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Want to know how to make homemade deodorant with coconut oil?
Many shop bought deodorants and anti-antiperspirants contain a host of chemicals – from aluminium to parabens, which long term, may be harmful to your health.
Many of us spend years liberally spraying away with an aerosol deodorant (or antiperspirant) often oblivious to the chemicals inside the can. But it’s never too late to switch to a more natural version, which usually avoids many of the common toxins lurking in deodorants (and toothpastes). It’s, of course, also much better for the planet.
Shop bought natural deodorants are a practical option (check ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain aluminium), but many are quite expensive and depending on how much you sweat, they’re not always fully effective for everyone.
A cheap and easy alternative is to make your own natural DIY deodorant with coconut oil and baking soda. Coconut oil is naturally anti-bacterial and baking soda helps neutralise body odours by absorbing sweat.
I’ve used the exact recipe below for years and, personally, wouldn’t ever go back to a shop bought version.
What Are The Chemicals in Deodorants and Anti Perspirants?
Deodorants and antiperspirants (as well as nail polishes) contain chemicals for a host of reasons – from masking the odour of sweat to preventing you from actually sweating.
In general, deodorants mask odour and anti-perspirants actually stop you sweating.
In general, deodorants are designed to mask odour, whilst antiperspirants reduce how much we sweat. It’s often antiperspirants, however, which contain the most questionable chemicals and in particular, aluminium. And whilst nipping a sweaty pit in its tracks with some antiperspirant may seem like a good idea, we’re actually supposed to sweat. It’s the body’s natural way of cooling itself down, as well as releasing toxins.
Over time these chemicals can build up in your body, as they repeatedly get absorbed through your skin on a daily basis. Plus, they can also clog up your pores.
Here are 5 chemicals commonly found in many deodorants and antiperspirants:
Aluminium compounds in deodorant essentially block the pores from sweating. However, our pores are supposed to sweat – it’s how we regulate our body temperature and release toxins through the skin. Aluminium has been linked to a number of health concerns.
Parabens are preservatives that are still used in some deodorants and antiperspirants. Research has shown them to mimic the activity of oestrogen in the body’s cells. Oestrogen can disrupt hormonal balances and lead to early puberty, hormone-related cancers in women, as well as organ toxicity.
The belief that parabens build up in breast tissue was supported by a 2004 study, which found parabens in 18 of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors.
Cancer Research’s official view on aluminium and parabens appears inconclusive, as research has produced conflicting results, so more research is needed.
3. Propylene glycol
Even in small concentrations, propylene glycol has been shown to provoke allergies, as well as eye and skin irritation in some people. It’s also been linked in larger quantities to damage of the central nervous system, as well as liver and heart disease.
Triclosan is often used in deodorants as an antibacterial agent and preservative. It’s classified as a pesticide by the FDA and reacts with tap water to create chloroform gas, a possible carcinogen. Triclosan may also possess endocrine disrupting properties and this research suggests it could affect your microbiome.
Most deodorants and antiperspirants contain synthetic fragrances (often listed as ‘perfum’ or ‘fragrance’). It’s often impossible to know what chemicals these synthetic fragrances actually contain, as the ingredients aren’t listed on skin care products.
However, many synthetic chemicals in fragrances are derived from petrochemicals (petroleum-based). These can be harmful to health. Chemicals found in man-made fragrances may also include phthalates, (suspected endocrine disruptors), as well as benzene derivatives and toluene, which have also been linked to health concerns.
Why Coconut Oil & Baking Soda?
It’s natural to sweat but, but whether we’re at the office or down the gym, not many of us want to actually smell unpleasant!
This is where the coconut oil comes in. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is anti bacterial and helps fight off the bacteria that causes underarms to get a bit ‘stinky’ when you perspire.
Similarly, baking soda is an antibacterial and pH neutraliser. It helps neutralise the acid in sweat and also get rid of underarm bacteria. Keep in mind, baking soda can sometimes cause skin irritations in people with sensitive skin, so use it sparingly at first, if unsure. Make sure you use baking soda (Bob’s Red Mill or Arm & Hammer are popular brands), not bicarbonate of soda, as this may contains additives.
Adding a little arrowroot powder can help absorb sweat and a few drops of an essential oil can help add a little hint of natural fragrance, if desired.
How To Make Your Own Deodorant With Coconut Oil
Making your own homemade deodorant with coconut oil is super easy and literally takes minutes.
What You’ll Need
- 4 tablespoons of raw (unprocessed) organic coconut oil (coconut kills off bacteria)
- 1/4 cup of baking soda (helps to neutralise odour)
- 1/4 cup of arrowroot (helps absorb moisture)
- few drops of essential oil (these are optional to add fragrance or enhance anti-bacterial properties of the deodorant). I like using lemon.
- small airtight (preferable glass) container (I like these).
How To Make Deodorant With Coconut Oil Instructions
Step 1 – Make sure the coconut is soft and at room temperature (so it is a consistency that is mashable with a fork) and place it into a mixing bowl.
Step 2 – Add the baking soda and arrowroot to the coconut oil and mash with a fork until ingredients are combined and a soft consistency.
Step 3 – Add a few drops of essential oils if required. I like Lavender for its calming properties or Tea Tree Oil for its anti bacterial properties.
Step 4 – Place in a small airtight jar (glass if possible) and your homemade deodorant made with coconut oil is all ready to go.
Will My Pits Sting If I Use Baking Soda!
This can sometimes happen, especially if you have sensitive skin.
This is usually either to do with the pH level of your skin, or because your armpits are detoxing from the chemical build up from deodorants you may have used in the past.
So if you find your skin doesn’t get on with the baking soda and you get a stinging sensation, simply reduce the amount and increase the arrowroot to compensate. You may have to play around with amounts to suit your personal body make up and pH levels. And of course, if it’s really uncomfortable, use your common sense and stop using it – we all have different skin and sometimes baking soda may simply not work for you.
You might also find that you initially sweat more when you start using a natural deodorant. This is often because you were previously using an anti-perspirant (which stopped you sweating at all) or because your armpits are detoxing.
If you think you’re pits might be having a clear out, try this article on how to detox your armpits.
Coconut Oil and Natural Remedy Books
For more homemade natural remedies, which utilise a whole range of natural ingredients, try Natural Beauty: 35 Homemade Projects For Homemade Beauty, by Karen Gilbert. The book features a number of recipes using coconut oil, including a lovely body scrub, lip balm, soap and cleansing lotion.
Alternatively, you might like to try Natural Beauty With Coconut Oil by Lucy Bee, which features 50 natural beauty recipes to make at home.