I have been using a number of things in my armpits these days…
My Husband’s deodorant, which is not an evil antiperspirant, but still bad news…
My whipped body butter, which works pretty well in a pinch but isn’t scented enough and is more oily than I’d like.
And as of the past few days, I’ve tried out my solid perfume, which I actually really liked as a deodorant, but it still wasn’t perfect.
Needless to say it has been long overdue that I set aside the time to make my own deodorant! Like with toothpaste, I have been cruising the natural deodorant circuit for years. That stuff is expensive, I’m usually never satisfied, I’m naturally really sweaty. And… don’t even get me started on that crystal deodorant stuff…
I learned long ago to ditch the antiperspirant and am OK with sweating; since it is a beneficial service my body provides– ridding itself of toxins and regulating body temperature. I am not trying to stop that natural function, I’m just trying to smell fresh as a daisy while it happens 🙂 That is totally doable in fun and frugal fashion when you make your own deodorant!
Perhaps the most important reason to make your own deodorant are the dangerous chemicals found in commercial antiperspirants and deodorants. They are pretty intense, and are not to be overlooked. Though the industry would like you to believe otherwise, numerous studies have linked cancer and autism to chemicals found in antiperspirants and deodorants. Natural Cosmetic News details the toxins found in antiperspirants and deodorants:
Aluminum-based compounds are the active ingredients in antiperspirants. They block the sweat glands to keep sweat from getting to the skin’s surface. Some research has suggested that these aluminum compounds may be absorbed by the skin and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells. Because estrogen can promote the growth of both cancer and non-cancer breast cells, some scientists have suggested that using the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer.
Studies have looked at aluminum content of breast tissue, and aluminum absorption through the skin, but no clear link to breast cancer has been made. Researchers continue to look at this possible breast cancer risk factor and more studies are needed. (American Cancer Society)
Parabens in their many forms (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben) are a class of artificial preservatives widely used in cosmetics and personal care products that are being investigated for their possible role in breast cancer. Parabens mimic the activity of estrogen in the body. Since estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancer cells and a woman is eight times more likely to develop breast cancer in the part of the breast closest to the underarm, scientists are studying the connection.
Although parabens have estrogen-like properties, the estrogens that are made in the body are hundreds of times stronger. So, natural estrogens (or those taken as hormone replacement) are much more likely to play a role in breast cancer development.
Propylene glycol—a humectant which means it keeps substances from drying out, and it was originally developed as an anti-freeze, but is now included in some deodorants and antiperspirants. It is a neurotoxin known to cause contact dermatitis, kidney damage, and liver damage. In propylene glycol’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), published by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, workers are urged to avoid skin contact with the toxic chemical as it may cause eye and skin irritation, gastrointestinal irritation and discomfort, nausea, headache, vomiting, and central nervous depression.
TEA & DEA
TEA and DEA (triethanolamine and diethanolamine) adjust the pH, and used with many fatty acids to convert acid to salt (stearate), which then becomes the base for a cleanser. They both could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time where DEA can cause liver and kidney damage and TEA can cause allergic reactions. These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects.
Triclosan is an artificial antimicrobial chemical used to kill bacteria on the skin and other surfaces. Triclosan is a skin irritant and may cause contact dermatitis. Recent studies suggest this chemical may disrupt thyroid function and other critical hormone systems. The American Medical Association recommends that triclosan and other “antibacterial” products not be used in the home, as they may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics that can allow resistant strains to flourish.
FD&C colors are artificial/synthetic colors approved by the FDA for food, drug and cosmetics. Some are made from coal tar derivatives and have known to be carcinogenic; they also often cause allergic skin reactions.
Talc, hydrous magnesium silicate, is a soft mineral used in personal care products as an absorbent and color additive. It is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer if it contains asbestiform fibers. The quantity of asbestiform fibers in cosmetic grade talc is unregulated. If talc is listed on the label, there is no way of knowing whether or not it contains asbestiform fibers.
The easiest way to stay safe is to make your own cosmetics. That way you know EXACTLY what you are putting on your body. My motto is, if I can’t eat it, I shouldn’t use it. Plain and simple.
Since I have never made actual deodorant before, I did heaps of homework! I finally settled on making my own variation of this recipe from Andrea at Frugally Sustainable. I was intrigued by the idea of adding a probiotic to the deodorant, since my favorite natural (store bought) deodorant has a similar ingredient, called saccromyces ferment, which, according to Stephanie, at Chemical of the Day, is
…a family of fungi. Different strains of saccharomyces are used to ferment beer and wine, and even to raise bread (yeast is a strain of saccharomyces). The saccharomyces ferment used in deodorants is… non-toxic and harmless, and contains live enzymes that help to break down odor-causing compounds. [It is] describe[d] it as ‘a water-soluble liquid derived from the fermentation of vegetable feedstock.’ From all information [Stephanie] can find, this looks like a safe ingredient. It’s not much different from the bacteria and enzymes found in kefir and kimchi.
Since I have no idea where to get the saccromyces ferment, I thought shelf-stable probiotic powder to be a worthy substitute.
The concept is simple; in that by adding a probiotic, one could improve the balance of good bacteria vs. bad bacteria on one’s skin instead of eliminating all bacteria all together (as with commercial products). Keeping the delicate balance of healthy flora intact is key; inside and outside the body. Respecting and supporting the body’s systems is most important.
I also added a bit of clay to the recipe, (hence the brown color), to help draw out the body’s toxins and heavy metals. I forewent the baking soda, due to too many complaints of rashes and uncomfortable side effects, and used arrowroot powder, and NOT cornstarch, because GMO’s are simply not acceptable. (You hear me, FDA?!) I used beeswax from my own apiary, and coconut oil; since they are both antibacterial and antifungal. Marvelous in a deodorant. I rounded it out with healing butters, and scented my product with essential oils. I reused an old deodorant tube, but if you don’t have one, you could store it in a wide mouth jar and apply with your finger tips. I think I actually prefer the latter, since I tend to rub in what i have applied anyway 🙂 The key to this application is to apply lightly and rub it in or let it soak in. Use too much and you’ll be wasting product and will likely mess your shirt. Although the deodorant looks brown, it can’t be seen once applied, because you are using it sparingly. It soaks right in and does the job 🙂
Homemade Probiotic Deodorant
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1T cocoa butter
- 1 T beeswax
- 1 T shea butter
- 2.5 T arrowroot powder
- 1 T clay, (I used kaolin, but bentonite or french green would be fine also)
- 1/4 t vitamin E oil (2-4 capsules)
- 2 shelf-stable probiotic powder capsules
- essential oils— aprox. 10-25 drops
I used 10 tea tree, 10 sweet orange, and 10 lemongrass. It smelled amazing!!!
I have also used amber aroma oil from Mountain Rose Herbs, and it was an earthly delight 🙂
On the stovetop, melt coconut oil, cocoa butter and beeswax, stirring with wooden chopsticks, or a small spatula. Next, melt the shea butter, (since shea doesn’t LOVE to be heated too long, it goes in last). Add the arrowroot and clay, stirring well.
Remove from heat and add vitamin E oil. Let the mixture cool to the consistency of pudding and then add probiotic capsules and essential oils (if using). With a small spatula, press into deodorant container, making sure that the tube is rolled all the way down.
This makes enough to fill one deodorant tube, and I scraped the bowl so well that I scrounged enough to add to a smaller tube I had to make a sample size. I plan to test it on my sister-in-law 🙂
Let cool and harden in the fridge for one hour and store for 24 hours with the lid off to allow the product to set up. Can be used right away though, once the product is has cooled. Stores well on the counter (room- temp), and will keep for several months.
What do you use for deodorant?
Please share your ideas with us in the comments below, or continue the conversation on my facebook page.
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