Friday, May 14, 2010

Naturally stink-free

This isn't so much about natural parenting as it is about natural living.

Deodorant. It's something most people use, and most people buy from a store somewhere. Whether you opt for the well-known brands like Degree or Dove or Mitchum, or choose something less toxic like a crystal deodorant stone or one of the only-carried-in-health-stores brands, you probably go out at least once every couple of months and purchase a stick or a tube of some kind of odor-and-sweat-reducing product.

As a nursing mother, I've been more and more aware of the fact that whatever I'm putting on my body, I'm also exposing my baby to. Studies have found more pollutants and toxic chemicals in breast milk than were ever present before, and while I can't avoid every chemical out there (short of giving up eating, drinking water, and breathing), I can limit my exposure to known toxins. This, combined with recently seeing The Story of Stuff, pushed me toward ditching store-bought deodorant and trying something else.

I've had a hate-hate relationship with store-bought deodorants for years. You see, they don't WORK on me. Oh, sure, for a couple weeks, maybe a month... but eventually, I notice that when I put my regular deodorant/antiperspirant on, it just wouldn't last. Before the end of the day, the sneaky reek of b.o. would be creeping through. And trust me, I scrub in the shower. I've been accused of being borderline OCD about washing (i do three scrub-and-rinses with water and soap, and then use a puff with soap to scrub under my arms to make sure i'm really getting everything off; unnecessary? probably. but this post isn't about my hyper-active cleaning habits, so let's move on).

I've spent years with half-used tubes of deodorants in my medicine cabinet, because halfway through I'd find they just weren't working, and have to switch to another brand.

And I tried to crystal deodorants. What a laugh! Those things didn't even keep me smelling tolerable for an hour, let alone a day!

I also went through a wide variety of natural deodorants bought at the local health store (i have fond memories of fifth graders asking me why i smelled like 'pepper.' it was true - one of the deodorants essential oil blend started smelling like black pepper after being on me for a few hours). But nothing has ever satisfied me, or worked well enough (or long enough) to truly make me comfortable being out in public.

Recently, a post by LuSa Organics (you MUST try their soap and lip balm! trust me!) on Facebook mentioned homemade deodorant. First, I laughed - yeah, sure, homemade deodorant that works as well as the store bought stuff! Then, I realized that the store-bought stuff had been a huge disappointment my entire life, so why not give it a try?

A little bit of Googling later, and I had a rough recipe for making my own deodorant: baking soda, corn starch, and coconut oil.

I mixed them up a couple days ago, putting half into an empty deodorant canister (after dumping out the half-bar of stuff that worked for about six hours before i started smelling a little off-putting) and spooned my mixture in. A bit goopy, but I had hope. I applied some under my arms (and under my breasts; you try being a DD in a humid oklahoma summer without putting SOMETHING under your breasts!) and went to bed.

It has been three days, and amazingly enough, the goopy concoction has been WORKING (and, by the way, the goopiness of it hardened and solidified into a fairly respectable looking "bar" of deodorant in the cool bathroom). In fact, yesterday I showered around 2pm, went to work (in a hot PetSmart, standing in front of groups of people and dogs and crawling around on the floor with dogs), came home and went to bed, and didn't shower again until around 11:30am, and there was NO STINK. NONE. NONE. Let me make sure you're seeing this: BAKING SODA, CORN STARCH, AND COCONUT OIL KEPT ME SMELLING BETTER FOR LONGER THAN STORE-BOUGHT DEODORANT.

I will update in a month, but for right now, I'm pretty pleased. And knowing that I'm not contributing empty plastic containers of half-used deodorant to the growing piles of trash out there makes me feel pretty good, too.


  1. yay, a whole new reason to buy more coconut oil.
    I actually love the stuff and have found it useful in lots of different ways.

  2. Yeah, the deodorant I use is a base of fractionated coconut oil, sodium bicarbonate, tea tree oil & shea butter. I had to find an alternative because of allergy.

    I buy mine from:
    because I like the little bars & the scents she has, haha.

  3. This is awesome! I've also been looking for a home-made deoderant that works. I too have tried all sorts of natural deoderants that have not been successful, I'm looking forward to giving this a try. Thanks for the heads up! Love your blog by the way also, I have started one that is kinda similar myself, it's always nice to see some 'community' out there in blog land!