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• Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

deodorant9When I first started writing Past Forward, Willow’s walk to town inspired one of the first questions I had about their lifestyle.  Would Willow and Kari use traditional deodorant or antiperspirant or would they use a natural or homemade alternative?  I decided that Kari’s bent for self-sufficiency would definitely mean they’d make their own, and that meant more natural ingredients.

My research then turned toward recipes for homemade deodorants.  I expected to have trouble narrowing it down to the most logical option for them, but nearly every recipe I found contained the same two base ingredients.  Cornstarch and baking soda.  Both made sense to me when you consider the anti-odor properties of baking soda and the drying properties of cornstarch. Most recipes added essential oils to scent the mixture, but I pictured Kari and Willow using their own dried lavender florets.

This recipe requires only three ingredients.  I used Wal-Mart brand just because it seemed like the least expensive option might be a blessing.

deodorant1Ingredients:

1 lb. Baking Soda
1 lb. Cornstartch
1/2 cup lavender florets.

I didn’t have the lavender florets that I needed, so I went (okay, my eldest daughter went for me) to a local gift shop that often sells baggies of them.  They were out of those, but they had this little wrapped bunch of dried lavender.  Isn’t it pretty?  I swear, it looks exactly what I’d imagine Willow would do if she gave me a bundle of her lavender for a project.

Obviously, that’s much more than I need for this project.  I think there’s enough there to make at least 4 batches of deodorant–possibly six.  That’s a lot of deodorant!

I just had to show this.  Isn't it lovely.  The fragrance--my kitchen smelled wonderful while I did this!

I just had to show this. Isn’t it lovely. The fragrance–my kitchen smelled wonderful while I did this!

This is how much I took from that bundle.  It works out to about 1/2 cup of florets.

This is how much I took from that bundle. It works out to about 1/2 cup of florets.

I stripped the florets from each stem.  I think this process took me about five minutes tops.  Most of them just fell off as I slid my fingers along the stems. I could just imagine how Willow would sit on her porch swing, stripping the florets with Othello at her feet.

I stripped the florets from each stem. I think this process took me about five minutes tops. Most of them just fell off as I slid my fingers along the stems. I could just imagine how Willow would sit on her porch swing, stripping the florets with Othello at her feet.

There we go!  Ready to begin mortaring and pestling (that's how my youngest put it earlier.  "When are you going to do the mortaring and pestling?")

There we go! Ready to begin mortaring and pestling (that’s how my youngest put it earlier. “When are you going to do the mortaring and pestling?”)

I discovered that it worked best in small bunches--maybe 3 TBS or so at a time. I decided each batch was finished when it felt like fluffy dust--almost like dryer fluff.

I discovered that it worked best in small bunches–maybe 3 TBS or so at a time. I decided each batch was finished when it felt like fluffy dust–almost like dryer fluff.

Here's my larger mixing bowl with all ingredients ready to go.

Here’s my larger mixing bowl with all ingredients ready to go.

All mixed.  As you can see, you can hardly see the lavender in the mixture once it's all mixed in.

All mixed. As you can see, you can hardly see the lavender in the mixture once it’s all mixed in.

 

All done!  That's a lot of ddorant.

All done! That’s a lot of deodorant.

Now Willow used a sugar shaker to shake the mixture into her hand and applied that way.  It’s not what I want to do.  I looked for a “powder puff” at Wal-Mart, but I didn’t find one.  After much thought, I’ve decided to get a washcloth and fill it with cotton balls.  I’ll wrap a rubber band around that, and then I’ll tie it up.  The top can work sort of as a “handle” to hold it.

This is a hot week here in the Mojave Desert.  Temperatures will be hovering around 108-110 from what the weather forecasts say.  So, this is a perfect week to test out this product.  I don’t have anywhere to be, so I won’t gross out the world if it doesn’t work well.  Ahem.  I’ll report back in a week or so with the results AND with pictures of my “powder puff.”

 

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19 Responses
  1. Julie says:

    When I read this in the book I wondered, and continue to wonder, how well it really worked. I will be interested in your results! If it works, your next challenge will be finding a way to take it on a plane (wink). Thanks for this neat blog!

  2. Ann L. says:

    Can’t wait to hear if this works!! I have lavender growing right now!

  3. Christy H says:

    Love it!! I think it’s very cool that you not only wrote about Willow’s adventures and natural products, but you’re trying them out! 😀 Can’t wait to hear how it works!

  4. Gail says:

    I will be very curious to hear if this works as well! I wondered how it would “stick” under the arm! Let us know if it works!

    I think I should grow some lavender, just because I LOVE the smell and it could probably used for a lot of things!

  5. Chautona says:

    Gail. Lavender lemonade is REALLY refreshing. Just sayin’. 😉

  6. Courtney says:

    So excited to see all of these experiments. Hoping for good results!

  7. maria says:

    Patiently waiting to see if your experiment works!!

  8. 5kittens says:

    During my experiments with making my own deodorant, I found that I need to substitute the cornstarch with arrowroot. I tend to get yeast rashes (what most heat rash is). Cornstarch feeds the yeast. I live in the same hot desert Chautona does. If I were in a more humid climate… well I don’t want to even think about that.

  9. 5kittens says:

    During my experiments with making my own deodorant, I found that I need to substitute the cornstarch with arrowroot. I tend to get yeast rashes (what most heat rash is). Cornstarch feeds the yeast. I live in the same hot desert Chautona does. If I were in a more humid climate… well I don’t want to even think about that.
    ~F

  10. Tracy says:

    I love this! Any suggestions on something to use besides lavendar? I personally don’t care for “flowery” smells and prefer things like fruit or vanilla. 🙂 Not sure exactly how to incorporate that?

  11. Connie says:

    enjoying following your results from testing. I want to try this soon. thanks for sharing.

  12. says:

    Most recipes I found used essential oils. I just didn’t want to have to mush up the wet into the dry etc and I didn’t see Willow and Kari using something like that when they already HAD the florets.

    So, I’d just use a few drops of a citrusy or vanilla scented oil and voila. 😀

  13. Em says:

    I tried and loved this, so I shared it with my momma and now my sister-in-law! I had come across baking soda in a plastic container with a resealable shaker style lid, and I put mine back into that container so that I shake out what I need “Willow style.” Momma likes hers in the container with the puff.

    My lavender plant had gone the way of everything green I have ever touched (it died,) so I used what I could salvage from my plant and made up for it with lavender oil. I suggested tea tree oil for my brother; he loved the idea but didn’t want to smell like a girl.

  14. PAN66 says:

    I have used this for a while but I use essential oils. I also use arrow root instead of cornstarch. I usually put coconut oil on first. It gives it something to stick too.

    If I could grow a plant, I’d grow some lavender and use it. I like the idea of putting the florets in there.

  15. Betty Landesman says:

    I love Willow and Walden Farms. I love Chautona Havig and her creativity. I will try this homemade deodorant and lavender is one of my favorite fragrances. I can’t wait to try it too. Thanks again Chautona for all you do. 🙂

  16. Pamela says:

    I have made my own talc powder this way, just left out the baking soda. Lemon Verbena has a wonderful fragrance, really fresh and invigorating, not sure if you get it in the states, but I live on a herb farm, so there is an abundance of herbs. Mmmm after readin this, I think I should make some for my daughter, everything else seems to burn her. Thank you Chautona.

  17. Challice says:

    Why not just use the mason salt/pepper jars at Walmart? Would that work well enough?

  18. says:

    I personally prefer having the “pouncer” to get it on. It’s a cleaner, easier way to do it.

    Just MAKE A LOT LESS than I did. Trust me. Cut it by 1/4 at LEAST. This stuff lasts forever.

  19. Mamaofbabes says:

    For different scents ‘Willow’-style you could dry and grind citrus peel, slice vanilla pods and leave them in the powder (like making vanilla sugar), or dry and grind herbs – rosemary, mint, lemon verbena as someone else said. Grind cinnamon, or cardamom or aniseed. Rose petals too. I imagine Kari would have dried and ground mint since that was her favourite scent.

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