Body odor is the pits. Er, I mean it really stinks.
What I’m trying to say is that no one likes being offensive to other peoples senses. It’s a conundrum. We don’t want to layer a thick coating of chemicals onto our delicate (and absorbable) underarm skin, but we also don’t want our “natural” scent announcing our entrance into the room before we do. Nobody wants to be the stinky kid in (yoga) class.
Switching to a natural deodorant has been one of the trickiest changes for me to make since deciding to swap out my chemical-laden personal care and beauty products for less harmful, and kinder options. I’ve tried a few different brands, but in the end I was back to using my conventional powder-fresh stick. In fact, up until a week ago, I was still using my old stand-by Secret knock-off. I’ve just never found a natural deodorant that I was happy with. And I didn’t really want to think about it.
My main concerns with conventional antiperspirant has nothing to do with the claims that it could cause Alzheimer’s or cancer. As far as I can tell from my research, there isn’t any science backing up those rumors. Probably our best defense against preventing these diseases is adopting a plant-strong diet, exercising, and managing stress. What I really don’t like about my old deodorant/antiperspirant is that it has a “yellow light” score from EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, and the company also tests on animals. No good. Also studies on antiperspirant have shown that it actually changes the diversity and amount of bacteria in your pits, making you smell worse over time. Which is why we often feel the need to switch up our antiperspirant every so often. Ultimately, I decided it was time to think about what I was rubbing on my underarms.
Now, I’m not the type of person who likes to waste anything. I used to be quite the personal care/beauty product junkie, and would throw around all kinds of expendable income purchasing and squirreling away (and eventually tossing) all sorts of bath and body junk. These days, I think long and hard before I buy something, then I use ALL of it. It’s actually a really wonderful feeling.
A few months ago, I purchased a natural deodorant, with the high hopes that it would be the “one.” The label listed all of it’s good qualities: vegan, not tested on animals, aluminum-free, and naturally scented. What it doesn’t mention is that it has a slick, sticky texture that will make your armpits feel wet and uncomfortable before you’ve even had a chance to sweat. My solution was to keep a small container of arrowroot powder (to which I added a few drops of tea tree oil) in the bathroom and pat some on my underarms with a powder puff after applying the sticky deodorant. It was messy. And a pain. I also didn’t feel like it was working for me. My armpits still felt sticky. I was fearful I might be the smelly kid. Hence my revert back to the powder fresh antiperspirant.
I’ve been wanting to try making my own deodorant. Wellness Mama and Scratch Mommy both have great recipes with tons of reviews and reader feedback. I’d also love to hear some of your recommendations. If anyone has a natural, cruelty-free pit-stick that they love, please share in the comments! In the meantime, I decided to try to improve on the sticky natural deodorant that’s been hanging out and wasting space in my bathroom cabinet. All it took was a few minutes of my time and 2 ingredients. It was even kind of fun.
If you have some natural deodorant that is of the slippery, clear-ish, and annoyingly sticky variety, and you know you’re never going to use it as is, you might just want to give this hack a try. I’ve been using my new and improved deodorant for the past week, and I must say, I am quite pleased. Although it is not an antiperspirant, it still kept my underarms feeling dry. As far as odor, I’ve done many sniff tests over the course of the week, and I detect nothing foul or even slightly repugnant. Whew, no risk of being the stinky kid.
But you’d tell me if I was, right?
DIY Natural Deodorant Hack
1 stick of natural deodorant (the clear, slick kind)
3 – 4 Tbsp of arrowroot powder
1 Tbsp of baking soda
5-10 drops of tea tree essential oil
1. Begin by untwisting the deodorant completely from the plastic “tube” (or whatever it may be called). Remove and save the plastic stopper at the bottom. Screw the stopper back into the plastic tube/holder/packaging/whatever and turn counterclockwise until it is at the bottom of the tube. Set aside the applicator/package/thingy. Place the hunk of deo in an old pot, and melt over low heat. Remove from heat.
2. Add the arrowroot powder, baking soda, and essential oil. Stir into the melted deodorant. Stir, stir, stir, until it cools and begins to thicken into a stiff paste. Add a bit more arrowroot powder (a teaspoon at a time) if the mixture seems too runny. Keep in mind it will thicken further as it cools.
3. Scoop the mixture into the deodorant tube and smoosh down. Keep turning counter clockwise so the deodorant is as far down as it can go. Continue until full, and smooth the top. I had a little leftover that I put in a small glass jar with a lid. I set my deodorant stick in the fridge just to harden up a bit more.
Notes: My only complaint is that it doesn’t roll on quite as easily as I would like, it wants to go on a little thick. I use the edge of the plastic tube to sort of scrape the excess as I’m applying it. It seems to be working for me.
*After doing some research for this post I actually found that while Tom’s of Maine (which is the deodorant I used for this hack) doesn’t do animal testing, it is owned by a company that tests on animals. BOO. I didn’t realize that. So add that to the reasons this isn’t a perfect product.
Have you ever made your own deodorant?? What is your favorite recipe? Or do you have a natural store-bought deodorant that you would recommend? Please share!