My weekend of celebrating with the folks was excellent. And sure enough, my mom (known to many of you as Grandma G) embarked on a DIY deodorant project. She came across someone selling homemade deodorant nearly a year ago, tried it out, and found that it actually kept stinkiness away better than store brands. Plus most popular brands of deodorant contain aluminum, so if you can avoid stuffing metal into your pores, that seems like a good idea. After using a few types of natural deodorants and figuring out which ingredients she prefers, Mum decided to make her own. Here's the recipe we arrived at this weekend.
1/4 cup baking soda ($1.19 for a box)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder ($5.99 for 20 oz.)
4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil ($6.00 for 15 oz.)
10 drops/shakes grapefruit essential oil ($9.99 for 0.5 oz.)
A tin or jar with lid
In a bowl, stir together dry ingredients, then add oils gradually until you like the consistency, mixing with a fork. Store in a closed container at room temp. (If the mixture seems too soft, try refrigerating it for a bit to firm it up.)
To apply, scoop up a bit with your finger, hold it against your skin for a couple seconds so it melts a little, then rub around.
The recipe above should last 4 or 5 months. We bought all the ingredients at Whole Foods. A jar of coconut oil is shelf stable for two years, who knew? So this stuff ought to provide a couple years' worth of deodorant. Try using any essential oil scent you like, but pick something that smells good mixed with coconut—the coconut oil contributes scent, too.
Update: Mum sent some notes to address questions in the comments.
From Grandma G:
"IT WORKS! Best deodorant I've ever used... beats store-bought hands down. Needs only be applied once/day. In fact, I once went 3 days without reapplying (don't ask why), and still no odor.
One recipe I found did not include essential oil, but essential oils have antibacterial properties, and bacteria is what causes the odor. You could try leaving it out and see how it does, if you want. The baking soda is also to absorb odor.
The coconut oil scent is very light and fades fast after applying. I don't smell it at all on my underarms... just a light grapefruit oil scent. I don't know how much you'd smell the coconut oil if you didn't add essential oil, however.
You could try cornstarch in place of the arrowroot powder, which is mainly to thicken and absorb moisture. I don't know if there'd be any difference or not. A commentor brought to our attention that cornstarch may contribute to yeast infection, so I would recommend using arrowroot powder if possible.
I have never had a problem with this deodorant leaving marks on my clothes. The oil is pretty much absorbed into your skin. You could try waiting a bit before getting dressed for it to absorb, if your underarms feel oily. Just remember... it doesn't take much for it to work.
As for adding vodka, I have no idea! I don't sweat heavily, so it's kind of hard for me to say how well this recipe works as an antiperspirant, but the description of the original stuff I'd bought said that the coconut oil is water proof, helping to seal in the sweat. I kinda have my doubts on that. But you "heavy sweat-ers" will have to let me know.
Please post back with comments on how well it works for you. I'd love to know!"
Update #2: If your new deodorant is making you itchy, read this helpful article about pH balancing.
April 05, 2010