Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Be Your Own Apothecary: Non-Toxic Deodorant that Actually Works

Apotheca products have always been free of Parabens and synthetic chemicals and fragrances. Lately there has been a lot of well-deserved terrible press about just how bad these ingredients are. So lately a lot of my clients have been asking for my recommendations of natural products that don't contain toxic chemicals but that actually work. You see, many well-liked faux-natural lines (such as that airport favorite that looks like a twee apothecary and whose name rhymes with "Bhiel's") have gross ingredients like aluminum and artificial fragrance. And your usual health food store deodorant may not have parabens or aluminum in it, but it also leaves many lovely ladies and gentlemen feeling. . . not so fresh.

I'm sorry, Tom's. I'm looking at you.

Our own k23 skincare makes a fab-smelling, sweat-stopping, Earth-saving deodorant/antiperspirant with shea butter, French cosmetic clay, and a host of ridiculously good-smelling essential oils. A steal at $15.95, it's redolent of an enchanted valley and makes you feel like raising your hand all day long, even when you don't know the answer.

But it's dead easy to make a perfectly serviceable product yourself with stuff you probably already have on hand. So, BEHOLD- my recipe for a super-easy deodorant:

Supplies needed:


SOMETHING TO STIR WITH (I like cocktail swizzles, but use what you've got.)

Ingredients needed:



ESSENTIAL OILS in a scent you like (something like this would give you a fresh scent with great antibacterial action)

To Make:

1. Melt some coconut oil in a double-broiler
2. Pour it into a jar and add enough baking soda to make a paste
3. Add a couple drops of essential oils if you like
4. The end.

Oh, you thought cosmetic formulation should be a touch more complex? Okay- here are longer directions for you, but really you are just fine doing the above. This isn't rocket surgery.

To Make, Complicated:

1. Make a double broiler (or bain marie, if you're feeling French and/or fancy) by putting your mixing bowl atop a sauce pan that you have filled halfway with some water.

2. Bring the water to a boil and as you do so, scoop out some coconut oil into the bowl. Eyeball it- you're talking maybe five tablespoons, depending on the size of your jar.

3. Heat the coconut oil until it is just liquified.  (Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. If it's a hot day and you happen to be starting with liquified coconut oil then you may skip this whole melting step.)

4.  Pour liquified coconut oil into your jar and add approximately 1/2 cup of baking soda to the jar. Mix well.

5. Add 5-10 drops of essential oils of your choosing if you are inclined.

Optional, 6: If you are a sensitive sort or if you have just had hair removal, the baking soda may sting a bit. If this is you, try substituting part cornstarch for part of your baking soda.

Et voila, you're done and you smell darned fine.

don't you just want to stop by an author event and start asking some questions?

Want more recipes? Check out our sister blog, SF Slow Kitchen: The Home Cooking Project, for more stuff to eat and stuff to make, for healthy beauty inside and out.


Angie said...

Great idea, will try! How would you apply this though? Thanks.

Kirsten @Apothecasf.com said...

Hi Angie,

I just keep a little spoon in my bathroom, together on a tray with the deodorant. Clean it between uses and no bacteria gets in from my grubby little fingers. (Actually my fingers are usually quite clean.) From spoon to my finger to my underarm it goes. Works like a dream.