Tuesday, June 19, 2012

zero to crunchy: the best (ahem) homemade deodorant!

First things first: welcome, new readers! I'm so happy you're here :) Let me apologize in advance for all the terrible puns I'm bound to make over the course of your readership... aaand now let's hop to it! 

Friends, things are about to get realll TMI up in here. Well, I mean... not uncomfortably so. But a little bit. Because let's talk about deodorant!

(told ya.) 

There are few simple pleasures in this world that I love more than smelling good. I've been wearing the same perfume since I was in high school, and have more smelly lotions and body sprays and scented candles than you could shake a stick at. When I went crunchy granola with most of my beauty products, deodorant was the first thing I switched. Why? Among other things, there has been anecdotal evidence supporting a link between the aluminum found in conventional deodorant with things like breast cancer and alzheimer's disease, although the jury is still out officially. Regardless, repeated exposure of all of the chemicals found in conventional deodorant made me feel a little squeamy, and thus, I decided to pursue more natural alternatives. 

Oh! Right. Also, left unattended, my body becomes a bit of a stinkface and I found myself re-applying deodorant at least twice a day in the summer months just to ensure that I smelled like nothing less than a basket of rose petals. It was annoying. Also, an exhausting facade to maintain (because who naturally smells like a basket of rose petals?) Exactly. 

After a little internet-perusing, I pieced together a recipe for all-natural, homemade, easy-peasy deodorant that I am claiming as the best thing ever. It lasts all day, my skin is nice and smooth, any underarm pigmentation I had before is fading, and the most important part: it WORKS. The first few weeks, I was so enthralled with my find that I made everyone smell me. I would call my mom out of the blue and proclaim to her that my underarm skin just smelled like SKIN-- nothing else. Miracle of all miracles! You can bet I was everyone's favorite person during this phase, clearly. Seriously, though. Zero smell, no need to reapply, and it works better than every. single. conventional. deodorant. that I have ever tried. Sold yet? Thought so. 

Best of all, most of the ingredients (if not all) are likely sitting in your cupboard. It will take you less than five minutes, and then we can all become best friends who make their own deodorant and chat with each other about how OMGawesome it is. Ready?


You'll need:
1/3 c. baking soda
1/3 c. cornstarch 
6 tbsp. coconut oil
Essential oil (I love sweet orange oil + tea tree oil, for their awesome smell + natural antifungal/antibacterial properties-- important in deodorant making. Lavender, rosemary & eucalyptus work well also, but there are plenty of other options!)

Combine your cornstarch and baking soda in a bowl, mix well. Melt coconut oil until just soft enough to mix, combine with dry ingredients, and then add about 10-20 drops total of essential oils. Mix, place into small glass jar to store. Remember with your essential oils that the scent will lessen a bit when your mixture comes to room temperature, so don't be afraid if it smells a little strong at first.

And now, the customizations:
  • Add more coconut oil (or a bit of shea butter, or the insides of a vitamin e capsule) if you need extra moisture/smoothing from your deo
  • Decrease the ratio of baking soda/tea tree oil if you have very sensitive skin
  • Once you've applied your deodorant, pat a little cornstarch on top of your underarm to 'set' things-- this also helps with long-term lessening of underarm pigmentation!
A few things to note:
  • Tea tree oil (or too much baking soda) can be harsh if you have super-sensitive skin. I did notice a little redness on my first use of my homemade deo after shaving, but within two days my skin had acclimated and I was fine. If you know you're sensitive, try lavender or rosemary oil instead!
  • Coconut oil has a low melting point of 76 degrees, so if you're like me and live in a furnace old building with one window air conditioner nowhere near your bedroom, your deodorant will likely melt and separate. This is fine! Mix with your finger, apply, and know that as soon as the leaves start to change, you'll have a lovely, creamy jar of homemade deodorant again soon.
  • That being said, if you'd like to stick it in the fridge, that's fine! Every time you want to use it, scrape a little off the top with a spoon, and it will soften again upon touching your skin. Voila! 
And that's all, folks! Seriously, my life has been changed-- I would say that this has been, by far, my most successful crunchy switch-over thus far. I would love to hear if you give it a try, and as always, I'll do my best to answer any questions & comments below! 




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