The weather here in Vancouver is taking forever to warm up. Spring has not yet arrived, and as such, I’m spending more time indoors than I would like. Of course, more time inside usually translates to more time spent plugged in: I will admit to spending more than my fair share of time on th Internet, with a particular focus on Pinterest. I use Pinterest primarily for recipes and meal ideas, but I have recently started looking there for inspiration with regard to natural body care.
You know, like homemade deodorant and other fun stuff. Yes, I’m serious.
I’ve tried commercially-made “eco-friendly” deodorant in the past, without much success. The product I tried literally gave me a painful rash under my arms, which led me to turf that particular product pretty quickly. That was a few years back, and I hadn’t tried again. Until recently. I found a very simple recipe on Pinterest last week, and I simplified it even further. Here it is:
Mix two Tablespoons of coconut oil (I like organic) with one Tablespoon of aluminum-free baking soda (I use Bob’s Red Mill) until mixture is smooth and consistent. If you like, you can add a few drops of essential oils of your choice. Store in a clean, wide-mouth jar (for easy access) and apply a pea-sized amount to each underarm each morning.
That’s it! So simple, right? Another alternative to using baking soda would be arrowroot powder, but I just happened to have baking soda on hand at home. I might try the arrowroot powder version next time. I’ve heard some people have had luck using coconut oil alone, but I haven’t tried that yet either. Baking soda does a great job of managing bad smells and coconut oil is naturally anti-bacterial, so it’s a great combination for a deodorant, and one that forgoes a lot of nasty chemicals. I’ve been using the above mixture for the past week, and I can honestly say, it works!
Now you might be asking yourself why I would go to the trouble of making my own deodorant. Well, I’ll explain.
Most commercially available deodorants and anti-perspirants contain aluminum, parabens and phthalates. Phthalates have been linked to increased paraben absorption by the body, while both both parabens and aluminum have been linked to increased estrogen production within the body. Increased estrogen production can cause cancer cells to form, both in the breasts and other parts of the body. Propylene glycol is another chemical that is found in many commercially made anti-perspirants and deodorants, and has been found to cause damage to the heart, liver, and central nervous system. And let’s not forget Triclosan. An antibacterial agent that was first defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pesticide, Triclosan is commonly found in commercially-prepared deodorants. Triclosan has also been named as a possible carcinogen.
All of these chemicals would be best avoided for everyone in as many applications as possible. Both my mom and my grandma had breast cancer, so I am all about actively reducing my own risk for developing cancer. Many of the aforementioned chemicals are found not only in deodorants and anti-perspirants but in cosmetics and many bath and body products, so be sure to check your cosmetics cases and under your bathroom sink for any offenders! There is a great database from The Environmental Working Group called Skin Deep that clearly outlines the toxicity levels of nearly 80,000 personal use products. Be sure to check it out for the products you already use and before adding anything new to your beauty arsenal.
Have you tried making your own deodorant? Do you have any favourite all-natural beauty recipes?