So, I decided years ago that I was going to cut unnecessary chemicals out of my household and beauty/body cleansing routines. I won’t go into too much detail, but the safety of aluminum in deodorant has been questioned and most chemicals are not fully tested for their chronic exposure effects. We are inundated with so many potentially harmful chemicals nowadays; I like to keep it natural where I can. Finding natural shampoos, soaps, dish-washing detergent was easy when I shopped in the right place. (Whole foods or our natural food coop). But deodorant, was, let’s say… a bit more challenging.
First of all, a lot of the ones that were labeled natural really weren’t, as I would discover while reading the list of ingredients The deodorants that really were natural didn’t seem to work very well for me. Roll ons, rock salts, salt sprays, coconut oil, tea tree… tried them all. Let’s just say the testing phase of a particular brand could be embarrassing: keeping arms down, slipping away to the bathroom to wash armpits, all the while trying to convince yourself that you don’t care what people think and that poisoning yourself to smell good is stupid and we should be more like the Europeans. Deodorant issues are particularly problematic because, well, they have a broad effect. I don’t always need to wear deodorant, but sometimes I really like to. There are times when I know I’m going to sweat, like a hot day at the beach, when I have to talk in front of a lot of people, or sing, or workout, or just a busy day of travel.
I had tried so many different brands, and had practically given up hope when, I came across Crunchy Betty’s Blog and her proclamation of “Solving the World’s Deodorant Crisis.” I was intrigued and more than willing to test her claims out, as I had a singing event coming up soon.
She basically takes coconut oil & sunflower oil and infuses them with calendula & chamomile, adds some arrowroot & baking soda & wallah! See her instructions here. She gives a lot of details on what the different products do & why they work. And guess what? It works! It works great. And it lasts forever. I love to store it in an old baby food jar because I think it’s adorable. And I actually kind of enjoy scooping it out and applying it to my armpits (super weird, I know) Thanks Betty. The world thanks you. At least the world in my immediate vicinity does!
I modified the recipe a bit to make what I lovingly began to call my Pit Paste, using what I had on hand. I already had an herbal infusion of calendula and olive oil that I had made a while back. This makes a great soothing treatment for minor skin issues and calendula is antibacterial. (Betty explains how to make an herbal infusion it in her post.) You might be able to get away with plain old olive oil, I have not tried it, but if you do let me know if it works. I also wanted to add a bit of beeswax to the recipe to firm it up in the warmer months. I have noticed that in the winter you may not need the beeswax, it can get really thick & leave more of a white mark under the pit. (Play around for what works in your area.) Use raw (unrefined) organic virgin coconut oil because processing removes coconut oil’s antibacterial qualities.
A note: this is deodorant, not antiperspirant. You will still sweat, which is healthy & good, but it won’t smell. Also, this formula generally does not make a white streak on my clothes, but every once in a while it does, so just check if you’re going sleeveless. Also, apply the deodorant and give it a few minutes to sink into your skin before say, getting into a steaming hot car on a ninety degree day (lesson learned).
Anyway here’s the recipe for the Pit Paste version:
3 Tablespoons of Calendula infused Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons of Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil
1/4 cup + 2 TB baking soda
1/4 cup +2 TB arrowroot
1 1/2 tsp grated beeswax ( I just cut a bit off a big block into small pieces)
15 drops antibacterial essential oil (I use tea tree but you could also try lavender or rosemary)
First I melt the beeswax by bringing a pot of water to a boil and then taking it off the stove. I put the beeswax in a pyrex glass cup and set that inside the hot water, stirring to melt. Once the beeswax has melted, take the cup out of the water. Add the coconut oil, calendula infusion, and the rest of the ingredients. Stir until you have a uniform paste. Pour into a small baby food jar & let it set. Enjoy your stink free day!
If you are interested in learning more about the chemicals in cosmetics, a good place to start is this video: