One of our co-founders, Tara, put together a DIY Deodorant Workshop hosted by the Detox Market in Toronto, Canada. She shared valuable information about what kind of ingredients make for great deodorants, and how those ingredients work so your armpits can do their thing.
What is a Deodorant?
I've always thought of deodorants as products that simply cover up body odor. But Tara explained that deodorants are formulated to adjust our body's pH levels to create an “inhospitable” environment for bacteria, which are the cause of unpleasant odors.
MMT deodorants achieve this dynamic by using baking soda or magnesium.
Why Use Essential Oils?
If the baking soda or magnesium adjusts our pH so there isn't much of an odor, why would we need to use essential oils?
Tara explained that essential oils are the “volatile compounds encased in the cells of plants”. When we brush against fresh lavender and take in that soothing scent, we've opened those cells and are experiencing the essential oils.
Not only do essential oils add a wonderful scent, but they also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. They work with the pH adjusters to reduce or eliminate bacteria and further reduce our body odor. Essential oils are an important part of a deodorant formula that supports our body instead of working against it.
DIY Tips for Making Your Own Deodorant
Tara walked us through some do's and don'ts for making your own deodorants. While these tips are great for DIY deodorants, you can apply them to things like body sprays, linen sprays, and more.
Consider using base, middle, and top notes. Base notes are resins, roots, and barks that have grounding and rooting properties. These include cedar, juniper, and eucalyptus. Middle notes keep the base and top notes together. These are notes like lavender and palmarosa. Top notes are the ones that you'll recognize right away when you're smelling a deodorant or perfume. We used bergamot, which is one of my favourite oils. It pairs so well with lavender, hence our Lavender Bergamot Deodorant Stick.
We used essential oils, water, and vodka. I'm sure you know that oil and water don't mix well, but the alcohol helps to disperse the essential oils. You’ll still need to shake it before each spray!
Keep safety in mind when using essential oils. While they're incredibly useful and healing compounds, they're also very powerful. Try not to get any undiluted oils on your skin, and if you do, wash with soap and water.
When you're making a deodorant spray that you want to use each day, a 2%-5% dilution is ideal. If you have sensitive skin, stay closer to the 2% mark. To figure out the dilution, a little math is involved. If you have a 1 oz jar, 15 drops of essential oil is close to the 2% dilution, whereas 30 drops is a 5% dilution.
My DIY Deodorant Spray
I love grounding and floral scents so here’s what I mixed for my first spray:
This is a really rooting, calming spray that I also like to use as a linen spray before bed.
For my second spray I wanted to use lavender because it’s one of my favourite scents.
It’s more complex, floral, and uplifting than the first spray, and I think the palmarosa works so well with the lavender and cedar.
I’ve been using these every day and I love that I was able to make two sprays to use depending on my mood!
A Note on Personal Preference
One of the things that really resonated with me was Tara's approach to conventional deodorants. She asked the group if anyone uses conventional deodorants, and a few people said they have to.
She explained that while it's fine for her to go to an important work meeting with sweat stains because it's “on brand” she understands that a lot of people don't have that option. For some, using more conventional antiperspirant is necessary in those instances.
But my favourite part was that she advocates for doing what's right for you and your body, and if you want the confidence boost of using an antiperspirant before that big meeting, you shouldn't feel ashamed for doing so. It's all about doing the healthy things you can, when you can.
Sarah Price is a green beauty and self care writer with an obsession with holistic skincare. She writes about natural beauty, DIY recipes, self care tips, and more on her self titled blog.