There is much debate about the safety of commercial underarm deodorants. Critics of these products indicate the alluminum-based compounds used as active ingredients have been indicated as causes of cancer, yet the National Cancer Institute (NCI) indicates there is no conclusive evidence to support these claims.
Other concerns center on the use of parabens in commercial products, but again, the NCI denies there is any reason to be concerned with these ingredients.
“Some research has focused on parabens, which are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants that have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the bodys cells,” indicates NCI. “Although parabens are used in many cosmetic, food, and pharmaceutical products, according to the FDA, most major brands of deodorants and antiperspirants in the United States do not currently contain parabens.”
If you aren’t sure what to make of the controversy, or who you should believe, it’s okay to air on the side of caution and just make your own deodorant at home. It’s inexpensive and easy, and you might be surprised just how well it works.
How to make your own deodorant at home
One of the most popular ways to make your own deodorant is to use coconut oil. Coconut oil has been proven through research to have antibacterial properties, and as an all-natural product, it’s good for your skin and doesn’t contain any additives.
Using coconut oil as the base for your recipe, you’ll find there are a variety of ways you can customize it to your liking. Take this basic recipe as a starting point:
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- ?1/8 cup cornstarch? (for thickening)
- 1/8 cup arrowroot powder? (for thickening)
- Essential oils of choice (optional)
Keep in mind that while the coconut oil and the baking soda will keep those odor-causing bacteria at-bay, thickening agents are needed to make your deodorant a success. Pure coconut oil has a melting point around 72 degrees Fahrenheit and that means on a normal summer day it will want to liquify.
Adding arrowroot and corn starch will help keep your homemade deodorant in a more lotion-like form, but if you’re really looking for some added firmness, try adding beeswax as illustrated in the recipe below:
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp grated beeswax
- 5 drops tea tree oil (optional, but adds antibacterial properties)
- 5 drops of some other essential oil (optional. I like citrus and lavender)
Combine ingredients together in a double-boiler to avoid burning the beeswax and the coconut oil then pour into a . While you don’t need to use essential oils in your recipes, they allow for you to customize the scent–if you want one. Just be sure to consult with your doctor when making your own personal hygiene products, especially if you are nursing or pregnant.