A review of my experience making and using homemade deodorant - did it work against my seemingly deodorant-proof smell and would it work for you?
This article is going to get a little personal. As in: something I've never told anyone.
And since no one (including Brian) has ever mentioned it, I'm assuming (fingers crossed) it was only me who was bothered so much about this thing.
OK, here goes. *deep breath*
I smelled. Stunk. Couldn't stand the smell of myself in certain situations. Like after a workout (OK, that's not that unusual...), or when I was nervous, or just a little warm, or the worst- in the summer when I wore sleeveless shirts. It got so that I didn't want to wear tank tops, even when it was super hot.
And this is the clincher: I'd even smell myself right after taking a shower. No kidding. And sweat wasn't really the issue- I've never been a person who sweats a lot.
As a matter of fact, I hardly ever wore deodorant in my 20's and 30's because I didn't sweat much and I didn't smell then. Really. The smell issue started in my early 40's.
Trying to Solve The Problem
I spent years trying every deodorant on the market, even the "clinical strength" varieties. I mean, most of the time I'd get them for free (the most I paid for deodorant was .50, I think - don't you love those old days of extreme couponing?), so even though I heard of people making homemade deodorant why would I do that?
Plus, isn't using homemade deodorant and little "out there?"
But in the back of my mind was something I read a couple years ago on Passionate Homemaking's popular homemade deodorant post: she said she had issues with smelling and after using the deodorant, she didn't smell anymore.
After spending a nerve-wracking day in jury duty one July (don't ask- it was awful), the proverbial straw broke: I didn't sweat, but I stunk. Again.
Making Homemade Deodorant
I came home that night and whipped up a batch according to Lindsay's video. It's just three ingredients:
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. baking soda
1/4 c. arrowroot powder
Note: you can use cornstarch instead of arrowroot, which I've read will keep you drier, but some people can react to cornstarch, so arrowroot is recommended - since I did have it, I used the arrowroot.
It took less than five minutes to whip up in my food processor (much easier than doing it by hand, I found- no powder poofing up).
My coconut oil was half melted (we were having one of our hotter days, surprisingly), but I didn't worry about it and just poured the deodorant into a mason jar and stuck it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to harden up again.
Even though you're not supposed to, I did use refined coconut oil because it's cheaper and I didn't want the smell of coconut- it's not my favorite smell and I was afraid people might think I was wearing coconut perfume.
So, Does Homemade Deodorant Work?
I used just a little bit and used my fingers to rub it in (I also found that Kitchen Stewardship has instructions if you want to fill an old deodorant container to apply easier, plus more information on how to travel with it).
So here's the million dollar question: did it work for me?
In the months (update: years!) I've been using it, I very rarely smell myself. Seriously, I'm a little shocked that the simpler deodorant with the least ingredients works better than all the commercial deodorants I've tried. Wow.
On a side note, the deodorant in the jar doesn't melt totally, but it will get pretty soft in warmer months and will liquify if it's really hot. That is a definite issue. Fortunately our house stays pretty cool most of the time and it's actually easier to apply if it's a little softer.
Now there are other reasons why people want to use natural products, which are all good, but my overriding issue was smell. And it is gone. I've worked out, worked in the garden under the hot sun, traveled and laid on a sunny beach and done all the normal things I do that caused me to stink before. I've even worn sleeveless shirts.
I can't believe it. But I am happy to share my secret with you and say (who am I kidding- shout!):
Have you tried homemade deodorant? Did it work for you?
If you're interested in more on health and weight loss, check out AOC's category here.