One Green Thing: DIY Deodorant

One Green Thing Strocel.comIt’s the first Thursday of the month, so today I’m tackling my One Green Thing for February. This month I’ll be taking on a DIY project. But first, I’ll talk about my pledge to do some gardening research last month.

So, how did my efforts to read up on gardening and come up with a good plan for my 2013 garden go? In short, they didn’t. Oh, I went to the library. I took out a bunch of books. I put those books on my desk, filled with good intentions. And then the books sat there. And sat there. And sat there. I didn’t even crack a single one before I got the email from the library letting me know that they were due shortly. At that point, I realized there was no way I was getting through them, and I declared defeat. Sometimes, you just have to concede your failure and move on.


Image Credit – Tiffany Terry on Flickr

This month, however, I am once again buoyed by optimism. And buoyed by that optimism, I have decided to try making my own deodorant.

I try to avoid using traditional antiperspirants, because I’m concerned about the ingredients they contain. In particular, I am worried about phthalates and other chemicals in artificial fragrance, and about parabens. I would prefer not to use a product that’s strongly-scented and that contains a number of chemicals with long names that I can’t pronounce.

For a few years I’ve been on the hunt for a good natural alternative to commercial antiperspirants, and I’ve mostly come up empty. I’ll find something that works, but usually after a few weeks its effectiveness seems to diminish, and I find myself back at square one. It recently occurred to me that I wash my face with honey, and I wash my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. So why not try one of the many recipes floating around the internet for homemade deodorant? If it doesn’t work, it’s still cheaper than most natural options, and I’m no worse off than I am now. If it does work, I’m saving money, and ensuring that I know exactly what I’m slathering on my underarms.

The fact that I’m trying this project during the winter does give me something of an advantage, and perhaps makes the test a little bit unfair. But the truth is that the natural deodorants don’t work for me at this time of year, so I don’t think the seasonal impact will be too high.

At the end of the month I’ll let you know how it went. In the meantime, if you’ve ever tried making your own deodorant, I’d love to hear from you. Any tips, ideas or suggestions are very welcome! Also, if you’d like to get in on the act and take on One Green Thing of your own, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to grab the button from this post if you’re blogging about it, and spread the enviro-love.

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  1. My husband has switched permanently to “crystal” hard stick – I don’t remember the brand, but it does not matter, you can google it, there are plenty of examples. It is simple alum – which has been used for ages and ages with no ill effect reported. My father was using it to address tiny nicks from shaving, one “precious” stone that was passed from his father.

  2. I made and used a coconut oil-baking soda based homemade deodorant this summer. It worked great, but I really didn’t care for smearing it on with my fingers. I did pour it into an old tube but it melted out the bottom as soon as our bathroom hit 78 degrees. Other than that, it’s a fabulous substitute for commercial products!

  3. Make sure you really use the essential oils. I did DIY deodorant awhile ago with mainly coconut oil and baking soda and it worked great at first but got funky fast.

    If you give up on DIY, I recommend Monkey Baby Naturals (Etsy) patchouli scent deodorant. I happen to love patchouli — It is strong, but I think it’s what makes it work so well. I’m a gross sweater, especially now with pregnancy hormones, and even my husband agrees this one is working. My favorite perk to natural deodorant is that it doesn’t leave that funky film on your ‘pits the way conventional deodorant does. (I actually once reviewed a specialized Armpit Cleanser designed just to remove that stuff everyday, which is insane!)
    Janine’s last post … Green cleaning tips for entertainingMy Profile

  4. Delora

    I made my own last spring and split the batch between a tub I apply with my fingers and an old, empty roll-up tube. I also had the issue with it melting in the tube, so kept it in the fridge, but then I rarely used it since I don’t go and put deodorant on in the kitchen! But I liked the tub stuff and it worked well, but I only used it from time to time.

    This winter I relocated the tube to my bedroom since it was no longer melting, but once I started it using it multiple times per week, all the skin in my armpit turned red and scaly and then peeled off. I started alternating it with a natural deodorant from Kiss My Face (that doesn’t work nearly as well) to prevent the peeling problem, but any time I use the homemade more than 2 days in a row, I get the peeling pits again.

    I read the comments on a post from Crunchy Chicken’s blog, and it sounds like the baking soda causes excess drying of the skin. So I’d recommend cutting back on the amount of baking soda to be safe. I also used a large amount of tea tree oil to kill the bacteria that causes BO, and then added some orange essential oil to try and counter-act the tea tree (it didn’t work, ha).

  5. I use a recipe I found online & have had no issues with redness or funkiness. 1Tbsp each of coconut oil, baking soda & arrowroot powder. (You can get arrowroot at Whole Foods) Then a few drops of essential oil, preferably one with antibacterial properties like tea tree. Both my husband & I have been using this for a couple of years now. We’re both fairly active– he cycles 150km a week–it works to keep us from stinking! I make it maybe twice or three times a year so it’s so cheap.

    A word of warning: Some recipes say to use corn starch, because it’s easier to find but it encourages yeast–possibly the cause of the rash mentioned in a comment above. Also, the deodorant paste isn’t super smooth by itself but easily spreads on wet skin after the shower.
    Lisa C’s last post … East Van Fitness Class for Mamas (with free Onsite Childcare!)My Profile

  6. I have been using my homemade deodorant of baking soda, coconut oil , arrowroot powder and essential oils and it has been perfect! Before making it, I did try the crystal, but it didn’t really work for me. Before the crystal, I had tried various other brands of natural deodorant, some working better than others, but nothing has worked as well as my homemade deodorant. Everyone’s chemistry and skin type are all so different., good luck with your search!
    Renee’s last post … Visiting with Family: Part OneMy Profile

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  1. […] One Green Thing for February is trying homemade deodorant. Never one to do today what I can put off ’til tomorrow, I just […]

  2. […] than my pledge to do more gardening research back in January. But first, I’ll talk about my adventures in DIY deodorant last […]

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