Part of the brand expansion plans of Homestead Soapery include broadening the availability of naturally made products. Sure, these days you can buy lots of natural products from lots of different places. But why is Homestead Soapery different?
Homestead Soapery is different because when I craft or design or make any new recipes, I make them entirely custom. I do a lot of research about different raw ingredients and why they are good and bad for the product I am making. I also make sure those raw ingredients align with my values. Every single time.
What that means is that my products are not run-of-the-mill Pinterest/internet recipes used by everyone. They are also not bulk sourced from a third-party supplier. This is the intent of small batch and local - I try and source as much as I can from local producers to my area because not only do I want to support other small businesses like mine, but I also am assured that the raw ingredient going into my products are the cleanest they can be.
Now that I've launched the Bath Soak & Scrub which you can purchase here, I am working on putting into final production my natural deodorant. This post is all about natural deodorants and why I think they're the next great product option for Homestead Soapery.
How antiperspirants & deodorants work
When we sweat, the bacteria living on our skin (aka our skin microbiome) breaks down protein molecules within the sweat, causing body odour.
Antiperspirants reduce odour by using ingredients (usually aluminium-based salts) to stop up apocrine glands, or sweat glands. Less sweat means less protein molecules to break down, and in terms of results this approach works. However, sweating supports detoxification, and there are some safety concerns about using aluminium in skincare products.
Deodorants don’t block sweating, but they do use ingredients that “deodorise” the resulting odour by either neutralising or masking it.
What’s wrong with antiperspirants and most commercial deodorants?
Aluminium – Most antiperspirants and some deodorants – including some “natural crystal” deodorants – contain forms of aluminium, which clog sweat glands to stop perspiration. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency lists aluminium as a potential endocrine disruptor, which is a chemical that produces “adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans, abnormal growth patterns and neurodevelopmental delays in children.”
Phthalates – This category of chemicals helps other chemicals stick to our skin and/or penetrate more deeply into the epidermis. They’re linked to weight gain, increased risk of diabetes, fertility problems, developmental problems, lower testosterone levels in men, women and children, and more.
Parabens – Used as preservatives, parabens can be absorbed through the skin. They are considered hormone disruptors, which as mentioned above have been linked to a variety of adverse effects. Although the National Institutes of Health says a causal connection has not been established and more studies need to be done due to conflicting results, some researchers have hypothesized that the estrogenic properties of phthalates may play a role in breast cancer. They have expressed concern that it most often occurs in the upper outer quadrant – just under where women rub deodorant on.
Triclosan – This chemical, which is used in everything from toys to toothpaste, may disrupt normal thyroid function, alter hormones, and more.
Fragrance – Thanks to a loophole, companies can hide all sorts of chemicals under the label “fragrance” without disclosing them. Many of these ingredients are phthalates, but others are chemicals that can cause allergic responses or irritation. Ironically, even “‘unscented’ products may contain masking fragrances, which are chemicals used to cover up the odour of other chemicals. Products labelled as “fragrance free” should be fine.
How to choose the natural deodorant that’s right for you
Each of us has a unique body chemistry, which is why scents such as a vanilla body spray will smell different on different people. When it comes to DIY deodorant, our personal body chemistry plays a huge role in what works and what doesn’t.
Some people need the full-strength option – while others find full-strength irritating and need a deodorant recipe formulated for sensitive skin.
In my recipe, tapioca starch helps by absorbing some of the sweat, kaolin and bentonite clay helps to neutralise odour, and shea butter makes the first two ingredients easy to apply while nourishing and soothing underarm skin. For many people, those three ingredients are enough, but some people need something stronger.
A note on transitioning to natural deodorant
If you’re transitioning to natural deodorant for the first time, you may find that it doesn’t work for you right away. Though our primary detox pathways are through the liver, kidneys, colon and lymph system, our skin and lungs also assist with detoxification. It makes sense that if we’ve been applying a deodorant containing parabens, aluminium, propylene glycol, and/or triclosan, our body may begin working to eliminate it once we switch. If you think this might be your issue, there may be a period of detoxifying your armpits that needs to occur before natural deodorant will work at its best capacity for you.
How to use our natural deodorant
Using your fingertips, scoop out a pea-sized amount of deodorant – really, a little goes a long way – and rub it into your armpit until it’s invisible. The deodorant will absorb quickly and keep you smelling fresh, but It’s best to apply and then wait a few minutes for the deodorant to absorb before getting dressed. If you want extra dryness protection, apply a layer of arrowroot powder over the deodorant using a makeup brush that is solely used for this purpose.
Don’t over apply your deodorant. Formulas that use oils and natural butters can stain clothes if over-applied, but if you use the recommended pea-sized amount is it unlikely to be an issue.
Store at room temperature and apply as needed.
When will the Homestead Soapery natural deodorants be available?
Soon. We are in South East Queensland where the humidity and heat is at its highest point. I am working on making the recipe as stable as possible with that in mind. I have a planned production phase coming up within the next month, which will also be a better time weather wise – so let’s say early March is when they should be ready for sale.
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