Monday, November 30, 2009

Has It Come to This? Yes.

Some time ago I decided I would switch from conventional deodorant to something a little more earth and body friendly. I picked up my first Tom's of Maine stick who-knows-when, and thus began my cycle of using natural deodorant, then giving up and switching back to conventional in a pinch, then finding another natural deodorant that I thought might be okay, then having to buy another stick of what I fondly call Cancer Deodorant, even though that cancer part hasn't exactly been proved. I still prefer to live as chemical-free as possible, and deodorant seems a pretty basic item to be able to switch. The problem with most natural deodorants is that they either aren't effective for me or they irritate my skin so that my armpits feel aflame or, usually, both. I'm sorry, but I cannot get behind putting something on my skin that neither works nor is comfortable. Natural living shouldn't be physically painful. After countless natural deodorant failures, I finally accepted that I would either have to spend a great deal of money on deodorant or make my own. I chose to make my own. During the busy days of summer, I bought my last stick of Cancer Deodorant, vowing to make my own once it ran out. It ran out on Saturday. Yesterday, I made my own deodorant.

I started with a good recipe, snatched from Angry Chicken and jotted on a post-it that I stuck to my computer. One of the joys of the internet is that you can find so many recipes for everything, then read what people liked and didn't like about them. I chose this particular one because I could gather the ingredients at stores I already frequented, and it seemed simple. Plus, three weeks of effectiveness seems pretty promising, does it not? So I gathered my ingredients in front of my dirty microwave and set to work. If you can call it work. Because people? It was not that hard.

homemade deodorant supplies

Not pictured: the safety pin I used to puncture the vitamin E gel capsules.

pre-melting stage

Into a microwave-safe bowl, I measured out three tablespoons shea butter, three tablespoons baking soda, two tablespoons cocoa butter, two tablespoons corn starch, and the oil from inside two vitamin E gel capsules, punctured with the aforementioned safety pin in order to get the oil out. I microwaved it for forty-ish seconds, added in my essential oil, then whisked it. Then I added more essential oil and whisked it again. After which I added more essential oil and finally felt satisfied with the aroma. I gave it a final whisk for good measure.

whisked for added pleasure

I still had some clumps, and I'm not sure why, but I whisked and whisked and whisked, and when they didn't go anywhere, I gave up and just poured it into the jar already. I didn't actually have a clean, fresh jar on hand, so I opened up a small jar of apple butter, dumped it out into a fridge-worthy container, washed the jar, and made do.

in the jar

It was still pretty warm, so I stuck it in the fridge while I showered so it could firm up. Once I was all fresh and clean, I got it out of the fridge and gave it a test run. I stayed fresh-smelling all evening, and most of the day today, through a workout even. So far, the deodorant totally wins the deodorant competition and now graces my bathroom shelf.

homemade deodorant, at home on the bathroom shelf

This process was incredibly easy. The only issue I ran into is that the cocoa butter was a little hard to scoop out, and I ended up with cocoa butter snow on my kitchen counter. Next time I'll set it somewhere warm before I need to measure it, and that should take care of the problem. When it came to adding the essential oil, I also had a small challenge in trying to figure out how much was enough, but it didn't take long to figure out that I could rub a bit on the back of my hand to approximate how it would smell on my armpits. I kept adding until I couldn't smell the cocoa butter anymore, but the scent was still fairly light. All in all, it was simple and no fuss. To apply, I just scrape some from the top of the pot with my fingers and rub it into my skin like lotion. Easy, peasy, with no weird ingredients in sight. Success!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Plain old lemon juice applied with a cotton ball works great too!