The New Home Economics

Recipe: homemade deodorant (with 2 variations)

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Is conventional antiperspirant, which contains aluminum, bad for you?  Hard to say for sure.  The government says they can’t definitively link it to breast cancer, but they also admit that the aluminum and parabens are, in fact, absorbed into your bloodstream, albeit in small amounts.  There are rumors of aluminum being linked to Alzheimers.  I haven’t seen anything really definitive, but on the other hand I’d rather not risk it, if safer alternatives exist.  Enter the all-natural deodorant market, with products like this or Tom’s of Maine or Herban Cowboy (lol).  Adam and I have tried some of them, and they work all right.  But they are expensive, and you still have a non-recyclable piece of plastic to deal with when you’re finished.

I tried two different recipes for very inexpensive homemade deodorant.  Which one is best?  That depends.

1. Powder Deodorant
1 part baking soda
5 parts arrowroot powder or cornstarch
3-5 drops essential oil (optional)

I first saw this recipe on the Simple Green Frugal co-op blog.  It didn’t work as well for me as it seemed to for that blogger, but everybody’s different.  You can definitely experiment with the ratio of baking soda to arrowroot powder.  I started with a 6:1 ratio and increased it to approximately a 5:1.  Adam liked this stuff as well; I am going to make him his own with some manly-scented essential oil.  (He’s not really into the grapefruit essential oil that I used.)

I just put the ingredients in a half-pint jar and shook it up.  EASY.  Worked better after I increased the baking soda.  This is the cheaper of the two recipes.

I found the second recipe via my friend Christina:

2. Moisturizing deodorant
1/4 c. baking soda
1/4 c. arrowroot powder
4 tablespoons coconut oil
10 drops essential oil

Mix the ingredients together and store them in a super cute little jar.  If it seems too runny, add a little bit extra baking soda and arrowroot powder in equal measures until it reaches a consistency you like.  You only need to apply a small amount to each arm.

Notes about this recipe:
– Only recommended for people who shave their armpits — otherwise the oil will stick to the hair and soak through your t-shirt and look awful in general (fortunately it did not permanently stain Adam’s favorite t-shirt–he’s a good sport for trying).
– During really warm weather (room temp. above 80 degrees F), it takes on an oily, liquidy form.  It doesn’t gross me out, but nothing grosses me out.
– It smells like coconut.

In general, I liked both of these deodorants.  The coconut one worked a bit better, but the powder was easier to take with me–these are the kind of deodorants you will definitely need to re-apply after exercise. But they work just as well as those plastic-encased co-op ones.  Please, do not expect the performance to match store-bought antiperspirants.  Here’s how antiperspirants work.

One less thing I have to buy at Target?  Check.  One less item for the landfill?  Check.

Update, 9/26/2012: I’ve changed the recipe for #2. I now use 1 T. olive oil and 3 T. coconut oil during the colder months of the year. Otherwise, it can be hard to scrape out (if your house gets anywhere near as cold as mine does).

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One thought on “Recipe: homemade deodorant (with 2 variations)

  1. wow! kudos to you for making in and trying!!!

    i also LOVE the laundry soap. so easy and i like the peppermint smell!

    hey did you try using fels naptha soap on adam’s tshirt? that stuff will get out anything. it is usually $2 and you can only get it at the grocery store. it is amazing. seems like this would be something you would already know about.

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