Day #7: Smelling the Flowers

This a bit of an unusual FO, though I’ve mentioned it before…homemade deodorant.  I have many, many issues with conventional deodorant, particularly that all I can find in the women’s “deodorant” section is antiperspirant.  My problem with antiperspirant is that it is full of chemicals and even metals that may cause me health problems that researchers are unsure about now, but are studying, such as the link between aluminum and alzheimers.

I also just generally find it unhealthy to block the natural, toxin-eliminating process of sweating.  And I find it curious that it is virtually impossible to find just deodorant for women (not the chemical and aluminum filled anti-perspirants), yet the aluminum-free options for men are plentiful.  For some time I was using men’s Speedstick as my only moderately effective option, but I got a little tired of smelling like my dad and a little resentful that as a woman it wasn’t enough to just smell nice, but I wasn’t allowed to even sweat at all either.  There are of course the natural alternatives that don’t impose such mandates, Tom’s, Jason, and many others, but to be perfectly honest they did absolutely nothing for me.  Perhaps I am unusually smelly, but it became a huge problem.

And then I found it.  Amy Karol’s Angry Chicken blog saved my life with this homemade deodorant recipe.  It’s suprisingly simple (shea butter, cocoa butter, baking soda, corn starch, vitamin E, and whatever essential oils you’d like to smell like) and is even more surprisingly effective.  I followed the recipe exactly, with the same oils and using a half pint mason jar, which lasts me a few months.  The only thing I may add for next time is vegetable glycerin, which others had commented would be good for additional softness. The recipe fills the jar with a cream deodorant that you rub on.  A pea-sized ball takes my smelly pits through a whole day and it’s literally the only thing that has ever been 100% effective–no stink. At all. Even through the 100 degree DC summers.

It won’t keep you from sweating, but like I said, for most of us, sweating is meant to happen–and it’s a good thing.

Another great thing about homemade deodorant is eliminating a lot of unnecessary plastic packaging (though you will still have some from the materials to make a few batches of deodorant) and reclaiming certain products for the homemade realm that I think we’ve all been conditioned to believe we must buy from large companies.  This is true of many things that are so laden with chemicals, that I personally actually believed they had to be made that way to be effective–like shampoo, face lotion, lip balm, and many others.  It’s great to break down these products to what we actually need from them and make a product to do just that, simply and naturally.  Like using baking soda to neutralize odor–we all know it does this, but for some reason it’s become difficult to make that next leap of putting it on my pits.

Another plus–I actually find the recipe easier than walking to the store to buy myself deodorant.


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10 Responses to “Day #7: Smelling the Flowers”

  1. Emily Says:

    Thanks for posting this review. I read when Angry Chicken posted this, but these sorts of things become more compelling with more voices behind them. I’ll give it a shot!

  2. Mary Says:

    Is there a place in DC to buy ingredients, or is online really the only option?

  3. mmmona Says:

    I found everything except the cocoa butter at the Yes! by Eastern Market (and possibly at the other Yes! locations as well)…the cocoa butter could probably be found at whole foods or something? I ended up buying it online, but I do think you could find it somewhere.

  4. erin Says:

    you’re a jack of all trades!

  5. Mary Says:

    All right. I found everything at the P St. Whole Foods except the mason jars, which were at the hardware store next door. My cocoa butter was rather difficult to dissolve–I think it might have been old–but I will duly test the stuff and report. I really really want it to succeed; I’m so disillusioned by the regular nasty stuff.

  6. mmmona Says:

    oh great–I’ll have to stop by there and see about some vegetable glycerin.
    My cocoa butter (which I got online) has gotten very difficult also, so maybe it’s a winter issue?
    Good luck–let me know how it goes!

  7. stephjmg Says:

    I’ve wanted to try this for quite some time now, having spotted it on Angry Chicken. I’m glad that it passed the test, and am ready to make some. Thanks for the “testimonial”–it’s refreshing to hear another girl who isn’t uncomfortable about the notion of sweating. I’m ready for some moist, yummy-smelling pits!

  8. Mary Says:

    Extremely pleased to report that nearly three weeks later, I have had brilliant results. I have in fact never found a deodorant that works so well.

    The cocoa butter has either sunk to the bottom or managed to blend itself after all; smushing some at the top works well enough to get out a smooth pea. Perhaps this is the effect of the glycerin?

    Anyway, thanks so much for writing about this.

  9. mmmona Says:

    oh I’m so glad to hear it!
    I’m still messing around with the formula to get it perfect for me–before I was using too much baking soda I think (more than the recipe calls for) which started irritating my skin.

  10. What the what…a month? « Textiles and Bicycles Says:

    […] all may recall the homemade deodorant I made and used happily for a few months–note the past tense.  I even made it for others I […]

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