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Our Journey to Using Homemade Natural Deodorant and a Picture Tutorial

12/27/2010

Let me tell you our little story about homemade deodorant. :) My daughter likes stinky stories right now for some reason, but thankfully, this will not be a stinky story. (If you’d rather cut to the chase, then scroll down to the tutorial below.)

Back in the day when I was dating my husband, my mother-in-law (whom I get along swimmingly with, by the way) would talk about how bad deodorant was for you, particularly the aluminum in it. Well, I thought she was kind of crazy. This was before I was “crunchy” and I figured if my Lady Mitchum worked, then that was good enough for me. End of story.

Fast forward about 5 years. We are married, living in Scotland, have a one year old daughter and are starting to make more changes in our lives to get nasty chemicals out of our home. We switched to cloth diapers, natural cleaners, etc. So, we decided to try natural deodorant. Perhaps my mother-in-law isn’t crazy. I was the guinea pig . I tried two different kinds — one was a roll on and the other was Pit Rok. (Is that not the coolest name ever? Pit Rock! Makes me want to say it like I’m a rock star. As if I know how they talk. Anyway, I digress.)  I tried the roll on  for a month or so and I could smell myself after my two mile walk to work. It wasn’t good. The roll on just tried to hide the smell with its scent. Body odor tinged anything is not good. I cannot abide with smelling bad.

Next was Pit Rok. Same thing. I smelled bad after I got to work.  So, I gave up. Back to Lady Mitchum.

About 8 months later or so, I tried using apple cider vinegar for deodorant. It lasted until the first really warm day, and then it didn’t work either. Not to mention that when I sprayed it on, it dripped and stained my tank tops. Back to Lady Mitchum again.

We visited America during that time and picked up some Tom’s of Maine, which I took back with me to Scotland. It worked pretty well, but Scotland is cool about 99.5% of the time (and I no longer had to walk two miles to work). So we used that until it ran out, and went back to our normal crazy chemical filled deodorant.

We moved back to America in July of this year and started using Tom’s of Maine again. We live in GA and it is HOT in the summer. HOT! (I needed to say it again because, really, it is that HOT.) It was working decently, I got my hubby to use it and it barely worked for him, so we were going to stick with it. On days when I needed to make sure my armpits really were going to be okay, I kept some Lady Mitchum in the cupboard to use. (He had his back up Mitchum too.)

Before we moved, I saw this challenge over on Simple Organic and I got excited. I guess not excited enough to join the challenge, but  excited to see the results. Right after we moved, the results were posted. I had already decided that whichever deodorant won the challenge was the deodorant we were going to start using after our current container of Tom’s of Maine was gone. I was surprised to see that the homemade deodorant won. Even in the comments, people overwhelmingly liked the homemade deodorant.

At the end of August, we were almost out of deodorant and about to go on vacation to visit my parents in Indiana. So, I whipped up some homemade deodorant and stuck it in the cooler. (It was hot and I knew the coconut oil would melt if I left it out.) I had found a very helpful tutorial and recipe  over at Passionate Homemaking. We stayed in a hotel overnight on the way up to my parents house and after my husband took a shower, he asked me where the deodorant was. I gave him the stuff I had made and he looked at me like, “Umm…okay. Where’s the deodorant?” I explained to him about the results I mentioned above, etc, but he still wasn’t convinced. Then I told him he was welcome to go find a grocery store to buy more or he could just use this for now and if he didn’t like it, we’d stop on the way up to my parents when we saw a store and buy him some nasty chemicals Right Guard or something.

I am very happy to say that we’ve never needed to buy deodorant again. This stuff worked WAY better than I or my husband thought it would. We were both very skeptical, but it works amazingly well. I cannot convey to you how surprised and delighted I was to discover how great this stuff works.  I even convinced my sister, who couldn’t care less about natural products and was using Clinical Strength Secret, to try the deodorant, and she liked the natural homemade deodorant better!! If my sister approves it, then you know it works. My not-so-crazy mother -in-law also likes it. :)

Yay! We have a winner!

Here is the recipe that was posted over at Passionate Homemaking.

Ingredients:

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda (or less–please read below for my recommendation)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)

Essential oil of your preferred scent (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. (Add the essential oil at this time if you want your deodorant to have a scent.) It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

Photo Tutorial

Since I am a visual learner, I thought some of you might appreciate a photo tutorial so you could see how everything is supposed to work.

Here are all the ingredients and things you will need.

Measure out your coconut oil. You’ll need 6 tablespoons. Or 7 or 8. Whatever you are feeling. This isn’t an exact process.

If its warm inside your home, you won’t have to get the coconut oil out with a spoon as it will not be quite as hard. (Its melting point is 76 degrees F.) Today our home’s temperature must’ve been well below 76. :)

Next, add the arrowroot powder. Just dump it in on top of the coconut oil.

Same thing with the baking soda. Just dump it on in.

Now you can add some essential oil if you want to. I added 10-15 drops of lavendar.

Then, just mix it up. Since it is cooler in my home today, this is similar to creaming butter and sugar together when you make cookies. When I make the deodorant in the summer, I just have to stir it.

Here’s the final product. Please note that this is a half batch. My husband needs to take some with him when he travels next week, so this is my version of a travel size deodorant. If you follow the amounts and insturctions above, you’ll have twice this much.

To apply, just put some on your fingers and rub into your arm pits. I thought I’d spare you the picture of that, so here is another picture of your finished product.

I have only had two problems with this deodorant, both of which were easily fixable. The first problem I had was that I used peppermint essential oil and then it stung my armpits after I shaved. We just used lavendar essential oil the next time. :)

The other problem I was having (my husband hasn’t had any trouble with the deodorant at all, by the way) was that every third or fourth day of using it, I would get a red rash in my armpits. I looked it up and a few other people had had this trouble too and they recommended reducing the baking soda in the recipe by half. I tried that and I haven’t had a problem since then and neither my husband or myself have noticed any difference in the effectiveness of the deodorant.

So, there you have it. Our natural deodorant journey. Let me know if you have any questions. And if you live close to me (in southwest Georgia) and would like to try to make your own, I’d be happy to provide you with some arrowroot powder. The bag I bought has enough in it to last me for a long time.

Questions are always welcome in the comments. :)

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16 Comments
  1. 12/27/2010 9:54 pm

    Great job, Kate! Way too crunchy for me, but I love you even more.

    • Kate permalink*
      12/27/2010 10:40 pm

      Brannan gives you six months max before you get crunchy enough to start using this. :)

  2. Tara permalink
    12/27/2010 10:19 pm

    So glad you are brave and tried this out! I’m still trying different natural storebought ones with no favorites yet. I think maybe you’ve inspired me to try this when mine runs out. Thanks!

    • Kate permalink*
      12/27/2010 10:41 pm

      Tara–I think you’ll like this one. We’ve been suprised at how well it works! Let me know what you think if you try it.

  3. 12/27/2010 10:21 pm

    that’s cool- so, if I were to try this and I don’t have an empty container of deo, I use the tupperware method. Do you get the homemade deo all over your hands? Does it spread pretty well? Might try this. . cool deal kate!

    • Kate permalink*
      12/27/2010 10:38 pm

      Joy–I haven’t tried putting it in a normal deodorant container, mainly because I was worried about it melting this past summer and getting everywhere. I don’t think you’d have to worry about that in Aberdeen, though. :) We just keep ours in a little tupperware in the bathroom.
      It doesn’t get all over your hands. Just use your index finger to scoop out a little bit and rub it on with that same finger. One, maybe two fingers max, gets deodorant on it and I just run mine under the faucet or wipe it off on a towle real quick after that. It’ll start to melt once you put it on your skin so it spreads very well. Let me know what you think if you try it! Hope you are enjoying your time in America. :)

  4. Becky B permalink
    12/27/2010 11:02 pm

    yay! making a trip to the store this week to get my arrowroot powder. I’d rather just visit you again, but well, in time I hope. Thank you for the photo tutorial too – I feel all set to do it :) I’m glad to share this with my mom too!

  5. 12/28/2010 5:49 am

    Hi Katie!
    I have a few questions for you!
    1. Have you tried it with cornstarch? We are in Denmark now and I have no idea if i can buy that here.
    2. Does it stain clothes or leave an oil mark?
    3. Did you “pit out” in your Michum days? Do you “pit out” now? :)
    4. Have you tried it scent free??

    I am a sweat-er! This sounds worth a try. Thanks

    • Kate permalink*
      12/28/2010 9:23 am

      Maria! Hi!
      1. I have not tried cornstarch. You might want to read through some of the comments on the blogs I linked to above because I think that a lot of other people have tried it though and weighed in with their opinion.
      2. I try to put it on and let it soak in a minute before I put on my clothes. In theory, it could leave an oil mark, but I haven’t had that happen (yet). I have put it on after I put on my shirts though and it wasn’t a problem. You don’t need to use much of it, so it hasn’t been an issue for us.
      3. I am not a huge sweat-er. (Ha!) However, my sister is and she still liked this deodorant. Brannan tends to be too. I will say that this is not an anti-perspirant. I have found that even though I sweat, it does not smell. As far as “pitting out”, its hot down here in the summer. I pitted out with both kinds. I think your sweat glands would have to be broken to not do that down here!
      4. I have used it scent free. I doesn’t affect it one bit. Works just the same. I don’t add enough scent to make it smell a ton anyway.
      Hope that helps! Let me know what you find out about the cornstarch!

  6. Donna/Nonna permalink
    12/28/2010 8:10 am

    Kate, honey, you know I love being a part of your journey to be “krunchy”…NOT a word used in the south, but I “kinda” (a word used ALOT here) like it…but using words like “swimmingly” and “cupboard” is stretching it a bit.

    With love,
    Your (not-so-crazy?) mother-in-law

    • Kate permalink*
      12/28/2010 9:13 am

      Cupboard is a weird word?

  7. 05/23/2011 11:04 pm

    I’m thinking about trying this! When you said you cut the baking soda in half, is that included in the recipe (the 1:1 ratio) or is that an adjustment you made after (so your new recipe is 1 part soda: 2 parts arrowroot)? Thank you!

    • Kate permalink*
      05/24/2011 7:19 am

      Jennifer– Its an adjustment I made after, so the ratio I use is 1 part baking soda to 2 parts arrowroot (or 1/8 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup arrowroot powder). Let me know what you think if you try it!

Trackbacks

  1. The Great Natural Deodorant Giveaway and Challenge « Kinda Crunchy Kate
  2. The Great Natural Deodorant Challenge: Make the Big Switch this Month! « Kinda Crunchy Kate
  3. Homemade Deodorant | downinfrugalrock

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