Now it’s time to get personal and gross. I haven’t been happy with store-bought deodorant for years now, but didn’t realize there is an alternative until I jumped on the green bandwagon. The store-bought ones just don’t work well for me, and when the weather warms up and the pits are exposed, I get nauseating whiffs of BO and the artificial fragrance of the deodorant. Blech! It’s way worse now that I have the nose of a bloodhound after having been pregnant a few times.
But this one is a deodorant I’ll keep in the bathroom a long time because it actually really works, contains no scary chemicals and I’m crazy about the fragrance that the lavender, tea tree and coconut oils leave behind.
Stinky Pits Research
If you are a little nerdy like me and enjoy some cold, hard facts, then keep reading. Otherwise, skip down to the recipe!
I decided about a month ago it was time to make a change, especially after reading of the aluminum in commercial deodorants that has been linked to endocrine disruption in the body, as the chemicals mimic estrogen. What the heck does that mean? Here’s what wikipedia.org states:
“Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Specifically, they are known to cause learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems, deformations of the body (including limbs); sexual development problems, feminizing of males or masculine effects on females, etc. Any system in the body controlled by hormones, can be derailed by hormone disruptors. The critical period of development for most organisms is between the transition from a fertilized egg, into a fully formed infant.“
Wow, now I understand why pregnant women are shying away from deodorant and buying all natural options.
But I still had to check for myself, to see if the levels of aluminum are actually hazardous, and because I can be nerdy and enjoy research. I checked the handy dandy EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (my new best friend!) and the National Cancer Institute to find out. According to the database, my go-to deodorant, Secret Powder Fresh, gets a score of 3 for hazardous on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most hazardous. At first, this appears not so bad, right? But a closer look reveals that out of 8 ingredients, only one ingredient has good data to back it up. The rest have limited to no data at all to test the hazard level of each ingredient. A look at Lady Speed Stick, my other go-to stink reducer, shows the same results.
The National Cancer Institute reports in this article that:
“Because studies of antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer have provided conflicting results, additional research is needed to investigate this relationship and other factors that may be involved.”
A scientist I am not, so my conclusion is that it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, I found the easiest recipes I could find online and whipped up my own. My recipe is a combination of one from How About Orange and Passionate Homemaking.
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder (I used cornstarch)
- 4 tablespoons organic coconut oil (Buy at Tropical Traditions* (hand made!))
- 5 drops of organic Tea Tree Oil (Or Buy at Mountain Rose Herbs)
- 5 drops of organic Lavender Oil (Or Buy at Mountain Rose Herbs)
Or, for a man’s version, you could include these essential oils:
5 drops of organic Tea Tree Oil Or, add Cedarwood Oil, Eucalyptus Oil or Sage Oil. All of these smell woodsy and manly, in my opinion. There’s really no right or wrong, it’s whatever scent you (or the man in your life) will agree to wear!
Combine the baking soda and cornstarch in a bowl.
Stir in the coconut oil. It is difficult at first, but will start to soften after you put in some elbow grease.
Add your essential oils of choice. I added Lavender and Tea Tree Oil specifically because they have antibacterial properties and I use them a lot in my homemade cleaning products.
Stir it all together and you’re done! It took me less than five minutes to make this, and it is so cheap, too! You only need a smidgen on the tip of your finger to spread over the pits.
The mixture does harden after a few hours and becomes a deodorant-like texture, but it’s still possible to smooth it on with da finga because it softens with body heat. I store mine in a tiny rubbermaid container that holds like 1 strawberry (honestly, what is supposed to go in it?). I never use it otherwise, so it made a perfect pit stink preventer.
Some Tips about Sensitive Underarm Skin and Irritation
Many readers have shared with me that they have problems with skin irritation with regular deodorants. I do still have problems with that, even with this recipe. Here is how I alleviated the irritation.
- Arrowroot powder is less irritating than cornstarch, and is a good replacement. It can be found in the organic/natural section of most grocery stores or it can be bought on Amazon.
- After shaving, I first apply plain coconut oil to my underarms. Then, I either apply the deodorant (if I’m leaving the house) or wait a few hours to apply it if I’m staying home. It has worked very well to prevent red bumps and irritation.
Disclaimer: If you order by clicking on any of coconut oil and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.