d.i.y. deodorant

My armpits smell like sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

Since we all know by now that commercial antiperspirants and deodorants usually have parabens in them, which have been linked to breast cancer, and aluminum, which has been linked to Alzheimer (though investigation into these links are currently “inconclusive”), it’s better to either go au natural and stink up the joint, or use a natural deodorant product.

I recently ran out of the fancy, aluminum and parabens free deodorant I use from Earth 174° (which I love).  I cycle to my office every morning, and am usually running late, so by the time I arrive I have usually worked up a good sweat.  For this reason going deo-free is not something I would feel comfortable doing.  Though I’m not a particularly stinky sweater, I share my office with 2 other people and generally have to interact with high-ranking academics on a daily basis.  For this reason I don’t want to stink of BO, even though, I truly believe one’s natural aroma is nothing to be ashamed of.  And I highly prefer the odor of natural pits rather than some nasty artificial “Axe” or “Lynx” type body-spray.

Since I am on a limited budget this month (due to reasons I will explain later) I decided I would try my hand at making my own deodorant at home.  I scoured the internet and came across the following fantastic blog : http://crunchybetty.com.  This lady shares recipes and tips for using food and other natural ingredients in homemade skincare and haircare products.  I especially liked her account of switching to home-made deodorant, and her simple recipe, which I happened to have all the required ingredients for on hand.

I looked at a few other posts, like “how to make your own deodorant” and decided to just improvise with what I had around the house and thought would work.

So, in a pot I melted about 1/4 cup of coconut oil.  The coconut oil I have is organic and deodorized because that was the cheapest one they had at Commonsense Organics when I bought it 8 months ago.  I can’t verify the truth of the following statement but the scientificky-sounding words are enough to convince me:

Coconut Oil also contains caprylic acid, capric acid, lauric acid & myristic acid which have natural antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties!”

Into that pot I threw a few sprigs of rosemary.  It also smells nice.  The internet tells me:

  • External use
    • Externally, rosemary helps to increase circulation and is very often used in hair care products and lotions as it stimulates the hair follicles to renewed activity and prevent premature baldness.
    • It has two important properties – it is an outstanding free radical scavenger and therefore has amazing antioxidant properties, and secondly has an remarkable stimulating effect on the skin.
    • Apart from this, it has good antiseptic properties and is traditionally used for hair and scalp stimulation, as well as anti-aging products.
    • It has rubefacient properties and therefore is most useful when an increase of blood flow is required or when below-par circulation needs to be rectified.
    • Rosemary is an effective treatment against scurf and dandruff.
    • It can also be used in mouth rinses and gargles; and is applied topically to stimulate circulation.
    • It has analgesic as well as antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties.

I also added the zest of 1 lemon for lemony fresh smell and the acidic antibacterial effect I assume lemon zest would produce.

I added a few leaves of lemon verbena for their nice smell.

The internet tells me “Externally, the herb can be used to treat acne, boils and cysts.”  So, it’s good for your skin!

I added about 10 drops of tea tree oil.  The internet tells me

“It is an antiseptic herb with a clear clean smell and expectorant, antifungal, bactericidal and sudorific properties, which stimulates the immune system.”

I added about 5 drops of geranium oil.

“The therapeutic properties of geranium oil are astringent, haemostatic, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, diuretic, deodorant, haemostatic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary.”

I love the smell of early grey tea, so I added about 10 drops of bergamot oil.

“Certain components of the essential oil of Bergamot are anti biotic and disinfectant in nature. They inhibit growth of germs, virus and fungi.”

I put in about 5 drops of lavender oil for the smell, though as an added bonus, it’s good for your skin!

  • External use
    • “Used externally to treat most type of burns, including sunburn, rheumatism, muscular pains, neuralgia, cold sores, insect bites, head lice, halitosis, vaginal discharge and anal fissure.
    • It has an analgesic effect on the skin, which helps with pain relief, but it is the antiseptic and stimulant properties which make it very effective for use on wounds and burns.
    • It is mainly used for its antiseptic and anti-dandruff properties but also have antibacterial, spasmolytic (relieving spasms) and local pain killing actions.
    • It also contains ursolic acid, which is not only antibacterial, but also active against lipid oxidation and inhibits elastase – which results in tissue degeneration as well as inflammatory processes as well as tissue degradation such as psoriasis and eczemas.
    • The rosmarinic acid and polyphenolic derivatives have good antioxidant properties, which is helpful in countering aging.
    • On the skin, lavender oil tones and revitalizes it and it is useful for all types of skin problems, such as abscesses, acne, oily skin, boils, burns, sunburn, wounds, psoriasis, lice, insect bites, stings. It also acts as an insect repellent.”

Since my expensive deodorant lists “mineral salts” as one of its ingredients I threw in a tablespoon of the natural un-iodized rock salt we have in the kitchen.

I let this all melt on the stove for a few minutes.  Once it was liquidy I added some aloe vera pulp I had scraped out of some plants I found growing in Truby King park in January and then had left in the freezer since then.

“Aloe vera extracts have antibacterial and antifungal activities”

I also added 1 table spoon of baking soda… which then made it fizz like when you add vinegar to the baking soda in your 5-th grade volcano diorama.  I can’t seem to figure out why I would use baking soda other than it’s natural and used for cleaning…

I also added some corn starch which I assumed would help with dampness.  And then I added a little mineral water from a bottle of Waiwera water I was given at a function last week.  They claim to make “the best water in the world” or something.

So, after all that quit fizzing I poured it into my empty roll on container… but after an hour the mixture had cooled and was basically rock solid.  Since the deodorant could not be applied using the roll-on container, I had to re-heat the mixture in some hot water, after which I poured it into a little jar.  I use my fingers to apply the deodorant, which warms up and becomes liquidy as soon as it touches my skin… and it seriously works just as well as my expensive deodorant!

d.i.y. deo

Above is the finish product.  Not very pretty, but it smells fabulous, works fantastically, cost next to nothing, and doesn’t give me cancer!

And… why am I so broke this month?  Well, basically it’s the FBI’s fault.  I think I they deserve an entire separate post to highlight the incompetency and bureaucracy of the organisation, and unfortunately I don’t have time to do that right now.  But I shall fill you all in very shortly.

Lao massage, Lao swim club

Since it’s the weekend I am allowed to do touristy things, and I don’t have to get up at 6:30 am and take a bus for an hour to Dong-Dok, I went to get a traditional Lao massage this afternoon.

It was a pretty interesting experience.  I decided to go with the “Traditional Lao Herbal Massage”, at the “White Lotus Spa”, in which they steam some kinds of herbs wrapped in a towel, and then apply them to your body.  They also do some kind of Lao massage, which I think is simmilar to Thai massage, but I’ve never had that done so I don’t actually know.  Basically, this girl who weighs like 90 lbs jumps up and down on your back, jabs you with her thumbs, and yanks on your arms and legs, while you wear pajamas.  She also does some kind of accupressure-type thing, involving certain pressure points in the inner-thigh and pelvis area… which probably would have been a little awkward if one of us were a man.  But in the process I am pretty sure she aligned my chi and balanced my chakras, so I feel great right now. 


I also went to the swimming pool yesterday.  Let me rephrase that, the most fucking disgusting swimming pool I have ever been in, yesterday.

My first sign that it was less than hygeinic probably should have been the overwhelming stench of urine in the changing rooms.  But I had already paid my 75 cents (6,000 kip), and I was sweaty from the bike ride and just wanted to be the pool.  Once I got in, I realized, through the murky water, that the bottom of the pool was covered in brown sludge in many places, and there was no filtration system to speak of.  In fact, the areas around the pool where the water should have been going through to be filtered, were actually just filled with some water, moss, and mosquito larvae.  It was like icing on the disgusting cake when I noticed that of the 10-or-so kids in the pool, none of which had bathing suits on (don’t worry, they weren’t naked, they had on t-shirts), at least 2 of them were sitting in inner tubes, eating DORITOS or CHEETOS or some other snack food out of bags, and then washing their grubby fingers in the pool.  I actually laughed out load when I was suddenly reminded of a kid Sonya had told me about how would yell “Pizza Pool!” before swimming lessons when they discussed the pool rules and how “No eating in the pool” was one of them.

Anyway, even if I didn’t get pink-eye or an ear infection, I definiely won’t be going back to the Sokpaluang Pool again.