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A tutorial from your very own in-house, non-smelly hippie.

I take a lot of care not to be a stinky girl. It is very important to me to not smell like an old goat. People generally like you better and take you seriously when they can comfortably get within 3 feet of you and still breathe through their noses. The importance of personal daintiness…who’da thunk it?

I don’t use commercial antiperspirants or deodorants, not because I am a granola-gnawing hippie, but because antiperspirants make me itch, and I’ve not had very good luck with commercial deodorants. Either they don’t de-odor (Kiss My Face), or else they do other unwanted things, like get foamy when I get sweaty (Tom’s Of Maine). Eew.

Thanks to having been a hippie for quite some time, I’ve come across a lot of little bits of information over the years about how various essential oils and other shit works. What’s a good antimicrobial, what’s good for cleansing, and so on. Turns out a lot of stuff I would have around the joint anyway could be compounded into a singularly effective deodorant.

Here’s the goods for making a paste-type deodorant.

1 stick of Queen Helene Cocoa Butter
Baking Soda (5-6 tablespoons)
Grapeseed or Sweet Almond oil (1 tablespoon)
lavender, tea-tree, cedar, rosemary, & sage oils, (approx 6-12 drops each, varying per your preference)

Here’s the cocoa-butter in Pyrex measuring cup, about to go into the microwave for approximately 1.5 minutes.

This is how it looks once it’s all melty. Now is when you add your essential oils. I tend to do about 6 drops of Tea Tree (it’s really pungent) then 12 of lavender, 12 of cedar, 10 of sage, and 6 of rosemary. Also add the tablespoon of grape-seed or Sweet Almond oil.

Add between 5-7 tablespoons of baking soda, depending on how stiff of a paste you like. I usually add about 6 tablespoons, as I like a very spreadable deodorant. Less, and I think it is too runny, more, and it can be crumbly, but the texture can vary depending on how much essential oil you have added.

Decant it into your storage container of choice.

Make sure it has a well-fitting lid. You now have a stock of deodorant for about 4 months. Congratulations!

This particular mixture is really effective. I am a very active woman and unaided, I would be a terribly smelly one, too. I can get through a typical day without re-applying, though in high-summer I will top up at lunch-time.

The beauty of this formula is that you can change the oils to preference. The mixture I recommended above is chosen for its particularly effective antimicrobial properties, as it is the bacteria on one’s body and in sweat that are the principal cause of B.O. But if you aren’t that smelly of a person, you might choose other oils that are more to your taste. Maybe a blend of orange and sandalwood oils, or a rosewood/sandalwood/sweetgrass blend. Whatever suits your fancy and body chemistry…you can tailor it to your preferences.

I also do a spray-on deodorant. It was inspired by the Bert’s Bees spray deodorant; in fact, I have been continuously re-using a Bert’s Bees bottle for about two years now. I keep one in my back pack so that I can top up at work if I need to.

The ingredients are pretty similar to the ones for the paste deodorant, but Witch Hazel is the base of the spray deodorant. I fill the old Burt’s bottle up to about 5/6th of the way to the top, then I drip in the essential oils to preference. I usually put about a dozen each of lavender and sage, about 15-20 of cedar (it gives a really pleasant, sweet, slightly piny scent), and about 6 each of rosemary & tea-tree.

With the spray deodorant, it is important to shake it vigorously before each use to suspend the oils in the witch-hazel base. This is a very effective and convenient form of deodorant. While not as long-lasting as the paste deodorant, it is a little more portable and feels rather refreshing to use during the summer.

11 Responses to “How Not To Be A Smelly Hippie”

  1. styro says:

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Amelia says:

    Isn’t Queen Helene da bomb? She’s probably an imaginary character like Betty Crocker, but I have a highly developed mental image of her. (I suspect she once dated Dr. Bronner, but found him a little too hard core.) I’m especially fond of the mint julep masque, but the cucumber massage cream is really great, too.

  3. Meetzorp says:

    I love your conception of the private life of Queen Helene.

    And I too love the mint julep mask, mostly just because it smells fabulous. I don’t know that it actually does anything, but boy howdy does it ever smell good while it is on.

    Plus I can pretend to be Invader Zim, which is a fun and annoying thing to do.

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  4. Meetzorp says:

    I’ve been figuring on doing a post like this whenever the next time I made deodorant was. Just because it’s kind of an oddball thing, but it sure works.

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  5. Elinor says:

    How do you smear on the solid one? Had any luck refilling an old commercial deodorant stick by any chance?

  6. Meetzorp says:

    I just scoop out a little bit with a finger and smoothe it on. I think one could fairly successfully refill an old commercial deodorant stick if you cut the oil content in about half.

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  7. Philip says:

    Thanks for that – I used to mix my own potions and lotions ages ago. You might just have inspired me to try again.

  8. Meetzorp says:

    Glad to provide a little unguent inspiration! It’s fun to play kitchen mad-scientist.

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  9. sarah says:

    Found you via an ancient post on xojane. I am happy to be a hippie but prefer to not stink. One of these days when I’m gloriously rich I shall purchase some EO’s and there will be no stopping me! 🙂

  10. Meetzorp says:

    The oils I use most are the least expensive: lavender, tea-tree, rosemary, pine-needle, and sage. Most of these can be had for less than $6 per bottle. Pick one up per paycheck, and you’ll be up to production before too long!

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