Personal Care Products: Deodorant

As we’re gearing up for GAPS, I’ve been examining all my personal care products and trying to implement changes (some of which have been on my to-do list for several years now). Deodorant has been pretty high on my list of things to change. Why change deodorants? I recently watched a family member go through breast cancer. It’s not something I’d like to see myself do. There have been various studies linking aluminum intake with breast cancer. The primary way we get aluminum is through deodorant–and happy day, it’s even right by our breasts. The aluminum can not only seep into our bodies, but it blocks sweat. Blocked sweat ducts can result in long-term hormone exposure, which is also a cause of breast cancer. Not only that, but excess aluminum has been linked with alzheimer’s. That’s not even touching the parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, or triclosan that most deodorants contain. I figure the fewer chemicals I’m putting into my body, the better it will work. And since your skin absorbs better than your stomach, I don’t want to put anything on my skin I wouldn’t eat.

A couple years ago I tried switching to the crystal deodorant, but found it just didn’t work for me during the summer. Plus, there’s still concern that it may contain some aluminum. I tried natural deodorants, like Tom of Maine’s, but likewise, I ended up sweating like a pig and still smelly after only a few hours. In the end, I found myself back with Degree, more out of habit/cost than anything else. I still got sweaty, but at least it kept the odors down.

Two weeks ago, I made deodorant. The idea of trying my own deodorant was daunting. Who wants to have B.O.? It’s not cool in our society. I read through several recipes and discovered most folks recommend you try it for 6-8 weeks before deciding if you like it or not. That gives your body time to adjust. But, I discovered this deodorant works better for me than even commercial deodorants so I thought I’d share the recipe now. My husband has been using the crystal deodorant and he’s made the switch as well. I love that I’m not putting weird chemicals into my body. If for some reason, my kids decide to eat it, they’ll be just fine. I’ve put on the deodorant even when I’m already smelly and it’s killed the stench right away. And it’s not obscenely expensive, like some natural deodorants. Both my husband and I have noticed that it lasts for a long time too–as in we put it on after we shower, every other day, and we haven’t needed to put more on, even in the heat!

Here’s the recipe. I modified it from the recipe here at SurvivingtheStores.

3 Tbsp organic extra virgin coconut oil (you want it cold-pressed so they don’t kill the antibiotic properties)
~1/4 c. baking soda
~1/4 c. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
essential oils to smell preference (optional)
container(s) to keep it in

1) Empty out your deodorant containers, or find something else (e.g., a small glass jar) to keep your deodorant in. I dug the deodorant out of ours with a knife. It worked pretty well. When I tried to scrub the last bits out with an old toothbrush, I ended up having to pitch the toothbrush–it got super gummy and disgusting! I felt ill just thinking about having that stuff on my skin all the time!

2) Mix baking soda and arrowroot powder. I kept it equal proportions of each. Baking soda absorbs odor. Arrowroot powder absorbs moisture. I need both 🙂

3) In a separate bowl cream together coconut oil, essential oil (I used a few drops of lavender because I had some on hand and it’s also antibacterial), and some of dry ingredients. I wasn’t sure how much I’d need of the dry ingredients. You just add the baking soda/arrowroot mixture until you reach the desired consistency. I did end up using 1/4 c. of each for my 3 Tbsp, but other bloggers have used more or less.

4) Fill up your containers and then wipe off the edges.

5) Find a good place to store it! We started out in the fridge since coconut oil becomes liquid at 76 degrees and it’s been hotter than that lately. Sadly, when I tried to raise the deodorant, my applicator broke–guess the coconut oil was too cold/hard. So, I’ve settled for a happy medium. When I put the deodorant on, I leave it out of the fridge for a few minutes to warm up, then I raise it and put it back in the fridge. Note: you just need a very light film on so don’t press hard when applying.

Voila! You now have deodorant that won’t mess up your body. As I said, you can even eat it, if your little heart so desires for some strange reason.

Cost breakdown:
Coconut oil (we buy the 54 oz jar from vitacost): $0.58
Baking soda: $0.06
Arrowroot powder: $0.40

So, the total came to a whopping $1.04 for two containers of deodorant! Essential oils will add to the cost, but I’d say that’s a pretty good price. Healthy and thrifty. I like it!

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