Toxic-free deodorant was something I considered making or purchasing for several months. Then I read a VERY convincing, and thoroughly researched article on Mamavation about the cancer-causing toxins found in mainstream deodorants and anti-persperants like Degree and Secret (check now to see if yours says “active ingredient: aluminum” on the back) and knew it could no longer be a consideration; I had to make the switch. She got me right at the first and second paragraph, when the author, wrote:
What sort of toxic chemicals do lurk in antiperspirants and deodorants? Plenty. The Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) reports that the following common ingredients in these products may cause cancer:
- Triclosan can affect hormones and could be linked to breast cancer.
- Phthalates are endocrine disrupters, which interfere with the body’s hormone function and also are linked to breast cancer, although the studies have only fueled controversy.
- Parabens have been found in breast cancer biopsies and are known to be absorbed into the skin. They also disrupt hormones and mimic natural estrogens, a cause of breast cancer.
But these are not the only controversial compounds found in deodorants and antiperspirants. They can also include:
- Aluminum, which can hinder sweat and may be linked to breast cancer. It also disrupts lymph nodes and is linked to Alzheimer’s.
- Propylene glycol, which absorbs water, is another controversial chemical. It has been declared dangerous by the CDC, yet low levels of this chemical are approved by the FDA in personal care products. It can also irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions.
- Natural Cosmetics News says ingredients like TEA and DEA adjust pH levels and are used for fragrance or as a preservative. The Environmental Working Group’s database of toxic chemicals, Skin Deep, lists TEA as a low possibility of being toxic and DEA as a very high possibility.
- Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can cause other negative reactions in the body.
- Natural Cosmetics News also names FD&C colors, which can be made from coal or tar and are carcinogenic.
After reading that, combined with the fact that my trusty stick of Degree wasn’t working for me anymore, I decided I needed to embark on my “crunchiest” change over yet: making my own toxic-free deodorant!
DETOX from TOXIC DEODORANT
Did you know that you have to detox from years of chemical build-up before non-toxic deodorant will be effective? YES! Scary, right?! Depending on your own body’s chemistry, detoxing can take anywhere between 2-14 days. For me, it took about 3-4 days.
3 ways you can detox from toxic deodorant:
First option, switch to an all-natural deodorant and when you get stinky, create a paste of baking soda and water to pat on, cleanse with water and then reapply all-natural deodorant. Repeat throughout the day until the deodorant lasts 8-12 hours on it’s own.
Second option, skip the all-natural deodorant and only do the baking soda and water paste noted above.
Third option, which I chose, use only the all-natural deodorant for one week. I used Kiss My Face Liquid Rock Roll-On Fragrance Free because I had bought it accidentally for my husband like 6 months ago, and after using it once, he never did again. Lucky for me! (side note: Kiss My Face solid is actually what my husband has been using for years since “regular” deodorant causes a severe bubbly rash under his arm. That should’ve been my first hint to switch too!!)
Fourth option, go completely deodorant-free for 7-10 days.
MAKE YOUR OWN TOXIC -FREE DEODORANT
Now that you’ve detoxed, it’s time to make your own deodorant. Wheeee! For years, my sister has just been doing a coconut oil and baking soda mix, but I decided not to go this route because she keeps it in a sealed container and uses her hands to apply. I wanted to keep the ease of a roll on. I found this recipe via a link on the article cited above, but tweaked it very slightly.
Prep Time: 15 minutes |Total Time: 12 hours
- 2T – 1/4 cup corn starch (this is to hold it all together so use less in winter and more in summer)
- 1/4 cup aluminum-free baking soda
- 4 T organic, unrefined extra virgin coconut oil
- Optional: 15-20 drops essential oil of your liking (lavendar, lemon, tea tree oil, vanilla, peppermint, etc.)
- Empty tube of deodorant (preferably from a store-bought toxic-free brand) -or- tupperware container
- In small bowl, mix together corn starch and baking soda with a fork.
- Heat up coconut oil in microwave for 30 seconds. Pour into dry mixture and mix well with fork until it turns into a thick lotion-like texture.
- Add in essential oil.
- Turn the dial of the empty deodorant tube until the “floor” has been lowered as deep down into the tube as it will go.
- Using a fork, scoop the mixture into the tube. Pile no more than about 1 centimeter over the top.
- -or- Place mixture in a Tupperwear container. I use the latter method in the Summer or traveling since in warm temperatures this deodorant may melt. Apply under each arm with fingers.
- Put cap on top and place in fridge for 12-24 hours.
- Remove from fridge, and start using like any ol’ deodorant! Can be kept in the bathroom, vanity, or wherever you normally keep your deodorant.
REVIEW of HOMEMADE TOXIC-FREE DEODORANT
I’ve now been using this for 8 days and it’s working BETTER than any mainstream deodorant I have ever used!
I am more of a stinker than a sweat-er, but I am seriously fresh smelling and completely dry! I think I’ve put it through the full test too because in multiple workouts I’ve run, hauled up flights of stairs, lifted, BodyPump’ed, yoga’d, and danced my way through with flying colors! I highly recommend making the switch.
2016 Update: I still continue to use this homemade toxic-free deodorant recipe! There have been times when I’ve been lazy and bought store-brand (like Primal Pit Paste) but I still always return to this tried-and-true deodorant recipe because it works the BEST! My favorite essential oil mixture is lavender, peppermint and lemon. I ALWAYS recommend peppermint or tea tree oil because they seem to hide the stank the most; accent with any other of your favorite oils.
Do you use all-natural or homemade deodorant? What’s your recipe?