So for some crazy reason last week I decided to have a go at creating my own natural deodorant, and test it on one of the hottest week’s of the year… I mean, I could possibly could have chosen a better time of year to try this, but hey – in for a penny in for a pound and all that!
I’ve been using a natural deodorant (a salt crystal one) for over a year now after opening my eyes to the ingredients used in my previous deodorants which I chose for their promise of supreme sweat protection, they seemed to function well only there were negative effects which can come hand in hand with the high level of effectiveness these ingredients offer. The brand I bought most religiously contains these three ingredients which I didn’t feel comfortable to continue using after looking into them:
- Aluminium Zirconium Tetracholohydrex Gly – used for its ability to prevent sweat leaving the body by obstructing pores.
- Dimethicone – a silicone based polymer which forms a plastic like barrier over the skin, it is known to dry skin out over time.
- Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde & Alpha-isomethyl ionone – fragrances which can care irritation to skin.
At times my skin would feel very irritated or stingy/itchy, other brands caused little pimple and redness, it was also difficult to remove the layer of product with gentle washing, so began to explore more gentle options.
Also more recently I have become more aware of the questions surrounding the use of aluminium in products such as deodorant. Although there has been NO evidence based connection between the use of antiperspirants and breast cancer currently, it has been raised by some scientists that there MAY be a link. There has been research which suggests that regular use of aluminium based deodorants may have an estrogen-like effect on the body, and as breast cancers can be ‘fed’ by estrogen some scientists have suggested that aluminium based deodorant may contribute to the development of breast cancer or have a direct effect on breast tissue. The fact that there is no clear answer on this either way, leaves me preferring to choose not to use it until it is proven safe. (more info on this can be found at breastcanceruk.org.uk)
There is also research which shows that using antiperspirant deodorants can increase the smell causing bacteria living on your underarms whilst killing off the beneficial bacteria, so although you think you’ll smell less the opposite can be true, and at best you may not smell but are altering your body’s natural colony of healthy bacteria!
So decided to try making my own to reduce the nasties being put on my skin on a daily basis, and I figured I could reuse a glass jar and save myself some money in the process – win win if it worked! I’d already had a search for DIY deodorant recipes and there are loads, with varying ingredients. I opted for a super simple one with ingredients which can all (bar the optional essential oils) be found in most kitchens. I went for a small quantity to try in case it needed tweaking but it can of course be scaled up if you find it works for you:
5tsp coconut oil
3tsp bicarbonate of soda (you can use more if needed, or less if you have very sensitive skin)
And a few drops of your chosen essential oils
Simply mix all of the ingredients together! In warmer weather you may need to store it in the fridge / a cool place as the coconut oil can melt, then apply with clean fingertips as needed and leave to sink in for a few minutes before getting dressed.
The big question… DID IT WORK?!
YES!! We have had a mix of warm – hot weather recently (I think its been flitting between about 20-28c) and I have a chunky 16 week old who is worn in a sling quite a lot, so the potential for sweat is pretty high to be fair. I’ve found this to be just as effective as my last deodorant – perhaps even slightly better! On the really hot days, especially if wearing Lenny in the sling, I’ve sweated a little, and amount which feels healthy for my skin yet not uncomfortable – there have been no big underarm wet patches! And at the end of each day my underarms have either smelt of nothing at all, or slightly reminiscent of the essential oils I used. I’m calling this a successful first run. I may include a small amount of shea butter next time I make some to offer some moisturing/nourishing properties – I reduced the amount of bicarb compared to some recipes as it can be irritating to sensitive skin, I’ve not had any issue even after shaving, but I think it may be nice.
So that’s it – I guess I’m an official deodorant dodging hippy now haha Perhaps my little experiment will give some of you the push you need to try out making your own skincare products – I find it really rewarding to use things I have made myself for so many reasons. It really is super simple, and as someone who used to think I was a serious sweaty betty I’m very impressed with the results. Let me know if you try it, or have any other recipes/suggestions you like me to try!