Did you know most shop bought deodorants contain a host of chemicals – from aluminium to parabens – which, long term, can be harmful to our health?
For years, I had no idea.
In fact, I spent many a year in my teens and beyond, liberally spraying away with an aerosol deodorant, oblivious to all the chemicals inside the can.
Then one day I read article on an in flight magazine about all the nasties lurking in most deodorants (and toothpastes!) and from that day on, vowed to change to a more natural version.
The only trouble was, hardly any of the more natural deodorants worked (on me anyway).
I did find one natural deodorant that worked, but it was a little expensive and I was always running out and resorting to one of my cupboard full of pricey natural versions that generally left me a bit pongy within half an hour. Not good.
Then one day I stumbled upon a recipe for how to make your own deodorant with coconut oil, so I thought I’d give it a go.
And do you know what?
I’d found a DIY deodorant that works!
Seriously, it hand downs beat all the natural versions I’d tried (which I’m not knocking as they work for many people, just not me.)
And it was such a relief to no longer be spraying a host of chemicals under my pits or worrying about my natural roll ons not doing the job…
What Are The Chemicals in Deodorants and Anti Perspirants?
Many of us automatically spray or roll on some deodorant or anti-perspirant, as part of our morning routine (I did for years). But the trouble with most deodorants is that they’re laden with toxic chemicals (as are many beauty products including nail polishes).
These chemicals are added for a host of reasons – from masking the odour of sweat to preventing you from actually sweating.
In general, deodorants mask odour and anti-perspirants actually stop you sweating. It’s often the anti-perspirants, however, which contain the worst cocktail of chemicals and in particular, aluminium.
Over time these chemicals can build up in your body, as they repeatedly get absorbed through your skin on a daily basis. Plus, they can also clog up your pores.
5 of the most prevalent toxic chemicals in most deodorants are:
Aluminium compounds in deodorant basically block the pores from sweating. Our pores are supposed to sweat – it’s how we regulate our body temperature and release toxins through the skin. Aluminium has been linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
Parabens are preservatives that are still used in some deodorants and antiperspirants. Research has shown them to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells. Estrogen can disrupt hormonal balances and lead to early puberty, hormone-related cancers in women, as well as organ toxicity.
The belief that parabens build up in breast tissue was supported by a 2004 study, which found parabens in 18 of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors.
Cancer Research’s official view on aluminium and parabens is a little inconclusive, as research has produced conflicting results, but in my view, if there is any doubt, leave it out…
3. Propylene glycol
Even in small concentrations, propylene glycol has been shown to provoke skin irritation in those with sensitive skin. It’s also been linked in larger quantities to damage of the central nervous system, as well as liver and heart disease.
Again evidence can be conflicting or inconclusive, but if you think about it cigarette manufacturers denied any healthy risks were associated with chemicals in cigarette smoke for years, so if there is any doubt, why take the risk.
Triclosan is often used in deodorants as an antibacterial agent and preservative. It’s classified as a pesticide by the FDA and reacts with tap water to create chloroform gas, a potential carcinogen. Triclosan may also possess endocrine disrupting properties.
Steareths derive from a process that makes harsh ingredients milder. The process produces carcinogenic chemicals.
Why Coconut Oil?
It’s natural to sweat and I personally don’t mind sweating at all to be honest, but what I do mind, is getting a bit whiffy, especially when it’s hot!
This is where the coconut oil comes in. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is anti bacterial and helps fight off the bacteria that causes underarms to get a bit, well, stinky when you perspire.
How To Make Your Own Deodorant With Coconut Oil
Making your own homemade deodorant with coconut oil is super easy and literally takes minutes.
What You’ll Need
- 4 tablespoons of raw (unprocessed) organic coconut oil (coconut kills off bacteria)
- 1/4 cup of bicarbonate of soda (helps to neutralise odour)
- 1/4 cup of arrowroot (helps absorb moisture)
- Few drops of essential oil (these are optional to add fragrance or enhance anti-bacterial properties of the deodorant)
- A small airtight container (I’m a huge fan of Mason Jars)
Step 1 – Make sure the coconut is soft and at room temperature (so it is a consistency that is mashable with a fork) and place it into a mixing bowl.
Step 2 – Add the bicarbonate of soda and arrowroot to the coconut oil and mash with a fork until ingredients are combined and a soft consistency.
Step 3 – Add a few drops of essential oils if required. I like Lavender for its calming properties or Tea Tree Oil for its anti bacterial properties.
Step 4 – Place in a small airtight jar (glass if possible) and hey presto, your homemade deodorant made with coconut oil is all ready to go.
Help, My Pits Sting When I Use Bicarbonate of Soda!
Don’t worry, this can sometimes happen, especially if you are have sensitive skin. In fact it did to me a few years ago, but it no longer does.
This is usually either to do with the pH level of your skin or because your armpits are detoxing from all the chemical build up from all the chemical laden deodorants you may have used in the past.
So if you find your skin doesn’t get on with the bicarbonate of soda and you get a stinging sensation, simply reduce the amount and increase the arrowroot to compensate. You may have to play around with amounts to suit your personal body make up and pH levels.
You may also find that you initially sweat more when you start using a natural deodorant. This is usually because you were previously using an anti-perspirant (which stopped you sweating at all) or because your armpits are detoxing.
If you think you’re pits might be having a good old clear out, Wellness Mama has a post on how to detox your armpits! I haven’t personally tried this yet, but if you give it a go, let me know how you get on.
If you liked this recipe, you might also like:
Coconut Oil and Natural Remedy Books I Love
If you like using coconut oil in cooking, I really like the Lucy Bee recipe book, Coconut Oil: Nature’s Perfect Ingredient, which includes over 300 diverse recipes using, (you guessed it!) coconut oil.
For homemade natural remedies, which utilise a whole range of natural ingredients, I also really like Natural Beauty: 35 Homemade Projects For Homemade Beauty, by Karen Gilbert. The book features a number of recipes using coconut oil, including a lovely body scrub, lip balm, soap and cleansing lotion.
Have you ever tried making your own deodorant? How did you find it?