I love replacing conventional household products with natural alternatives, and it's a double win when I can make something simple at a fraction of the cost (and with none of the packaging) of pricier green brands.
Enter Homemade Deodorant.
I never ever thought I'd be one to tout this. Being something of a sweat monster, it seemed too hippie, even for me. I've worn prescription deodorant and sweated through more outfits than I care to remember. Also, I have a crazy-hyper sense of smell and am mildly obsessed with conquering odor. Forgoing Secret seemed impossible, even though I felt increasingly wary of the ingredients in drugstore brands.
Plus, I'd tried a few "natural" deodorants: they didn't work at all and still contained things like aluminum, triclosan, propylene glycol, and fragrance [phthlates]. Boo to that.
But this three-ingredient homemade version? Magical, I tell you. Seriously.
It's just baking soda, cornstarch (or arrowroot powder), and coconut oil, and you can add essential oils for scent. It's so simple, and I kid you not, it actually works.
This recipe is for a deodorant not an antiperspirant, but not only do I not stink at the end of the day or even the next, I actually sweat waaaay less than I used to all those years I used Secret. The function of an antiperspirant is to plug pores to artificially stop sweat from coming out, but I think it can kinda piss them off, and they go into sweat overdrive to fight back.
(You like it when I talk science, don't you?)
I'm telling you, with this natural deodorant, my body basically has it's God-given natural permission to sweat back, and instead, it's like, "Nah, I'm good."
OK, so details. The recipe is from Passionate Homemaking, and I found it via Simple Organic.
1/4 c baking soda (for anti-stink and dry)
1/4 c corn starch (for smooth and dry. arrowroot powder / flour is a worthy substitute.)
6 Tbsp coconut oil (for soft and anti-stink. antimicrobial. possibly magical.)
Combine powders. Add oil as needed and mix until proper consistency is achieved.
Here is where is can get a little tricksy: coconut oil is solid under 76 degrees, so you'll get significantly different results depending on the weather. During colder weather it is solid like conventional deodorant, and on wicked hot days it's more like a lotion. Either way, I scoop out a pea-sized amount with my finger and apply.
I keep mine in a re-purposed jar in the bathroom. The first time I made it, I put in in an old deodorant stick, as was suggested on blogs, and that was a mess! It got runny and overflowed, or it was too hard to roll up at all. The only time it ever left grease marks on a shirt (which washed out) was back then because the roll-on applied too thickly. I like jar storage and have had no problems traveling with it, even in hot weather.
A note: some people are sensitive to baking powder and may want to play around with the ratios. Detoxing the chemicals absorbed from antiperspirants is also a real possibility that can sometimes manifest in temporarily red or irritated skin. Give it a few days.
If you buy baking soda in bulk to use around the house, do be sure to use food-grade for this recipe. I made it once with the coarser stuff I use for cleaning, and my skin was not pleased. Otherwise, it's been fantastic. I love that three pantry ingredients are gentler, cheaper, and harder working than anything else I've tried.
I ran out of Secret in 2010 and never looked back. My outdoorsy, athletic husband uses this natural deodorant exclusively, too. What are you waiting for?
We use Tropical Traditions coconut oil, which is wonderful for cooking and healthful, too. [Referral link.]