Saturday, October 29, 2011

Scare tactics or not, I'm giving homemade deodorant a try

The October 19 post on The Beauty Brains brought up the use of scare tactics to dissuade consumers from using beauty products with chemicals. While the post mentioned that many of the “toxic” ingredients are perfectly safe, my philosophy is that it is better to not risk it if there are natural alternatives that work.

The one thing I have not been able to find is a good alternative for deodorant. Store-bought antiperspirants work really well. The aluminum-free variety just don't seem to stop sweating and odors as well. I decided to learn a little bit more about how aluminum works in deodorants.

Here's a good description from Discovery Health:

“The aluminum ions are taken into the cells that line the eccrine-gland ducts at the opening of the epidermis, the top layer of the skin, says dermatologist Dr. Eric Hanson of the University of North Carolina's Department of Dermatology. When the aluminum ions are drawn into the cells, water passes in with them. As more water flows in, the cells begin to swell, squeezing the ducts closed so that sweat can't get out.”

This all sounds a little unnatural to me. “Closing” my sweat glands seems to be contradictory to their intended purpose of cooling the body and releasing toxins.

In addition, my boyfriend has been trying to talk me into switching to aluminum-free deodorant because my family has a history of Alzheimer. While some studies show a link between Alzheimer and aluminum, others show no causal relationship. Here's a good summary of these studies from the Alzheimer's Society in the UK.

Rather than sacrificing natural body chemistry and risking Alzheimer, I decide to try my hand at a homemade deodorant today. Making beauty products is fun, and it would be great if I can come up with a formula that actually works.

Here's what I included in my recipe: baking soda, corn starch, bentonite clay, cocoa butter, coconut oil, vegetable glycerine, and lemongrass, tea tree and rosemary essential oils. I also added grapefruit seed extract and vitamin e to help preserve the mixture.

It took a little bit of arm strength to mix everything into a smooth paste, but otherwise it is an easy recipe. It definitely does not have that smooth consistency of store-bought deodorants. It's a little loose, but that makes application easier. The smell is wonderful and the tea tree leaves behind a nice, refreshing feeling.

I just got an exercise ball, so I will give my homemade deodorant a good test drive today and let you know how it works. I will keep tweaking the recipe as I use it, but it will probably work great for winter when I don't sweat as much. We'll see if I'm a convert by the time summer starts!

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