Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Making it Count...Homemade Hygiene

I'm linking up with Pam and Sarah to for Making it Count Tuesday.

One thing I am really loving about browsing Pinterest is all the DIY ideas I see there. Lately, those are coming in really handy for homemade personal hygiene products.

I have been making my own lip balm for years, and then this past winter I starting making my own body butter. I am still making and using these items exclusively -- no purchased lip balm for years, or body lotion since I made my first batch. Now to those two items I have added toothpaste, deodorant, and body powder.

I can't say that making any of these items at home is less expensive than purchasing, but that has never been my goal. My goal is to get away from unhealthy ingredients in all of those items (with the exception of body powder and my goal there was to get the fragrance I like).

My lip balm has no petroleum products in it, so it doesn't dry your lips out. You know most commercial lip balms have petroleum products in them which make your lips dry, thus you feel the need to use it more, thus you use and, of course, buy more. Aha! They are no dummies those manufacturers. My lip balm goes on like butter and feels wonderful, but never leaves my lips dry.

The body butter I made because I wanted something with fewer chemicals, especially for my children who have really sensitive skin.

I started making our own toothpaste because I recently read some research on flouride (which, frankly, flipped me out), and also read some research on remineralizing teeth that have small cavities. I had recently been having some tooth sensitivity that was not a decay issue and I thought the remineralizing toothpaste might help. Today, coincidentally, my youngest son Noah had a dental check-up and we learned he has ten, yes TEN, cavities. He is 15 years old, so I don't brush his teeth for him any more, nor do I nag him to floss. He's a big boy. But now his dad and I are going to have to front a lot of money for those cavities to be filled. He'll also have to have the teeth drilled, which I firmly believe weakens them, and at some point in his life those fillings will probably have to be replaced, costing more money and requiring more drilling. Apparently two of the cavities are rather deep, but several of them are very superficial and I am hoping that between the remineralizing toothpaste and some dietary supplements, we might be able to "heal" a couple of them and avoid drilling the teeth, and the cost of dental work. I saw this recipe for toothpaste on Pinterest and followed the links to Wellness Mama, also the source of my body butter recipe.

I altered the recipe a little bit, primarily omitting the diatomaceous earth, because I didn't want it to be too abrasive, and also by using the least amount of coconut oil and adding peppermint oil. If you have very sensitive teeth you could forgo the baking soda, or just cut back. Make sure you buy an aluminum-free baking soda, like Bob's Red Mill. These ingredients are not cheap, but the quantities I have here make a lot of toothpaste. And then there's the fact that dental work is not cheap either.

Just an FYI -- there is no fluoride in this toothpaste for a reason. I don't think it's healthy (just google it and you'll find lots of articles to read). Our dentist, however, had a little conniption when I mentioned our experiment with homemade toothpaste and I reminded her that our water if fluoridated. Here's my recipe (I used a tablespoon as a "part" and made three small tubs of toothpaste. It lasted us about a month):

I forgot the baking soda in this picture, but I use this kind.

Remineralizing Toothpaste

5 parts Calcium powder
 2 parts Baking Soda (aluminum free)
 3 parts xylitol (it's a granule kind of like lightweight sugar, except it's good for teeth)
 1 part liquid castille soap (it's an oil-based soap)
3 parts coconut oil, melted
Essential Peppermint oil -- about 30 drops, more or less to taste

Mix dry ingredients together well and add melted coconut oil, stirring to combine all ingredients well (if the mixture is not holding together well, add a little more coconut oil -- if it's too soft don't worry, it will firm up when the coconut oil cools). Add peppermint oil as you are mixing it up. Taste and add more peppermint oil to the desired taste.

To use, scoop a small amount out with a tiny spoon -- about the size of a large pea (we use popsicle style craft sticks) and roll it into a ball. Then smash it onto the toothbrush.

This toothpaste is not sweet like commercially-prepared toothpaste but the xylitol makes it a little bit sweet and the peppermint leaves a nice aftertaste. The baking soda makes it salty so if you really can't handle the salty taste, cut back on the baking soda. After two weeks of using only this toothpaste, I used a little bit of commercial toothpaste and could not believe how sweet it tasted. Bleh.

NOTE: I found all the products at a local heath food store

I starting making the deodorant when it became apparent to me that my ten-year-old daughter was starting to get a little stinky (yikes!). I didn't want her to start using commercial deodorants at her age, and then I realized that if I didn't want her using them, I probably shouldn't be using them either. Again, I did a little research and found that the ingredients in anti-perspirant are really very unhealthy. Not only do they block the pores from sweating (thus keeping sweat and toxins inside our bodies), but some of the chemicals are not good for the skin -- and here we are putting it on some of our most sensitive skin, not to mention right near some big clusters of lymph nodes and right next to our breasts. Hmm, makes ya think, doesn't it? While I could have shopped for a safer deodorant for my daughter and myself, I decided to fiddle with some homemade just to experiment.

It was an interesting experiment. For the first two weeks or so I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stick with it. I got stinky, to be real honest. Nothing a soapy washcloth didn't take care of, but we aren't always at home with the soapy washcloths. But then after about two weeks, even though I was still sweating, there was no smell. I had read that it takes a couple weeks for those toxins that have been building up (because anti-perspirant keeps them inside) to work their way out. Now, I don't smell at all (aren't you happy?) even after being outdoors and being rather wet, if you know what I mean. I just made up another batch and I don't think I'll ever go back to store-bought deodorant. 

Use whatever scent you like. The first batch I made, Faith encouraged me to use lemon-eucalyptus, which is nice because it is a natural bug repellent (for all those bugs you get under your arms!), but it was rather odd smelling like a cough drop, so this last batch I used lavender. Much nicer. Also, you can add tea tree oil -- 10 drops or so -- if you like. I did the first time but forgot the second time. It's a natural antimicrobial agent.

This recipe is a combination of several recipes and if any of them bother you (your skin) just omit and see if it works without. I had everything I needed on hand either for the lip balm, body butter or toothpaste, so it didn't cost me anything to fiddle with it.

Also, some people might not like the idea that you have to apply it with your fingers (just rub it on like cream), but it doesn't bother me at all. The only negative is I have to wash my hands afterward because it's slightly greasy. If it bothers you, you can buy deodorant stick containers here, or just save a commercial one when it's empty. I just put it in the little plastic pots I use for body butter and toothpaste, which I also buy at that link.

(in this photo I forgot the tea tree and coconut oil)

Homemade Deodorant

1 1/2 T. grated beeswax or beeswax beads
4 T. coconut oil, melted
1 T. cocoa butter
4 tsp. cornstarch*
4 t. baking soda**
20-25 drops essential oil (or a mixture of tea tree oil and any other scent -- I used Lavender alone)
Empty, clean, sterilized deodorant container

Melt the beeswax and coconut oil on very low heat, stirring often (I use the microwave). Once melted, add in the cocoa butter and stir until melted. Heat slightly if needed. Add in the cornstarch and baking soda and stir well until everything is combined, adding in essential oil as you stir. If you are using a pot (like I did) pour into pot. If you are using a tube, let the mixture sit for a while until it starts to get solid -- then spoon into tube.

To apply (from the pot), rub fingers into mixture and rub a small amount onto armpit skin -- about the same as you would lotion or cream.

* You can use arrowroot powder in place of cornstarch
** if baking soda is too abrasive for your skin, just omit it oir cut back; it doesn't bother me at all

Body powder seems to be one of those things that nobody uses but babies. It's hard to find any more unless it comes with that fresh diaper scent! I decided a couple weeks ago that I could probably make my own powder and set out to find a recipe. I found some tips here, and just kind of did my own thing. I bought cornstarch at the grocery store, because the powder I usually use (Johnson's Baby) was cornstarch powder and I like the feel -- very silky. I bought Lavender essential oil at the health food store, as well as dried lavender.

I did not want to purchase a coffee bean grinder just to grind up dried lavender, so my finished product has some flower pieces in it. That doesn't both me a bit. But if you have a dedicated herb grinder, go for it. I also could have sifted it to remove the flowers, but I am just not that picky. They are small enough to come out of the holes in the powder container, but they don't bug me. I imagine, if you didn't want to bother with the flowers you could just use cornstarch and essential oil -- just more of it. You can also add baking soda to this recipe -- a couple tablespoons, but I did not. Make sure you use aluminum free, if you do.

Body Powder

1 to 2 cups cornstarch (I used 2 cups so I wouldn't have to make it again for a while)
2 T. dried lavender (or dried rose petals or dried herbs)
20 - 30 drops essential oil (I used Lavender also)

In a food processor (or grinder) grind up dried flower petals or herbs. I used my mini processor because I was using such a small quantity of lavender.

After the flowers were as ground as I thought I was going to get them, I added half the cornstarch and processed it for another couple minutes. Then I added the remaining cornstarch and the essential oil.
I pried the lid off my baby powder container and used a funnel to get the homemade powder inside. You could also use a container and a powder puff.

I hope you enjoy my recipes, if you want to try making your own personal hygiene products. I can't decide if there is anything else I want to try and make myself. I really want to make my own soap, but all those warnings about using lye have kept me from it. Stay tuned...you never know.


  1. I used the Wellness Mama remineralizing recipe. Do you feel brave enough to use that for a while and see if any of Noah's cavities heal? I've heard that they can!

    My deodorant recipe is similar, but it's too liquid in the summer to put in a tube. Last time I just added a whole bunch more baking soda until it was a paste. I love it and I never thought about the lymph node aspect!

    I'll have to try the powder; I don't use it often, so I haven't been that concerned. And I'll have to use it up for the container first.

    1. I definitely intend to use the remineralizing toothpaste to try and heal Noah's superficial cavities. He's also going to be taking a multivitamin (with K), calcium with D twice a day and fish oil three times a day. Plus a lot of milk. I just hope I can trust our dentist to be honest about them if they do heal.

  2. We use a different homemade toothpaste recipe, but I might try to find some calcium powder to see if that's beneficial. As far as baking soda goes, though, no SODA has aluminum, but POWDER does. Baking powder is a composite of ingredients that make your pancakes fluffy, but baking soda, which is a component of baking powder, is always aluminum free. It's the soda that is usually used in these recipes, NOT POWDER.

    1. Good to know, Jennie -- about the aluminum. Thanks! It's funny Bob's Mill advertises "aluminum free."

  3. WOW! I am impressed! I would be interested in trying some of these things ... I guess I just don't think about the chemicals/toxins in products like these! But I should ...

  4. These are marvelous! Thank you for posting. I've been using aluminum free baking powder for cooking for a couple of years now. Arm&Hammer makes a supposedly aluminum-free deodorant which I've been using for a while but I look forward to trying this instead. I've been mixing baking soda and water as a hair rinse since January and it works beautifully on my family's hair. Mine is so thick though that I'm looking for something to help deal with the extra oils. Lemon juice seems to help for now. More research! Thanks again. :)

  5. Good for you!! I have been trying some natural face cleaners- it does feel good to not use chemicals.

  6. Totally impressive and inspiring, Barbara.

  7. Great recipes, Barbara! I've been making the deodorant for a while- I use grapefruit oil which gives it a nice fresh scent that's good for guys and gals. (My dh ran out of his stuff and tried my homemade and was surprised to find it really works!) I also make a cream mixture that I use for skin/lips/face, and you've inspired me to try toothpaste! And I would love to make soap too but I'm right there with you about the lye - eek!

  8. Thank you for sharing these. The commercial deodorant issue has been nagging at me for awhile now, but I've been hesitant to stop using it. I think I will give your recipe a try.

    Please keep us updated on the dental progress, as well!

  9. Wow I am so impressed that you do all of this.

  10. Great post and so interesting. I don't use flouride toothepaste either and I am thankful that my parents never allowed us to use it. It's really bad for the thyroid. I want to try your recipe for deodorant as we've been spending a small fortune on one we get in a health food store.

  11. For soap, I have two sources I highly recommend:
    The Nuns of Summit, NJ, make their own soap and sell it to raise funds for the monastery. They also make lip balm and hand lotion. The line is called Seignadou Soaps, and it's at www.nunsopsummit.org

    Also, Goat Milk Stuff (www.goatmilkstuff.com) is GREAT. FAmily owned business that uses goat milk from their own herd and makes soap, balms, lotions, etc.


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!