Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

So what does aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, cyclopentasiloxane, PPG-14 butyl ether, C12-15 akyl benzoate and phenyl trimethicone have in common? Besides being completely unpronounceable, these are all ingredients in the common antiperspirant deodorant. Some studies have linked these compounds to cancer and to boot they are completely packaged in plastic. So we did a little web research and it turns out that that there are 101 ways to make deodorant and none of them call for aluminum zirconium.

Hear is a link to the recipe we used:

The recipe has a total of 4 ingredients:
coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda, and an essential oil

The baking soda acts as the order neutralizer, the coconut oil is the base (we used refined-it was thicker), the essential oil is the smell and I don't know what the corn starch does (thickener?). How easy was it to make? It took a total of 5 minutes: we microwaved the coconut oil for 30-60 secs. mixed in the rest of the ingredients, let it cool a little, then poured it into an old roll-on container. How safe is it? Well, our friend Lee ate some! But how well does it work? Well I am a believer! Both Brooke and I gave it a test run today and after a full day of work and a trip to the gym, we both stayed stink free.

We were also going to make some toothpaste, but one of the ingredients was hydrogen peroxide and we couldn't find it not in a plastic container. At least for now, we figured the footprint of the plastic cap of Tom's of Maine toothpaste is smaller than the hydrogen peroxide container.

We have also been doing some research on toothbrushes. There are several choices that strive to lower their plastic use, like Radius toothbrushes that uses cellulose for the brush handle and say they have a 9-month life span. However we have not found any plastic free toothbrushes (at least not yet). We feel the best choice so far is an Ecodent toothbrush, available at the Bellingham Co-op. It has a replaceable head and it blister pack packaging is 100% recyclable.

This paragraph is for the ladies only (seriously gentleman, you probably will want to stop reading now). Okay, Brooke reporting here. I just want to tell you that the Bellingham Food Co-op carries some great alternative "lady products" including a brand called Natracare which are all natural, biodegradable and completely plastic free!


  1. So... who did the sniff test? An impartial third party? You probably sniffed each other's armpits didn't you? I'm sceptical of your objectivity. I'd like to nominate a certain brother-in-law to reevaluate your deoderant's effectiveness.

  2. Thanks for being deoderant guinea pigs! I have been wondering about this myself, considering that natural deoderants at the store cost a bajillion dollars. Your method sounds like it's probably cheaper.

    Also, about the "lady products" - I like the reusable cotton ones. They're really comfortable and you don't have to throw them away! It takes some learning the first time, but I am never turning back. I know someone named Betsy who makes the best ones...

  3. Did Patty sniff test you? Cause you know, if he liked what you smell like, just remember he also likes to roll in certain things in our field.

    Other than that, have you stopped using your phone because it is plastic? Where are you? Check your messages!

  4. I was telling a friend about your blog (she's the Environmental Advocate for the company I used to work for). She was really excited and thought you guys should do a before and after blood screen. I know that Bisphenol A (BPA) would likely be lower. I wonder if you'll notice any health benefits after a while of being plastic free. Maybe seasonal allergies could be less severe or you wake up with more energy. Hmmm.

  5. Hooray for natural body care! I have been using a natural deodorant called pit putty by a company called Bubble and Bee. Love their stuff and they have a great blog about chemicals in body care products. Unfortunately, their stuff is packaged in plastic. They say that if you are making your own deodorant, arrowroot powder is a good substitute for cornstarch, as its antibacterial properties are better. But heck if I know for sure. ^_^

  6. hey guys, I have a tootpaste powder that you can get at the co-op made by Dr. Harry or someone (can't remember the exact name). It's sold in plastic, BUT maybe since it's a powder it would be simple to make at home. I'll see if I can find the bottle to see the list of ingredients. As for toothbrushes, my buddies Micah and Ryan always brushed their teeth with a cottonwood twig that they'd get all mashed up at the end (for brushing, eh) during camp season...all the better for being a good role model to the kids we were teaching to live off the land I suppose. I don't know about their long term dental health as a result, but it sorta makes sense as cottonwood does have lots of antiseptic and other properties. For folks not wanting to make their own deoderant, I used the crystal type for years, and it works well. It too comes in plastic, but the darn thing lasts years and years, it's like the energizer deoderant that never ever runs out, so you don't have to keep buying the package as often.

  7. I've printed the recipe and I am looking forward to trying it. Thanks for all the great information.

  8. I thought I'd share a link.


  9. Hi Brooke, This is Marianne (one of Gretchen's friends up here in Alaska) and she introduced me to your blog. Just FYI- I followed your deodorant recipe and am pleased with the results! Thanks for sharing it!