DIY Deodorant and Aftershave/Toner

April 9, 2013

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Most do-it-yourself bodycare articles seem to aim exclusively at women.

But both men and women may have similar concerns about the products they use on their bodies, and like women, some men have taken to making their own.

Lose the flowery scents, add a spicier one (or not), and the homemade products work well for men. When made from a few readily available ingredients, the homemade products are generally much less expensive, too. Repurpose or buy a few attractive glass bottles with caps or stoppers to store your products if you want them to look good on your bathroom shelves.

Natural aftershaves & skin toners

A splash of cider vinegar (diluted half and half with water, or not) serves many a manly man and womanly woman as an aftershave lotion or astringent skin toner. Folks with dry skin could add a couple of tablespoons of coconut or other light oil to the vinegar and shake well.

Unlike most perfumed products, the vinegar smell dissipates quickly, so you won’t go off reeking of salad dressing.

Here’s a recipe for a scented aftershave/toner. 

  • Pour two cups of ordinary drugstore witch hazel into a glass jar. (You could substitute 100-proof vodka for an equally effective, though pricier, astringent effect.)
  • Add a cinnamon stick, half a dozen whole cloves, and a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as rosemary, lavender, mint, basil, or a mixture.
  • Add a few drops of tincture of benzoin as a preservative.
  • Set the jar in a cool, dry place for a couple of weeks, then decant into a nice bottle.
  • You could strain the herbs and spices or not. (They look cool in a bottle.)
  • For a citrusy scent, instead of the fresh herbs (and either with or without the spices) add strips of orange and/or lemon peel or a few drops of citrus essential oil and let the jar sit in a cool place until it smells the way you want it to.
     

Deodorant? Antiperspirant?

Sweat itself has no odor. Underarm odor is produced when sweat comes into contact with naturally occurring bacteria on the skin; the odor comes from the metabolic processes of the bacteria as they work to break down the fatty acids and other components of sweat.

Do you even need “underarm protection”? For some folks, the answer is no, yet  like most Americans, they still follow cultural norms and apply it anyway.

Deodorants mask body odors, while antiperspirants plug sweat-producing ducts temporarily, so sweat can’t be released to the skin surface.

There’s been a lot of concern about the aluminum compounds and certain other ingredients in commercial antiperspirants and deodorants. Although no conclusive scientific evidence has shown a definite link between these compounds and the subsequent development of breast or other cancers, research to date has offered conflicting results, which is why some folks prefer to stay away from commercial products.

Here’s a recipe for a deodorant that does a passable job of suppressing underarm sweat:

Here’s a recipe for a deodorant that does a passable job of suppressing underarm sweat:

  • 1 part baking soda
  • 1 part arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • Enough unrefined coconut oil (available online or in health food stores) to make a thick paste.

Mix baking soda and starch, then add oil, mashing with a fork until you have make a thick, creamy paste. Add a few drops of essential oil if you want to leave a scent (citrus, sandalwood, bergamot, etc.)

Add coconut oil, working the mixture with a fork until you have a creamy paste. Put the mixture in a small, airtight glass container; use fingers to spread thinly under arms.

Smelling good (or not)

A lot of us prefer our bodycare products fragrance-free, but adding a few drops of a favorite essential oil will impart a lasting scent to any product. Go easy!

 


Margaret Boyles lives in a wood-heated house in central New Hampshire. She grows vegetables, eats weeds, keeps chickens, swims in a backyard pond in summer, snowshoes in the surrounding woods in winter, and commutes by bike whenever possible.

Comments

I tried this and a few other

By bullitt

I tried this and a few other coconut oil versions of homemade deodorants but I found them to feel slippery, were messy to make, and they would stain my clothes as well. What I found that works very well, is easy to apply, and feels dry is simply using Bragg's organic vinegar and baking soda. Use an organic vinegar as I've tried regular and it doesn't work as well. All I do after showering is to spritz on the straight vinegar with a finger pump sprayer. Rub in in a bit then towel pat dry. When completely dry,(I use a hair dryer to speed things up)using a powder puff type pad, or something more manly if you like but it works, apply a dusting of the baking soda to each arm pit and rub it around. That's it and no you don't smell like a salad, at least not after a few minutes.

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