It drives me crazy when we find that the things we once thought were so complicated are actually incredibly, insanely simple and that the truth of their simplicity is not common knowledge. This turned out to be the case for deodorant.
Most people who seek natural alternatives to their cosmetic supply have a problem when it comes to deodorants. All women’s deodorants are anti-perspirants, which contain high levels of aluminum, natural deodorants don’t work and make me itch and men’s deodorant, which I’d resorted to using for a while, is still full of chemicals and smells like, well, “antifreeze man”, for lack of a better description, and actually contains propylene glycol, which is, in fact, antifreeze. So there you go.
I started shunning women’s deodorant at summer camp when a hippie friend of mine (wise at her 14 years of ago) explained that it caused breast cancer. I don’t know why I was worried about breast cancer at the age of 14 (maybe it was my early naturopathic doctor self, shining through) but I got scared and starting using men’s deodorant, which, because it’s not an anti-perspirant, doesn’t contain aluminum zirconium. So, does anti-perspirant actually cause cancer? Studies are inconclusive, but we do know that it blocks lymph nodes, which are plentiful beneath our arms, and which contain the specific lymph nodes that drain the breast tissue and chest. Clogged lymph nodes are just bad news in general because our lymph nodes are responsible for clearing out the debris and toxins that our body is exposed to. Good health can only ever be attained when our lymphatic system is operating to its full potential.
After entering the world of natural health products, I started shelling out $8-$10 a tube for natural deodorant. It was an expensive experiment as I tried a grand total of 4 different brands, all to discover that, firstly, none of them worked, and secondly, some of them even gave me a weird allergic rash under my arms, which made me scratch myself like a gorilla throughout the day. Not exactly attractive.
So, my deodorant choices ultimately boiled down to: a) blocking the lymphatic drainage in my underarms, causing edema of my arms, aka “Bingo Wings“, or possibly increasing my risk of cancer b) forever living with allergic dermatitis like I’m back in my eczema-tainted childhood days, c) searching through the men’s deodorant section of the grocery store, trying to find the most “feminine”-scented anti-freeze available or, even, d) going “au naturale”, and thus, probably spending the rest of my life alone. What would you choose?
So I went back to smelling like Old Spice for a while. That is, until I found and developed this recipe for homemade deodorant. This recipe is so simple, so easy and so cheap to make that it irks me to the bone that making deodorant at home isn’t common practice. Our consumer-driven society dis-empowers us to the point where we can’t even take care of ourselves. We are forced to either apply toxic substances to our bodies or cough up huge amounts of cash for inferior “natural” products full of natural substitutes for the very chemicals we’re so certain are necessary. Can’t we do anything ourselves anymore? We had over our cash and our bodies so willingly we – alright, enough political banter; it’s time to take action!
Allow me to be the bearer of excellent news: you can create natural deodorant that smells great, contains no harmful chemicals and is made of only 3 ingredients, all of which can be found in your kitchen. You can even eat this deodorant, if you were so inclined. And it takes about 1 minute to make. Not kidding. Oh, and it works really well, too!
DIY Natural Edible Deodorant
A small mason jar or glass container (using an empty soap container or recycled cream jar works well too)
2 tbs baking soda
2 tbs arrowroot (or cornstarch)
2 tbs coconut oil
*This recipe makes about enough for one person to last them quite a while (about as long as a regular stick of deodorant would last you). If you are making multiple amounts of deodorant, you know, to share the lymph node-love and gift to all your family and friends, simply add more of all the base ingredients in a 1:1:1 ratio.
A few drops (~10) of your favourite essential oil
1-2 probiotic capsules
Soften coconut oil by putting it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. Mix in the baking soda and arrowroot. Mix the three ingredients thoroughly and then scoop into the container of your choice.
Optional: Add in your essential oils. I used a little bit of vanilla extract, but I found that the coconut oil gives the recipe a delicious coconut scent already. For your male or sweat-prone loved ones, I would recommend adding in an antibacterial essential oil, such as peppermint, tea tree, sage, etc. You can also break open a capsule of a probiotic (1-2 capsules per batch of deo) to add in for extra bacteria-regulating power. Also, some people are sensitive to the baking soda. If so, just decrease the amount of baking soda and increase the arrowroot. Problem solved.
Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature. This takes about a day. If you’re in a rush you can just stick it in the fridge.
There. That’s it. To use, I just scrape a pea-sized amount with my fingers and apply it directly to my underarms. No itching, no lymph node clogging, no weird chemical-man scent, no anti-freeze. Just soft, healthy underarms that smell like coconut.
It should be enough to put Speedstick out of business.
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