It’s been over a year since I posted the baby steps I used to move from traditional antiperspirant to an actual homemade deodorant. Many of you have taken the plunge as well (if you haven’t, winter is a great time to start something like this!) and I wanted to update you on what I’ve learned since then. The recipe and instructions for making the deodorant are here.
Yes, It Can Stain Clothing
Some readers asked in the comments at that original post about the possibility of the coconut oil staining clothing, and at the time I assured people that I hadn’t had that experience. Unfortunately, since then, I’ve discovered that on tighter fitting shirts, bold colors, and silky materials (like perhaps a red dress shirt you might wear at Christmastime), there’s a definite risk of an oil stain.
Oil stains on clothes are my absolute number one laundry nemesis. Somehow our family is constantly getting little (or large) grease spots on our shirts. It’s so bad that this week I put on a new, solid-colored shirt and at breakfast joked that we should lay odds on how long it would take me to get a grease spot on the shirt. I was as careful as could be, but by the end of the meal there were four little spots on my belly. Aughhhhhhhh!
So often I don’t catch them to pretreat at all until the shirt has already been through the wash, and then it’s nearly a hopeless cause. It doesn’t help that my favorite color scheme seems to be solid and bold. Please excuse my ranting – surely I am digressing from the point – but I want to make it clear that these oil stains on the armpits are no small matter to me.
It hasn’t been enough to get me to stop using the homemade deodorant, but sometimes I question it! I have two methods of attack, one preventive and one combative.
- It helps to try to let the deodorant sink into your skin. When I remember, I try to put it on right away after getting out of the shower, then put my shirt on last to give the oil as much time as I can. Of course, this doesn’t help on the “every other” shower days or when I forget to do it.
- I try to be on top of the stains. If I wear a shirt that is a likely culprit, I check the pits before tossing in the hamper. I find that a good dishwashing soap (also Shaklee H2) and hot water cut the grease, so I’ll scrub the problem area and hang to dry before laundering. It’s not perfect, but it works most of the time.
The reason I don’t give up on this deodorant is that I know commercial antiperspirants will stain my clothes, too. The homemade stuff attacks mostly darks, the commercial, aluminum-laden stuff gets the whites. Nobody wins!
A lot of people looking for a natural alternative to antiperspirants turn to a crystal deodorant, often sold at health food stores but becoming more mainstream. I never tried it, but it’s often recommended.
I’ve learned recently that you have to be careful even there: many crystals include aluminum as well. It doesn’t do much good to stop wearing antiperspirant so you’re not exposed to as much aluminum and then purchase a new product with a different kind of aluminum in it. Check the ingredients for anything with “alum” in it.
You Can Smell Good
A fun option that I didn’t try right at first is mixing a few drops of any essential oil into your deodorant mixture. I’ve used jasmine, and my husband likes that I smell more feminine (especially since my “shampoo” doesn’t smell so sweet anymore).
Helpful folks have shared alternatives to this recipe, which is handy in a pinch or if you’re allergic to one of the ingredients:
- Dab rubbing alcohol on your ‘pits (warning: see comments for a note about alcohol!)
- Just coconut oil works for some
- Rub in a squirt of aloe vera gel and allow to dry
- Some omit the baking soda (it can cause a rash)
- Some find a “better” brand of baking soda
- Some omit the cornstarch
- Some use arrowroot starch instead of the cornstarch
- Many find it important to have a well-sourced coconut oil.
- When I didn’t want my deodorant to melt all over my bag in the summer and didn’t have access to a fridge, I tried my MadeOn lotion bar – I figured with coconut oil in it, it had to be better than nothing. It was! In a pinch, the lotion bar did a decent job, and paired with a dabbing of baking soda it was just about right.
Other Natural Deodorants I’ve Tried: A Comparison
After I posted on the homemade deodorant recipe, I was contacted by Herbalix Restoratives about their line of deodorants that are all-natural and even include a detox deodorant, to be used at night for the first 30 days to cleanse your body of toxins and make it so that you don’t have as much body odor to combat after that.
I’ve been impressed with the company and their commitment to sourcing quality ingredients, avoiding chemicals, doing their research and talking to consumers. However, I’ve put off writing this update because I hate saying bad things.
The nighttime detox deodorant, as it promised it would, truly made my armpits stink. I can’t even tell you what a new magnitude of stench came from my body. It was hard to believe.
Now this is exactly what the deodorant was supposed to do – get out the toxins, which will stink. I just couldn’t stick with it. I would forget, I would skip the part about rinsing my ‘pits before applying (or was it in the morning to get rid of the stink? I can’t even remember…), and I hated that the stench would carry with me throughout the day since I don’t typically shower daily.
Their daytime deodorant, geranium scented, made me smell like an old lady with BO. The tropical scented smelled better, in my opinion, but it still couldn’t cover the body odor, and I kept coming back to the fact that with my homemade deodorant, I had been getting much better results.
I’m sure I didn’t complete the full 30 days of detoxing, so this isn’t really a fair review. I’m just a wimp! It’s one of the reasons I don’t use supplements to detox and took so long to get around to trying Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oil (and have since fallen off the boat, ahem).
I can’t say I enjoyed trying the Herbalix products. I hate to do it, but it’s the truth (and what my dear readers deserve and expect!).
However, here’s what the company claims the nighttime detox can do, that I have no way of commenting on one way or the other:
- Dilates sweat ducts to enhance flow of waste fluids
- Removes all types of aluminums
- Alkalizes underarm pH
- Promotes a healthier lymphatic system
- Encourages a reduction in daytime odors
If that sounds like something you’re looking for, and you’re ready to be stinky or wash your ‘pits every morning, you might be interested in giving Herbalix a go. The ingredients are solidly in the “natural” category – I can pronounce everything and recognize all the parts as plant-based. It goes on fine and doesn’t melt in the summer (one reason I was so excited to try it out!).
UPDATE: Here’s a new post I wrote on ‘pit detox, swollen lymph nodes and the switch to natural deodorant. Another post of interest: Are your Armpits an Exit Ramp?
Also, I haven’t tried it yet, but Life Without Plastic now carries Hoda’s Herbals cream deodorant with only five ingredients!
I also got a Miessence gift certificate in a blog giveaway, and I decided to try their deodorant (again seeking a non-melting stick for summer travels). I was totally nonplussed and walked around many days thinking, “Mine is better.” To their credit, I did order a scent that ended up being sort of manly, which didn’t help! The ingredients are ultra-pure and very safe, but it just didn’t work and was very pricey.
Disclosure: Herbalix sent me samples for my review but in no way paid for my opinion or is affiliated with me in any way. Miessence now wishes I hadn’t won that giveaway, but I’m an honest cat. I am an affiliate of MadeOn, but only because they’re awesome. The coconut oil distributors were chosen because they are my site sponsors this month – see the sidebar. There are many high-quality options for coconut oil. See my full disclosure statement here.