Why homemade deodorant?

May 18, 2014 at 10:45 pm 2 comments

make your own deodorant

An easy, rewarding DIY job.

Ever wanted to make your own deodorant?

That might sound like an odd question. However, if you’re an avid label reader with concerns about aluminium, parabens, or your sensitive skin absorbing mysterious substances with names you can’t pronounce, then it might not.

Or you might have trouble with chemical perfumes but don’t want to go completely unscented?

Or like me, maybe you just like tinkering with making things from scratch? Making things yourself is surpsiringly satisfying. And once you start, the temptation grows to try more and more!

 

making your own deodorant

A few simple ingredients.

Sweat itself is usually pretty much odourless, until it stews in your armpits where interesting bacteria lurk waiting to corrupt it. Antiperspirants usualy work by clogging pores and decreasing the amount of sweat released (which may or may not be a good idea), whereas deodorants are more in the perfume category, a cover up job. The recipes below won’t stop you sweating, but they make your armpits hostile to funk-creating bacteria, and they smell nice too.

The ingredients are simple and natural. Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, baking soda makes your skin too alkaline for many bacteria (though it can be too strong by itself, see end note), arrowroot and cornflour help absorb sweat and keep you feeling dry, and there are a variety of antibacterial and or antifungal essential oils.

After some experimenting, I’ve settled on a summer and a winter recipe. Coconut oil melts at quite low temperatures, which means that unless you don’t mind applying it with a spatula, or keeping it in the fridge (which I confess is what I did – ‘Mum, can I eat that big lump of white chocolate in the container on the top shelf?’ ‘No!’) then it’s better to use a lower ratio of oil to dry ingredient in summer. In winter however, I found the summer recipe was a little crumbly, so I give you a choice.

Materials

Coconut oil
Cocoa butter
Bicarbonate of soda
Arrowroot powder or cornflour
A mould or empty twist up container, silicone muffin cases work too.

(Cocoa butter is a little firmer, and melts at a slightly higher temp, and smells nice, but if you don’t have it on hand, you could simply double the amount of coconut.)

deodorant ingredients 1

Clockwise from top left: cocoa butter, bicarb soda, coconut oil, arrowroot.

Smooth Winter Deodorant Block

25g bicarb soda
25g arrowroot (or try cornflour, though a few people have mentioned this seems to block their pores. Alternatively you could try double the amount of bicarb, if your skin tolerates it well.)
20 g coconut oil
20 g cocoa butter
2 ml essential oil (citrus, lavender, geranium and sandalwood are all antibacterial)
or 5ml of eau de cologne, hubby’s aftershave, or whatever you happen to have handy.

Dry Summer Deodorant

45 arrowroot – see note on arrowroot above
25 bicarb
15 cocoa butter
15 coconut oil
2 ml essential oil or 5ml of your preferred scent.

deodorant ingredients

If you’re more sensible than me, you might sift the baking soda first.

While melting the two oils together, mix the scent into the powders, then combine with oils and pour into mould while still warm. Bung it in the fridge or freezer if you wish to set it quickly

Tips

Tap the container periodically as you pour to remove air bubbles.
Mix the essential oil into your dry mix rather than the oils to avoid overheating it.
You could replace the cocoa butter with coconut if that’s what you have on hand.
Likewise you could replace the arrowroot with cornflour (as in cornstarch, not tortilla flour ok?)
Or swap the baking powder for either of the above, especially if you are sensitive to it.

These recipes are a starting point.cI don’t think there is a perfect recipe for all people of all skin types in all climates, so play around with it. The ratios for the two recipes above work out to 5:4 fat:powder for the summer recipe and 7:3 for the winter, which just goes to show how flexible this mix is. Another idea to throw into the mix is add a little beeswax to keep it solid in warmer climates.

DIY deodorant

Tapping the container as you pour/scoop in the mix helps get rid of any bubbles.

Any of the 4 main ingredients can be used independently too, but be cautious with the baking soda. For many it is fine, even used straight like talcum powder, but some find that if used in too high a concentration, especially directly after shaving, its high pH can cause issues. If you notice sensitivity, try substituting arrowroot or cornstarch.

So whether you have vague yearnings in the direction of self sufficiency, are perennially curious like myself, or looking for healthy, natural alternatives, it’s a fun project.

Next week maybe I’ll post my explorations into the world of toothpaste. (Sounds riveting, huh?)

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Entry filed under: In the Home. Tags: , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. taniaingram  |  May 19, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    This is so simple! I am going to give it a try. Where do you get your containers from?

    Reply
  • 2. littlehouseonthehill  |  May 19, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Hey Tania! The container was from a supermarket deodorant that had been used up. Makes it easy to use without getting it all over your fingers. They have them (and all sorts of other terrible goodness) at http://www.newdirections.com.au/ though, along with toothpaste tubes, and pretty much everything you can think of. But I warn you, don’t look at the link, it’s dangerous.

    Reply

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