A Natural Approach to Deodorants

Using mass-market antiperspirants and deodorants may seem like a simple and innocuous thing to do to assuage your fears about the way you smell when you sweat. However, most commercial antiperspirants and deodorants are made with harmful ingredients that can lead to a host of health problems not the least of which is significantly weakening your immune system and throwing your hormones out of whack.

Antiperspirants work by plugging the ducts that carry sweat from your glands to the skin’s surface. Without any sweat, the bacteria in your underarms don’t have anything to feast upon. However, sweating is one of the ways your body detoxifies and cools itself. So antiperspirants interfere with your body’s natural processes.

Deodorants, on the other hand, cut down on what makes you stink, the bacteria that hang around your armpits, by making the skin there too salty or acidic (low pH) for bacteria to live in. Finding or making a natural deodorant with the right mix of ingredients will do this job without posing the risk of harm present in most commercial products. Here are some simple suggestions for making your own:

Deodorant Powder

Grind fragrant herbs like lavender buds, lemon verbena, or rose petals in a coffee grinder and mix them in with equal parts baking soda, which is adsorbent and anti-bacterial, and cornstarch or arrowroot powder. You can also add a little kaolin or bentonite clay powder to increase absorbency. Stir in anti-bacterial essential oils like lavender, lemon or geranium.

Deodorant Solid

Use three tablespoons of organic coconut oil, three tablespoons baking soda, two tablespoons shea butter, and two tablespoons arrowroot powder. Melt the solids, mix in the powders and essential oils and place the mixture in a push-up deodorant container. For a stiffer stick, add a touch of beeswax.

Deodorant Spray

Use a base of sage or chamomile tea with witch hazel extract and/or distilled water or hydrosol. For every two ounces of liquid, add ten drops of essential oil or oil blend. Place the mixture in a spray bottle, gently shake it and apply as necessary. To disperse the essential oils more effectively, you can add a few drops of unscented liquid castile soap.

Suggested essential oils to add to your natural deodorant include sage, cypress, lemongrass, petitgrain, and pine. They all help reduce sweat production. For more anti-bacterial action, add essential oils like tea tree or manuka.

By Donya Fahmy

You can read this article in the Summer issue