Deodorant is an essential ingredient to combat body odour. We all love to smell nice, and perhaps more importantly, we know the social consequences if we don’t.
The problem is that most deodorants don’t really do a good job of helping us out.
I found out the hard way.
About a year ago I moved further away from the city center of Amsterdam. It now takes me between 30 and 45 minutes on bike just to meet up with friends.
Even during the harsh dutch winter, biking is by far the best way of transportation. But wearing warm clothes to insulate me from the rainy winds transforms my body into a hot oven.
Steamy sweat was inevitable.
It happened time and again that after my first ride I started smelling. Not bad, just a little bit. While I slowly cooled down, millions of bacteria started feasting on my tasty sweat. Deodorant did an ‘ok’ job to mask their little bacterial farts, but over time I smelled like a sour mix of cheap toilet freshener and wet dog.
After my second ride back home, the deodorant I put my faith in had obviously let me down. I was forced to throw my otherwise perfectly clean clothes in the washing machine, wasting money, water and energy.
I had been using deodorant for years. From the first moment I became self-conscious about how others perceived me I had tried to find ways to mask my smelly animal-ness. Commercials readily targeted this insecurity, and told me that they could turn these armpit gases into a pheromone fuelled chick-magnet-cloud. (I am looking at you, Axe.)
They lied. And this article is my sweet revenge.
I am tempted to mention the possible hormonal and cancer risks of parabens, PEGs, synthetic fragrances and antibacterials, petrochemicals, or aluminum compounds. But I won’t, because these heavily marketed products don’t even work properly.
Instead, I set out to learn how puny Propionibacteria can turn amino acids into putrid propionic acid and how billions of small Staphylococcus epidermidis create body odor by breaking sweat into isovaleric acid.
I also found that with a few simple ingredients you can easily prevent these micro organisms from thriving.
Sharing this all natural, non-toxic, long lasting, ‘don’t give those little buggers a chance to fart on my skin’, do it yourself deodorant recipe, is my way of giving these profit greedy corporations the finger.
It is my sincere hope you will give this self-made deodorant recipe a fair shot and that you will never have to buy another overpriced spray or stick again. I hope you will give small samples to your friends so you can talk about how soft, smooth and heavenly fragranced your armpits are. This is how your armpits were meant to be.
Trust me, I now smell amazing.
Step 1: Gather All The Deodorant Building Blocks
There are only three basic ingredients that are essential to making your own deodorant, these are absolutely necessary.
If you wish to add a whiff of your own genius, you can choose extra ingredients from the bonus list.
The Three Essential ingredients
1. Odourless Coconut Oil: The main ingredient to make your own deodorant is odourless coconut oil (unless you like the smell of coconut, in that case, buy the non-purified one.) The oil prevents bacteria from gobbling up your savoury sweat by leaving a protective layer behind on your skin. It simultaneously makes your armpit skin supplant and less sensitive.
2. Baking Soda: The second important building block to make your own deo is baking soda. Baking soda is commonly known for a white powder used in baking goods, but what most people don’t know is that it can prevent bacteria growth and absorb moisture. (A small percentage of individuals can get a rash due pH sensitivity, if this happens, change it to corn starch.)
3. Mason Jar: Any plain old simple non-smelly mason jar will do.
1. Shea Butter: This is an amazing textured butter extracted from the nut of the african shea tree. It is used in skin products all over the world. Adding this is not essential, but adds a soft and smooth texture to your deodorant.
2. Arrow Root: Arrow root is the root of Manihot esculenta, it is great in holding all the ingredients together, smoothen it out and absorb extra moisture. Just a little bit can already improve your deodorant.
3. Essential Oils: Pure scents trapped in a oily substance, these essential oils will give your deodorant a unique smell. I actually would argue that this is a semi-essential ingredient. Personally I like warm scents like orange and lemon and woody ones like frankincense.
4. Skin Cream: Instead of shea butter, or if you have a very sensitive skin or would like to have a bit more moisturising deodorant, than adding some skin cream can help.
Step 2: Mix All The Deodorant Blocks Together
Since there are so many possible ingredients you can use for your deodorant, it is best to use a rule of thumb to know how much to use of which ingredient. In general,
The proportion oily parts should equal the non-oily parts.*
*The essential oils don’t count.
What does this mean? Say you use 1/4 cup of coconut, 1/8 cup of shea butter and 1/8 cup of skin cream, a total of 1/2 cup of oily parts, then you need to use total of 1/2 cup of baking soda, corn starch and/or arrow root.
My favourite recipe is:
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil
- 1/8 cup of shea butter
- 1/8 cup of skin cream
- = 4/8 of oily ingredients.
- 3/8 cup of baking soda
- 1/8 of arrow root
- = 4/8 of non-oily ingredients.
- A couple drops of your favourite smelling essential oil
How To Make Your Own Natural Non-Toxic Deodorant
Step 1: Put the coconut oil in the mason jar. Put the mason jar into a pot.
Step 2: Boil water and pour it into the pot. This will heat the mason jar and in turn melt the coconut oil.
Step 3: Add the shea butter and/or skin cream and mix well.
Step 4: Mix all the non oily parts, the baking soda, arrow roots and/or corn starch.
Step 5: Put the mason jar in a pot with ice cold water. Add all the non oily parts and keep stirring.
Step 6: Add a total of 5-15 drops of your favourite essential oils. If you mix, do it before to test if they fit each other.
Step 7: Keep stirring until the coconut oil starts to harden. Then put the mason jar in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Enjoy Your Silky Armpits
After grabbing the mason jar you can put your self made deodorant anywhere in the house. It’s no problem if becomes more of a liquid again. Just grab a little bit with your fingers, rub it between your hands to make it warm, and then apply it under your arms.
After riding my bike, I still get sweaty. The big difference? It never starts to smell.
I can wear my sweater again the next day because there is no chemical residue left. This do it yourself deodorant never leaves a stain.
One batch only costs me a few dollars, but lasts for months.