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!
Shopping List: 


Girly Green Girl said...

I just stumbled onto your blog after searching for homemade recipes online. I've read a couple of your posts and I love them! I recently started a blog about going green and I'm very interested in using cheap natural products. It's unfortunate that the greener products can cost more than your old stuff... I'm going to try your facial cleanser and baking soda deodorant. Thanks again!


Jennifer said...

I have been using 1/4 c. baking soda, 1/4 c. arrowroot powder, and a few Tbls coconut oil with a couple drops of lavender eo. I like it, but the ingredients can be hard to come by, so I am looking forward to your recipe.

Diana said...

I've tried all existing deodorants and antiperspirants and they don't work for me. They actually make me smell worse! Since I discovered baking soda, I haven't looked back. It is AMAZING! Especially because it's so cheap and simple! Apply it with witch hazel and you've got the best deodorant in the world! No smell, no irritation and no white residue. How to apply it: put some baking soda in the palm of your hand (about 1/4 tsp) and spray some witch hazel on it until it dissolves and it's liquid enough to apply. Then rub on your arm pits. THE BEST!

Rachel Lynn said...

Diana- Great idea, thanks for sharing! I like the idea of using witch hazel too.

Joyzbee said...

I tried the Baking Soda & cornstarch but I got a very itch rash so cut down the B.S. but still had problems. Any other ideas please?

Rachel Lynn said...

Joyzbee: Did you happen to use it right after shaving? I know that sometimes leaves skin irritated. Also, try the baking soda with aloe or witchhazel, that might help.

Anonymous said...

Hi great blog! I tried the baking soda and water thing but after 2 days my armpits are very sore and also got darker I'm very sad since I thought that was the solution for not using chemicals anymore so I might try the aloe+bs to see if that relieves the irritation

Ro Givens said...

I was just wondering what your ratio of aloe to baking soda is? This is something I have wanted to try!! I love baking soda as a deodorant but have only used it with coconut oil which wasn't as convenient for me. Thanks!

Rachel Lynn said...

I think it ends up being close to a 1:1 ratio, but I just added enough to make a nice smooth paste texture. You will have to experiment. Good luck!