This Simple Step concerns something we all use on a daily basis: deodorant. Deodorants tend to come in two forms: as an aerosol and as a roll-on. Most deodorants found in supermarket aisles are antiperspirants too. In other words, they don’t just protect you against body odour; they actually seek to prevent your body from sweating.
The deodorant market has long been dominated by brands such as Lynx (Unilever), Impulse (Unilever), Dove (Unilever), Mitchum (Revlon), Nivea (Beiersdorf) and Sure (Unilever). Let me rephrase that: the deodorant market has long been dominated by Unilever. If, like me, you feel uneasy at the thought of one company supplying millions of households with everything from deodorant to ice cream to laundry detergent, foods and even toothpaste, then you might already be rethinking your deodorant-buying habits.
And, when you consider that antiperspirants suppress your sweat glands – those things in your body designed to help regulate your body temperature – you may want to look at the alternatives. Then there are the issues with aerosols: try googling “aerosol deodorant problems” and you may never want to buy an aerosol again.
Finally, if you are trying to reduce your waste and the amount of plastic you use, making your own deodorant is a great step in the right direction.
But, enough with the negatives. The fact of the matter is that it is super easy to make your own deodorant. You don’t have to give any money to Unilever, you know exactly what your deodorant contains, you can choose what you want to smell like and can get creative trying out new fragrance combinations. And then there’s the fact that you can store it in all those jars you’ve been refusing to throw away in case you ever need them (just me?!)
So, how do you make your own deodorant?
Well, you need just four ingredients:
bicarbonate of soda
essential oils of your choice
I told you it was easy! Read on for the “recipe” and then get out your coconut oil, bicarbonate of soda, corn flour and an essential oil or two and get making!
How to make your own natural deodorant
- 2 parts bicarbonate of soda and 2 parts cornflour to 3 parts coconut oil
In other words: if you are using 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda and 2 tablespoons of cornflour, you need 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. I tend to use 4 tablespoons bicarb and cornflour and 6 of coconut oil and this lasts me for months and months.
- Essential oils of your choice
- Mix together the bicarbonate of soda and cornflour in a bowl
- Add the coconut oil and mix well
NOTE: Coconut oil has a different consistency depending on the temperature in your kitchen. If you live in the UK, chances are your coconut oil will be fairly solid for the majority of the year. Mixing solid coconut oil with your bicarb and cornflour mixture is the stuff of nightmares. Make life easy on yourself and make your deodorant in the summer when your coconut oil is in its liquid state. Or gently heat your coconut oil BEFORE adding it to the bicarb and cornflour.
- Once you have a smooth mixture, add your essential oils. You can add as little or as much as you like here and go with whichever scents you fancy. You can start by just adding an essential oil that you are partial to or you could try combining two or even more different fragrances and let your inner Jo Malone loose.
- Just add a few drops at first. Stir the oil into your mixture and try rubbing a bit on your skin. If the scent is too subtle, add a bit more oil. It really is as simple as that.
- Once you are happy with the smell of your new deodorant, simply spoon it into a small pot or jar or tub that you have handy and you are good to go.
Here’s one I prepared earlier:
How to use natural deodorant
Natural deodorant is not an antiperspirant. And that is probably a good thing. As mentioned above, antiperspirants aim to stop you from sweating – they contain aluminium and work by simply blocking your sweat ducts. Our bodies are clever things though and get used to the trick – that is why you may find traditional deodorants seem to stop working after a while.
Because natural deodorant does not inhibit sweat, you may notice you sweat more when you make the switch. I did notice a difference initially, but after a few days of using the natural deodorant it seemed to settle down.
So, if natural deodorants don’t stop you sweating, what do they actually do?
Well, they work by eradicating the bacteria that causes body odour.
Sweat itself is odourless – it is only when it reacts with bacteria in the armpits that it starts to smell. This homemade natural deodorant contains three antibacterial ingredients: coconut oil, bicarbonate of soda and essential oils. Most shop-bought deodorants use alcohol to kill the bacteria – but alcohol kills good bacteria as well as bad and can leave the sensitive armpit area feeling dry and irritated. Coconut oil is also antibacterial, but it is soothing and moisturising as well.
So, now we know how it works, how do we apply it?
Well, it is simple. Take a pea-sized amount, rub it between the tips of your index fingers to soften and then simply massage into your armpits. Ideally, wait a few minutes before dressing, as it can leave white marks on your top if you are not careful. (I tend to apply the deodorant and then brush my teeth. By the time I get dressed the deodorant is already dry, so white marks are avoided!)
One thing to note: as this natural deodorant has a coconut oil base, its consistency will change slightly through the seasons. This is no big problem. When it is in a solid state, simply scoop out a pea-sized amount using your index finger. If it is fairly hard, rub it between the fingertips of your two index fingers to soften it up until it is easy to massage into your armpits. If it is so hard you feel like you need a chisel to get it out the pot, run it under the hot tap to “melt it” a little, or, if you remember in time, put the sealed tub in the bottom of your shower, so it melts as you get clean. In the summer it may be extremely runny. This is not a problem either, just rub on a little at a time, so it doesn’t drip down your fingers.
And that is all there is to it.
Enjoy your new 100% natural deodorant!
Natural deodorants available to buy
If you like the sound of natural deodorant and don’t have any coconut oil to hand (and have zero inclination to go out and buy some) then you can just buy some natural deodorant made by someone else. It is a lot more expensive than the DIY method, but still 100% natural. And it comes in small glass tubs, which are perfect for when you want to start making your own 😉
I would recommend The Natural Deodorant Company: their Orange & Bergamot and Lemon & Geranium deodorants both smell divine and work a treat.