A few years ago I read something that prompted me to stop using deodorant. It was a quick little post from a mom on a website that she stopped using deodorant when breastfeeding because the thought of chemicals entering her body in the area where her baby was nursing made her uncomfortable. Since at the time I was tandem nursing twins ~ I felt the power of that statement and decided to go ‘au natural’! There of course, are also the rampant rumors of the connection between underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the link to breast cancer. As I’m not a scientist, I checked with the National Cancer Institute’s website and they go on the record saying they haven’t received conclusive evidence of this fact. Although they do point out an interesting fact about what scientists do know about the ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants. Here is the quote about aluminum-based compounds and parabans:
Aluminum-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer. Some research has focused on parabens, which are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants that have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells.
So – although I’m no longer breast feeding, I’ve continued my journey in life not wearing deodorant. I have never tried an all-natural deodorant before; partially because nobody I know has been able to recommend a brand that actually works and until lately I didn’t think I needed any help. However in the last few months I think my body chemistry has changed and regulated to the fact I’m not using anything and I find myself needing some help. Particularly on the days I’m running around like a mad-woman with 4 kids in tow. No wonder I’m sweaty and stinky!
But being a creature set in my ways..I refused to go back to traditional deodorant. I’ve simply become wary of any mainstream beauty products. So I put out my question to the many people I connect with via Twitter and my answer came from Tanya @islandregency. She has been using the recipe from Passionate Homemaking. I finally tried the recipe with a few tweaks thanks to the comments on the recipe and Tanya’s agreement on the modifications ~ I’m very happy with the results. I can use this homemade deodorant and it not only lasts until I take a bath and wash it away, but it stops any underarm odor. I had my husband try it too since I’d like him to be a little more chemical sensitive, but he thinks it wore off by the end of the day for him. I can only speak for myself and since I found out the hard way after using his deodorant when we attended a Christmas party with dancing..that his does not work on me. So maybe the case can be made that women and men sweat and react to deodorants differently. I thought that women’s antiperspirants were rumored to be more toxic anyway with the aluminum agent so I encourage all my Mommy Footrprint readers to give this recipe a try! Thank you to Passionate Homemaking for posting and Tanya for sharing!
5-6 Tbsp Coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder. Then slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon until it maintains the substance you desire. The modifications to this recipe that Tanya suggested (and that I followed) are using 1/8 cup baking soda and 1/4 + 2 tbsp cornstarch instead of the half and half ratio that’s called for in the recipe. I keep the ball of deodorant in a sealed jar, wrapped in parchment paper so I don’t get my hands sticky when applying. Also, when it got a little melted in texture from our hot bathroom, I put it in the fridge to harden for a few hours.
As a side note to this article, a very cool tip was offered from Crystal Di Domizio via the Mommy Footprint facebook fan page. Crystal is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Prenatal Wellness Coach and Birth Doula and wrote an article about the many benefits of coconut oil. I had no idea that cooking with unrefined coconut oil is much healthier than olive oil. Crystal pointed out that olive oil should be used in low temperature recipes (salad dressings, etc.) and coconut oil is great to cook with because it doesn’t become damaged with heat. She wrote a great article that I’d like to share about coconut oil. I’ve since been using my coconut oil to cook with and it’s much kinder to the ‘sticking’ on my stainless steel pans than olive oil and you cannot taste a difference. Thank you for posting Crystal!