Since I started my zero-waste beauty journey, I’ve been going through all of my products at home and eliminating toxic ingredients, that are bad for me and the environment. In fact, when I began to look carefully at the labels on my conventional deodorant, I was just shocked! I noticed that many deodorants contain aluminium or aluminium derivatives.
"Aluminium salts are present in many industrial products, and frequently the active ingredients used in antiperspirants. Salts commonly used include aluminium chloride, aluminium chlorohydrate, and aluminium zirconium chlorohydrate complexes. They may be listed in ingredients as “natural mineral salts”, “natural rock salts”, or “potassium alum” (potassium aluminium sulphate). Aluminium compounds act by blocking sweat ducts under the arm. This prevents sweat from escaping onto the skin surface and reduces the moist environment in which odour causing bacteria to multiply." (more here)
Apart from the fact that sweating is our body’s natural way of ridding toxins - so it is not really such a bad thing! - a recent study in vitro found that long term exposure to aluminium chloride at environmentally relevant concentrations could cause mammary cells to become cancerous and capable of forming tumours.
Upon hearing this, I went to create my own homemade DIY deodorant recipe. It had to be an easy, effective and spray deodorant recipe, as I'm not a huge fan of solid deodorant.
My DIY recipe is several years old and really effective, but contains sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). It seems that sodium bicarbonate gives some people an itchy, red rash when used on the underarms. It works incredibly well in deodorant recipes, because it is a base that absorbs and neutralises odours.
Sweat itself is virtually odourless to humans. It is the rapid multiplication of bacteria in the presence of sweat and their breaking down of sweat into acids that eventually causes the unpleasant smell. Sodium bicarbonate, dissolved in water (or in sweat), gives a weakly alkaline solution - slightly above the neutral value (pH 7) - and can neutralise acids in sweat limiting the growth of odour producing bacteria.
If you just can’t tolerate sodium bicarbonate, I definitely don’t recommend continuing to try this recipe and look for another option.
Also, if you want a stronger scent from the deodorant, you can always add a few more essential oil drops, so long as it isn’t irritating you.
HOW TO PREPARE
Dissolve the sodium bicarbonate in the water and let the saturated solution sit for one hour. Then strain through a fine-meshed colander or muslin. I find very handy old nylon tights. Pour into a small spray bottle, then add the essential oils and shake the mixture.
HOW TO USE
Spray a small amount on underarms.
If you want to check on the INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) of your products a handy tool is the EcoBioDizionario - available also in English - and the EcoBioControl App that you can download for free!
HERE MORE INFO ABOUT SODIUM BICARBONATE AND SODIUM BICARBONATE AS A NATURAL DEODORANT.