If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you may remember my previous post on my Quest for the Holy Grail of DIY Deodorants. Turns out, what I thought was the holy grail failed to live up to my expectations in the long-run. It was great in the beginning but then the unthinkable happened, I was approached at work and informed that there had been a complaint about my body odor. Seriously, the most embarassing thing to have ever happened to me in my adult life. Try as I might, I still to this day cannot figure out who would have been close enough to actually smell me. But I digress. Either way, a change had to be made so I headed to some of my crunchy granola online groups to see if anyone had any suggestions.
In one of my previous deo posts I shared about my failed attempt at using Milk of Magnesia as a deodorant alternative. You may be wondering how on Earth MoM would work to decrease body stank. The active ingredient, magnesium hydroxide, is alkaline it helps balance the acidity of the sweat and sebum (skin’s natural oils) mixture thereby preventing odor from this buildup. When I turned to my support group for answers, several of the women pointed out that they had also had failed attempts until they learned the magic trick. See, MoM works best when it has dehydrated a bit. Someone, somewhere along the way discovered that the thicker, creamier paste that started to crust around the top of their MoM container was more effective than the liquid itself. Who knew? The trick they suggested was actually pouring it out onto a baking sheet and letting it dehydrate for 24 hours or so to let it thicken up. (More information about this trick from Buddhaful Brit) So, I thought “What the hell? I’ll give it a shot!” But I was a bit skeptical that MoM by itself would be effective enough. I wanted to make sure it had some drying power and that it smelled good too. So I set to researching options.
Since I have a sensitivity to baking soda I considered adding Arrowroot powder. This would be effective I’m sure but I’d heard a lot of people say that they had good luck with corn starch. I had a container of J&J Natural baby powder that is basically just corn starch with some Vitamin E and Aloe added. I don’t use baby powder on my child so it was never going to get used and I thought it might make a suitable alternative and that the added Vitamin E and Aloe might help soothe the skin as well.
But I wasn’t done yet. Y’all know me, I had to throw in some essential oils! I had good luck using Rosemary neat so figured I’d add it to my recipe and I had been learning about the deodorizing benefits of Geranium and Cypress essential oils in my aromatherapy class so I set to researching different oils and selected 5 to add to my recipe. These are the ones I chose:
Geranium – Geranium not only has a pleasing fragrance, it also has properties that help combat odor-causing bacteria on the body. Geranium essential oil is wonderful to add to your collection for a number of skin conditions as it helps cleanse oily skin and soothes dry, cracked or irritated skin.
Rosemary – Another great oil that provides a refreshing and cooling sensation to your deodorant blend while helping to protect against odor causing bacteria.
Cedarwood – Cedarwood helps provide a nice, earthy balance to this blend while also preventing body odor.
Lavender – Like Geranium, Lavender has a lovely fragrance and many deodorizing, skin-soothing, and healing properties that make it a wonderful oil to add to your homemade deodorant and skin care recipes.
Cypress – Cypress helps reduce excessive sweating and prevents body odor. It has a somewhat woody fragrance that pairs well with Geranium and is suitable for men or women.
Other oils I researched that you may want to add to your homemade deodorants:
Lemon – Often added to homemade deodorants and body washes, along with other citrus oils (like Bergamot), due to its refreshing aroma. It’s cleansing properties help prevent odor causing bacteria growth. Citrus oils pair well with Geranium. *Note: Many citrus oils can cause photosensitivity so be mindful if you are sunbathing as you don’t want to burn your pits. Grapefruit is a wonderful alternative as it does not cause photosensitivity but still contains many of the same properties as Lemon and Bergamot essential oil.
Tea Tree – A beneficial oil to keep in your oily first aid kit as well because of its ability to help cleanse wounds, promote healing, and prevent the harboring of bacteria which can cause odor and infection.
Lemongrass – Another oil well renowned for its ability to help prevent the growth of odor causing bacteria. This oil has a strong but refreshing fragrance that provides a nice complement to many of the other oils listed or can be used on its own. Note: Lemongrass is a “hot” oil so make sure not to use this oil “neat” on the skin.
Patchouli – An acquired fragrance but Patchouli is a strong smelling oil that has long been famed for its ability to help reduce and masque the scent of unpleasant body odor.
**Feel free to research other oils that have antibacterial, antifungal or astringent properties as any of these would make great additions to your homemade deodorant blends! I really like the Essential Oils Pocket and Desk Reference Guides by Life Science Publishing as well as Dr. Scott Johnson’s Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy for references and resources when researching essential oils and their properties.
I’m pleased to report that my experiment was a TREMENDOUS Success! I have been using it for awhile, long enough to completely run out of my first batch and I also shared a sample with a very athletic friend of mine who has been on the quest for the holy grail of deodorant for a long time as well. We have both put this recipe to the test! It has not only stood up to the challenge that she has presented it while hiking and rock climbing but it has stood up to the heat and humidity of 100º+ heat index of Alabama summers! I do cleanse with baby wipes and reapply my deodorant after my lunch time walks in the heat of the summer but when it was cooler outside this wasn’t necessary. And I’m super stoked that no one has complained again! I even walk with my co-workers and have had feedback that my office smells lovely from client’s that have come in for afternoon sessions.
So, without further ado, here it is:
DIY Milk of Magnesia Deodorant
(for sensitive skin)
- 1 bottle of plain, unflavored Milk of Magnesia
- ¼ cup Cornstarch (I like the J&J cornstarch baby powder with Aloe and Vit E added)
- 5 drops each of: Geranium, Rosemary, Cedarwood, Lavender, and Cypress essential oils
1. Pour entire bottle of Milk of Magnesia out into a baking sheet (with sides) and allow to dehydrate, usually 24-36 hours, until it forms a creamy paste. If you live in a humid environment, it may take a little longer. If it starts to harden or crack around the edges just a tad it’s perfect! When you mix it all together it will be like the consistency of cream cheese icing that has started to melt.
2. Add in ¼ cup of Cornstarch and mix well (before you allow your mixture to dehydrate). While you can skip this step, I chose to add the Cornstarch to help absorb some of the liquid from sweating and to keep my pits drier. If you swore by an antiperspirant but don’t want to use aluminum, you probably want to add something like Cornstarch or Arrowroot to help provide a sense of dryness to your homemade deodorant. This is an especially good alternative if you are sensitive to Baking Soda in homemade deodorant recipes.
3. After your mixture has dehydrated and is ready, add 5 drops each of your essential oils. I like Geranium, Rosemary, Cedarwood, Lavender, and Cypress. Stir until your oils are mixed well throughout your mixture. You do not want to add the oils before you let your mixture set out because they will evaporate and lose their potency.
4. Transfer to a small glass jar. I found this recipe made a bit more than I could fit in my 4 oz jelly jar but I like this size for ease of application. I now transfer the remainder to a 2 oz tin that I carry with me to work or when traveling.
Instructions for Use:
1. Apply underarms using your fingers (I find this works better than using a cotton round) and allow to dry while you are getting ready.
2. If you are especially prone to body odor, make sure you shower or scrub your pits with your soap/body wash of choice before applying. You can also use Apple Cider Vinegar to help balance the pH of your pits. I spray a bit on a cotton round and apply under my arms. Allow to dry before applying your homemade deodorant. I haven’t had to use this method since I started using this deodorant recipe, however!
So, there you have it! Did you make this recipe? What did you think? I love to hear feedback from my readers! Please comment below to share your results or other homemade natural deodorant recipes!
Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am an aromatherapy student but I am not a medical doctor. Products and techniques mentioned here are to help support your specific areas of concern and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.