Inactive Ingredients: Water; Dipropylene Glycol; Cyclomethicone; Dimethicone; Dimethicone Copolyol; Fragrance.
I can identify water and fragrance in that list of ingredients, how about you? Oh, and aluminum. The above list of ingredients is right off the back of the anti-perspirant I have been slathering on my underarms for almost two decades, and it’s 20% aluminum! Here’s the thing, aluminum has been exempted from testing for safety by the FDA because (try to follow the logic here) it is classified as GRAS, or Generally Regarded As Safe. It has never been tested by the FDA on its safety and there are NO restrictions whatsoever on the amount or use of aluminum in food and skin care products. Not only that, but there are over 2000 references to adverse effects of aluminum in the National Library of Medicine. I know the label on every bottle of deodorant says not to apply to broken skin, but I also know that 99.9% of shaving ladies out there (myself included) use it right over their shaving nicks.
There are plenty of natural products on the market, a couple of which I have tried here and there, but they tend to be pricey. Besides, why pay money for something I can make myself better and cheaper? Hence, the search for a homemade deodorant recipe. In most of the recipes out there, the predominant ingredients are coconut oil and baking soda, which, though I’ve never tried them, don’t seem to fulfill the requirements I have for a good deodorant. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of both coconut oil and baking soda for many other applications, and I might even try one of those recipes as a body lotion for hot days, but for everyday armpit application, I need something with a little more oomph. Also, deodorants that are mostly oil will eventually leave pit stains on all your clothes.
I am not an overly sweaty person. I sweat when it’s hot, and when I’m nervous, but not to the point of dripping (hot yoga aside.) Even so, I am paranoid about being sweaty and smelly. In fact, I have a hard time differentiating between the two. I think we are so conditioned to think of sweat as something dirty, it’s hard to remember sometimes that sweating provides a vital bodily function, keeping us from getting over heated. Body odor is caused by bacteria, not sweat, which is why I wanted to use tea tree oil in whatever recipe I decided to try. Tea Tree Oil is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic. I also think it smells clean and fresh.
Sweating has a secondary function. Besides keeping us cool, it also removes toxins. Granted, it’s only about 1% of the total toxins leaving your body, but considering the amount of toxins to which the average Earth resident is exposed, any detox is a good thing. Bentonite Clay is a clay formed from the weathering of volcanic ash, originally discovered in Benton, Wyoming. It is some amazing stuff, used in all sorts of industries and products from wine making to cat litter to concrete. Bentonite can absorb up to several times its weight in water, and better yet, because of its structure, it also absorbs as many positively charged toxins as it can. It is regularly added to detox smoothie recipes to absorb toxins in the digestive tract. It seemed like a good option for my deodorant.
The rest of the ingredients consist of raw butters for moisturizing and as a binder, Vitamin E Oil to smooth out the consistency and beeswax to make it water resistant, so it doesn’t sweat off too fast. The recipe took some trial and error, based loosely off of this recipe. Unlike other recipes, this deodorant will stay solid in the summer as long as you don’t leave it in direct sunlight. If it’s chilly where you store it, it can actually get a little too hard to spread, so I just hit it with the blowdryer for a couple seconds before I apply. If it goes on too thick I just rub it in with my hand until it doesn’t show anymore.
Ingredients: (by weight, so you will need a Kitchen Scale if you want to be precise.)
You can get most or all of these ingredients at many health food stores, or at a soapmakers’ supply shop if you have one nearby. I have included links to ones I have used from amazon.com.
- ½ oz. Beeswax
- 2½ oz. Shea Butter
- ½ oz. Cocoa Butter
- 2 oz. Bentonite Clay
- 35 drops Tea Tree Oil
- ½ tsp. Vitamin E Oil
- You will also need an empty deodorant container. I washed an old one, but I have heard of people using an empty Flintstones Push-Up Pop container, too.
1. In a mason jar or bowl, weight out the beeswax, shea, and cocoa butters.
2. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until it is mostly melted and stir until the last little bits melt in. Caution: the jar will be very hot!
3. Stir in the clay, vitamin E oil, and tea tree oil until smooth.
4. Put the jar in a cold water bath and stir until it’s the consistency of melted chocolate, thick, but still pour-able.
5. Pour into your empty deodorant container and pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes until it solidifies. If you have leftovers, store them in the jar and remelt it when you need more deodorant.
That’s it! It only takes 15 minutes and every single ingredient in this deodorant is safe and natural, heck you could eat it if you wanted to! Depending on where you buy your ingredients, it comes in at around $4 per batch and each batch makes 1-2 sticks of deodorant depending on the size of your tube. This recipe has held up to working in the garden and hot yoga. If I apply it in the morning, it lasts all day, though I put it on again in the evening if I am going out or if I have been sweating more than usual. The clay helps keep me dry and the tea tree oil keeps me from getting stinky. Plus, if you do nick yourself shaving, it will actually help you heal more quickly!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and if you make any adjustments, leave them in the comments so I can experiment some more!