Choosing a Natural Deodorant
Choosing a Natural Deodorant
On a quest to find an alternative to the aluminum and chemical fueled deodorants and anti-antiperspirants, and the results have not been easy. While many males can choose deodorizing options that are aluminum-free from major bodycare brands, women do not have the same luxury. Safe, healthy alternatives to heavy chemicals are difficult to find in everyday stores, and healthier options are often much more expensive. For commercial, natural deodorants for women, we often have to venture to health food stores or specialty shops. Even then, the choices and options for different kinds, ingredients, and benefits, can be overwhelming. The last thing we want is for deodorant choices to make you sweat!
- Chemicals of Concern - Safe Cosmetics
SafeCosmetics.org wants consumers to be aware of what they are putting onto and into their bodies. Do traditional anti-antiperspirant ingredients make the cut?
Well, aside from the obvious choice of wanting to avoid unnecessary chemicals and toxins whenever we can, deodorants carry their own special fears.
Aluminum, a common anti-antiperspirant ingredient, has been linked to an increased chance of Alzheimer's, and many are also concerned that it could impact risks of cancer. Aluminum is added to deodorants and anti-antiperspirants to decrease moisture production, thus decreasing odor.
But reducing the amount you sweat can be harmful to the body, and can even result in worse body odor! Instead, we will be looking at deodorants made of natural ingredients that help to decrease or eliminate odor without compromising any of our body's processes.
Crystal deodorants are made of salt crystals and minerals, usually alum. While these are considered safer than your traditional deodorants, it still may carry some risks.
As the active ingredient is alum, it is necessary to know that the most common form of alum in personal care products tends to be potassium aluminum sulfate. So, it is still aluminum! While it is a safer option than most big brands (rating a lowly 1 on Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database), it is not my personal favorite for a natural alternative.
While it can work great for keeping moisture at bay, it does not always work to decrease smell, as crystal deodorants are not typically scented. While not entirely unpleasant, it is not my preferred method of deodorizing.
Essential Oil Deodorants
Essential oil deodorants typically work with several carrier oils (like jojoba, almond, or sunflower) and use essential oils to mask odor. While they are great for sensitive skin, these deodorants can feel greasy on, and may not provide enough protection against odor.
If you have only a light smell to contend with, and sensitive skin, a simple, limited ingredient essential oil deodorant might be your best choice.
Common Essential Oils:
Lavender, Tea Tree, Rosemary, Rose, Lemongrass, Vanilla, Patchouli, and Peppermint.
Each has its own particular properties, so investigate into the benefits you need. Tea tree oil is the most common, as it excels at fighting bacteria and odor, making it a great choice for a natural deodorant ingredient!
Baking Soda Deodorants
Baking soda based deodorants use baking soda to absorb odor and some moisture. As baking soda can be a harsher ingredient to apply to sensitive areas, it might not be recommended for those with a tendency towards sensitive skin.
However, baking soda tends to be one of the best ingredients for controlling higher levels of odor, and works great for athletes or those in a warmer climates looking for cleaner alternatives to traditional anti-antiperspirant
Clay deodorants are very similar to those with baking soda, but use bentonite clay to control moisture and odor. Clay is a detoxifying ingredient, so it literally helps to decrease future odor when you use it!
It tends to be gentler on sensitive skin than baking soda, while still keeping most of the same absorption and masking qualities.
Alternatives at their Best!
In a perfect world, I would be able to find a deodorant in stores that would satisfy all of my needs, while still being the safest, most natural option I can find. And while there are plenty of products lining store shelves, I have been dissatisfied by most.
So what is a woman to do? Well, she takes matters into her own hands and crafts her perfect product!
This recipe for your own custom blended deodorant uses all of the above mentioned varieties, except crystal. As you can use a deodorant crystal all on its own, there isn't really a need to make a new form.
With all DIY recipes, you will need to find the perfect proportions for you. This is my personal recipe, from trial-and-error, and I hope it brings you the dryness and security you need!
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup bentonite clay
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 15-20 drops tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 5-10 drops rosemary essential oil
- Gently melt the coconut oil in a heat-safe container, preferably with a spout.
- MIx dry ingredients in a separate small bowl (baking soda, clay, and cornstarch).
- Add dry ingredients to the coconut oil and mix thoroughly. It will be goopy.
- Add the essential oils, increasing or decreasing amounts as necessary (personal preference)
- Pour mixed concoction into an available jar (about 4 ounces in size). Place in refrigerator to cool and set, about 20 minutes.
- To use, scoop out a small amount and gently apply to underarms. Allow to dry briefly, and continue your day as usual!