Friday, October 22, 2010

My deodorant's not working so well...

Sorry I haven't blogged lately. I started a new job at the beginning of October, one with a long commute, so my free time is much more limited.

So, the homemade deodorant I raved about a few months ago? Not working out so well.

Not because it's not effective. On the contrary, it still works better in preventing wetness and odor than most deodorants I've ever tried, natural or otherwise, and almost as well as most antiperspirants. (Antiperspirants are typically stronger than deodorants, because they stop you from sweating).

However, I started breaking out in a red, itchy rash under my arms a few weeks ago. After googling, "rash from homemade deodorant," I learned that it is a fairly common problem. The major culprit is the baking soda, which, as I discovered when I used to wash my hair with it,§ can be very drying to scalp and skin.

Here are the changes I've made, which have helped the problem, but not completely eliminated it yet:

Revised homemade deodorant recipe:

* Place 2 T of unrefined coconut oil and 2 T of unrefined shea butter in a pot and liquify over low-medium heat. This happens fairly quickly.

* Remove from heat and add other ingredients:

-- 5 T of corn starch (CHANGE: more corn starch)
-- Slightly less than 1 T of baking soda (CHANGE: much less baking soda)
-- 1 T of witch hazel
-- 1 T of pure aloe vera gel (CHANGE: added to improve moisture)
-- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil. (CHANGE: peppermint instead of orange, because citrus oils can irritate. Note: you can choose a different type of essential oil, based on whatever scent you prefer.)

* Stir continuously until smooth

* Pour into a 4 oz canning jar.

*Leave lid off until cool. Re-stir once cooled, as essential oils sometimes float to the top. Can refrigerate for a couple days to solidify.

The other change I've made is that after showering, I apply some of my olive oil/shea butter facial moisturizer to my underarms before applying the deodorant. It has definitely helped--the rash and itch are much better, but not completely gone. I'll update again about this in a couple of months.


§ This post describes how I currently wash and condition my hair, although now I generally wash with apple cider vinegar & water, and condition with olive oil/vodka/water.