Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Natural Deodorant: Part XII

So my natural deodorant saga continues. It turns out that I am allergic to baking soda (which one of you predicted, several attempts ago). The deodorant I made from three simple ingredients (which worked like a charm!), gave me itching and then weird, huge bumps. I won't go into much detail. Suffice it to say that I had to return to my regular antiperspirant (which could eventually cause Alzheimer's or breast cancer) and wait for the situation to stabilize. 

I am now on to what I hope is a final solution: I went back to Etsy and ordered a $6 trial of the natural deodorant that I loved many attempts ago (this time without the baking soda). The seller lets you customize the product for a couple extra dollars (and try out a smaller version for half the price). I have no idea if it will work without the baking soda, but I am oh-so-hopeful. 

Here are my recommendations, based on my quest to find a natural deodorant that could hold up to the challenge of living in Central Texas:
  1. This deodorant on Etsy is relatively easy to apply, smells great, and works well. The only downside is the price. 
  2. This recipe for homemade deodorant also works really well. It's also relatively easy to apply. It's much easy to make than you might think. The only downside is that you have to work a little harder to add a scent to it (I never got to that stage because I didn't want to irritate my sensitive skin). 
This struggle has been worth it, in my opinion. This is one instance when I don't want to compromise effectiveness or naturalness. I want a product that does the job and doesn't harm my body.

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Allyson Mulcahy said...

I've also been "touring" the world of natural deodorants! I also can't use some as they burn and irritate my underarms! I just recently bought a new one at whole foods, but I find that by mid-afternoon, I stink! I've finally found one that doesn't irritate my underarms, but it doesn't work as well as I'd like it to. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date with your deodorant venture! I hope this one works for you!

Celeste said...

I just recently started this search as I learned more about the effects of aluminium in commercial antiperspirants. Tried Jason natural deodorant and, like Allyson, found it completely ineffective. My hubby even said the deodorant MADE him stink more. Thanks for sharing the results of your efforts for us to learn from!

Nora said...

Hi -

Can you explain more about how deodorant could contribute to breast cancer or alzheimer's? I have heard the claim, but with a quick google search all I could find was:


Should we really be alarmed? If so, why?

Abby said...

I, too, have super sensitive skin and baking soda in deodorant is a huge problem for me. I think I am going to try this recipe next:

Good luck and thanks for sharing your saga :)

Lynna said...

I've mentioned this before but couldn't help bringing it up to you again... Have you tried Thai Crystal Deodorant Mist? It's a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. You'll still going to sweat with any deodorant you use, but no one wants to stink! I live in Central Texas too and have been using Thai Crystal Spray for years. On the rare occasion that I have to skip a bath, this stuff will keep working for 2 days! Also, it doesn't have a scent. It's odorless but still keeps you 100% odorless! I love it! Just make sure to buy the mist, which is a spray. Don't bother with the stone that you have to get wet first and then apply.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Lavalin? I have a skin condition and for awhile had to go without any deodorant but then was on a quest for a natural alternative that would be gentle on my skin and I've found it! Lavalin is an herbal cream that kills the bacteria that causes odor. The more you use it the more effective it is and it can last up to 4 days (even post shower). My fave brand is NOW. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Another potential solution: reduce the amount of baking soda in your recipe. I got terrible rashes when I used equal parts corn starch and baking soda and at first thought I was allergic to baking soda, but eventually I found a gentler proportion that still worked:

1.6 TB baking powder (5 tsp)
4 TB corn starch
4 TB coconut oil

Jenny said...

Hey Nora (and sorry to hijack this)..

I'm a public health person who specializes in maternal and child health. I'll just say that antiperspirant is not a big topic of conversation in our discussions of cancer prevention. There are many, many things that are much more clearly linked to causing cancer (i.e. smoking, obesity). The couple of studies that show any link were not well done. However, some parabens are a potential cause for concern for any estrogenic cancer and many commercial antiperspirants contain parabens. The Alzheimer's/Aluminum idea has largely been determined to be unfounded. Tellingly, people with kidney disease have a lot of aluminum in their body but are at no greater risk of developing Alzheimer's. Most of the animal studies on aluminum included levels that you would basically never find in a human unless you were exposed in a hazardous waste site. Since we live immersed in a sea of chemicals, it is very challenging to draw direct cause and effect of exposure in humans. I take a better safe than sorry approach but also try not to make myself nuts. Try searching the CDC website on these topics if you are interested.

Sarah said...


I have always had the same problem with all my deodorants. I finally stopped shaving for a couple months and switched to roll-on Crystal deodorant (anti-antiperspirants are not only a no-no in our house, we also know that in the Houston heat, they are laughably ineffective). Honestly, the way I solved it is by A) not shaving very often, either with days in between or in the winter, months and B) honestly, just going without deodorant unless I'm going to be out-of-doors for a long period of time or in a close, social situation where I could possibly nervous-sweat. I don't know if it was the roll-on Crystal or the SERIOUS breaks between shaving, but I have never again in the last two years had the awful, awful razor burns/bumps/general funkiness under my arms from shaving that I did all my life.

SO if this is way off, and it's not about shaving+deodorant and it's just about deodorant+safety, march on in your pursuit. But just sayin'. Maybe toss the razor for a bit and see if it helps.

<3, Sarah

Anaïs said...

Hi Sarah,
I followed the "3 simple ingredients recipe", but I made my deodorant with sodium bicarbonate bought at the pharmacy instead of baking soda. In the baking soda I bought in a supermarket, I found out that the main ingredient was sodium bicarbonate but that 2 more ingredients with health hazard potentials were added to that. So I threw it in the trash. In Europe you can get sodium bicarbonate at the pharmacy for digestive troubles. It's cheap and safe. If it's the same in the US, maybe you could try your recipe with it instead of baking soda.
I hope my message makes sense, sorry for my weird english :)

Moxie said...

I just saw this stainless steel deodorant in the Skymall catalog this week:

Don't know if it works, but very curious. There's also a much cheaper version:

Anonymous said...

I have troule with baking soda, too. In fact, the first two ties I tried no 'poo I failed, and once I realized the baking soda was irritating, I had an almost effortless transition!

AngelaDean said...

On a recommendation from the book "No More Dirty Looks" my husband I tried Lavanila deoderant and LOVE it. It's the best all natural deoderant I've ever used. Downside- super expensive. Sephora carries it.

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