16 March 2013

DIY Deodorant

Ever since I hit puberty I have had to cope with BO. And I was unfortunately not blessed with my Indian grandmother's lack of BO. No, I had to get one of my white European ancestor's BO. A regular deodorant just won't do when I really work up a sweat, so I turned to anti-antiperspirants. Of course, science has revealed that it is bad to use an anti-antiperspirant since it suppresses your body's need to sweat and most underarm protectors contain ingredients that are very bad for you. All of this has somewhat turned me into a deodorant crazy person. Exhibit A: my medicine cabinet.

That's right, I have FIVE deodorants.
The first deodorant (the yellow one) is a really cheap deodorant I got at Whole Foods called Herbal Clear Naturally! It's hypoallergenic and aluminum free, so it's pretty good health wise. It does have a few ingredients that some people say shouldn't be in deodorants, but it's better than most mass market options. I use this mostly if I need to throw on something before I run out of the house and I haven't showered. It's not really strong enough to be what I wear on a daily basis, but it's a good refresher.

The second deodorant (the green one) is the bad boy of the bunch. It is my trusty Mitchum Power Gel. It's a really bad-for-me anti-antiperspirant, but it's what I wear when I'm going to be working a 16 hour day of carpentry and really don't want to smell. The third one is also one I really shouldn't wear, but do. It's Tom's of Maine's "Naturally Dry" anti-antiperspirant. It has aluminum in it, which is bad and it doesn't work as well as the Mitchum, but it does make my pits feel less skeevy than the Mitchum. What I tend to do is if it's a day that I may need more protection than just regular deodorant, I throw just a tiny bit of it on under my deodorant of choice for the day.

The fourth and fifth deodorants are both small batch deodorants from Bubble and Bee. One is the JasMint 'Pit Putty and the other is the Lemongrass 'Pit Putty. They work fabulously and are 100% organic with no bad stuff. These I can wear any day when I won't be perspiring excessively. They're also what I layer over the Tom's of Maine. I like the smell of the JasMint better, but the Lemongrass actually works better. The best part about them is that if you do start to smell and you put more on, you instantly don't smell anymore. And not just because it covers the smell, it really eliminates it. The only downside is that you do sometimes have to reapply. And if you're not at home in the middle of work, that's not always an option.

Long story short, I love the 'Pit Putty deodorants, but they're not the cheapest product ever. They're around 10 bucks a piece plus shipping, which is really expensive. So, I decided to try a natural deodorant recipe to try and mimic the results for less money. I adapted this recipe from Crunchy Betty.

Rachel's Homemade NATURAL deodorant
DIY Deodorant
3 Tbsp chamomile
2 Tbsp green tea w/mint
5 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 arrowroot powder
20 drops tea tree oil

If you want to make this, I'd definitely recommend reading Betty's instructions, as they have lots of pictures and are very clear, as always. But, here is what I did.

First you have to infuse you herbs in the oil. I combined the coconut oil and grapeseed oil in a clean, sterilized jar. Make sure to heat up the coconut oil so that it is a liquid and fully combines with everything else. The easiest way to do this is to sit your jar with the oils in a pot of very hot water (I just used the same pot and water I'd used to sterilize everything with). Then you add the herbs to the oil. I had trouble finding chamomile (and the calendula) the recipe called for, so I did a short cut and used tea. I can't remember how many tea bags it took, but I opened up enough chamomile tea bags to get the 3 tablespoons, and then I used my green tea with mint as my second herb. Green tea is soothing and mint is a nice scent, so I thought it would work well. You then need to let the herbs and oil seep for a minimum of two weeks, remembering to shake it up every once in a while.

And this is where my deodorant went a little wonky. Betty's oil turned a lovely yellow shade from the calendula and chamomile. Mine turned an odd olive green color because of the tea. I thought I was growing a mold farm the first time I checked on it. I also let mine seep for over a month because I never had time to actually make it. However, I'm about to run out of my pit putty, so I bit the bullet and made it.

Once your oil is infused and you're ready to make the deodorant, you need to strain out the herbs from the oil. Your best bet is cheesecloth. I ended up using a strainer, to okay results. You then add your baking soda and arrowroot powder. I did more than Betty called for, because I had oil that kept separating and seemed to need more dry ingredients. Once that is all combined, add your essential oils (I did tea tree as it's what I have and in theory should be good for a deodorant). Then put it into a sterilized jar of your choice!

It's much more liquid than a traditional deodorant, but seeing as I've been using non-traditional deodorants anyways, it's not all that strange. I just scoop some up on my finger and spread it all over my pits. The resulting smell from the chamomile + tea + mint + tea tree is a bit odd, but not unpleasant. And I've been pretty pleased with it's BO fighting power so far. I have yet to really put it under stress, so we'll see how that goes. It is actually what I'm wearing right now!

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