Sunday, April 12, 2015

DIY: Intentional deodoration

Leaving aside the idea that "commercial" deodorants contain harmful and potentially carcinogenic chemicals,* making your own deodorant is cost-effective and, it must be admitted, self-pleasing.

The active ingredient is baking soda,** as it absorbs odors. In excess amounts, it can also cause skin irritation. Fortunately, you can use reduce the amount stated most recipes without adverse effects.

The moisture absorber is cornstarch (or cornflour) or arrowroot powder. The latter is more popular because it's "non-GMO", but what else do you really know about the arrowroot or its cultivation processes? If you can only find cornstarch, use it. Maybe try and support a local producer if you can.

The third ingredient is coconut oil, touted for its antibacterial properties. You can buy it in bulk and not feel the pinch so much as compared to, say, jojoba oil, and it smells nice. No, it won't go rancid in the deodorant. I used Country Farm Organics coconut oil because that was all I found in the supermarket.

You don't need that much of everything, and given the price, I don't see the point of getting 1 kg of "true" organic coconut oil from the health food shop.

Anyway, beeswax (from Beauty360degrees) is what gives you a solid deo stick. I read an evaluation of oil to beeswax ratios that concluded that the best ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part beeswax. This is actually too soft for our weather and this purpose (and including the powdery components), so I'm going to remelt the original batch and increase the beeswax to a 2:1 ratio.

This is the recipe I used: Homemade Summer Deodorant. The weather described seems closest to ours, but as with all experiments, optimization must take place before you obtain the desired results. I actually halved the amounts, and I still have a lot of the first batch waiting for its day in the sun (so to speak) in a reused mustard jar!

Speaking of desired results, this stuff works. In detail, I used less than the stated amount of baking soda, and preliminary tests indicate this can be increased somewhat. Pouring it into the twistup containers was fiddly (pipettes needed), but given the small amounts of everything used, the batch I made cost about RM2.50. So yes, it's worth the effort and time (which wasn't a lot anyway), and it's a keeper.

*There are chemicals in everything! Why target just deodorant?
**A chemical.

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