I've got another homemade product to add to my green beauty routine, and this time it's the pits that are happy with my all-natural, organic, chemical-free and most of all, effective, deodorant! I'm so excited to add this product – just ask my husband. He must be sick by now of hearing me rattle on and on about all my research and projects! It'll join my baking soda shampoo and apple cider vinegar conditioner, my baking soda body scrub, and my organic hair creme and body lotion.
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 and tea tree essential oils, and coconut oils leave behind (where to buy high quality essential oils)
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've used both and they both work about the same)
- 4 tablespoons organic coconut oil
- 5 drops of of tea tree oil and 5 drops of lavender, or 10 drops of Purifcation Oil Blend (I've used other combinations of essential oils and none work as well as these two!)
Or, for a man's version, you could include these essential oils: 5 drops of organic Tea Tree Oil and add one of the following: 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! (Where to buy high quality essential oils). 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.
Does the Baking Soda Bother Your Skin? Still smelling and sweating?
Then an armpit detox might be in order! A WHAT? Sounds weird, right? It might, but it works Many readers have shared with me that they have problems with skin irritation with natural deodorants and I did as well. My underarms hated the baking soda after I used it for a few months UNTIL my pits had completely detoxed off the conventional deodorant! Your pores get clogged up with the aluminum that blocks your sweat glands, and bacteria can linger. Here's how that's done. You'll need:
- Bentonite Clay
- Apple Cider Vinegar (where to buy)
- 1-2 drops of Essential oils (optional, where to buy) I'd use Purification or Tea Tree oil for this
Make a paste out of the clay and ACV and apply to your underarms. Leave for 20 minutes, then either wipe or wash off in the shower. Do this once or twice a day for several days and try the natural deodorant again. Continue to do this until you feel like your skin is handling the baking soda well, and is no longer smelling or sweating too much. You will sweat some, but it shouldn't be an embarrassing amount.