DIY: You Stink.

Via Lyndsey Manderson
on Sep 9, 2014
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Aluminum. Ok, what’s so bad about that?

Parabens. Say what?

Phthalates. Is this English?

Propylene glycol. What did you just call me?

Triclosan. Ok, that’s enough.

Go ahead and wrap all these things up with several other questionable ingredients in a plastic container that will last forever (and probably end up in the ocean) and you have yourself some “fresh” and “protective” antiperspirant.

That’s right, you are putting this stuff on your body. Why are these things bad? Let’s take a closer look.

Aluminum, that stuff you cover up your leftover food with and stick in the freezer. Works great! You can also find this as a tiny particle in your deodorant that loves to absorb right into your pores under your arms to stop you from turning into a sweaty mess.

Unfortunately, that sweat is coming out of your body for a reason (I like to think of this as your body being an efficient machine by getting rid of excess heat) and the sweat from your underarms contains proteins and fatty acids. The sweat itself doesn’t smell, but bacteria on the skin and hair reacts with these proteins and fatty acids to produce your very own odor. Lucky us!

The problem is, if you try to stop the process from happening by applying antiperspirant, you are increasing your risk for breast and prostate cancer. Several studies have linked this not only to cancer, but also with giving you a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s. No thanks, Aluminum.

How about parabens and phthalates? These might sound familiar (they are in most cosmetics, synthetic fragrances, plastics, body care products and medical goods) and you might know them as “bad,” but why? It might not sound that bad, but both of these little buggers can disrupt your hormone balance and hormone receptors. This can cause birth defects, cell mutation, early puberty, hormonal cancers and possibly even organ toxicity. All of which sounds not fun, for you or your future grandchildren.

Propylene glycol and triclosan, try saying that ten times fast.

These are used to soften the product, make it slick onto your skin and kill that stinky odor that your body made just for you. Propylene glycol is in a ton of cosmetics and lotions along with deodorant and it is petroleum-based. Knowing why you shouldn’t use products that are petroleum-based is a whole other article in itself, bad for you and bad for the environment.

Triclosan is categorized as a pesticide and also a probable carcinogen. Need I say more?

All of these reasons including that “never-leaving-this-planet” plastic container it comes in that you will eventually throw into the garbage are excellent reasons for you to get yourself a snazzy little glass jar from the thrift store and try making your own deodorant with completely natural and non-toxic ingredients.

This recipe that I’m dishing out can be altered depending on the amount of absorption you would like and the different scents for your body. Everyone reacts differently, so try it out and switch it up if you need to!

The following ingredients are carefully selected for the following reasons: they moisturize and wick away wetness (shea, cocoa seed butter and coconut oil), absorb moisture (baking soda and arrowroot powder), anti-bacterial and antiseptic (clary sage fights that bacteria that I told you about earlier, the one that makes you stink!), and of course make you smell good (lavender).

All are non-toxic, cruelty free, natural and great for your skin (and soul).



1/2 cup Shea Butter

1/2 cup Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp Cocoa Seed Butter (or close to this size since it comes in chunks)

5 Tbsp Baking Soda (make sure its the aluminum free kind)

6 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (add 1 more Tbsp for sensitive skin)

10 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil (don’t use this if pregnant—read more here)

15 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Optional Adjustment: Instead of clary sage and lavender, try lemongrass (16 drops) and cedarwood (10 drops). So. Good.

First thing you need is a double boiler. If you don’t have one, you can use a pot of boiling water and place another smaller pot, or a bowl that can stand the heat, inside the larger pot of water. This will let you melt your butters and oils without burning them or mixing with water.


Add the shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter together in the double boiler and mix with a metal whisk (not plastic!) constantly until everything has melted. Remove the bowl or smaller pot from the heat and add the baking soda, arrowroot powder and essential oils. Mix everything really well until smooth. Not chunks! Pour this directly into your jar that you are going to use daily and leave it open to cool. Leave overnight before using.


To Apply:

Scoop out a pea sized amount, rub gently onto your under arm skin and it will begin to melt and absorb as you smooth it on. This might take some getting use to since we have all been trained to click and roll. It’s time to put those dexterous hands to use! 
drying      pea sized

Lasts between 3-6 months, depending on usage.

This deodorant actually lets your body detox from the antiperspirant you’ve been using because it still lets your body breathe. For some folks, it might take a few days for your body to adjust, but after it does you will never go back.

Try it out. It might just change your sweaty life.





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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photos: Author’s Own



About Lyndsey Manderson

Lyndsey Manderson is an artist, scientist, environmentalist, teacher and vegan with an insatiable desire for knowledge. Constantly with her nose in a library book and ideas floating above her head for the next goal of improving herself as a human. She is on a journey to a zero-waste life with her family in-tow and plans are set to open Denver's first zero-waste market in early 2015. She has lived on both East and West coast and everywhere in between and is frequently fighting her wanderlust to maintain her busy life as a teacher, a mother and an entrepreneur. Be mindful, never give up, eat like you give a damn.


6 Responses to “DIY: You Stink.”

  1. Hermes says:

    Great article. I'm kind of lazy so just use baking soda. For other lazy people; wet finger tips, dip in baking soda, rub under armpits. Done. Works like a charm. Don't use baking powder (ever); too much junk in it.
    When armpits are shaved; first rub thin layer of neutral creme, then apply baking soda.

  2. Mark says:

    I am going to try this for sure. Thanks!

  3. Stevie says:

    Thank you for posting this!

    I tried your recipe last night and allowed it to cool overnight. It did not congeal and is still liquid. Did I do something wrong?

  4. Lyndsey Manderson says:

    It could be a few things, especially if you live in a warmer environment. It needs be cooled down and sometimes a refrigerator works best to help that process along. It should become pretty solid after several hours in there. If for some reason it still isn't solidifying, maybe check your measurements and add another Tbsp of baking soda and arrowroot. This might mean remelting your current concoction. Let me know how it turns out!

  5. Stevie says:

    Putting my concoction in the fridge totally worked. As you suggested, the mixture congealed within a few hours. I have been using this homemade deodorant for almost two months and it has been a great experience! After dealing with detoxing from my store bought product (mostly in the form of swollen lymph nodes) I have adjusted to this completely natural alternative. Better yet, this has opened my mind to finding natural alternatives for all other personal hygiene and house cleaning needs. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. SereneMeadow says:

    I ' mint a big sweater, I usually use baking soda or a salt stone. I made this and used it. Unfortunately, I smelled horrible! I think the reason was that it kept me wet.