Thursday, February 16, 2012

in which i quit deodorant

By any account, I am a world-class sweater.  And no, I don't mean I'm made of softest alpaca.  I have always sweated a lot.  Like can't-wear-gray-in-summer sweating.  Like hardly-even-need-the-winter-coat sweating.  I'm usually the warmest person in any given room.  I've been addicted to my Sure invisible solid unscented stick since I was about twelve years old.  I thought that I would just have to buy all new white shirts every year.

My mom died of breast cancer, so I know that I have an increased risk for developing cancer myself.  I know the jury is still out on the effect of aluminum in antiperspirant, but I started to think why chance it?  If I could come up with something that could keep me marginally dry and non-stinky, I would consider using it.  After my last stick of Sure ran out, I tried just using nothing for a week or so.  Bad idea!  I could smell myself by midday, and this was during the winter!  I started looking up recipes for making your own deodorant.  It seemed like the common denominators were coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch.  Easy enough.

Here's how I did it:

Melt 6 T coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat.

Once it's melted, add 4 T baking soda

And 4 T cornstarch.

Mix it up well.

At this point, I was sort of unsure what to do with it.  I decided just to dump it in a little cup and put it in the fridge until it set.  After it cooled, I dipped the cup in hot water and popped the cake of deodorant out.  I've been keeping it in the fridge wrapped in a washcloth.  I opted against keeping it in the bathroom because coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, and when we shower the bathroom regularly exceeds that temperature.  I just grab it while I'm making breakfast in the morning, hold the bar of deodorant in the washcloth against my skin for a moment to soften it, and then rub it around like regular antiperspirant.

The verdict?  Love it!  Ask me again in the heat of summer, because I might change my tune then.  But for now, it works great!  Keeps me smelling fresh, and even has reduced the amount of overall sweating.  Best part:  no white marks on dark clothes, and no yellow stains on white clothes!

And that, my friends, is how I went from this:

To this:

**Update 4/6/12**  After nearly four months of using this homemade deodorant, I started to get a small red rash in the center of each armpit.  Not sure if it was one of the ingredients, or just the physical scratching of the baking soda and cornstarch.  It got a little uncomfortable, plus it started getting really hot, so I caved and bought some Tom's of Maine deodorant.  I think the homemade will be my go-to during the cooler months.


Andrea said...

I've been using one of these for the past few years. It sorta works, as long as I'm not doing too much in a day and/or my day isn't too long.

Last year a friend introduced me to this: It works well. It smells like perfume, but is all natural (meaning, it doesn't give me a migraine - win!) so it masks any funky odor that may happen beyond what my crystal can handle.

Neither one is an anti-perspirant though. I may have to try your recipe. I bet you (or I) could add a few drops of an essential oil to make it smell pretty if desired. Or vanilla. Hmm.... the possibilities intrigue me. Thanks for sharing! Let us know how it holds up through the summer.

Heather said...

I tried the crystal rock and it only works if you put it on when you are clean. Also, John noted that I still smelled... just... different. I have since switched to Desert Essentials (or Essence?) tea tree oil deodorant. I LOVE it!!! I don't use it every day, but I really like how it smells!

This is a cool idea, I had no idea you could make your own!

Emily said...

Thanks ladies . . . so far, so good. I thought about adding tea tree oil or lavender for scent, and the tea trea is an antibacterial . . . maybe next time?