I write natural beauty recipes out of a deep-rooted belief that as a collective we need to quit buying endless plastic pots of non-biodegradable chemicals that are damaging our planet, our bodies and our consciousness, and return to a more natural way of living and creating. And few modern cosmetic inventions concern me more than aluminium antiperspirants.
They are linked with so many cancer claims, it seems lunacy to me to be unconsciously rolling them under our arms each day in between our meditation and our multivitamins; and finding an effective and nourishing alternative has been a passionate quest for me for a good while.
So here it is. Homemade, organic, anti-bacterial and deeply uplifting for our bodies and our senses. This feels like one of the most important things I have made in a long time, and I will tell you why.
The risk surrounding deodorant and antiperspirant use is often dampened down in the media but there are some fundamental considerations that are worth mentioning. Firstly, it is natural for the body to sweat. It is a main detoxification pathway for us and without it, our toxins and impurities are stuck inside the body and have to find another route out. It might not be what we have come to believe we should be allowing – god forbid a sweat patch! – but it is vital for optimum health. The issue we all want to fix is to do with how we can smell, and this can be easily overcome by natural means – tea tree, peppermint, plant-based antibacterials that work with our bodies instead of denying their natural functions and design.
The element which blocks our sweat in antiperspirants, as opposed to sweat-allowing deodorants, and is linked to further health risks, is aluminium. Research has shown that tissue levels of the metal are significantly higher in breast cancer sufferers than in healthy antiperspirant users, indicating that increased deposits of aluminium could act as a marker for identifying women at higher risk of developing the disease. Papers also show that most breast cancers develop in the upper outer part of the breast, closest to the armpit and the center of antiperspirant activity. The metal can also mimic the hormone oestrogen, interfering with both males and female endocrine balance and further influencing the growth of breast cancer cells in women.
Aluminium is not an element found in our bodies: it is not our friend on the inside; so by regularly depositing it into our lymph and tissues, and blocking one of our main elimintation pathways (the underarms) we are putting further strain on our systems and to try and break it down and get it out. And even if you are avoiding antiperspirants altogether and opting for deodorants, the cheap mass produced ones often contain parabens and other processed chemicals that our bodies do not know how to break down or safely eliminate, so they deposit in our tissues and again increase the risk of cancer. It is an area we need to tread carefully in when choosing what we use.
For me, finding a natural alternative that doesn’t cost a fortune and contains ingredients I recognise and have sourced myself has become more than just another natural beauty quest – it is the only way I can trust and know that what I am putting in my skin is not dangerous or toxic. Our hard working and stressed out bodies deserve this at the very least. And in this most delicate of places, as a woman, the imperative feels even greater.
This homemade natural deodorant recipe is moisturising, effective and simple. It won’t stop you really sweating things out if you need to, but it will keep you fresh, clean and smelling of lavender fields. My man has tested it too, and it gets a fragrant thumbs up.
Who is in?
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup shea butter
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup baking soda
15 drops essential oil (I have use tea tree and lavender)
In a bowl, mix the shea and butter and coconut oil with a fork until they form a smooth and creamy consistency. make sure there are no lumps. Then add in the arrow root and baking soda and mix thoroughly until a thick but malleable paste forms. You may want to add more arrowroot for thickness, or coconut oil for creaminess. Finally, mix in the essential oils and store in a plastic-free container at room temperature.
Any essential oils will work here – it depends on your own preferences and what resonates with you. Woodier fragrances such as sandalwood with bergamot or orange flower can persuade even the manliest man, while fresher flavours like peppermint and tea tree (which is particularly great here as it is antibacterial) keep things light and airy.