When I decided I was going to remove as much single use plastic from our lives as possible, I went to every room in the house and made a list of the things I had to find replacements for. When I started writing down the products from our bathroom I had no idea what I was going to use as alternatives. I guess I hoped I would find the products in steel or other non-plastic packaging. I was glad we were a family that stuck to the essentials. I like to think that I can see through marketing BS which stops excess purchasing.
When it came to deodorant I switched between a roll-on, stick or aerosol depending on what was on sale and because I develop skin irritations from extended use of aerosols. I haven’t found a plastic free packaging option at the shops, so homemade deodorant it is.
After a fair bit of internet surfing I noticed the same recipe turning up or at least the same natural ingredients were being used. I started wondering what made these ingredients so special and how they compared to the ingredients in store-bought options. And wow, there are a lot of ingredients in commercially produced deodorant. Eleven ingredients in my aerosol antiperspirant and 23 in my stick version of the same antiperspirant! There are just four natural ingredients in the homemade deodorant I have chosen to trial. Here is the recipe:
Even if you can’t find these ingredients in bulk, you will be reducing your use of single-use plastic and packaging overall because of how much you will be able to make. You will also save money.
2 tablespoons of baking soda (bi-carb soda)
2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder (can be substituted with corn starch)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
Few drops of essential oil
Mix dry ingredients, add coconut oil and essential oils. Use a spoon or fork to combine. Store in an airtight jar and apply with fingers.
I chose to stuff the combined ingredients into my empty deodorant stick for easier application. This recipe fit perfectly into it. Just be aware that the coconut oil will melt at warm temperatures so don’t leave it in your hand bag in the car.
So why do these ingredients work? Well because sweat itself does not smell, the bacteria that eats the sweat makes the smell. Coconut oil has antibacterial properties and is moisturising on the skin. It also helps the deodorant glide on. As well as smelling nice, some essential oils are said to have antibacterial properties too. By killing the bacteria with these ingredients we stop the smell. In addition, baking soda neutralises odour molecules. It won’t prevent sweat like aluminium based compounds do in antiperspirants but it will help you feel dry by soaking up some wetness. The arrowroot powder is a thickening agent, which makes the mixture feel creamy.
Given that so many consumer safety advocates question the safety of many commercially produced deodorant and antiperspirant ingredients on our bodies I am happy to make the switch. A couple of days in and I have no complaints, it feels great on.
By the way, did you know that some people don’t need to wear deodorant? There is genetics and science around this but I won’t get into it. My point is, have you tried not using it? You might not even need this product. I don’t wear deodorant unless I leave the house for the day, I haven’t had any complaints.