I did a little experiment in homemade hygiene this weekend.
You see, I ran out of deodorant and I’d promised myself that when that happened, I’d attempt to make my own and (hopefully) never buy another plastic-packaged stick of deodorant again. While I mixed up a basic concoction of baking soda and cornstarch for our last backpacking trip to save weight and space in my pack, let’s just say that applying a white powder to one’s underarms from a Ziploc bag is not the easiest thing to do — plus, traveling with an unmarked plastic bag of white powder isn’t wise.
I recently wrote an article on deodorant alternatives after being inspired by one of my favorite blogs, so I feel pretty well-informed on the subject of DIY deodorant and was able to concoct my own recipe.
1/4 cup baking soda
1/3 cup corn starch
4 tablespoons coconut oil
5 drops essential oil
Pour baking soda and corn starch into a bowl and mix together. Add the coconut oil and mix into a paste. Add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice. (I used a mix of orange and grapefruit.) Scoop the mixture into an empty deodorant stick and then place in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.
It looks like deodorant, it smells like deodorant, and it seems to be doing the trick! For those of you who think I’m an outright nut for doing this, here’s the lowdown on typical deodorants from the article I cited earlier:
While some people are worried about common deodorant chemicals like parabens, formaldehyde and triclosan, most concerns focus on aluminum, the ingredient in antiperspirant that blocks pores and fights wetness. Aluminum is rumored to be linked to breast cancer and other diseases; however, the National Cancer Institute says this research is inconclusive. In addition to these potential health risks, aluminum mining is also destructive and polluting.
And for those of you who live with me, work with me or one day get trapped in an elevator with me, don’t worry. Here’s how the DIY deodorant works: The baking soda combats odor, the corn starch fights wetness, and the essential oils make my underarms smell like a freshly cut orange. Plus, that original stick of deodorant will stay out of the landfill — and that’s what’s most important.
For the first week the deodorant was pretty crumbly and I was rethinking my wonderful recipe. However, after 5-7 days, it more fully solidified and now goes on just like any other stick deodorant. Honestly, it’s the best deodorant I’ve ever used, but I recommend adding a few more drops of essential oil because it starts to lose its scent over time.
**Update 2: I’ve made this deodorant twice more since my first attempt and now that I kind of have a feel for it, I just watch the consistency as I stir. Once it’s thick, but still a little soupy, I know it’s good and I pour it in the tube. I no longer have any problems with crumbliness. My suggestion is to make sure it’s not too thick before you stick it in the fridge.