Like many of us, when I started using antiperspirant as a pre-teen, I just used whatever my mom brought home. It was the same brand she’d been using since she was a pre-teen. However, after I went vegan, I started looking at beauty products through a different lens. I approached it from a health perspective – both of my health and the health of bunnies, guinea pigs, and mice, on whom many body products are tested. I needed a product without animal ingredients, animal testing, aluminum, parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, and propylene glycol.
After looking at the ingredients in antiperspirant versus deodorant, I realized this meant I’d be moving to deodorant. I didn’t relish the thought, honestly. I liked feeling dry all day. And pit stains? Not cute. Still, I was up for the challenge.
I tried brand after brand of natural deodorants on the shelves of my natural food store. The results? Not pretty. Finally, I heard about Lavanila Deodorant. It’s a natural deodorant, and it got rave reviews. The ingredient list, which starts with aloe juice, looked good. They don’t use ingredients that were tested on animals, and the final product is not tested on animals.
There was only one small problem – the cost. While I was used to spending a few dollars on my deodorant, Lavanila costs $18. (Update: Lavanila Deodorant is now available online for $14.) This seemed ridiculously steep for something I was just going to rub on my armpits everyday. But I bit the bullet, paid the 18 bucks, and gloriously, it worked. At the end of the day, I was still smelling fresh and clean. (It didn’t keep me dry, but it’s a deodorant, not an antiperspirant.)
Do it yourself with just 3 ingredients:
As I was nearing the end of my roll, a friend mentioned to me that she makes her own deodorant using coconut oil, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, and baking soda. I was intrigued but unsure. Would it work? Did I want to make something else in my life from scratch? Still, my friend said she’d been doing it for a year with great results and that one batch lasts a long time.
I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen already, and so one afternoon I took the leap. I mixed the coconut oil, cornstarch, and baking soda in a bowl. The coconut oil mixes easier when it’s a warm liquid as opposed to a cool solid. (If it’s too hard to mix easily, use your fingers, and the warmth of your hands will liquefy it, making it easier to use.) I moved the deodorant into a jar, and then I took a small amount onto my fingers and rubbed it into my underarm area.
I’ve been using it for the past couple of months, and I’m hooked. Not only does it keep me smelling sweet, it keeps me pretty dry as well, even when biking in the summer heat. (Update: My husband and I have been using this DIY deodorant for years now with great results.)
Even without taking the cost into consideration, I like it better than the $18 Lavanila. It just involves mixing three ingredients, and I keep it in the cupboard of my bathroom. Since coconut oil is a liquid in heat and a solid when cool, the consistency varies upon temperature, but it works equally well regardless. I haven’t had any problem with the oils staining my clothes.
I’ve noticed there are a million and one variations on this recipe all over the web, but it looks like this version from Passionate Homemaking is the original. Some people use more or less of the ingredients, some people just use coconut oil alone, and some include things like essential oils for fragrance. Personally, I like the coconutty, tropical smell as-is. I’ve read some people complain that the baking soda and/or cornstarch gives them a rash in certain quantities, and so if you find that, increase the coconut oil. I have sensitive skin, and I haven’t had any problem with it.
For more information on animal testing, check out this link from Mercy for Animals. To find companies that do & don’t test on animals with printable files that you can bring with you to the store, click here.
Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me and the opinions are totally my own. This post includes Amazon affiliate links.