There's a rising trend for hippiedom these days, but instead of harking back to the days of Woodstock where people didn't shower and braided their armpit hair, we're forced to work jobs and look presentable to the non-hippiefied masses in order to enable our lifestyle.
Enter natural deodorant.
I barely keep up with all the hoopla surrounding aluminum and other creepy chemicals in our seemingly harmless deodorant sticks. All I know is that it contains chemicals and if I can't eat it and still be healthy or alive, I don't want it on my body. Whether the breast cancer risk is real or not, I rather just not. So, I go for the lesser of the two evils with the natural stuff you can buy, like Tom's of Maine.
It's not the most innocent of odor-blocking sticks, but it's affordable and accessible to me compared with most other ones. Of course, I have to admit, I use it purely for psychological reasons because it simply does.not.work. Really. It just doesn't. I put it on and say to myself, "And ye shalt not smelt for the next twelve hours." when really it's about twelve minutes and I go around apologizing to my yoga students for my ripening odor.
At least it kind of fits my image…
But really though, I'm over the whole smelly armpits and having to wash my clothes more often than not because really, they can last a few more wearings if it weren't for that sneaky smell that slowly seeps out with every pass of upward facing dog. Besides, b.o. does not make me feel awesome or sexy or pretty or cool. Major self-esteem killer.
So I finally decided to give in and try homemade deodorant. Don't ask me why it took me this long. I've had all the ingredients for practically a year just sitting in my pantry and I just never put two and two together. But anyway, better late than never, right?
It only requires three ingredients for the most basic recipe: coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch or arrowroot starch. You can fancy it up by adding essential oils like tea tree oil, peppermint, lavender, or anything else. Tea tree and peppermint have antibacterial properties that will aid in killing odors so you get a little extra benefit. I just made the base recipe for now to try it out.
To make sure it really did work, I put it together just for our backpacking trip last weekend. Three whole days of woodland hiking plus two nights of camping. Not a shower in sight. What better way to truly discover the effectiveness of this deodorant?
Result? It really did work! Granted, by the third morning, I was a tiny bit ripe, but dude, I didn't shower for three days, I'd be more freaked out if I did't smell at this point. Now, this isn't meant to be an antiperspirant but the baking soda does offer a bit of sweat protection as well, just a little bit. But I don't mind sweat, I just didn't want to scream "crunchy granola hippie" anymore. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Here's a recipe for a tiny batch, about 1/4 cup so you can try it out for yourself without a giant pot of deodorant going to waste if it's not to your liking. Double if you need.
1 1/2 tbsp unrefined cold pressed coconut oil
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot starch*
Essential oils if using
In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda and starch until combined. Add softened coconut oil and gently press it into the powder mix until well mixed. Add more oil or starch to get the a paste-like consistency if needed. Add a few drops of whatever oils you like to use and mix together. Store in a jar or ziploc bag.
To use: Massage a dime-sized amount into each underarm until absorbed. Repeat if necessary.
*The corn starch is to help turn it into a paste. Some people have expressed concerns with gmo in corn starch, arrowroot is a good alternative. I've read that arrowroot is a tiny bit more effective than corn starch but it's up to you.
Have you made this before? What do you think?