Activated Charcoal Deodorant

When feasible, we like to experiment with our own beauty potions. You can find a bunch here, from lip balms to face masks to foot scrubs!

We like our deodorants simple and effective. With their long ingredient lists, it can be hard to find simple deodorants in the beauty section. And when we do find something that’s simple and often “natural” it’s often not as effective as we want it to be. Admittedly, that goes for our own DIY blends too.

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But we aren’t throwing in the towel yet, and today we have a new blend that we’re excited to share!

In many conversations with other people who make or buy deodorants using basic ingredients, I’ve heard the same complaint. The deodorant seems to work for a while (as in, we can wear it and not have B.O. by the end of the day), but eventually, be it a few weeks or months, the deodorant seems ineffective. So, we move on and buy or sample the next deodorant.

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I haven’t been able to pinpoint the cause. Maybe our body’s bacteria adjusts to the active ingredients in the deodorant? To try to combat that problem, I’ve just created a new blend, adding activated charcoal to my go-to recipe.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is very porous carbon. The high porosity increases the surface area available for adsorption (imagine other particles sticking to the carbon) and chemical reactions. Many industrial and home uses for activated carbon focus on purification of different materials or environments. For example, we use carbon filters to purify water and carbon-filled sachets to remove unwanted odors…. unwanted odors.

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As you’ll see, this recipe has come a long way from our super-basic coconut and baking soda deodorant. I still love that one and use it regularly, but I like having two options available.

How-to

  • warm the following in a double boiler until the waxes have completely melted:
    • 16 grams cocoa butter
    • 30 grams coconut oil
    • 10 grams beeswax
    • 2 grams carnauba wax
  • remove the mixture from heat, but keep the potion over the hot water of the double boiler; add 25 grams shea butter and stir vigorously to incorporate (shea can become gritty if it gets too hot).
  • add in:
    • 5 grams kaolin clay
    • 3 grams baking soda
    • 3 drops coriander essential oil
    • 3 drops lavender essential oil
    • 3 drops cedarwood essential oil
    • 3 drops patchouli essential oil
    • 1/2 tsp activated carbon
  • continue stirring to keep the solid ingredients from settling on the bottom and begin transferring the mixture to your final containers. I like to use mini deodorant tubes as well as a few simple jars (scooping a bit of deodorant out with my fingers).

Etc.

There are many ways to play with this recipe. As with our lip balm, this recipe contains a combination of carrier oils/butters (cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter) and waxes (beeswax & carnauba wax). The waxes help the deodorant to remain solid in high temperatures. You could use just one carrier oil, but having the combination creates a richer texture, and both the shea and cocoa butters have higher melting points than the coconut oil, so again, they help with keeping the deodorant solid, but soft.

When it comes to bacteria-killing active ingredients are the lauric acid in the coconut oil, the antibacterial essential oils.

And finally, the star of this show : the activated carbon. If it’s doing its job, it should be absorbing any nasty smells that your pits are putting out. The only thing you have to be careful about is that the black carbon may discolor or stain light clothing.

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