One of my sustainability goals for 2018 was to start making my own zero-waste bathroom/beauty products, and about a month ago I made my first move towards doing just that. I’ve been trialling a homemade zero-waste deodorant for this past month and I’m pleased to say that I have had excellent results! The recipe I used was not of my own creation but one from Anne Marie over at The Zero-Waste Chef. You can find the recipe here, but in a nutshell it’s made of bicarb soda, coconut oil, cornstarch and essential oil. Here’s a little run-down of my experience with this recipe in terms of effectiveness, environmental impact and cost:
I would describe myself as a fairly sweaty person, as unfortunately, I’m rather prone to nervous sweats (but less so lately 🙂). Combine that with the fact that I live in a part of the world where it’s hot – or at the very least warm – most of the year, and you’ve got yourself a serious need for an effective deodorant. I am very pleased to say that Anne Marie’s recipe really did not disappoint on this front! While it is aluminium-free so obviously not an anti-perspirant, I find myself to be completely odour-free for the entire day with no need for reapplication. As a side note I’ll also add that I find I smell a lot less when I avoid polyester clothing, so this deodorant used with 100% cotton garments is an excellent combination for me.
I was previously going through one 80ml plastic bottle of commercially-produced deodorant per month, so am very excited to be eliminating these bottles from my plastic footprint. Fortunately, I’m also in a position where I can purchase the ingredients in a low-impact way. The bicarb soda, cornstarch and coconut oil I can all buy in bulk in my own containers, and the essential oils I have come in glass bottles.
I’m not sure exactly how much it cost me to make one batch of this, but I’m guessing about $1. I’ve used up about half of the mixture in one month, so it should last about two months in total. In comparison, I used to spend about $7 a month on deodorant. So not only is this deodorant effective and environmentally-friendly, it’s extremely thrifty too!
My tips for making and using the deodorant:
- I used lemongrass essential oil when I made the recipe. I love the fresh scent of lemongrass but am also eager to experiment with different oils in future. I’m thinking of doing a lavender/rose geranium combination next time.
- Stir the mixture every few days with a metal teaspoon to avoid separation of the coconut oil and solid ingredients. When I stir the mixture, I make sure I leave bits of it smeared up the sides of the jar – as you can see in the first photo below – so that I always have some ready to apply, even if the bulk of it at the bottom of the jar has separated.
- I find I need to use a bit of water to spread over my armpits, otherwise I can see a very thin layer of dried bicarb on the surface. I suggest applying the deodorant, then wetting your fingertips and rubbing them over your armpits, then waiting a few minutes for it to dry before putting on your clothes.
- If you’re worried about your clothes getting greasy from the coconut oil component, don’t be. This was one of my initial concerns, but I find that the small amount of coconut oil in each application is readily absorbed into the skin and does not linger on the surface, especially if you use a bit of water afterwards as suggested above. I find that the feeling after application is one of dryness rather than greasiness.
A huge thank you to Anne Marie for sharing her great zero-waste deodorant recipe! After only one month of use, I can say with confidence that this is something I’ll be making indefinitely. If you try it out too, I’d be curious to know what you think.