Reader Inquiry: Can we make our own deoderants and anti-perspirants?
“I like your spa at home recipes — I make them with my Aunt once a month when we house sit together. This may be a dumb question, but can you make your own deodorant/antiperspirant at home, too? We were laughing that it’s the only body thing we have not made on our beauty weekend.” — Emily K.
Emily — I’m glad we are contributing to a fun way to spend a weekend. You didn’t ask a dumb question at all, and yes, you can make your own hygiene care at home — however, let’s distinguish between the two products you mentioned. Antiperspirants and deodorants are quite different.
Antiperspirants work by clogging, closing, or blocking the pores with powerful astringents — such as aluminum salts — so that they cannot release perspiration. Many natural health care proponents argue against using aluminum because it accumulates in the brain. You don’t stink but with enough aluminum on the brain you could end up making bad decisions — marry the wrong guy, invite your unemployed brother in law along on your vacation, pick up hitchhikers in hockey masks — that kind of thing.
Deodorants, on the other hand, work by neutralizing the smell of the perspiration mixed with “body dust” (skin, hair and other bacterial goodies we carry around on ourselves all day), and by antiseptic action against that bacteria. Deodorants are more healthful because they don’t interfere with perspiration, your body’s natural cooling process.
Here are a few simple recipes, which are fun to make because they can customized with your favorite essential oils. We don’t always have to smell “powder fresh” or “sunshine fresh.” I prefer ylang ylang, myself. — Editor
Baking Soda: Baking soda works wonders because it neutralizes the odor of sweat. Just sprinkle a light covering of baking soda onto a damp washcloth. Pat on. Don’t rinse.
Basic Deodorant Powder: 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch, a few drops essential oils such as lavender or cinnamon, or try cedar and sage for men. Place the ingredients in a glass jar. Shake to blend. Sprinkle a light covering of the powder on a damp washcloth. Pat on. Do not rinse.
Basic Liquid Deodorant: 1/4 cup each witch hazel extract, aloe vera gel, and mineral water, 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin, a few drops antibacterial essential oils such as lavender, or tea tree. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to blend. Makes 3/4 cup with an indefinite shelf life.
Hi, I read the recipe for home made deodorants and they look good, but I have a real simple but effective one to tell you about. Simply put some apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and apply under the arms. When it dries its smell is gone. It works for me a minimum of 14 hours. It even cleared up a small mild rash from the regular store deodorant I stopped using.
And, my after shave consists of preparing peppermint tea using two teabags and let it steep until cool. Place in spray bottle and Voila! Great Aftershave. Thanks.
William T., Manitoba, Canada — January 2007