Friday, May 1, 2015

Curio (Potions for Skeptics): Deodorant A

I've been a proponent of "natural deodorant" for many years. My latest foray has been with an "award-winning" Swiss product (Dr. Mist), which most definitely would have worked if the power of my will had anything to do with it. Alas, I was disappointed, bottle after bottle. The time was nigh to try a new brand, whereupon my mother just happened to call me up and say: Since you're doing skin care, would you make me some deodorant please? 

Part of me want to respond, exasperatedly, that one doesn't just make deodorant. Like, it's serious stuff. And then I thought about how much money I'd save (you know, over the course of the rest of my life), if I could produce it for myself. How I'd never have to recycle another container. And how utterly impressive I'd be at dinner parties. As you can imagine, that sealed the deal.

Enter Deodorant A:

What ensued was weeks of reading everything that's ever been written on the internet about making one's own deodorant. You'd be amazed by how popular an undertaking this happens to be. You'd also be amazed by how suboptimal most of the handmade recipes are (at least from my perspective). I don't want to be sticking my hands into a jar and rubbing oily stuff on my armpits, even if it is good for the world. I don't want a roll-on product that requires refrigeration lest it melt. I don't want something that's 90 per cent baking soda (not that I have any sensitivity to it, but some people do). I don't want a roll on that's so much like a candle that it tugs mercilessly at the skin when applied.

Handmade deodorant is not a quick win. It's a delicious alchemy of ingredients which one must truly understand in order to corral. The ingredients are not inexpensive. It takes time. Seriously, this is mad science. Y'all know I happily suggest that everyone make everything - that's how I roll. I'll even provide links. But take it from me, deodorant is a labour of love.

Deodorant A ingredients:

Organic Beeswax, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Organic / Social Enterprise Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Cetyl Alcohol (a fatty alcohol to improve glide), Olibanum (Frankincense) Essential Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Essential Oil

I use only the highest quality, unrefined shea butter, which is produced by a small collective in Ghana. Frankincense, a tree resin, is often lauded for its beautiful, clean scent (which isn't overly feminine) and lavender is an excellent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. The corn starch and baking soda do some heavy-lifting in this formula and I'm amazed to say they are very effective.

So while we're on the topic, let's have a moment to discuss effectiveness. We are all different people with different biochemistries. A propos of this, I have to assume that Dr. Mist is working well for many or it wouldn't have won an award (and cost so much freakin' money in the health food store). My version has been tested on, let's say, 25 people so far (a teensy weensy sample size) and I'm frankly surprised that every single user has proactively commented that it works excellently for him or her. Could they be telling me things I want to hear? I doubt it. I mean, I've given every tester carte blanche to be frank and I've received some good constructive criticism on a variety of  other products. (Interestingly, all the Deo testers have come back asking for more.) Is it possible that I chose the perfect test group to meet my ends? It is. But they're all different peeps with unique jobs and lifestyles. They're not all spending the day doing the same thing.

Sure, I didn't just pop stuff into a pot and cast a spell. I've done lots of research on which components yield the best results, but I'm still surprised because it sure as hell works better than any other natural deodorant I've tried - and I've bought those!

Do I recommend it for someone who's going to sweat at the gym, who won't reapply it after the fact (and better still, after having showered)? Not so much. My husband has tested it on this account and he doesn't think it's up to mega-sweating without reapplication. He does think it's up to all kinds of regular sweating, however - like biking twenty minutes to buy dinner. I walk miles a day - during which I often sweat - but I smell fresh when I get where I'm going.

For want of access to affordable push-up, cardboard containers, Deodorant A is presented in clear plastic - an elegant, simple container that allows one to observe the utter prettiness of this potion. There's a useful, up-and-down twist mechanism which releases the deodorant in two directions. (It's reusable, fyi.)

If you'd like to know more, please check out my Etsy shop.

PS: If you're wondering why every product is named "____ A", it's because these are my first viable prototypes. When I make another Serum, for example, presumably it will be called Serum B - unless I decide to get vaguely creative, which wouldn't be a bad idea!

PPS: While I feel that Deo A is entirely unisex, my dad's getting in on the request action - he wants a "distinctly manly" version for his birthday. As such, my intention is to produce this product with cedarwood essential oil, for the guys. So please stay tuned for that.


  1. Sounds great! I'm going to try it and expand your test market. You will get feedback!

    1. Thanks Rose - can't wait to hear your take on it!

  2. Years ago I swore I'd never try another natural deodorant, because they kept leaving me smelling like an old billygoat...but I think I'm going to try this :)

    1. Ha! I love that description. And I predict that this deodorant will not leave you smelling that way :-)

  3. I actually don't mind "rubbing oily stuff into (my) armpits,"* but your comment about the effectiveness of Deodorant A intrigues me. You didn't steer me wrong on Empreinte (the Daisey is the first bra I've ever had that's narrow enough), so you've earned credibility with me!

    * I'm squeamish enough that I'd expected to be turned off by the thought of manually applied deodorant, but I had no problems. Go figure!

    1. Glad to know that Empreinte works for you! Yay! And I'm sure I could get with the manually applied deo, but I just don't want to :-)