One of the products that people are most fussy about is their deodorant. And who can really blame them? Sweat, and sweat smell, is just the kind of thing that you want to not have to worry about during the day.
However, many of the storebought antiperspirants contain several ingredients that you really don’t want to use. The main cause for concern is aluminum salts (often aluminum chlorohydrate), which is the very thing that takes care of the whole antiperspiration in the antiperspirant. Unfortunately, aluminum also has proven links to Alzheimer’s and is suspected to be linked to breast cancer. Add to this the fact that aluminum is strongly irritating for skin, and, you know, the fact that it actually closes up and blocks your sweat glands, meaning the stuff that was supposed to exit your body stays inside.
But fear not, you can make your own homemade deodorant – and it really works! Read on to find some recipes that are so easy you’re not going to beleive it.
First let’s start with what probably is the most popular DIY deodorant. This recipe in different variations circulates all around the no ‘poo world. It contains three ingredients: coconut oil, arrowroot, and baking soda. Here’s one recipe, taken from Passionate homemaking:
- 6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)
- Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder/cornstarch.
- Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.
- You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.
I’ve made this recipe a few times with cornstarch instead of arrowroot, usually without measuring anything and just mixing everything until it looks all right (’cause that’s just the way I roll). It’s worked well as far as deodorizing goes, but I’ve had a bit of trouble with irritation. Sometimes even a lot of trouble. Some bloggers claim that this is due to the cornstarch, but my guess is that it’s the baking soda that is the problem.
Some of you have probably heard of the thai stone deodorant aka crystal deodorant aka rock crystal deodorant. This is sold as a cost-effective all natural deodorant. This product is actually a mineral called alum (INCI: potassium alum or sodium alum), which more specifically is form of aluminum. This is probably why they don’t want to call it “alum”, because the name is so similar to aluminium.
So alum is a form of aluminum. Does this mean it is also bad for you? The answer is probably no, and there are many reasons for this. First of all, alum is milder than aluminum, and so is not as effective, but also not as harmful. Also, the alum molecules apparently are bigger than the aluminum molecules, and do not enter our body in the same way that aluminum chlorohydrate. Nonetheless, there is a bit of a controversy around this, so if you want to be completely certain, skip the alum. But if you want an antiperspirant – that is a deodorant that prevents sweating as well as odor control – there is no more natural option that I know of other than alum. So I, and many other naturalistas with me, happily use alum as an ingredient in homemade antiperspirants.
Personally, I did try the alum stone, but it didn’t really work for me. So what I did then was that I simply ground up the stone into a fine powder, that I used in deodorant recipes. When combined with other ingredients, the alum worked wonderfully. Here are a few recipes that you can try in case you don’t like the stone either. Oh, and you can buy alum in the grocery store amongst the spices, or possibly at the pharmacy.
Alum deodorant spray
- 1 tbs alum powder
- 1/2 cup (1 dl) rose water or plain water
Pour the water into a spray bottle. Gradually add alum powder until the water is saturated (the alum crystals won’t dissolve any longer).
Alum lavender deodorant spray
This is a bit more advanced version of the previous recipe, that uses lavender and yarrow root. The lavender is a great deodorant and yarrow root acts as a mild antiperspirant.
- 1 cup (2 dl) water or witch hazel extract
- about 2 tbs dried lavender flower buds
- 1 tbs dried yarrow flowers (optional)
- 1 tbs alum powder
- 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
- Optional: 5-10 drops of any of the following essential oils: cypress, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, patchouli, rosewood, sandalwood or tea tree
Alum coconut deodorant
This recipe is very similar to the coconut deodorant recipe I mentioned at the beginning of the post, but with alum instead of baking soda. This makes the recipe milder and less likely to cause rashes, and it is also an antiperspirant at the same time.
- 3 tbs coconut oil
- 0.5 cup / 1 dl arrowroot or cornflour
- 0.5 cup / 1 dl alum powder
- a few drops of any of the following essential oils: cypress, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, patchouli, rosewood, sandalwood or tea tree (optional)