Sunday, December 26, 2010

Work in progress: deodorant

In my quest to rid myself of chemical-laden beauty and skincare products, I have arrived at deodorant.  I've been a Degree user for years, and have recently run out of that and switched to Tom's of Maine Supposedly 24 Hour Odor Protection.  I'm unimpressed.  I smell horrible at the end of the day and it's goopy/sticky when I put it on.  Gross.

I'm just starting to research homemade deodorant, and thought I'd share.  Those of you who are looking for a finished product/recipe sort of post, this is definitely not it!

In every deodorant recipe I've seen, there are two key ingredients - baking soda and cornstarch or arrowroot.  The baking soda is, strictly speaking, the deodorant.  The cornstarch or arrowroot serves two purposes - 1) they can act as a bit of an antiperspirant because of absorbency (I gather that cornstarch works better, but that it can be irritating to some people's skin) and 2) to dilute the baking soda, which is a weak base and can irritate skin.

The big differences from recipe to recipe are the ratio of those two ingredients, what (if anything) is used to deliver those two ingredients to one's armpit, and whether it is scented with essential oils.

The carrier and the essential oils can help with deodorizing (because they can be antibacterial) and/or with skin conditioning.

I think I am going to go with the coconut oil as a base because I keep it around anyway.  My concerns with coconut oil are staining (I'll need to be sure it has absorbed before I put my shirt on, because it definitely does leave oil stains otherwise) and the fact that it liquifies at 75 degrees - I'll have to keep my deodorant in the fridge all summer!

Here are two recipes I've found that use coconut oil (and a stick deodorant container):  one, two 

The other base I've seen is shea and cocoa butters, and those are used in a jar:  one, two

There is the option of using no base, no scents, no nothing extra (as done here), but I envision that getting messy and my underarms getting caked with the stuff because I have no sense of how much to use and would inevitably use more than needed!

On coconut oil, I feel obliged to tell you that I've recently finished reading a book of natural beauty products that included information about all of the ingredients, and I'm apparently using very subpar coconut oil.  The good stuff (organic, extra virgin, can't remember what else because I don't have the book handy - I'll post all this another time!) should have a faint coconut smell (mine is odorless) and is much better all around.

So maybe I'll try making deodorant with my subpar coconut oil so I can finish the vat and buy the good stuff!

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