When I tell people you make your own deodorant, about 70% of them back off in the way you’d expect them to if I just admitted a proclivity for inserting digits into my olfactory cavity on a nightly basis. (Don’t say I don’t help you improve your vocabulary). The other 30%, usually women with lefty leanings, go “really?” and ask for more information.
So, ladies, this post is for you.
And for those sceptics still reading, yes, I used to use shop-bought deodorant. Like everyone, I sweat. Sometimes lots. And like everyone, when that dried or sometimes when it didn’t – hormones, temperature, what I’d eaten – whatever the hell it was that did it, it didn’t smell great. When I moved to Japan, I found in Lush (yep, they have it there too, and yes, all the product names are in Japanglish) a solid deodorant bar, which I thought I’d try. It contained various oils but primarily sodium bicarbonate (aka. bicarbonate of soda or just plain ol’ “bicarb”) which works as a highly effective deodoriser (amongst loads of other awesome things).
Let me just interject to say that “anti-perspirants” and “deodorants” are not the same. The former stops you sweating, mostly by blocking sweat-producing pores, mostly commonly through the use of aluminium salts. These do not have a great reputation, and although their cancer-causing qualities have yet to be proven once and for all, let’s face it – stopping your body doing a function which is not only natural but necessary, is kind of fucked up. The latter neutralises odours, hence the name. Duh.
Anyhow, Lush stopped selling this product so I decided I’d try and make my own. That was about five years ago and I’ve never looked back. If you’d like to try it, it’s incredibly simple and cheap enough that you could give it a go and throw it all away if it didn’t work out.
- Oil. I used almond oil because it is clear and light – something like avocado oil, whilst super dense and moisturising, might leave a green tinge on your clothes.
- Sodium bicarbonate. I get mine from Boots because it’s actually finer than the stuff they sell in the supermarket.
- Essential oil(s). This is a blended oil containing fresh-smelling things like rosemary, but anything could work.
- Optional (but not shown): cornflour, other solid fats like cocoa butter or coconut oil.