This post has been sitting in my draft folder for eons. It’s something I’ve been excited to share but deodorants are a tricky subject. I’m no expert so it felt very weird for me to tell you that you should switch to a natural deodorant.
Instead, I’m going to give you a little bit of background on why I switched and you can make the decision yourself, how about that?
Breast cancer officially popped up in my family several years back and when that happened, I started to look into the Whys of it all. When you do that, there is so much information! But one of the items that kept coming up was the chemicals in the day-to-day products we use, like deodorant. The Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) in the United States only bans 11 chemicals from being added to our cosmetic products. In comparison, Europe bans over 1300 chemicals that they have found to be problematic to people. That’s a huge and really scary difference! If Europeans are concerned enough to ban an ingredient from cosmetics, why wouldn’t we do the same here in America? Wouldn’t we rather be safe than sorry?
So here are the chemicals in Secrets standard, original deodorant. I picked them because they are well-know, not because I have anything against them specifically:
Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex Gly 18% (Anhydrous) (to prevent sweat), Cyclopentasiloxane (a base? ), Stearyl Alcohol (a thickener), mineral oil (unspecified kind), Dimethicone (“enhances the appearance of dry or damaged skin”), Talc (odor absorption), Petrolatum (skin softener), hydrogenated castor oil (thickener), PPG-14 Butyl ether (“enhances the appearance of dry or damaged skin”), Fragrance (“provides a distinct pleasant smell”, according to Smartlabel. Clicking further shows that the fragrance is further made up of 14 additional ingredients including 2,6-Dimethyl-7-Octen-2-Ol, 2-T-Butylcyclohexyl Acetate and Hexamethylindanopyran…yeah), Cyclodextrin (odor absorption) and Behenyl Alcohol (thickener).
Now, I don’t know about you, but without exhaustive research on these ingredients, I don’t know what they are! Hexamethylindanopyran? Seriously?? Once you do start researching, again, you get a lot of information! Aluminum may or may not be linked to breast cancer, Petrolatum is a petroleum and petroleums are all over the EU banned list, and Cyclopentasiloxane is possible an endocrine disruptor, which disrupt our hormones and can cause cancer, birth defects and developmental disorders. And those are just three of the ingredients.
Lovely. Now, take all those super fun ingredients and wrap them in a plastic tube, which won’t be recycled, and you have deodorant, which gets absorbed into your body every. single. day.
This is why I started to look for other options!
Currently, I make a recipe from Wellness Mama, which was recommended to me by a friend. The link I posted above has two recipes on the page, one with shea butter and one without. As I couldn’t find shea butter without excess packaging, I opted for the Coconut Oil Recipe and altered it a bit since I can’t use baking soda on my skin (it gives me a horrible rash).
Coconut Oil Deodorant
- 1/2 cup arrowroot or organic cornstarch (I found arrowroot in bulk at my local co-op so opted for that)
- 6 TBSP of coconut oil, room temperature or melted works best. This can be purchased in glass containers and repurposed or recycled.
- essential oils (optional)- often sold in glass packaging. I didn’t use any fragrance.
- In a medium size bowl, mix together the arrowroot and coconut oil until combined.
- Add oils, if desired.
- Store in a small glass jar or old deodorant container for easy use.
That’s it- 2, possibly 3, ingredients that come from natural products. If you have never tried a deodorant with baking soda and want to give the original recipe a try, I recommend making a very small batch to experiment with first. This lasts quite a while and I would hate for you to waste ingredients on a product you can’t use. Also, don’t forget to get baking soda that is aluminum free if your are going that route!
I’ve been using this product for a few months now- in the summer, during exercise classes, through the first presidential debate (hello stress!)- and so far, I haven’t had any problems with it. It’s not an antiperspirant so you will sweat but there shouldn’t be any BO.
With the amount of oil in it, my biggest concern would be that it left oil stains if I sweated but so far, because you have to use so little, this hasn’t been a problem.
This deodorant works great for me but I also know not every body is the same. What works for me, might not work for you. Before trying this deodorant, I tried this DIY salt deodorant. It was very similar to the store bought deodorant I had been using. It was a major disaster. I’ve never really had BO but that stuff made me smell worse than if I wasn’t wearing deodorant at all! So don’t get discouraged if you want to DIY your deodorant and this doesn’t work.
Also, remember that there could be a deodorant detox period. If you are switching from an aluminum antiperspirant, which prevents you from sweating naturally, to an all natural product, it takes time for your body’s bacteria to adjust to the change. If there is ever a time to quit traditional deodorant and be a little stinky, though, it’s when we are home more and hiding from COVID! 🙂
Do you use a natural deodorant? Would you be willing to give a homemade deodorant a try? Are there certain product you avoid for medical reasons?