Friday, December 26, 2014

Jen's Crunchy Life Experiment: Homemade Deodorant

I'm what you might call a sweat hog. Hate to admit it, truly I do, because I consider myself a "fit" person for the most part.......but lemmie tell you, even the slightest exertion will cause me to sweat as if I am surrounded by a blazing volcano filled with shirtless firemen and 150 people wanting to attend a dinner party at my house.

I sweat. I sweat a lot.

Now most of my adolescence, I was desperately trying to cover up this non-feminine, horrific act of disgusting humanness. I tried multiple different deodorants, each one more flowery than the next, and although I succeeded in not smelling bad, I was consistently that chick with sweat under her arms, soaking through her shirt.

As I got older I continued to change deodorants over and over, cycling back and forth between various brands, thinking each time that eventually, something was going to work. This is my most recent commercial brand.

Funny, it seemed like my skin would "get used" to a certain brand and I would need to change it up to keep my sweat hog nature in check. Regardless of my tricks, my body would always revolt, causing me to second guess my ability to be attractive while simultaneously making it nearly impossible for me to wear any white tops. I rock an A-line Hanes undershirt instead. They are made for men. They absorb sweat great, in case any of you wanted to know. And when they start to turn that inevitable yellow color under the arms, you can just toss 'em away. Gross, but true. My truth.

Now commercial deodorant products, as you'll read below, have variable percentages of chemicals that are not just a little bad, but super bad for the human body. I, of course, had no idea, and still sometimes eye my armpits suspiciously, wondering just how many chemicals they've absorbed over the years. Stinky lil' things.

So between the chemicals and my relative failure with commercial deodorants, I really had nothing to lose with this experiment. Here we go.

The Procedure
There are many, many voices in the Crunchy Life choir and honestly, it was very overwhelming to figure out which recipe to try first. I settled on a deodorant recipe for sensitive skin from Oh Lardy.

5 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp baking soda
6 Tbsp arrowroot powder
2 Tbsp bentonite clay
5-10 drops of essential oil (I used tea tree because it's what I had)

You mix it all up and put it in a jar. No heating necessary.

Now Oh Lardy has this super gorgeous picture of a creamy, delightful looking end product. I don't know where they live, but here in the northern Midwest, my house gets cold in the winter. Coconut oil is solid at colder temps and my end product came out looking like this:

It is absolutely more of a paste than a cream....I would even venture to say this stuff is a little too dry for my liking. It warms up, obviously, the moment you start to apply it to your armpits - especially when you've got sweat hog blast inferno pits like me. It transforms into a delightful, green cream that is easy to wash off your hands. Getting it out of the jar, however, is a little tricky and I often have to dig into it with my nails (***shudder***) to get the product out. Maybe warming it up ahead of time with a hairdryer would help....but we both know I'm not going to unravel that stupid cord each morning for deodorant. You will not see me blowdrying my deodorant. Ever. So flaky paste it is!

The Cost
My old deodorant cost me $3.89 for 2.6 ounces, or $1.50 per ounce.

This recipe made 7 ounces of product. After adding up the cost of the ingredients ($31.78) and dividing by the ratios used in the recipe, my total product cost was $2.78, or $0.40 per ounce. So by making my deodorant myself, I am saving $1.10 per ounce on the crap that's going on my armpits. That, dear ones, is wonderful.

Health Factors
Remember those pesky little toxins I mentioned earlier? Here are some of the major offenders of my last commercial deodorant brand (taken from EWG site):

  • Fragrance: Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Miscellaneous, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
  • BHT: Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
  • Cyclopentasiloxane: Cancer, Ecotoxicology, Endocrine disruption, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Neurotoxicity, Persistence and bioaccumulation

**Now one chemical EWG mentions, but does not list as a high-risk toxin, is aluminum zirconium. Many people believe this ingredient, with its estrogen-like properties, causes breast cancer. There's also a potential link between Alzheimer's and aluminum, although those studies are much less conclusive (check this article for more info and direct links to the sources of these studies). I dare to hypothesize the reason EWG, a study/research-based organization, does not list this ingredient as high-risk is simply because aluminum zirconium is a difficult element to source. Who's to say the residual aluminum found in the bodies of the deceased didn't come from other sources of absorption (food, water, beer, utensils, etc.)?

The EWG won't post a chemical as "risky" until the studies back up the claim. Not that it really matters. While aluminum might be questionable, the high-risk chemicals they do list hammer the nails into my commercial deodorant's coffin. Sianara schweethaawt.

This stuff is easy to make, but hard to dispense. It is nothing like commercial deodorant. It doesn't "glide on clear"... it more, "clumps on green." If I put too much on it gets very, very clumpy and it goes without saying, this isn't the best recipe to use when you're concerned about how your armpits look. It is, quite literally, green. It looks like your armpits are getting a clay mask treatment or something.

Also, you will sweat. Those chemicals I listed up there? They pinch your sweat glands shut and keep them from excreting what they need to excrete. Apparently my sweat glands are super strong because they've never, ever been squeezed shut by any deodorant, so switching to homemade deodorant was not that of a big difference for me.

But, as usual, although I sweat, I do not stink. Not even after a workout. It took time for me to adjust, though. I stunk for the first few days. But I'm all better now. Stink free, perhaps because I'm slowly detoxifying my body bit by bit? Intewwwesting....

So when all is said and done, I'm right back where I started, minus the chemicals and plus a few extra dollars in my pocket. I'll be sticking with homemade deodorant but will be trying another recipe once I use this stuff up. Going to try and get a better consistency...and also aim for a deodorant I can wear in the summer should I (gosh forbid) want to raise my arms and wave at someone without causing a car wreck.

Anyone out there ever try homemade deodorant? What recipe did you use? If you haven't tried it before, what's stopping you? I'd love to hear about it in the comments down below. 

Just in case you missed the other posts in Jen's Crunchy Life Experiment installment:

Check in next week for the king of all homemade crunchy products.....toothpaste!

And as always, thank you so much for reading :)



  1. How does it feel while on? Can you tell it is there. That would annoy me. Does it stain your clothes? If it does I would probably pass on this one.

    1. You know, it does not stain my clothes at all....but I haven't been wearing much white and definitely nothing sleeveless. I do like the way it feels when it's on - most of the natural deodorants I tried were super sticky and felt wet all the time. This stuff does not feel that way at all.....but like I said you do SWEAT with it on. It just keeps you from stinkin :)

  2. Looks interesting. I couldn't use it, but I think it's cool that people do!

    1. HAHA Now I am crazily trying to figure out why you couldn't use it....the color? The sweat? Are you a sweathog like me???

  3. Not sure if I could convert - even knowing all the facts about the chemicals, I don't like sweating at all. Lol. I don't sweat much but when I do it's funky and I do not appreciate it. Great experiment though! It's good to hear about how it feels and applies. ;) Have a great one Jennifer! -Iva

    1. HAHA "it's funky" - you are hilarious, Iva. And don't worry - I am here for all your honest experimenting needs! :) Have an awesome week and very Happy New Year :)

  4. Is this Mathew McConaughey approved? LOL! I don't think I could do this....but good for you!