I promise you I have not gone crazy (well maybe that’s still up for debate depending on where you’re at in your health and wellness journey) – homemade deodorant is not only possible, it’s easy and pretty darn effective! Let me explain.
I began a transition to clean, chemical-free personal care products over 6 years ago and for the most part, it was pretty easy. There are great make up alternatives and oils are fabulous for cleansing/moisturizing. However I always struggled with deodorant.
As a teen I was suuuuper sweaty. Like embarassingly sweaty. I didn’t mind sweating when I played sports, but sweating through a sweatshirt on a cold day sucked big time. Hardcore anti-perspirant was my godsend – and I mean seriously hardcore. I got the over the counter pure-aluminum stuff that I could only apply once a week, otherwise my skin would get really damaged. Every other day I used regular, Dove anti-perspirant, which was filled with aluminum, fragrance (read: phthalates) and other weird ingredients. I’m cringing just thinking about what my toxin exposure used to be!
Once I started learning about the risks associated with anti-perspirant, I immediately stopped the hardcore stuff, but hung on to the Dove. I eventually switched to Tom’s “natural” anti-perspirant, which had way less junk in it, but still contained aluminum so it helped with the sweating. Over the last few years I’ve dabbled in a variety of natural deodorants, but was never satisfied. They would be fine for a few hours, but if I got sweaty, I always noticed a slight odour which I knew was partly my body reacting with the ingredients in the deodorant.
Simultaneous to this anti-perspirant / deodorant adventure, I was also deep in my healing journey and discovering how my body was responding to different foods. About 18 months ago I realized that the amount I was sweating during the day was dramatically less than what it used to be – I can only attribute this to healing my body. That’s when I finally got off the anti-perspirants and really got to start playing around with the natural deodorants. This past winter I often wouldn’t even wear deodorant, except to go to the gym. However as the temperatures have started to climb I knew I needed to finally figure this out. After playing around with a few different “natural options” out there, I still wasn’t having any success. My dear friend and fellow nutritionist Jenn from Jennifer Potter Health recommended a product that she swore by. It was pretty much coconut oil, baking soda and some essential oils. I kept meaning to find out the exact brand, and then I read The Purely Primal Skincare Guide by Liz Wolfe and she mentioned using those ingredients directly, in lieu of any pre-made deodorant. I figured, well it couldn’t hurt to give it a go – since I definitely have coconut oil and baking soda on hand, all the time!
Well lo and behold it freakin worked! Obviously I should have know, since Liz knows everything about natural skin care, but for some reason I was skeptical. I tried simply swiping some coconut oil and then dabbing some baking soda on top and was thrilled with the results. So I took it one (tiny) step further. Here’s my recipe:
- 2 small jars (mason or other – I got mine from Dollarama)
- baking soda
- coconut oil
- essential oil of choice (I used lavender)
- Warm the coconut oil enough so you can stir it very easily. Make sure it doesn’t get hot, and if it does, let it cool before moving to the next step.
- Add 10 drops of your favourite essential oil (I like lavender) per ½ cup oil, and stir it in well.
- Pour into a jar and let cool.
- Pour some baking soda into another small jar, for ease of use.
- When applying, swipe some lavender coconut oil under your arms, followed by a few dabs of baking soda. Voila!
- Excessive sweating and body odour are not armpit problems, they indicate problems with nutrition, dehydration, blood sugar dysregulation, digestion and/or stress. Addressing these issues is critical for normalizing sweat function/smell. For example, if I eat too much sugar, or eat goat cheese, I notice a change in odour for a few days.
- Sweat itself does not smell, instead it is the bacteria on your skin reacting with the sweat that causes odour. So by supporting the health of our microbiome (starting with gut health) and not applying toxins to our skin that kills off the beneficial bacteria, you will start to make changes that will reduce and eliminate body odour.
- Sweating in general, is actually really important. It’s the body’s natural way of cooling itself down, detoxifying and means you have good circulation. Embrace it!
- You will always sweat when you exercise. This is normal and desired!
- Do not apply deodorant on freshly shaven skin – it can cause irritation.