Body odour. It’s a tough subject, I know. But let’s just jump right in and all admit that we all stink from time to time. As such, we need a good preventative – some more than others. There are various natural ways to tackle this:
- Salt bars. Not crystal deodorants, but real salt bars. Read my review of a salt bar here.
- Oil cleansing – applying antibacterial essential oils to regulate and prevent bad odour.
- Apply body spray regularly. Here’s my natural body spray recipe.
- Make your own natural antiperspirant.
This blog post deals with the last method – making your own antiperspirant. I actually have two types of roll-on recipes. This recipe is a stick deodorant (like Mitchum), and I also have a liquid roll-on recipe (like Earthsap‘s range).
You may be wondering why I’m encouraging you to toss your wonderful roll-on that keeps you dry for days. Well, because the active ingredient that’s keeping you dry for so long is a heavy metal – Aluminium. And if you don’t believe me, trot along and have a look for yourself. Aluminium in deodorants is the subject of much research and is proposed to cause, or be linked to breast cancer, among other things you don’t want. Read more about the dangers of aluminium here.
The key to combating body odour naturally is preventing bacteria growth in the area. Antibacterial essential oils are perfect for this very purpose. Although you can use any essential oils for scent, I would suggest that you choose an essential oil that has antibacterial properties. I personally use a combination of tea tree and lavender. Here is a list of some suggestions:
- Tea tree – fresh scent suitable for both men and women.
- Lavender – floral scent suitable for women.
- Rosemary – fresh scent suitable for both men and women.
- Eucalyptus – fresh scent suitable for both men and women. Smells like Vicks Vapour Rub.
- Peppermint – fresh scent suitable for both men and women.
- Geranium – rose-like floral scent suitable for women.
- Thyme – strong herb scent suitable for men.
- Sandalwood – deep, woodsy scent suitable for men.
- Bergamot – fresh citrus scent suitable for both men and women.
Apply the essential oils directly to the underarms or diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil (Rule of thumb: 1 drop for every 1 ml of carrier oil). For example, lavender and geranium are gentle enough to apply directly to the skin without diluting, whereas stronger oils like tea tree and peppermint require dilution to prevent skin irritation. I carry a bottle of lavender in my handbag, and apply neat whenever I need to freshen up. Please always do a patch test to determine your reaction to an essential oil.
COST & SHELF LIFE
Cost Price: R9.27 per 50g (which is about one standard size roll-on container).
Lasted me about: 2 months (using every day)
Estimated shelf life: 6 months (stored out of direct sunlight and away from moisture).
*Costs accurate at time of writing this blog post. Costs based on the best available retail prices that I’ve personally found.
- You won’t remain dry as a desert for 24/ 48 hours like many synthetic antiperspirants promise, but you won’t stink.
- Unfortunately, this roll-on may stain some clothes like other products on the market. If this is a major problem for you, then I’d suggest using the oil cleansing method rather, or make an anti-bacterial body spray.
CHERRY ON TOP
- Aluminium free!
- Rather than being toxic, this roll-on is actually good and moisturising for your skin, and if you add the bentonite clay, it will actually draw toxins out of your body. Pretty cool, huh?!
- Depending on which essential oil you choose, you will benefit from the aromatherapy benefits of each. For example, lavender is said to relieve stress, and peppermint aids concentration etc.
- Coconut oil: Antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, which also means that this oil has a long shelf of up to 2 years. Its vitamin E content makes it nourishing for skin too (buy here).
- Arrowroot powder: Helps keep skin dry by absorbing moisture (buy here).
- Citric acid: decreases the pH of your armpit, thereby creating a less hospitable environment for odour-causing bacteria. *It must be diluted to prevent skin irritation. If you react to citric acid, discontinue use. You can find this at the grocery store or buy online here.
- Bentonite clay: detoxifies the body by drawing out toxins, and absorbs moisture (buy here).
- Bees wax: solidifies the recipe mixture and prevents layering by acting as an emulsifying agent. This can be left out of the recipe if you live in a cold area, or during winter months, since coconut oil will remain solid at temperatures lower than 24 degrees Celsius. (buy here).
- Lavender: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and soothes irritated skin, which is especially useful after shaving (buy here).
Not sure where to find these, or other ingredients? My shopping guide may help you.
RECOMMENDED RETAIL OPTION
If DIY just isn’t your thing, I recommend buying these products which I have personally used and approved: Earthsap‘s roll-on, or this Himalayan Crystal Salt Bar as an alternative to crystal deodorants. You can read my full review of the Himalayan Crystal Salt Bar here.
Which natural deodorant method works best for you?