Thursday, December 31, 2009

Latest Project: Homemade Deodorant

Yes, I said deodorant. The latest DIY project I'm doing is making homemade deodorant. This can be added to the list of common things that American consumers purchase that isn't usually expensive, that is usually full of chemicals, some of which are controversial and accused of causing various serious diseases (Cancer, Alzheimer's Disease). So because, perhaps, we're used to the convenience of just buying it, and becuase usually it's under $4 and lasts a few months, who would think of ever making it from scratch at home?

I would.

Well not exactly. This time the DIY project was inspired by my husband. When his father got Cancer suddenly my husband began to wonder which daily chemical exposures may have caused it. And then suddenly he refused to use anti-perspirant with aluminum in it. I'm still using mine...that may shock you to know...old habits die hard. I've been using this brand of anti-perspirant for (gasp) 29 years. I'm brand loyal. I have tried using some natural store bought deodorants instead but they were sticky or goopy or just felt gross.

So my husband has been using this certain brand of deodorant, from the drug store, a common brand. Then he was tempted to buy a natural product filled with essential oils, sold by the company he gets his fancy shaving creme from. Well he paid $15 for 2.7 ounces, a liquid spray! Plus shipping! To me that's a lot a money!

So it was my husband's idea that I make it from scratch. Well let me clarify. This is something he never would have listened to me to try, but the trusted web-based business he uses highly praised it so he gave it a whirl, and loved it. It was a spray product so that is what I decided to make.

I've been researching this using books I own as well as surfing the Internet for free recipes. I can't believe how many free recipes are out there. I learned that all kinds of people are making homemade deodorant (and even anti-perspirant with aluminum in it). I'm surprised to learn that some use a creme deodorant applied with the bare hand or a cotton pad and some use a powder. Some make a solid stick and others make a liquid that they put into a re-used commercial ball roll-on deodorant applicator. The last kind is a liquid that is sprayed on with a pump sprayer.

I've learned there are a few core things to know about underarm perspiration and odor.

The first is that certain products (i.e. aluminum or witch hazel or some other natural ingredients) can act to make the skin pores smaller so perspiration is reduced. This is an anti-perspirant action. (I actually did find recipes for home use that contained the aluminum.)

Second the bad odor is supposed to come from bacteria growth on sweat against the body. So numerous sources first advise to wash one's body regularly.

Third, the product used may inhibit bacteria growth (i.e. certain essential oils) so even if the underarms do sweat the bad smell may be prevented.

The last thing is people often want a nice odor to their deodorant, thus, some of the essential oil scents just smell nice while other essential oil's scents actually deter the bad smell from starting.

Knowing what I wanted from the product, and knowing which ingredients I wanted to avoid helped guide me to a recipe that I figured would fit the bill.

(Not all essential oils can be used to make deodorant despite having nice natural scents they can irritate the skin including giving a rash. If you are going to try to make this you need to research this information or follow a tested, trusted recipe.)

The recipes vary widely, ranging for example from 3 drops of essential oil to 40, for the same quantity of liquid. This remains a mystery to me. How much is too much? Can there be a too much? I don't know. Those with witch hazel range from one teaspoon to a quarter cup. What's a person to do? I picked one recipe, and will let my husband try it and see how it pans out.

The cost of the deodorant I just mixed is 25 cents, tops. It may be as low as 10 cents. I just can't be bothered to figure the essential oil cost down to the drop in order to calculate it more accurately.

I was going to photograph it to show you but why bother? It looks like clear liquid, mixed in a jar that I shook. I'm sure your imagination can envision that.

After mixing mine in a glass jar, I realized if I was sure the quantity was right I could have measured the ingredients into the empty spray bottle applicator.

It is super simple to make the spray on deodorant. I basically put the vodka in with the essential oils and shook it, then added witch hazel and distilled water and shook it. That's it. The whole process takes about two minutes.

I'm tempted to give it a try so I can consider ditching the commercial product I use with aluminum in it, just in case the aluminum does cause the problems some people claim it does. I keep asking myself though, if the alumuninum was truly dangerous why does the FDA allow it to continue to be used? But that is another matter for pondering on another day...


MissMelanie said...

I've tried many versions of homemade deodorant...some lousy, some fantastic, but sometimes you just want to buy a roll on! The only one my husband and I agree on as being effective is "Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal Roll On" made by TCCD International. It has no Aluminum Chlorohydrate and is hypoallergeic, paraben free and fragrance free. It is about $3. (Should you ever feel like buying a natural one that actually works.)
On another note...some food for thought: Why are Food and Drug in the same administration? The same people that feed us profit greatly when we get sick. Good for you thinking that everything they approve might not be the best for your family.

Darcy said...

At the suggestion of my homeopath, I started using plain ole baking soda under my arms about 4 years ago. I was skeptical at first but soon learned that it works fantastically. While it doesn't stop the perspiration (which is a natural body function whcih isn't really healthy to stop anyway), it does stop all odor. Apply just after showering when under your arms is still damp and it will cling there and protect you all day. I love it because it is cheap and comes in paper packaging.

christinemm said...

Darcy thanks for that tip!

I'm a Costco member and buy my Arm & Hammer baking soda there for a very low price. I use it to make homemade laundry detergent & other home cleaners so buying it in small cardboard boxes from the grocery store is more expensive than I'm willing to pay.

If you have not tried homemade laundry soap I'd urge you to consider it. My recipe (from a book) uses washing soda, baking soda, liquid castille soap, glycerine and water. It costs about $2 a month for our family of four's laundry soap expense.