Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Homemade Natural Deodorant

I know I'm not the only person out there who is not satisfied by the stuff they sell in the stores.
Many people have tested the different deo options, from Grist testing green' deodorants to Crunchy Chicken declaring her love for The Rock crystal deodorant. Even my sister wrote a post last year about her quest for a good natural deodorant.

So, I began my own quest, and it took almost half a year of trial and error to finally settle on something that worked for me. My criteria for a keeper is something that is cheap, easy to make at home, easy to use, doesn't irritate my skin, and of course it has to keep me smelling fresh as a daisy.

Homemade Lotion Bar Deodorant
After some research on the web, I found some basic recipes that I could combine to make a solid deodorant. I bought a lotion bar kit that included cocoa butter, beeswax, oils, and even the plastic deodorant tubes. I followed the included recipe, but I added aloe, baking soda, and cornstarch (mentioned in other recipes) and some lavender and tea tree essential oil.

Pros: Smelled nice, felt nice, easy to apply with the tube.
Cons: With the price of the kit and ingredients, cost about the same as natural deodorants in the stores.
Conclusion: It worked well for a while, but after a few weeks of use, I developed a rash and was unable to use any kind of deodorant for several days. That pretty much defeated the purpose, so I stopped using it. I started using it in summer- that may have something to do with it, or it might be the essential oils. I'm sure other people have come up with recipes that work for them, so feel free to experiment.

Baking Soda
While I was recovering from the previous method, the only thing I could use was baking soda. I was surprised by how well this simple, cheap method worked. I found I had less odor even in hot sweaty conditions than with previous deodorants I had tried (even the chock-full-of-chemicals ones). I kept a cup of baking soda on my dresser and brushed it on with a makeup brush.

Pros: Unbelievably cheap, easy, and works!
Cons: A little messy, I ended up with white powder on and around my dresser as I tried to apply the necessary amount.
Conclusion: Baking soda is the way to go, it absorbs odor and wetness, and surprisingly lasts all day. It never irritates my skin, and I like that it doesn't have a fragrance.

Baking Soda and Aloe Gel
The winning combination at last! I decided to try rubbing on a bit of aloe before brushing on the baking soda. This helped with the mess, and made sure I got enough on. Plus the aloe feels nice on my skin. I tried aloe right from the plant, but for efficiency I ended up with aloe gel in a bottle. My latest experiment has been mixing the aloe and baking soda into a paste, and storing in a jar. This works well too, is quicker to apply and travels well.

Pros: Still really cheap, easier to use, soothing to the skin, and works really great.
Cons: Sure, you have to get your hands in it, but it's a small price to pay for something that works this well.
Conclusion: I'm going to stick with this one, it works great for me!
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