Today's recipe is for something you'll make in your kitchen with ingredients you would normally use for cooking, but that you shouldn't actually eat. (Or you could, but you'd be missing the point.)
Today's recipe is for a natural deodorant. I realize personal hygiene isn't an altogether food-friendly subject, but making your own cosmetics is not so different from making your own dinner, and I am so enthused by this one I thought I'd share.
I've long been weary of store-bought deodorants, and although it is easier than ever to find aluminum- and paraben-free deodorants, the list of ingredients remains disconcertingly long, and many of the "natural" deodorants I've tried over the years simply don't work very well.
So when I stumbled upon this formula on Maggie's blog (while searching for a sewing tutorial, of all things), I was instantly drawn to the idea: you simply mix coconut oil with baking soda and some kind of starch (such as arrowroot powder or cornstarch) to get a creamy lotion that will harden in the fridge (coconut oil solidifies gradually below 24.5°C / 76°F) and form a deodorant "stone" that you can rub on like an ordinary deodorant.
It is easy, it is cheap, and most important of all, it works. Coconut oil is a bit of a Swiss knife product, used in cooking but also to nourish the skin and hair, and for medicinal purposes: the lauric acid it contains is deemed to have antibacterial qualities, which explains its role here.
If you're worried about the coconut smell, don't be: although the deodorant itself does smell of coconut, the smell is very faint (and localized!) once you have it on, so it won't interfere with your usual perfume. It is also relatively trace-free -- though you do have to be careful when you put on your shirt, as with most deodorants -- and doesn't leave marks on clothes at the end of the day.
The only downside is that the deodorant stone needs to be kept in the fridge if you want it to keep its rub-on texture, which means that 1- you have to remember to get it from the kitchen before you shower, and 2- it's not very travel-friendly. However, you could also apply it like a lotion -- a little messier, but no less efficient.
UPDATE: I am now using this travel-friendly deodorant formula.
So, are you ready to give this a try? And do you have any other homemade cosmetics recipes you want to share?
Homemade Natural Deodorant
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons starch of your choice (arrowroot powder, corn starch, potato starch, tapioca...)
- 3 tablespoons (35 grams) organic virgin coconut oil, softened (available at natural foods stores)
In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and starch. Add the coconut oil, and stir it in until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a flexible food container -- this can be a small plastic tub, or a couple of muffin liners -- and refrigerate for a few hours, until hard.
(If you have an empty deodorant tub with a little wheel thing that pushes the stick up like a push-up ice pop, I'm fairly sure you could refill it with the coconut mixture. I couldn't bring myself to buy one only to throw out the deodorant stick, though, so I haven't tried it.)
Once hardened, pop the stone (or stones, if you've made several) out of the container(s), and rub it on like an ordinary deodorant. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge to preserve that rub-on texture, or at room temperature to apply like a lotion.
This amount will last one person 2-3 months.
Adapted from Maggie's blog.
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