Over the course of this past autumn, I swore off shampoo, deodorant, and moisturizer. I know. Either you’ve done this before yourself and are thinking “good for you” or you’ve never done it and are thinking I’m crazy (not to mention stinky).
Well, maybe I am a little bit crazy, but I smell just fine. Plus, my hair is clean, and my skin has not felt this smooth in ages.
At some point, I do want to talk a little bit about what I’m doing with my hair (baking soda followed by vinegar, similar to Simple Mom), and my face (currently almond coconut milk soap followed by straight-up coconut oil), but for this post, I thought I’d focus on the deodorant issue. Why? Mainly because I made my deodorant look pretty this weekend, but I still don’t have a nice bottle for my “shampoo.”
You do know it’s all about the photo shoot, right?
I’m not sure what made me try this powder. I suppose it was the fact that the ingredients were simple, on-hand, and cheap. And if it didn’t work, I’d have lost very little in the trying. And trust me, I was a huge skeptic. I’ve spent the last few years depending on stronger and stronger antiperpirants, right up until I was left the only option that didn’t disappoint me: the clinical strength stuff. I could not imagine that a puff of powder from my kitchen would be even a little bit effective.
You can probably guess where I’m going with this… it worked! I have used it every day for six months, and I have not been disappointed. Admittedly, I have not gone through a hot summer yet, and maybe I’ll change my tune a bit when I’m perspiring more regularly, but the sweaty situations I have experienced so far have been just fine. [I'll update here, if I discover otherwise once the hot weather arrives.]
To make the powder
Combine 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup corn starch in a glass container. Add five or so drops of lavender essential oil, close the lid, and shake up the powder to thoroughly mix all of the ingredients. Cinnamon, rose, and birch are also good options to try for their antibacterial properties and may be substituted for the lavender.
For my second batch, I used the last few drops of a honesuckle fragrance oil I’ve been hording since 1995. I realize that cuts down on the all-naturalness of it, but the scent makes me happy, and I can live with that.
To apply the powder
Since my first batch was a test, I just used what I had handy: cotton balls. I shook up the powder a bit, dipped the cotton ball into it, and patted it under my arm. You can do the same with a powder puff, or if you’re kind of a nut, you can make your own applicator to match your bathroom.
I (being kind of a nut) eventually made an applicator. I used a flower loom, but you can also use size 13 dpns in the round:
- Cast on 12 stitches with a double-strand of cotton yarn, and knit 20 rounds.
- Knit the next round of live stitches into the original cast-on stitches, rather than into the working yarn. This will give you a folded-up double thickness of fabric, making your puff resemble a doughnut. If you’re confused, think of it as making a hem. For a more detailed explanation, see these instructions for a tuck stripe (if using needles) or these directions for knitting a brim (if using a loom).
- Bind off using the gather method.
You can use the gathered end as a handle, and dip the flared-out end into the powder. If you make two, you can swap them out every now and then and toss them in the laundry.
Things to think about
If you’ve been using antiperspirants, you have to get used to the feel of sweat under your arms. Deodorant (powder or otherwise) doesn’t stop you from sweating like an antiperspirant does. Instead, it allows you to sweat, and then goes to work to neutralize any odor. There were a few times in the beginning, when I would feel moisture under my arms and be sure that I must be rather “ripe,” but I wasn’t. Just a little damp.
Depending on how much you sweat, you might have to re-apply the powder later in the day. When I was using the clinical strength stuff, I could skip a day if I wanted to, and it would still be working. That’s not the case with the deodorant powder, but it’s not really a big deal. Put it on once in the morning, and once again in the evening, if necessary. For me, a second application has only been necessary on rare days.
A jar of powder, an applicator, a washcloth, and a bar of natural soap would make a nice gift for someone. You can make everything yourself, or buy some of it from other crafty types. Here are a few resources:
- The book Better Basics for the Home has a few chapters and skin/body care and includes this deodorant powder recipe as well as a coconut-oil-based moisturizing cream I’ve been wanting to try.
- This ballband dishcloth pattern makes a nice washcloth. The pattern is also in Mason-Dixon Knitting.
- If you would rather buy a wash cloth, Carrie of Wash my Cloth crochets some nice ones, and often includes the soap and a soap dish as part of a set.
- If you plan on giving a lot of these, you can get a dozen glass jars at The Jar Store.
- There are a lot of handmade natural soaps on Etsy, but I’ve been experiencing unusually silky-smooth results under the influence of Rochelle Rose Almond Coconut Milk lately.
And just one little thing you might want to keep in mind – if you are giving a jar of deodorant powder as a gift, you might want to avoid calling it “Deodorant Powder.” You wouldn’t want your giftee to read it as “you smell bad, please apply this as soon as possible.” Just label it “Lavender Body Powder” and put “also effective as a deodorant” somewhere inconspicuous on the back of the tag…