Developing Deodorant - Musings from the Uncrowned Queen of the Pits

Over the years, I've developed so many deodorants, I am tempted to dub myself the Uncrowned Queen of the Pits (and yes, that pun was totally intended).

I shouldn't really make fun, but deodorant is kind of a 'second class citizen' in the cosmetics world. Deodorants never make it to the prestigious shelves in the shops. A new deodorant never gets the same attention and marketing hype as, say, a new face cream, anti-age serum, or even shampoo.

Deodorants just aren't very sexy.

Through a series of happenstances over the years, working on solving underarm sensitivity, body odor, and creating deodorants seems to have become an integral part of my cosmetics-making fate.

Is that the pits?

Actually, no.

Words of Wisdom

As a good friend once told me: 'if you can't get out of something, get into it'.

And that's exactly what I've done. After more than a decade of dedicated deodorant-development, I've dived in deeper and find myself researching deodorizing, deodorants and what makes us sweat with renewed interest.

The self-imposed challenge: find greener alternatives to otherwise previously acceptable deodorant ingredients.

Example: it seems only a moment ago potassium alum (also known as natural deodorant crystals) was accepted by 'greenies' as an active ingredient for a 'natural' deodorant.

While some still say yay, some are now saying nay.

And although there is nothing wrong with potassium alum, the mere fact that folks are beginning to ask for alternatives is enough to get me geared up for more R & D.

Do Alternatives to the Alternative Even Exist?

In a word: yes. Happily, there are numerous natural ingredients that can function as actives in a deodorant without causing rash, irritation, or painful pits.

The challenge is getting them to behave in a formula. Some ingredients are effective but very demanding to work with. Others won't do much at all solo, but will create deodorizing magic synergy when combined.

The possibilities are many. Even more than I expected.

Over the past year, I have been working my way through a series of plant-based ingredients to find the most effective-yet-gentle-to-the-skin as one could wish for - all without the assistance of potassium alum.

Here's a peek at one of my latest batches – a roll-on deodorant featuring handcrafted sage tincture.

Testing has been ongoing for about 4 months.

So far, it's all thumbs up from both testers and myself.

A few modifications are still on the to-do list before this one can be pronounced ready, but that's because I am an incurable tweaker.

Do Tell

Do you use a natural/alternative deodorant? Which active ingredients do you prefer?

More on Deodorant Actives

Potassium Alum - aluminum or not? (this blog)
Deodorant effects of sage extract stick (Jr. of Research in Medical Science)
Body Malodors and their Topical treatment Agents (Intl Journal of Cosmetic Science) 


Unknown said…
I am very curious to see what you come up with LisaLise! I tried the Pinterest/DIY route several years ago. It was OK at first, no severe rash to the low amounts of baking soda (which I ended up switching up to a clay, I believe), but then I started having hot flashes. That changed the game for me. Homemade deodorant does not stop you from smelling like a billy goat when you're sweating profusely at night, let me tell you! Even if you apply it several times a day. It didn't for me, anyway. So, I'm curious to see what you come up with. All I can say is I'm hoping it doesn't have lavender essential oil in it. I'm allergic to it (as in "grab the epi-pen!" allergic) and that seems to be everyone's number one go to in a DIY deodorant. Best of luck LisaLise!
LisaLise said…
HI Belinda - You made me chuckle with your billy goat reference! There are many other options to lavender for deodorizing, so although it is popular, it isn't a must-have. :)
Ilhem said…
Hi Lise - I'm looking forward to reading about your results! I've been experimenting with sage and hop extracts but I have yet to find the right formula as my samples are not as effective as I'd like them to be. My next try will be with those same ingredients and zinc ricinoleate. I have no said my last word - as you said, there are plenty ingredients to play with! :)
LisaLise said…
Hi Ilhem - Thanks! Your hops extract sounds interesting!