PUT about 10 drops of frankincense and 15 drops each of the tea tree and lavender into the melted coconut oil.
STIR the oils into the dry mixture until the mixture is liquid. The consistency should be a little runny. Don't worry, the mixture will harden up later.
POUR the mixture into a container for storage.
I like using a soap container or an empty lotion tube. If you plan on taking this deodorant on travels or if your home is very warm (i.e. your coconut oil stays liquid), pick the tube because it does not leak. A funnel is really handy if you are using the tube.
After you pour the deodorant, wait a while for it to set up and solidify. If your home is warm, pop it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. I like my deodorant to be soft so I leave it semi-liquid when possible.
How to apply
While you can apply with your fingers, I find the best way is to use a makeup sponge. Simply run it across the deodorant and apply a thin layer over the entire armpit area.
Remember this is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. You are still going to sweat, but deodorants will keep you smelling fresh. This is why the essential oils are important. The baking soda and arrowroot are to help keep you dry, but don't expect all-day complete wetness protection.
To really amp up the effectiveness of this deodorant, I use a powder over it after it dries. I make my own: 1/2 cup arrowroot and 1/4 cup baking soda with the same essential oils. Just make sure you allow the deodorant to absorb (few minutes at most) before you apply the powder or it will clump up on your underarms.
Other tips and reminders
• Wait for the deodorant to absorb into your skin before dressing. Just like your antiperspirant, the deodorant can stain your clothes.
• Don't use if you nicked yourself shaving or have a razor burn.
• The scent of the essential oils will fade throughout the day because they are natural versus synthetic, but this doesn't mean they stopped working.
• Wear breathable clothing, where possible. Any clothes with polyester fibers are going to make you smell because the fibers trap and retain your sweat and any bacteria. Even the best deodorants and antiperspirants won't work that well with man-made fibers.
• Use rubbing alcohol to clean your bowls and equipment as it removes the coconut oils and essential oils.
Some users of homemade and natural deodorants have reported that your body needs a few days to transition and cleanse itself of the pore-blocking chemicals (i.e. the deodorant won't work as well the first few days). I didn't find this to be an issue at all.
Peace out and may your pits be fresh and fragrant!
Dennise Smith is a Charleston lawyer, fashion designer and co-founder of the local arts group Nomadic Tribes Collective.