Previously, my husband forewarned me that we were running low on deodorant. I had recently read various articles suggesting a connection between breast cancer and commercial antiperspirants/deodorants. While I don’t accept everything I read as fact, I decided to do some of my own research, which included consulting cancer.gov, where I discovered a repeated theme:
-We really don’t know.
“…researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI)…are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer.”
“Because studies of antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer have provided conflicting results, additional research is needed to investigate this relationship and other factors that may be involved.”
No definitive debunking of this concern, yet no conclusive evidence for OR against it. As I continued to research, I discovered this interesting piece of information from the same organization:
“Aluminum-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects (3). Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer (3).”
That was enough for me to at least consider making my own natural deodorant/antiperspirant. I’ve always been a fan of using more natural products, as my body seems to respond better to them, and if they’re homemade, even better!
Living with an autoimmune disease that involves chronic fatigue means I’m a minimal effort kind of person. I have found all sorts of recipes for natural deodorant that call for Shea butter and other things that I don’t readily have on hand, so I opted for a recipe with the fewest ingredients that I was sure to have in the kitchen.
This recipe I got from a book I picked up in the library: Natural Beauty by Susan Curtis.
I’ve used this book for my homemade dry shampoo (which by the way is the bomb. Never, ever, EVER again will I purchase dry shampoo. The homemade is infinitely more effective and lasts the entire day). So I thought, “Hey! I saw a recipe for homemade deodorant in there somewhere… hmm…”
The magic 3.
3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. baking soda*
(essential oils “optional”—but not really. Unless you feel that the faint scent of coconut oil is enough to overpower your daily smells.)
Mix into a paste; empty deodorant stick, fill, refrigerate.
How does it work?
For me, it’s “ok.” It works similarly to Dry Idea, the roll on deodorant. Keep in mind everybody’s body reacts differently to deodorants/antiperspirants. Ever noticed how some antiperspirants actually make you sweat more or seem to not work, even when they come highly recommended by family or friends? Or how your deodorant varies on how well it works? Natural deodorant is no different. You will always have to test different kinds and see what works best for you.
The problem I ran into is Cleveland has been insanely hot and apparently didn’t get the memo that the high 80’s in September are not appropriate fall temperatures. We have no central air, just AC window units, and then Coconut oil + heat? You get the idea… I personally have had to keep mine in the fridge, which became a pain. But just when I was about to give up on this deodorant, I discovered a remedy. One word:
If you have problems with keeping it solid, and want to prevent it from melting, check out this recipe, which melts the beeswax into the coconut oil and also includes tea tree oil for an even more pleasant smelling experience:
I’m absolutely rethinking remaking and using this stuff! If I could convince my husband that it would last his workouts and long days of studying in med school, it would be nice to cut down on some costs. Being the fiscally responsible, scared out of my mind by student debt, too lazy to drive to the grocery store for deodorant woman that I am…challenge accepted.
** Okay, don’t freak out. Yes, I use Arm & Hammer. There’s a rumor floating around about Arm & Hammer baking soda containing aluminum. After doing some digging myself, I came to the conclusion that this is actually a myth. Nowhere does it say it contains aluminum, contacted the company itself, etc. BUT if you are fully convinced that A&H products do contain aluminum, opt for specifically labeled “aluminum free” baking soda for your peace of mind.**