I’ve tried lots of different Make Your Own type of recipes since starting this blog a couple years ago. Some things I’ve tried have turned out wonderfully, some have been disappointments, and some have just been, well . . . surprising.
Surprising is one of the best words I can come up with for my recent homemade deodorant experiment. Deodorant is one of those things you’re a little scared to be experimenting with. Who wants to go around stinking up the place if your little experiment is a failure? (not me) But after reading this article at the DIY Natural site, I decided what the heck. Let’s see if this works.
Their instructions were super duper simple. In fact I really think of this as a semi-homemade deodorant because we aren’t really mixing anything. So what are we doing?
The Difference between Antiperspirant and Deodorant
The first thing to remember in any discussion about homemade “deodorants” is that there’s a difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant. An antiperspirant is designed to block sweating and wetness under your arms. A deodorant is designed to stop odor. Most antiperspirants will also stop odor because if there’s no wetness, no bacteria grows, and therefore there is no odor.
What’s starting to worry some people about antiperspirants, however, is that they contain aluminum and parabens. Some studies have shown aluminum might contribute to Alzheimers and breast cancer (although there is debate on that subject) and parabens also are questionable as possible carcinogens. This has motivated some people to go in search of alternatives that don’t block the sweating and instead just stop odor.
And sweating is good! Sweating is a way the body removes toxins. The skin, after all, is our body’s largest organ. By constantly blocking our body’s ability to sweat, we can potentially allow toxins to build up in our bodies. Therefore a worthy goal is to simply find a natural way to stop odor rather to block the very natural and healthy process of sweating.
Homemade Alternatives To Stop Odor
I’ve read with some curiosity quite a few other homemade deodorant recipes on various blogs. Most of them use baking soda as a way to block odor. A good series on a homemade baking soda deodorant can be found here at the Kitchen Stewardship blog. Most of the baking soda recipes either have you dusting the baking soda on straight or combining it with some type of oil (like coconut oil) to make it into more of a paste. I had been avoiding these recipes because first of all, they sounded like kind of a hassle, and second, I read where there can be some staining of clothes from oil in the recipes. Dusting the baking soda on straight sounded kind of messy too.
If the goal was just to stop bacteria from growing in order to stop the odor, then the rubbing alcohol approach made sense to me. Although the original instructions I found said to use 99% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol, I simply used the 70% type I had on hand.
I suppose that rubbing alcohol doesn’t sound quite as friendly and natural as baking soda. However it’s used for medical purposes for cleaning and sterilizing so we know it certainly is not harmful to our skin. At worst, it could perhaps be a little drying.
The Inside Scoop On How It Works
So here’s the whole scoop on my semi-homemade deodorant experiment:
I simply poured the rubbing alcohol into a travel sized mist bottle. Super Easy.
All it takes is two or three spritzs of the rubbing alcohol under each arm. There is a little smell of the alcohol but it evaporates away very quickly. The slight wetness after application also evaporates away quickly. The only time I noticed a slight stinging at application was if I had just shaved under my arms.
I really think it worked fine and in fact I think it was even a little better at stopping odor than my usual antiperspirant. I had no need to reapply it later in the day. A couple factors in my favor, though, are that I have a desk job that doesn’t require a lot of exertion, and we were not in the midst of the heat and humidity of summer either. Nevertheless, this seems to be a very effective way to combat any odor
OK, so this works on odor. Was I dripping in sweat? No, I wasn’t, but again, I don’t have a job that requires lots of physical exertion.
Safe for Clothing?
Yes. I had no stains on clothing. In fact one of the really nice benefits is that you don’t get any of those white streaky marks on the side of your t-shirts. Now, anytime I wear a dark colored shirt, I reach for the rubbing alcohol instead of my antiperspirant.
The price I paid for my rubbing alcohol breaks down to 5 cents per ounce. This means the rubbing alcohol I poured into my little 3 oz travel size mist bottle cost me 15 cents. I have been using this mixture off and on now for several weeks and as you can see in the picture above, I have only used about a fourth of the bottle yet. I’ve already gotten a lot of usage out of it for 15 cents and I would definitely say this is a cost saver over store bought antiperspirants and deodorants.
So far I like having this alternative method. It’s a cost saver, it’s simple, and doesn’t contain any unknown metals or chemicals.
There was just one time when it was kind of weird. I often do some yoga at home on the weekends and I popped into a downward dog position right after spraying on my alcohol. Whoa!!! Your head (and nose) are right by your armpits in a down dog position and boy oh boy did I get a nose full of rubbing alcohol smell.
So there’s my one word of caution. Don’t bust out a yoga move without letting your alcohol deodorant evaporate a bit first. 🙂
How about you? Have you been adventurous and tried a homemade deodorant? How did it work for you?