Deodorants have been my nemesis for nearly five years now. I set out to make them after my other body care product inventory had taken off and brought me to a place where I had all (or at least most) of the ingredients to make them. Also, I had long ago quit using aluminum based commercial deodorants (really scary stuff in my opinion), but I just hadn’t found the right natural deodorant for me. Either they didn’t really work, or I didn’t like how they felt, or the application process was not for me. So I jumped in!
My first set of deodorants had baking soda in them. All-natural deodorants have baking soda to absorb odor, right? It works and is fairly ubiquitous to natural deodorants. It took me about six months to realize that baking soda is not for everyone, everyday. After using my home-made deodorants for that six months, I developed a flaming red rash in my armpits. Well, it couldn’t be the deodorant, right? I had been using it for so long. So I used it again the next day. Rash worsened. The third day, I could not use ANYTHING because my pit skin was so irritated. Without using any deodorant, the rash got better extremely fast, and I started making conclusions. After a bit more trial and error, plus lots of internet research, and listening to other users….I came to the firm realization that I needed to formulate a natural deodorant without any baking soda. Since using the non-baking soda deodorant, I have experienced that it works fine (for those of us sensitive to the baking soda) to use it only occasionally, even often. Most people are completely fine with the baking soda deodorant all the time. I always recommend that users start with that product. However, many of us use a tandem set: the baking soda version for those days when you know you’ll need just a bit more umph, and the non-baking soda version for most other days. This works perfectly. Except…..it meant that I needed to perfect TWO formulations…….
This blog has been writing itself in my head for a couple of years now as I explore, grow and learn in the world of deodorant making. AND as YOU use, test, and report about your experiences. Some versions turned out too hard. Some have been too soft. Some are grainy. Some are too dark. All are extremely similar, yet none have been perfect. Some, I swear, were made identically, yet one is grainy and the other one is not. (This is either due to the deodorant gremlins who reside with me, or the tempering of shea butter gone ineffective!) Different seasons and temperatures in the making studio can affect the end result as well.
Even though I still strive for better and better, I have had tremendous support over the years for our deodorants. Many of you love them and come back and back! Others of you have told me they are not for you (bless you for your honest feedback). The hardest part has been trying to make the two versions very similar in application and use. To simply substitute arrowroot powder for the baking soda in same quantities DOES NOT work. They have totally different absorption and texture properties.
Fast forward to now….I feel I am finally in the final “just right” zone. Thanks for hanging in there with me! Over the years I have made several changes. Containers for one…I first had horrible plastic ones. Then I had better plastic ones, yet still plastic. Now we have cardboard push up tubes, which everyone seems to love! (Thank you for that support! It is an important one to me.) Also, during this journey, I have tried to squeeze some magnesium into the recipe. Big fail. It’s very weird stuff. Totally changes the chemistry of the deodorant. Adding in the magnesium made them soft and grainy no matter how little I used. I also used to pride myself on buying only pure, organic, local, and unrefined ingredients. However, some users were having problems with staining in white shirts. (A bit of stain treatment or occasional bleaching was the remedy here, but that is not acceptable to me….to have that need.) I have stripped away all color and have come up with a much whiter product. (Sadly, no more local golden beeswax or beautiful unrefined golden jojoba oil. I have replaced these items with the white versions. Still very top notch, organic, and natural ingredients, just refined a bit to take out the color. Also, I have reduced the diatomaceous earth to a minimal amount. Although, it helps with deodorizing and absorbing sweat, it turns a darker color when moistened. By making these changes, I finally have that WHITE deodorant!
One more tidbit about my need for top-notch quality: Not all baking sodas are the same! Even though I still get a tiny rash if I use the baking soda for weeks on end, it is not nearly as bad as it once used to be. I am convinced that this is because of the baking soda that I now use in all my leave-on products. Arm & Hammer baking soda is fine for cleaning products, but not (in my opinion) good for the skin. In my quest for the most chemical free products possible, I came to learn that the best, most natural baking soda is mined straight from the ground, in its natural sodium bicarbonate state. There are no chemical reactions, nothing else added, just pure sodium bicarbonate the way the earth made it. The less expensive baking sodas are made thru a chemical reaction process by heating trona ore into soda ash then treating it with carbon dioxide. I choose the naturally mined Frontier brand of baking soda, harvested straight from the earth for all of our deodorants.
Finally, I feel like I have the right baking soda, the right texture, the right color, and the right packaging! If you have loved our deodorants along the way, Thank You! I hope you’ll like them even better. If you have not loved them (or even liked them), that’s ok! But I do hope you will give them another try. If you haven’t even tried them yet, now is the right time! Let me know what you think. Only 100% honest feedback please! We will never stop trying to improve on all of our products. Your feedback will help us along the way.
Maybe someday, I will LOVE making deodorants. Until then, every batch is made with a prayer and a pleading to universal karma that THIS batch will be great!
In summary, I am proud that we strive for constant improvement! I am proud of our deodorants and the journey that has been required to get there. Our new and improved deodorants are white, easy to apply, effective odor control, environmentally conscious, AND made with the best ingredients and love that we can muster!
*Another blog for another day to come about my thoughts on the dangers of aluminum based deodorants, the ingredients I choose and why, how essentials oils play a large role in my efficacy formulations, and how to best help your body detox based on the products you choose.