Brenda’s Story – Why I Make Deodorant
I don’t just get damp or gently perspire and I certainly don’t merely “glow.” I sweat in a most unfeminine and unbecoming manner. Rivulets of acidic water pour out from under my arms, and, unfortunately, the bacteria that produces the distinctive smell of body odor loves acidic water. My Mom says I inherited my level of sweating from my grandmother, Leona. Sharing the same birthday with my grandma was a lot of fun, sharing the sweaty gene with her, not so much. On the bright side, my grandmother lived to be 102, rarely felt pain and the only medication she took in her old age was Acetaminophen so maybe I inherited her healthiness too, fingers crossed.
Less than Ideal Solutions
My grandmother dealt with sweating by wearing these absorbent pads pinned to her dresses and blouses’ armpit area. I never found anything that stopped my sweating. Extra duty antiperspirant had no discernible impact. For my sister’s wedding, we found a lovely dusty rose colored silk bridesmaid’s dress(well I thought it was lovely at the time) for me but I knew I couldn’t wear it because of the sweating. Well, Mom remembered Grandma’s trick so I tried wearing pads under my arms. On the wedding day, I managed to sweat around the pads leaving me with lovely sweat stains outlining the pads, ugh! I kept slipping into the bathroom and drying off my underarms with a blowdryer! Since then I’ve learned what fabrics to avoid and that’s turned out to not be much of a hardship, especially with the variety of fabrics available today.
The Battle Against Body Odor
So, I’m okay with how much I sweat really but I am NOT okay with the body odor that my sweat comes with. My husband tells me I’m a bit obsessive about it and that my nose is just extra sensitive but that didn’t help as much as slathering on a commercial deodorant (Ban Ultra Dry was my favorite) after a shower, followed by another, maybe Dry Idea, to hedge my bets.
Two Antiperspirants Equalled Old Antiperspirant Smell
With two deodorant/antiperspirants on I rarely, if ever, smelled of my own body odor. I did, however, smell of old, stale deodorant after about 4 hours, a smell I dislike almost as much as the smell of body odor. I always carried a third deodorant in my purse and would reapply at least once during the day. If I forgot to bring it, I would go and buy a new one. Sometimes I’d have 2 or 3 deodorants banging around in my purse because I’d forgotten I already had one and dropped in another on my way out the door. Putting on more deodorant didn’t help that much though, it just masked the smell for a bit but my choices were limited. Body powder wasn’t much better and I thought wet-naps might help but I couldn’t find any that I could stand smelling (I loath the smell of baby powder). Sometimes I’d carry a pre-soaped wash cloth in a zip lock baggy and attempt a quick discreet swipe but I found it difficult to really wash my underarms without soaking my clothes, leaving a residue of hand soap under my arms or being caught washing my armpits in a public toilet.
Some people might suggest I embrace the natural functioning of my body without feeling embarrassed, self-conscious or allowing my worries about smelling unpleasant disrupt my ability to enjoy my day. I am still working on such a level of zen-like acceptance but I’ve come to suspect it’s a journey, not a destination most of us can expect to reach in this life-time.
In different circumstances, I may have considered medical options for my “Hyperhidrosis” (excessive sweating) condition.
I Considered Surgery
A few years ago I’d heard about an operation that actually removes the sweat glands and, according the the Mayo Clinic there are also surgeries on the nerves that might reduce sweating (especially in hands). There is also non-surgical medical treatments like: topical over-the-counter and prescription antiperspirants; iontopheresis treatments that involve a low current of electricity applied to parts of the body that sweat too much; oral medications that interfere with the nerve impulses responsible for sweat output; and finally there’s there’s the miracle of Botulinum toxin which, when injected, can temporarily paralyze nerves that trigger sweat glands.
Luckily, I found another solution for myself which I hope will help other people too because none of the above procedures sound great to me.
My First Batch of Deodorant
I don’t remember what first inspired me to try making my own deodorant but I imagine it was my love of beautiful scents and when I began exploring essential oils.
Smell has always been incredibly important to me, I can tell you where I was when I first smelled and fell in love with Lavender (my first love), Night Blooming Jasmine, Real Eucalyptus Leaves, Patchouly…
No Fragrance for Me Under the Arms!
I can also tell you when I realized that perfume can make me sick and give me headaches (White Shoulders at 8 years old)
I had purchased some good essential oils that I liked smelling and was researching them when I came across the notion of using them as a deodorant. Well, I didn’t think essential oils would work alone but maybe, I thought, with a little help…?
Body Odor is All About Acid-Loving Bacteria
I knew the odor came from bacteria so I figured combat the bacteria and I could combat the smell. I researched, I put together ingredients. An early batch of baking soda deodorant went very wrong when I impulsively threw in some apple cider vinegar at the last moment. I know, I know, dumb, I must have missed the volcano experiment as a kid. What a mess!
So the apple vinegar/ baking soda concoction was not a winner but I cleaned it up and tried again without the vinegar. Eventually I came up with a mixture that looked good, smelled good and I didn’t think would hurt me so I put it on and forgot about it. The next morning, only half awake, I found myself enjoying the smell of… . Wait! My underams? No way! Sure enough, for perhaps the first time in my life, I was really enjoying the way my underarms smelled. I can’t say I sat bolt upright and yelled EUREKA! Honestly, I thought it was just a nice side effect of the essential oils I had added. After my morning shower, I tried it again. All day, I kept smelling under my arms (I stayed in that day) and kept finding, to my amazement, that I still didn’t smell. No body odor, no rancid old antiperspirant smell, no rash… I thought it was just a fluke, maybe my diet had improved or maybe I was getting old and had stopped smelling.
My Slow Moving Eureka Moment
I kept using it because, for the first time ever, I liked the way I smelled. I really thought that it wasn’t actually fighting body odor but that, for some reason, my body was no longer producing the kind of sweat that smelled strong. I thought that until I forgot to put it on one day and found out I was still a smelly girl.
So, my home-made deodorant was working for me and had really changed some things for me. I could wear white clothes without immediately staining the armpits yellow. I could wear my favorite top all day long and into the night as well. Since I wasn’t wearing two tops a day and a fresh nightgown every single night, I didn’t have as much laundry to do. I was no longer obsessing about how I smelled, even in airplanes or in the crowded subways when I visited Toronto. Best of all I wasn’t spending a whole lot of worry and energy about my smell. I felt more confident in stressful situations like job interviews and more sexy in romantic situations. Awesome!
Still, it took me a couple years to make a batch for someone else, my Mom. I kept talking about how happy I was about my home-made deodorant and my Mom kept asking me to make her some. I actually didn’t think it would work for her, I don’t know why… maybe I figured she didn’t need it like I did or it was a weird fluke that it worked for me. Anyway, I finally did make some for her and she liked it, actually, she loved it. Then I made it for another friend who hadn’t been able to wear any deodorant for years because commercial brands make his underarm glands swell up.
Sharing This Old-fashioned Discovery
It took me a long time to consider selling it though. It seemed to me there had to be a good reason that the big companies like Revlon, Procter & Gamble, Colgate Palmolive and Johnson & Johnson didn’t make a deodorant that worked as well as mine. Here are some of the reasons I think my deodorant can work better for some people (coming soon).
I started looking into a food cart business and someone, probably my Mom, told me I should sell my deodorant. Well, at first I rejected the idea but then I thought, hey, what they heck, I’ll give it a try. I thought I could try just a little bit and if it failed, move on. Of course, any small business owners reading this probably know there is no such thing for most of us as a no-investment business trial or instant success. My business is a few months old and I have to keep going. Too many people love my product, I almost feel responsible. I always wanted to change the world for the better, I just didn’t know it would be a silly thing like underarm deodorant.
My Quality of Life is So Much Better with my Natural Deodorant
But maybe not so silly, my quality of life is better since I started using my deodorant so why wouldn’t other people benefit too? Also, While I’m not sure that putting the chemicals you almost always find in commercial brand products hurt you, it’s nice to not have to worry about the true healthiness of such ingredients as aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum sesquichlorohydrate, aluminum silicate, steareth-2, steareth-20, PPG-11 stearyl ether, glyceryl stearate, PEG 40 stearate, cetyl esters, dimethicone, or disodium EDTA, hydroxypropyl methylcellulos.
However, anyone who buys my deodorant or other products needs to know that I am not a chemist, scientist, beautician or anything else that gives me special or extraordinary expertise at making personal products except my own research and experience. If you like my products and they work for you like they work for me, we’re both better for it. But everyone is unique and some people will react to different ingredients differently. What is nice about my products is that you are probably pretty familiar with the ingredients going into them so this should help you know whether the product is right for you. AND, if it is not right for you, or you do get a rash, it will help you narrow down what it is in the ingredients that make your rash.
If you do have a reaction, I’d like to hear from you so I can learn from you, maybe help you find a better product and refund you your money. Please email me here: Brenda at ziryabs . com