Heading into a new category of products that have their own unique characteristics, new ingredients and a lot of science can be daunting. While we could have taken an easy route of simply buying a pre-blended base to which we only needed to add fragrance, or use a recipe we found on the internet, we decided to do some real work creating our own stick deodorant.
Creating our own recipe took a lot of research in ingredients as well as the market. Big questions we had to ask is WHY a specific ingredient is used. What are the expected results of using one ingredient over another. What blend of ingredients suits a broader need yet be good for those with strong sensitivities to specific ingredients. This was most important part to us. If we are going to venture into making deodorants, we didn’t want to tackle crafting a “regular” and a sensitive skin variant. So, we had to learn why the regular versions are not ideal for sensitive skin; and what is the impact of replacing those ingredients for those who do not have sensitive skin. What we learned was that those ingredients that irritate some in regular formulas are no better than the ingredients that are used in sensitive skin formulas. That answered one question for us. Now, what ingredients do we use to make one deodorant for all?
Zinc Ricinoleate: Odor Absorber
A common irritant in most deodorants is the use of Baking Soda, aka Soda Bicarbonate, as an odor neutralizer. It’s a salt that can cause the skin to become dry or even present a burning feeling to the most sensitive skin. It works, but there are better alternatives.
Zinc has been in deodorants for decades, mainly as Zinc Oxide – a whitener as well as a natural odor neutralizer. Zinc Ricinoleate is a fatty acid made from castor seeds. You have likely heard of Castor Oil, which is commonly used in many lotions. Zinc Ricinoleate is also a natural odor neutralizer, and it works harder than Zinc Oxide. Because of it being an fatty acid (oil) derived from a plant it blends very well with the other ingredients commonly found in natural deodorant sticks.
Wetness Absorption Power
Most natural deodorants out there use arrowroot powder or corn starch to be the wetness absorber. They do the job well at absorbing, but there is a drawback. Starches can cause a thin gummy paste to form when sweating which is not ideal but tolerated when using natural deodorants. Our solution to this was to use less starch and add in clay to absorb wetness. We opted for Organic Tapioca starch, which is light and silky. Clay has been used a lot on skin care products and in some of the sensitive skin deodorant formulas. Most use white kaolin clay, which is perfectly fine and does a great job. Since we have some more exotic clay around here we opted to use clay that has more absorption power while providing nutrients for the skin as well as boost odor neutralizing. Our clay is a blend of French Green and Moroccan Rhassoul.
French Green is loaded with natural elements (manganese, selenium, copper and magnesium) that are derived from the how the clay was formed. These natural elements are great for the body and skin, and great for even the most sensitive skin. Paired with the Rhassoul clay, which shares some of those same elements and adds calcium and potassium, we get a powerful wetness absorbing component that will also provide added benefits.
All of this is built upon an all naturally sourced blend of oils, butters and emulsifier, many of which are certified organic. These ingredients work to smooth the active ingredients to your skin as well as help fight odor while keeping your skin soft. The emulsifier, cetyl alcohol, is plant sourced and not a scary chemical or drying alcohol. It works to keep the stick firm and hold it all together.
Scented but not Fragranced
The purpose behind the inclusion of essential oils is to add more power to the odor fight as well as to provide a moderate and generally pleasant odor throughout use. These are not perfumes, or fragrances to throw a scent. Our scent blends are intended to be subdued and not conflict with other fragrances you may choose to wear. At first we will have up to 4 scents, but that may change depending on what the masses like. Upon launch there will be Cedar + Lime with more woodsy notes and Lavender + Clary Sage to give a earthy and not too floral scent.
It may not be pretty, but it works!
Mainly because of the choices we made in clay, our stick is a little on to muddy looking side. Don’t worry, once it is on your skin it disappears. Being that everything we make is hand packed, no machines or automated equipment is used, the top of the stick is not polished and perfectly rounded. Our choice in oils and butters makes the stick a little softer than others, but it is less likely to be too hard when sitting in a cold bathroom.