This is a photo of all the things I use on my body.
They might not look all that pretty, but they make me feel and smell pretty, so that’s the important thing. And I feel safe using them, because I know exactly what’s in them. After all: I made them.
After I wrote about how and why I ditched shampoo, I had a few people ask me about other homemade body care products I use. So I figured I’d share them with all of you. In case, you know, you want to be just like me.
You might recognize the two taller bottles in the background (one has a spray nozzle) as my shampoo and conditioner (i.e. baking soda rinse and vinegar rinse). The bar of soap is just a store-bought, unscented soap made from olive oil. Maybe someday I’ll make my own soap.
I thought I’d share my recipes for the remaining body care products I regularly make and use: deodorant, toothpaste, and face cleanser. (Today, I’ll stick with deodorant; in my next post, I’ll share the next two).
I’ve been using all of these recipes for almost two years, and I’ve tweaked them over time to work for me. I forget where I got most of them originally, so if I’ve stolen one of your recipes, I’m sorry about that.
Doubtless, you will find many, many similar recipes all over the internet, especially Pinterest. But these are the ones that work for me.
Note: If you’re interested in making your own body care products and cleaners, two important ingredients I would recommend investing in are coconut oil and castile soap. Both may initially shock you with their cost, but they are so useful in so many things, and save you so much money in the end. I couldn’t live without them.
Why Make Your Own Body Care Products?
- It’s incredibly frugal. Every batch of deodorant, toothpaste, and facial cleanser costs me mere pennies.
- It uses far less disposable packaging (you’re not chucking a plastic deodorant container every other month), which is better for the environment.
- It helps you avoid toxic chemicals which are bad for the environment.
- It’s healthier and safer for your body.
So here goes.
(Why yes, that is an old Old Spice container. I found that all my lady sticks leaked.)
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup corn starch (I’ve read you can also use arrowroot powder if you’re sensitive to corn starch)
- 5 drops tea tree oil
- 5 drops of some other essential oil (optional. I use sweet orange)
- 3-4 Tbsp warmed/softened coconut oil
Mix all ingredients together and pour/push into an empty deodorant stick. Allow it to harden somewhat (I often put it in the fridge). Use lightly. A single batch lasts about a month for two people.
You guys: this stuff works. I tried several natural deodorants from the health food store before trying this and none of them worked like this.
The baking soda absorbs odour, the cornstarch absorbs moisture, the coconut oil makes it stick together and offers antimicrobial properties, and the tea tree oil kills bacteria. Any other essential oil helps make it smell pretty.
How do I know it works, and that I haven’t just become immune to my own B.O.? Because when I forget to use it, I can tell by the end of the day that something is off. But I never stink when I use it. Ben uses it as well, and doesn’t smell, either.
I am quite certain that the tea tree oil is an essential ingredient. Don’t skip it! It helps kill the bacteria that create stink. I once tried to make this recipe with patchouli oil instead and it was a complete disaster. I reeked. Likewise, my sister tried some natural deodorants without luck, until she bought one with tea tree oil. And then? No more body odour.
If you don’t like the smell of tea tree, 5 drops in a whole batch is not enough to be perceptible when you put it on.
(I’ve read that lavender is also antibacterial, so you could probably swap that for the tea tree, or combine the two. I haven’t personally tried it in my deodorant, though, because I want to avoid another patchouli fiasco, but also because I share this recipe with Ben and lavender is kind of a girly smell).
Keep in mind that since it’s not an antiperspirant, it won’t stop you from sweating. But sweating is a natural process that helps your body get rid of toxins, and shouldn’t be inhibited. Embrace it. You won’t smell, I promise. And you won’t sweat as much as you do when you skip a dose of conventional deodorant/antiperspirant.
However, if you’ve never used a natural deodorant, you probably will have to go through an adjustment period. (Sorry. I hate to be the harbinger of bad news). I don’t think you can “wean” yourself off of commercial deodorant the way I suggest you do with shampoo. Your body has to get used to not having its glands blocked. Be patient. Pick a time when you won’t be around people too much. My transition period lasted a week or two.
Now that my body has adjusted, if I use a conventional deodorant even once, I will start to stink mightily as soon as it wears off.
So if you think you are just a stinky person because you reek within the hour if you forget to put on deodorant, chances are, it’s the deodorant that’s causing the problem.
Also be aware that in very warm weather, the coconut oil may ooze. (Coconut oil melts at about 72 degrees F). You might want to keep it in the fridge during the summer. The rest of the year, I find it’s a perfect consistency for light application.
I once tried to use shea butter instead of coconut oil, and it didn’t apply well.
Other deodorant recipes I might try:
Classic Soothing Homemade Deodorant from Crunchy Betty. But it looks like a bit of work, unlike mine. She also lists several more deodorant recipes at the end, and swears that at least one of them will work for you.
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Have you ever tried making your own body care products? What were your experiences? Or do you find it too intimidating? What are your biggest fears?