Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Sweet Smell of Success Or, Cleaning Up, Part II

I did it.  I made my own deodorant.  And it WORKS.

I wore it to boxing class on Thursday, and afterward, I felt confident enough to stop at the CVS and buy chips to eat with my salsa.

I rest my case.

The recipe is by no means mine, of course.  I got it from another blogger named angry chicken.  And she's right: it works wonderfully!  Like her, I bought the ingredients at Mountain Rose Herbs, but I'm pretty certain you could find them locally, if you weren't lazy like me and unwilling to spend time driving around and looking for things in stores.

The recipe makes about 3-4 ozs.  Here's what the finished product looks like.

You can buy deodorant roll containers--or save the ones you have--but personally, I wanted to make sure it worked before I went whole-hog.

But it does work, so this is good.

A few caveats: some people react to baking soda-based deodorants.  I had a slight reaction at first, but I kind of knew it was the baking soda, because I had tried using baking soda alone at one point and had a similar reaction.

Another blogger, liselise, explains why many people react.  My skin irritation was by no means as extreme as what some of the comments describe: it burned a bit and got a little pink, so I washed it off, let my skin recover overnight, and then applied FAR less the next morning.

I think the trick is to apply very small amounts--especially at first.  And by small, I'm talking tiny.  You really, really don't need as much of this as you do of the commercial stuff, so if you're used to putting a significant swath of it on in the mornings, you'll need to cut that back by at least half.  And if you apply it morning and night, don't bother: once will do.

And certainly don't apply it right after you shave under your arms: that will not feel good.  Personally, I never applied the commercial stuff after shaving either, so I didn't run into that problem.

Right now, I'm in the process of letting a batch set: for this batch, I cut back dramatically on the baking soda--from 3 TBS to only 1 TBS.  I'll see how that goes.

The beauty of it all is, to alleviate my minor skin irritation, I simply used my other triumph: homemade lotion!

Here it is.  It's equally wonderful, and again, very little is needed to accomplish the work of several tablespoons of commercial lotion.

I got the recipe from  They actually have two recipes that I checked out: I made the lotion, but I'm also hoping to try out the body butter sometime as well.

The trick with the lotion is, you need to whisk it until it cools.  Remember the old adage, "Oil and water don't mix"?  Well, that's because oil and water don't mix, and you're using both oil and water in this recipe, so you'll have to keep whisking it until it cools and gets to a creamy consistency.

If that sounds daunting, remember: you're not cooking anything to make this recipe.  You're simply melting the ingredients on very low heat, and once they've melted you take them off the heat.  So the mixture will cool down quite quickly.

If you're a bit impatient, like I am, you can also pop it into the fridge to cool it a bit quicker, once it starts getting somewhat creamy.  The trick is, you don't want the oil and water to separate, so you've got to make sure it's combined and reasonably cool already before you stop whisking it to put it in the fridge.

Next time around, I think I'll whisk mine a bit longer and perhaps add a bit more cocoa butter, since I like my lotion a little less creamy than what I currently have.  With do-it-yourself anything, you have to go through a bit of trial-and-error, but the beauty of it is, in the end you'll have a product tailored to your own liking.

Again, you can buy or use recycled bottles to store the lotion in, but again, I wanted to make sure it would work, first.

And the upshot of it all is, it works wonderfully, smells great, and again, has NO added toxins.

In case you're wondering how labor-intensive this process is, I can tell you that it took me less than half and hour to make BOTH recipes.  It's so easy, it's unbelievable.  The deodorant took five minutes.  That's IT.  The lotion, maybe about 15 minutes this time around, so I'm thinking next time, maybe 20 minutes, if I whisk it a bit longer.

If you use clear containers, like I did, then you'll need to store your lotion and deodorant in a dark place.  I put mine in the medicine cabinet anyway, so this was a non-issue for me.  Because you're using natural oils in these recipes, they will spoil over time.  You'll need to keep the unused ingredients in the fridge and pay attention to the labels regarding their shelf-life.

The nice thing is, both recipes only make small batches (about 4 ozs), so you can make a small batch, use it, then try again.  And really, I cannot stress this enough: you will be using a fraction of what you used of the commercial products.

And spending far less money on them.  And avoiding potentially toxic substances. 

Success.  How sweet it is.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."