the local health food store for around $5 and really liked the smell.  The first day I used it, I was disappointed to discover some unpleasantness seeping from my underarms by 10am!  And I wasn’t even really doing anything!  I gave it a try for a total of one week and I ended up throwing it away.  If I really wanted it to be effective I guess I could have applied it more than once per day, but let’s be realistic…who’s going to honestly do that?  Not this girl.  So I did something I’m not very proud of…I compromised.

Cleaner Deodorant Attempt #3

Call it a moment of weakness.  Call it what you may.  I bought an antiperspirant/deodorant combo.  My reasoning was I didn’t want to smell like a men’s locker room, so maybe I needed to use an antiperspirant?  I knew this product had aluminum in it, which was precisely the ONE ingredient I was searching to avoid, but at least it had no artificial colors, fragrances, or preservatives, plus the ingredients weren’t scary and were definitely more pronounceable.  I wasn’t feeling very peaceful or excited about my decision to wear something under my arms that may be linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s, so I decided to do something a bit more extreme.  A bit more hippie.  I bit more ridiculous.  I made my own deodorant.

 Cleaner Deodorant Attempt #4

As I mentioned before, I’ve recently started using homemade hygiene products in my quest to use the safest ones possible.  One of my go-to blogs for this lifestyle happens to be Wellness Mama.  She shared her recipe for homemade deodorant, and this recipe seemed pretty legit compared to some of the other recipes I had seen on different websites.  What got me sold on at least trying this recipe out was the comment thread on her post.  There was 183 comments (!) from her readers, most of whom had tried her recipe out and everyone seemed to mention that it worked.  I don’t know if you find that impressive, but as a new blogger, I would be stoked if that amount of people tried something I suggested and commented on it with positive feedback!  For more details on this homemade deodorant, check out the link to Wellness Mama’s recipe above and peruse all the comments and suggestions that the readers added.  I thought it was all intriguing.  Anyway, all that reading convinced me to at least try it, no matter how dramatically my parents rolled their eyes at me.

How I Made My Homemade Deodorant

1I went shopping.  I only had half of the ingredients needed for this recipe already in my pantry (coconut oil and baking soda).  I headed over to New Frontiers Health Food store in San Luis Obispo and picked up some Arrowroot powder for $5.79 and some pure Shea Butter for $9.99.

 My research on Arrowroot Powder:  Arrowroot powder is a great ingredient for homemade deodorant since it’s an excellent thickening agent (most people will appreciate a deodorant that is somewhat solidified), plus it’s healthier than cornstarch (another common ingredient found in homemade deodorants).  Arrowroot powder can help maintain proper pH levels in your body I think that’s a VERY important property of deodorant, wouldn’t you agree?

My research on Coconut Oil I’ve been eating coconut oil as a regular part of my diet for about a year now and I LOVE it.  This special oil has a whole host of amazing properties when it comes to skincare, but I think that there is one specific reason it should be used as an ingredient for a homemade deodorant- it is a natural anti-microbial!  Coconut oil contains capric acid, caprylic acid and lauric acid, which are fatty acids that have strong disinfectant and anti-microbial properties.  And we all know that the reason that humans experience B.O. (body odor, for my friends who live under rocks) is due to bacteria!  So logically, coconut oil sounds reasonable to combat such stinky microbes.  My research on Shea Butter: This body butter smells pretty good and contains a grip of vitamins that all work together to hydrate, soothe and balance the skin.  It’s important that your underarm skin is hydrated (dry pits are itchy, right?!), soothed (women tend to shave their pits, causing the skin to be broken), and balanced (so that your pits won’t stink!).  My research on Baking Soda:  You all probably know that Baking Soda is a deodorizer (why else would you leave it in your fridge or other potentially stinky locations?), so it makes sense why it would work great under your arms.  Also, it helps to neutralize pH levels, another important aspect of Deodorant.

2I started heating up a pot of water and grabbed a clean mason jar.  After measuring out 3 Tbl coconut oil and 2 Tbl shea butter and transferring them into the mason jar, I placed the jar inside the pot of water so that the ingredients could melt together.

3I carefully removed the mason jar from the pot and added the dry ingredients.  After setting the mason jar on a (homemade, haha) pot-holder, I stirred in 3 tbl baking soda and 2 Tbl arrowroot powder.

4I let the concoction cool down.   I let it sit in my garage overnight.  If you have ever cooked with coconut oil, you know that it solidifies in cooler environments.  Same with this stuff.

The Finished Product

Yes, I have to literally dig it out with a spoon!

And unlike M&M’s, this stuff does melt in your hand.

5Scoop some out and put it on!  Use a spoon to get some out of the jar, get the stuff on your fingers and apply it to your underarms.  It will melt immediately when it hits your skin so get it to your pits as quickly as you can.  It feels similar to using a store-bought gel deodorant.  It has a very faint, clean smell with a hint of coconut.  I put this stuff on about five hours ago and I have no odor to report as of now!

My final thoughts…

This recipe was super easy to make and it only took about ten minutes from start to finish.  At the end of the day, I like knowing that what my skin eats (absorbs) isn’t something I would feel bad about eating.  I’m hopeful that I won’t experience any unpleasant underarm fumes, and I promise to keep y’all posted on my review of this homemade deodorant.

Sources of my research:  Arrowroot Powder, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Baking Soda.