We had been thinking of making the switch to more natural products for a while. Learning about harmful chemicals and environmental toxins that seem to have infiltrated every bottle and jar of bath and beauty products we owned was certainly terrifying, but with the amount of travel we do it just never seemed to make sense nor did it appear to be feasible.
It wasn’t until a friend of ours came for a visit during while we were back at home and told us about the DIY deodorant and skincare workshop she went to. After telling us what she had made, she promptly pulled out her deodorant stick and showed us her own homemade deodorant. From that conversation we learned that not only was it simple to make, it was also travel-friendly. Thus began our foray into homemade products and our efforts to find ways to take all of them with us wherever we go.
Why Homemade Deodorant?
So why make homemade deodorant? This question gets a bit tricky when you delve into the scientific community and the hotly debated topic of cancer-causing agents. Deodorants and antiperspirants usually contain compounds such as parabens, aluminum chloralhydrate, aluminum zirconium, triclosan, talc, propylene glycol, and fragrances (just to name a few). While research results have been contradictory, there is a prevailing belief that many of these are irritants and toxic at best and cancer-causing at worst.
For us, the thought of simplifying the chemicals our bodies come into contact with, especially our skin which is our body’s largest organ, just makes sense. Whether those chemicals have been proven to be carcinogens or not. For the female half, it’s incredibly hard to find deodorant without antiperspirant and the idea of not letting your body sweat also seems strange. Isn’t that a part of the body’s natural functions? Add to that the environmental benefit of reducing the processing, use and disposal of those chemicals and we thought it was a no-brainer.
What we later learned was that homemade deodorant doesn’t just make sense because of the above, it is also cheaper costing only a fraction of what we would pay for deodorant, cleaner on our skin as well as our clothes, and works so much better. We actually found we needed to apply less and less frequently the longer we used our natural deodorant.
Our DIY Deodorant Recipe
Our go-to homemade deodorant recipe involves 3 ingredients. That’s it! Well, there are 4 ingredients if you also want to add a pretty smell, but either way it’s minimal time, effort and cost.
For the two of us, we use the following recipe and it lasts us a good month. During the summertime, we may go through it a bit faster.
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 12 Tbsp coconut oil
- Essential oil (optional and any scent preferred)
- Blend baking soda and arrowroot powder thoroughly in a bowl
- Mix in coconut oil and blend completely
- Add drops of an essential oil of your choice until the desired strength is reached. (We often use lemongrass as it is a pretty neutral smell for the both of us to use and will add drops until a mild smell is reached)
- Transfer to an old deodorant container or a small container with a lid for use.
Note: We find that the deodorant will be a bit more watery for the first day or so until it sets at room temperature. After that, it should be more creamy than solid but should not be liquid unless stored or transported in warm temperatures.
- If you are unable to find arrowroot powder, you can substitute with cornstarch. We find this mix to be a bit more clumpy and can leave debris on clothing.
- You can also adjust baking soda levels to suit your needs. If you find the mixture too abrasive, reduce the amount of baking soda or if you find it is just not doing the trick after a week or so of using it, add a little more baking soda for extra odour eating strength.
Best Ways To Travel With Homemade Deodorant
Especially when it is warm, we will keep the old deodorant containers in the fridge so that the deodorant remains solid. Otherwise, we can store the containers of homemade deodorant wherever we choose.
We’ll be honest. Travelling with homemade deodorant isn’t always as simple as buying a stick of antiperspirant at the drugstore and throwing it in your suitcase but we’re pretty sure that once you start making and using it, you’ll find it’s worth the little extra thought it takes to pack and carry it around.
For one, coconut oil melts easily so if you’re travelling to warmer climates, you’ll need a sealed container that will hold it well if it should turn to liquid for a time. We usually use a small tupperware container with a tight-sealed lid and keep it in our toiletry bag in our checked luggage. Since it doesn’t have the ease of use of an old deodorant container, we’ll just use our fingers to apply.
You’ll also want to make sure you’ve made enough for the duration of your trip. If you’re like us and travel for long periods of time, you may sometimes underestimate and end up running out. Because it takes your body some time to adjust to the natural deodorant, and thus reverting back to store-bought for a short time will restart this process, we have found ourselves buying the ingredients we need and making more deodorant.
This can get tricky when you’re in a hotel room with no mixing bowls, measuring cups or utensils but we’ve managed to use the tumbler we carry for water and a hotel coffee cup. Since the powders are 1:1 ratio, we can fairly accurately measure those out and then we add the coconut oil to an approximate consistency. If it’s too harsh on the skin, we’ll add more coconut oil later and if it doesn’t absorb odours enough we do the same but with baking soda. It’s really not as difficult as it sounds and is a great way to customize it to your own needs while keeping your body and skin healthy.
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