DIY Deodorant

I jumped on the bandwagon and made my own deodorant on Sunday.

The recipes are all over the place, and I based mine on what I read at Crunchy Betty, Kitchen Stewardship, and Passionate Homemaking. They appear to be riffs on the same tune recipe-wise, and it seemed like a good way to start experimenting with doing it on my own, so… I did.

Here’s my experience so far:

I tweaked the recipes to fit what I had on hand and my personal preferences, which is exactly what I hope you will do. This matches pretty closely, but I’ve only tested it for two days…

Yes, this recipe is very approximate. Don’t be nervous – it’s very forgiving, and if you think it’s too liquid, add some powder. If it’s too dry, add some oil. It’ll be OK, and if it isn’t (which it will be), you’re only out like 73 cents and 5-10 minutes.

  • 1/4 C. + 1.5 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1/4 C. + 1.5 Tbsp corn starch (alternately, many recipes call for arrow root powder)
  •  6 Tbsp sweet almond oil
  • Beeswax, ~ couple teaspoons
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops frankincense

Essentially, melt the beeswax, then stir everything together. Read on for more deets.

Their recipes often used coconut oil, but I don’t keep any stocked, so I used the Vitamin E in Sweet Almond Oil I keep around the house. I love the smell, and how can a gal go wrong with a moisturizer? I know the coconut oil was listed as preferable due to its antibacterial properties, and I don’t know that sweet almond oil is purported to have any special bacteria-killing powers, but…I went for it anyway. If my homemade pit-stick doesn’t work, I can just use it for cleaning.

Apparently, coconut oil stops being shelf-stable-solid at 76 degrees F. However, my sweet almond oil isn’t solid at room temp anyway, so I opted for beeswax to help with that. Oddly, I DO happen to have beeswax stocked in my house (bottle cap candles, anyone?), so that was easy.

Home Made Bottle Cap Candle

Why I have beeswax at home…

I got the beeswax out, shaved some (somewhere between a tsp and Tbsp) into a clean glass jar, and microwaved it in 20-25 second intervals until it melted.

Common sense caution: glass and molten candle wax are both hot. Be careful! Also, if wax isn’t melted properly, it can explode, so really, be very careful. I have previous experience with wax from batiking, making casts/molds, and candle-making (real candles, not just filled bottle caps!), so I felt safe going the microwave route. If you’ve never used it, consider the double boiler method. It’s slower and safer as you get to know the wax.

Then I added my room temp oil – I might do this differently in the future, as the beeswax temp plummeted and it started solidifying. I’d anticipated that and had my powdered ingredients ready though, so I just plunked it in and stirred like the dickens. I started with a straight 1/4 cup of each powder, then added approximately half a 1/4 cup measure again when the ratio of powder: oil seemed off. Like I said, this is a VERY approximate recipe, so I felt just fine being that loosey-goosey with it. It seems easier to just start with 1/3 cup next time, but I’m not sure how much change one gets with baking soda or corn starch from humidity fluctuations. I’m going to stick with less for now.

Once I liked the consistency I added the oils.  I’m not really huge into essential oils, so I had just peppermint, lavender, and frankincense to choose from. Peppermint seemed as though it might be odd with the almond oil, so I went with lavender and frankincense. They’re both supposed to help with seasonal depression, and days are certainly getting shorter already. Plus, I think they’re lovely and sexy together. The lavender got somewhat swallowed up by the sweet almond and I can barely detect the frankincense. I’ll try at least two more drops of both in the next batch. I prefer mild scents though, so if you like yours stronger, go for it. As far as choosing your own scents, go with what makes you happy. Keep in mind that some oils are better for the human skin than others, and particularly if you shave your underarms, you may want to veer away from oils known to be hard on skin.

I stirred mine in the glass jar as a one-pot cooking sort of approach, and I’ve just got it stored that way for now. I cleaned out an old deodorant stick and I may try to pack my little batch in there. I was nervous about doing that right off the bat since I had a viscous/liquid oil instead of a solid oil, but once it set up a bit I see it would have been fine.

Day 1 was great – I applied after I showered, and despite warnings to wait an hour or two after shaving, I didn’t experience any discomfort. I felt like a weirdo repeatedly sniffing myself throughout the day, but as far as I could tell, I never got funky.

Day 2 (today)… I’m not quite as convinced as yesterday that I’m funk-free, but I didn’t shower, meaning a couple of things: my skin wasn’t clean and moist, which is the best circumstance for application, and since I hadn’t washed yesterday’s off, it’s possible I just have too much on at the moment. Bacteria love having places to grow, and too much deodorant is one way for them to set up a nice stinky feast for themselves. I was also stressed out about something unrelated today, and I know that plays a big part in how pleasant or not I smell.

Whether this is going to be my long-term recipe or not, every time I open up my jar of deodorant I feel happy. The smell is wonderful, and knowing that I’m wearing food grade ingredients as skin care just makes sense. (The essential oils are probably not exactly edible, but I’d eat them over “parfum” any day.)

If you do give this a try, be aware that many people experience an uncomfortable detox/cleanse period that often includes red bumps or even pain. Remedies to that included changing the ratio so that there is less baking soda to just waiting it out.  It makes me nervous to think that people would go through something that painful without checking in with a care provider. Personally, I have not yet felt any pain nor gotten any bumps, but my skin is fairly hardy. Also, I may have less for the body to work out of my system since I’ve been using a very natural formula deodorant for months as it is, I’ve always shied away from antiperspirants (that’s what clogs and is especially bad for your health), and my diet is mostly pretty healthy.

Anyway, the jury’s out on the sweet almond oil as a base. I’ll let you know how it pans out.

In the meantime, please share your recipes (or links to your recipes) below! Thanks for reading!

Fix It, Don’t Throw It

I’ve realized my right foot has some sort of bad juju toward footwear.

I understand why the right heel of all my sexy shoes is salt-stained and scuffed – from driving. I keep thinking I should wear sneakers when I drive to events and change into my heels when I arrive, but I always forget.

However, what I don’t understand is this:

The bellies look like watermelon slices.

Flightless owl slipper.

What?!

Does my right foot harness dark powers of footwear destruction?

My right foot appears to have some serious issues. The boots I could explain away. After all, I kick stuff with my right foot – think ice chunks and the sludge under my tire wheels.

But a slipper? Trust me, I do not kick ice chunks with my slipper.

In all seriousness, I plan to fix these instead of throwing out my otherwise perfectly fine boots.  I think some straightforward stitching should do it, but I’m a bit nervous that all I’ll accomplish is poking myself with a needle too many times to admit and it will still allow water and snow into my boot like a sieve.

Argh!

How does this even happen to only one boot?

Anyone try something like this? If I line the repaired seam with E-6000, will that work, or just break down in the salt and water/snow?

Tips, advice, and comments appreciated!

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