Serious Question: Does Natural Deodorant Work?

Welcome to Serious Question, a feature in which I ask a “serious” question and then answer it and cross my fingers that a few of you lovely blog readers will answer it too in the comments section. Be forewarned: This feature will at least sometimes tread into TMI territory.


Alternative title: Do I smell?

A year or so ago, I decided to switch from Secret to natural deodorant. I’m sure you’ve heard rumors that deodorants containing aluminum (among other chemicals) cause cancer. My brief Googling tells me that research has been inclusive about this, but when you consider the chemicals and toxins in deodorant as well as the proximity to your lymph nodes, I feel like it can’t hurt to make the switch to natural deodorant.

Does Natural Deodorant Work?

So I did. Yay for less chemicals, right? Except one thing, I can’t seem to find one that works.

I first switched to Toms deodorant, and it definitely left me feeling sweaty. A week ago, I switched to Lafes, but I’m still not convinced. It could just take some time to get used to, or I might just have to accept being a little bit smelly, and maybe that’s OK too. For the record, I have inquired IRL, and my friends have told me they don’t think I smell. Just you know, FYI.

So serious question: Do you wear natural or regular deodorant? Have you found a natural deodorant that works for you? Should I try it? Have you ever considered making your own?

My Natural Skincare Routine

I’ve been writing about habits lately — and how my self-care routines have suffered quite a bit in the last few months (let’s be real, they weren’t super great before that). My skincare routine is an area where I regularly fall short, but now that I’m well into my 35th year, I have been eager to find products that are effective and appropriate for my skin now, which especially after pregnancy, is much different than my skin five years ago.

My Natural Skincare Routine | Oil Cleansing | Homemade Skincare Products

My skin tends to be on the oily side — though less so than it used to be. In early high school, I had terrible acne and went through the gamut of dermatologist-prescribed cleansers, creams, and medications. Nothing really worked until my mom ordered me Proactive, and just like the commercials promised, my skin did a 180, and I became a happy, well-adjusted teen.

Not really about that second part. But I’d prefer to be an angsty teen with clear skin over an angsty teen with acne.

And so, for the better part of 20 years, I’ve been using Proactive. From time to time, I’d switch things up, usually with Cetaphil, but I’ve also been roped into some insanely over-promised, over-priced cleansers that never ended up changing my life/making all my dreams come true.

But, I’ve known for awhile that it was time to move on from Proactive. My skin doesn’t break out like it used to, and it’s rather harsh for a daily cleanser. I stopped using Proactive’s toner and repairing cream years ago, and I’m not a fan of the auto-ship program. Moreover, while I’m not one of those EVERYTHING MUST BE ORGANIC/NATURAL/NON-TOXIC types, I’ve slowly been switching to less chemical-heavy products — Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap, Tom’s deodorant, paraben-free shampoo (I still haven’t found one I like). That said, I am not really the type to start mixing up my own product, so I’ve been gearing up for a full-on search for and serious cash commitment to new skincare products.

Then I found Blooming in Bedlam, or specifically Blooming in Bedlam’s dark-spot reducing soothing toner recipe. You see, I have a lovely keepsake from my pregnancy in the form of a dark spot right in the middle of my forehead. It’s not super noticeable to other people, but as far as I’m concerned, it might as well be a bulls-eye on my face.

I was intrigued by the toner recipe, so I read the post about two dozen times before I finally decided that I could probably handle mixing water with apple cider vinegar and essential oils.

Within a week, I could see a difference with the dark spot, and I was hooked on the idea that I could make these products myself. I started Googling for homemade facial cleaners and came across the idea of oil cleansing.

If you’re like me and have oily skin, the idea of applying actual oil directly to your face sounds like a recipe for disaster. I decided to take the plunge anyway, knowing that I’d probably end up with a few breakouts, especially as I adjusted to a new skincare routine. But after three weeks of oil cleansing, my skin feels clean and looks bright, and I haven’t experienced one breakout.

The dreaded no-makeup Selfie

Here’s the recipe I’m using for my slightly oily skin:
1/4 cup Caster Oil
1/4 cup + 2 TBSP Olive Oil

And that’s it. I mix it together and keep it in a glass jar, and since you only need about the amount of a quarter to cleanse your face each day, it lasts for quite some time.

There are tons of different combinations you can do, and I’m not expert, I just researched what would work for my skin type. So if you’re interested, I’d check out these resources:

  • Wellness Mama’s Oil Cleansing for Naturally Perfect Skin: This gives an overview of various oils you can use and ratios for different skin types. I’m also using the method she describes in her post to cleanse my face.
  • Blooming in Bedlam’s Oil Cleaning Method by Skin Type: I noticed as I was writing this piece that Cajun posted an article about this a few days ago. I will definitely be referring back to her amazing charts in order to determine if I decide to add some essential oils to my mixture.

My Current Skincare Routine

Before bed:

  • Cleanse with a quarter-sized amount of the oil mixture using the technique outlined on Wellness Mama. I do this at the sink, not in the shower, as I do not want to deal with cleaning out the tub on a regular basis. I even use this to remove mascara, and it seems to work just fine.
  • Apply Soothing Toner

In the morning:

This routine seems to be sticking, and I’ve been very happy with the results. In some ways, making my own products has been less overwhelming and anxiety-producing than standing in front of shelves and shelves of products trying to figure out what will work. I’m already planning to start looking into recipes I can use weekly for exfoliating, as well as eye creams and products that will help combat fine lines.

What about you? Have you ever tried making your own skincare or beauty products?