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.
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!
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