Many homemade recipes for deodorant call for coconut oil, or some other oil, or wax like bee's wax (among other ingredients). These are used to make some form of paste or a solid deodorant stick. But I've found that these don't really work to prevent odor, and they can leave some gnarly oil stains on clothing. This is why I moved away from trying to make a solid deodorant, and started focusing on creating a roll-on formula instead.
You can find just as many on-line recipes for roll-on, but do they really work? Do they make it impossible to muster up a stink even when you eat onions and garlic and work hard in the sun all day? Mine works that good!
Having said that, I will do a bit of disclaiming for a second. My formula has worked this well for my family. We haven't tested it beyond ourselves. I imagine some people's pH needs and such may be different, and that may mean not everyone will find this formula to their liking. (I'm not sure about that but I thought I should say it, anyway). All I know, is this works on my family, boys and men included.
My men-folk are amazed! (This may seem gross--because it is--but my son's think it's funny to give me a hug with the secret intention of setting their stinky arm pits on my shoulders to leave their odor behind for me to enjoy long after. Gag. It's like they're marking me the way an animal marks it's territory by leaving its scent behind! Sorry, just had to share). When my boys use my homemade roll-on (and they do every day now), the jokes on them!
Are you ready to find out what's in my formula? Good. Today, I'm going to share my recipe with you!
But first, how about a little info as to what you're avoiding when you make your own deodorant:
I know there are some natural deodorant / antiperspirant products on the market. But these can carry a hefty price tag, and half the time they don't even work very well. Also, be aware, many products that claim to be natural can still contain questionable ingredients. For those of you who like to know this kind of stuff, here's a list of common dangerous ingredients to be sure to avoid in deodorant:
(Feel free to skip on to the recipe if this sort of thing bores you to tears)!
- Aluminum is often included in antiperspirants to help prevent pores from releasing sweat. But aluminum is a carcinogen, a substance known to cause cancer in animals and likely humans. Aluminum has been linked to breast cancer and prostate cancer, as well as Alzheimer's disease. Aluminum can also be toxic to the liver, kidneys and heart.
- Parabens are synthetic preservatives often found in deodorants and antiperspirants. But these are considered hormone disruptors, something that plays tricks on the human body, confusing the hormones. This can cause one hormone to transform into another, cause an increase or decrease in hormone production, and cause hormone cells to die prematurely. This hormone disruption can lead to all kinds of health problems, including early puberty in children, and a whole host of hormone related diseases such as thyroid problems. Aluminum can also be toxic to organs or even cause birth defects.
- Propylene glycol is a petroleum based substance included in cosmetics and body care products to keep them from drying out. Propylene glycol is actually something developed for anti-freeze. It can cause skin problems, as well as liver and kidney damage.
- Phthalates are often included in deodorants and antiperspirants to help break down the other ingredients so they work better together. However, phthalates can disrupt the hormone balance and cause cell mutation, leading to a higher risk of birth defects in pregnant women.
- Triclosan is what's commonly used in anti-bacterial soap. It's included in deodorants and antiperspirants to control odor, by killing the bacteria that causes it. However, the FDA classifies this substance as a pesticide, and it's been linked to cancer. Also, it can cause dermatitis and skin irritation, or disrupt hormones and lead to problems such as thyroid dysfunction and other health issues. Because triclosan is an anti-bacterial, its presence in products can contribute to the development of super-bugs, bacteria that develops resistance to antibiotics.
- Artificial fragrances may be at the bottom of the worst-list, but they're still not to be trifled with. Like some of the other chemicals mentioned above, artificial fragrances are considered hormone disruptors, and can lead to all sorts of health problems as already mentioned. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3
Okay, enough talk. Let's move on to today's DIY recipe!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click through and make a purchase, we receive a small percentage in commissions from the company you buy from. We value our readers and want you to know that the products we link to are only products we use ourselves, or that we feel will add value to your life. Thank you for supporting Farm Girl Inspirations! To read our full disclosure statement click here.)
1/4 cup milk of magnesia (with no inactive ingredients other than water) *
1/8 cup arrow root powder
1/4 cup baking soda
1/8 cup aloe vera concentrate (Update: Try aloe vera gel for a thicker consistency)
1/4 cup witch hazel
1/8 cup filtered water (Update: Omit the water for a creamier consistency)
10-15 drops essential oil of your choice (optional) **
3 2-ounce roll-on bottles
(Update: I've recently switched to using re-usable glass roll-on bottles like this).
Makes approximately 3 2-ounce bottles (or 6 1-ounce glass bottles).
* Some milk of magnesia products can contain other inactive ingredients that you may wish to avoid such as anhydrous citric acid, artificial colors, flavor, glycerin, sorbitol solution, sucrose, xanthan gum (from corn, so could contain GMOs). Some products can also contain a stimulant intended to help bowel function (not needed or desired in an underarm deodorant, I'm pretty sure). Check the label. The link above leads to a milk magnesia product that contains only purified water as the only inactive ingredient. Also, some milk of magnesia products contain varying amounts of the active ingredient, magnesium hydroxide. The one used here contains 1200 mg per tablespoon.
** This formula does not require essential oils, but you may wish to include your own selection for the added protection, health benefits and aromatherapy qualities. Some essential oils, such as melaleuca (tea tree oil) are anti-microbial, meaning they can actually kill the bacteria that cause odor. Be cautious with essential oils. If you use them, you'll want to be sure they're high quality, pure therapeutic grade. You'll also want to select oils that are least likely to irritate the skin, such as melaleuca, lavender, or lemon. If you aren't sure, you may want to do a small skin test before adding an oil to your deodorant. Click HERE for information on what company I buy my oils from. If you're curious about buying these oils at wholesale prices, click HERE. If you'd like to talk to me personally about any questions you have regarding getting these oils, click HERE to send me an email.
Mix it up: Making the roll-on formula is simple. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Fill each roll-on bottle, then snap the ball into place.
Store it: Store your roll-on in a cool dry place and use within 3 months. To apply, shake the bottle gently to mix anything that may have separated then apply to skin. Allow skin to dry before dressing.
(Was that easy, or what)?!
How each ingredient helps this formula work:
- Milk of Magnesia: This is the main active ingredient in this formula! Magnesium is what controls odor. If you know you're sensitive to baking soda (as some people are with prolonged use on the skin) you can use just the magnesium and still have an effective deodorant. But magnesium as an odor-control is only one of it's benefits. Our bodies need magnesium, yet studies have been done that show Americans to be consistently consuming lower than the recommended amounts of magnesium daily (check out this article for more on that). Since we absorb magnesium best through the skin, applying it to your armpits is great for more reasons than one.
- Arrow root powder: Helps absorb moisture to keep you dryer. Arrow root is like cornstarch minus the risk of exposing yourself to GMOs.
- Baking Soda: Helps maintain a proper pH balance, and absorbs moisture and odor. Note: Some people can develop an itchy rash after prolonged exposure to baking soda on the skin. If this happens, simply make the formula without the baking soda. Since this isn't the main ingredient that makes this product work, you probably will never miss it.
- Aloe Vera Concentrate: Soothes the skin and helps with the consistency of the product. Also gives it a mild pleasant natural scent. Aloe is also healing to the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Witch Hazel: An astringent to help close your pores and reduce wetness from sweat.
And that's a wrap. What's been your experience with making homemade deodorants? I'd love to hear your story.
Until next time...
Joy--Fearless Farm Girl,
"Farm girl: it's a verb, because it's what you do."
Joy--Fearless Farm Girl,
"Farm girl: it's a verb, because it's what you do."
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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through and make a purchase, we receive a small percentage in commissions from the company you buy from. We value you as a reader and want you to know that the products we link to are only products we use ourselves or that we feel will add value to your life. Thank you for supporting Farm Girl Inspirations! To read our full disclosure statement click here.
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