Smell My Armpits

23 Sun, 2011 § 6 Comments

[fyi I HATE the word armpits, but “smell under my arms” just didn’t have the same ring to it. ;)]

For those of you dying to know what my pits [eh, cringe] smell like, I am confident you would be pleasantly surprised by a calming whiff of lavender, a bold essence you might not be able to place & a detection of…nuttiness?

Coconutiness, that is.

I am terrified…absolutely petrified…of Aluminum.  Is my fear warranted?  Maybe, maybe not; but the fact that it is considered a toxic chemical & has been linked to several diseases like… Alzheimer’s & cancer….makes me nervous.

So just stay away from it, right?  Well, most commercial antiperspirants contain Aluminum Salts, namely Aluminum Cholorhydrate?  It does a stellar job at suppressing perspiration; but ladies, what tissue extends up into the armpits?  Breast tissue.  A little too close for comfort for me.

While there are now oodles of alternative, “natural” deodorants out there sans Aluminum Salts, the delicate skin under my arms has always been sensitive.  It took years — & a brilliant suggestion by my father, surprisingly — to finally try & then fall in love with Dove deodorant, seemingly simple & pure.  It has been the only one not to cause painful, red breakouts under my arms.  Even some the natural deodorants leave break outs & many have sticky, weird textures; worst of all, I always smell like soup.  Seriously.  Dave gets such a kick out of the fact I think I smell like Lipton soup.  He disagrees, but I think he is trying to spare my feelings.  Gross, who wants to smell like broth?

So it seems my options are A) smell like broth.  B) stick with Dove & not think about the “trace amounts” of Aluminum seeping into my skin.  C) finally get around to making my own — I have been hanging on to an old, cleaned out deodorant container for months for just this purpose.

I had looked over a few recipes & went with Ashley’s version & added another essential oil for its natural antibacterial qualities…but it also promotes sweating, which is counter-intuitive when making deodorant.  Guess what?  Sweating is GOOD for us.  That is one way our bodies eliminate toxins.

As a teenager, I was mortified by any degree of sweat not the direct result of playing sports.  I have finally come to terms with sweat.  No antiperspirant comes close to cutting it when I am active anyway [I sweat like a guy!].  As long as I do not stink, I am ok.  I have not been sweating any more with my homemade stick than I do with commercial antiperspirant, so I will stick with this formula for now.

Only six ingredients — all of which I keep on-hand anyway — & my own deodorant was born.  I wanted to try it out for a couple weeks before passing it along to you; I love it.

Arrowroot Powder

You can use cornstarch, but I prefer the more natural + less processed [+ talc-free] arrowroot.


Baking Soda

Coconut Oil

Refined or unrefined (retains more nutrients) if you want the coconut scent — I went with unrefined — this is also great for your skin!  I rub it on in the shower before my final rinse to soften my skin; no need for lotion even in AZ dryness when I do this.


Lavender essential oil

Contains natural antiperspirant qualities.  If you have never used the oil before, start with a spot test to determine any reactions — do not forget to dilute before applying directly to skin!  I also add this to my homemade cleaning spray.


Tea Tree essential oil

Natural antibacterial/fungal qualities.  Sometimes I add this to my kitchen & bath laundry.  It is also an effective first-aid remedy for cuts, burns, insect bites, infections, etc.


Vitamin E [capsules]

Also great for the skin & helps reduce water loss; I keep the capsules on hand to “doctor” wounds & ugly, climber’s cuticles.  It smells weird when I apply it alone, but you cannot detect it in the deodorant.

Homemade Deodorant with Lavender & Tea Tree Oil

Double Batch — Dave needed deodorant too after all.

Fills two tall [2.6 oz]deodorant containers + a small tree cookie cutter 🙂

~$3.00 per deodorant [I did not factor in the oils because I used so little]

  • ½ C arrowroot powder
  • ½ C baking soda
  • 12 T coconut oil
  • ~12 drops lavender oil
  • ~10 drops tea tree oil
  • 4 vitamin E capsules

Combine all ingredients.
Mash with a fork until smooth or until completely combined.  [I warmed the coconut oil to make it easier to combine & get “smooth”.]
Add more essential oil if desired.
Crank down empty deodorant container until it is all the way at the bottom.
Pour mixture in, cap & refrigerate until solid.

CRUCIAL: Slap on an inspiring sticker — something that is worth reminding yourself every morning & every time you apply your deodorant.

*Remember – It will become very soft around 76* from the coconut oil.  Store in a cool place or even in the fridge.  If you keep it in the fridge, make sure you leave it out a few minutes before twisting it.  We were anxious & I think we both stripped ours out; now we are applying deodorant with our fingers! 😀

Maybe my anxiety over Aluminum is unnecessary; but if I can find an alternative to a substance in question, why would I not go with the safe bet?  Plus, it is always rewarding to make your own anything…even if it is for stinky, sweaty…armpits 😉


Do you make any of your own toiletries?

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§ 6 Responses to Smell My Armpits

  • Julia says:

    I am again inspired. I would have never thought to make my own deodorant! And I love the sticker you slapped on yours. Every day should be an adventure 🙂

  • Ashley says:

    You make me laugh. I’m sure my brother would love to try this–he’s on the natural deodorant kick too.

    Current medical literature does not support a causal association between aluminum based deodorant and breast cancer risk. The jury is still out on the long term implications of antiperspirants and cancer though. The highest incidence of breast cancer is the upper outer quadrant of the breast, where cosmetic products are applied..also where the most epithelial tissue is though. They don’t quite understand the extent of absorption levels in the armpit so it’s not clear how much ‘chemicals’ your body actually takes in. Whatever you do take it would not be systemic though (so not in your whole body like an oral pill would do). Interesting research topic that should have more studies being published so something to keep an eye on!

    I’ll stick with my Dove for now…unless you make me some 😉 I’ve always wanted to make my own soap before but getting all the supplies and not knowing how to do it has been a barrier. I have very sensitive skin so air on the hypoallergenic side with Cetaphil, Vanicream, and the thick Yes to Carrots lotion. It’s super neat you are learning to make your own products and enjoy them!

    Thanks for giving me a ‘medically’ appropriate study break!! I have 3 exams tomorrow and my brain feels like it is going to explode. I’m not sure how I’m ever going to learn all this stuff! 😛


    • Allie says:

      I knew you would get a kick out of this & have something intelligent to say! Glad I could offer a break. 🙂 Those are links I will definitely check out & keep my eye on. I should have made you some! Next batch. Soap would be awesome to make but more of a hassle than I care to mess with. I’ll make deodorant; you make soap. 😉
      Oh, & please walk away from the books BEFORE your head explodes. Good luck tomorrow — you are brilliant & will ace these per usual.

  • […] gym for an hour, fit in a playground workout at the nearest park or just go for a walk — my deodorant has been keeping up too.   Even if I do get in my 4:30am workout, I love breaking up my day with […]

  • Interesting. I sweat a lot as well (and not just when I am working out) so having a deodorant that is also an antiperspirant is important to me to avoid embarrassing sweat stains!

  • […] you made your own deodorant yet?  I am still loving mine…except…occasionally, my under arms became mildly irritated […]

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