Zero waste DIY: Facial scrub, deodorant (and armpit detox!) and toothpaste

I had last Monday off for Memorial Day (and even had a true day off – usually we have to work at some point during holidays anyway because the news never sleeps*), and I decided to cross some bathroom-esque projects off the ol’ list: Specifically, I wanted to make a facial scrub, replenish my homemade deodorant supply, and jump on the homemade toothpaste bandwagon, of which I’d fallen off.

Oh, beautiful Internet, what did people do before they could just google something and get on with their lives? I have no idea.

I put this on my face ... and then have to clean the sink.

I put this on my face … and then clean the sink.

These actually weren’t my only projects, but this post is going to be way too long if I tell you about all of them, so we’ll save the others for another time.

First up: Oatmeal honey scrub (source)

2 parts oatmeal, finely ground

1 part raw, organic honey

1 part coconut or olive oil

My bar of organic castile is about to run out, so finding an alternative facial cleaner is high on my list. My notes are kind of sketchy on this front because I don’t always pay attention, but basically I ground the oats in my food processor, then added the honey and oil and whirled that around for awhile. To be honest, I find it kind of thick and weird and super messy to apply and wash off. So I’m going to keep looking. Although it does make my face feel nice and soft. And clean, I guess? I don’t know, I’m so used to soaps that it’s a little odd not to have suds.

Clockwise: Deodorant, all-purpose balm (that's another post for another time) and toothpaste, all in their "cooling" stages.

Clockwise: Deodorant, all-purpose balm (that’s another post for another time) and toothpaste, all in their “cooling” stages.

Next up: Homemade deodorant (I can’t find my source, you guys, I’m sorry) and an unplanned armpit detox (source)

For deodorant:

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons baking soda

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

15-20 drops essential oil

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or on the stove in a pan of water, then add the soda and arrowroot (I added 1 tablespoon of soda and 3 tablespoons of arrowroot thinking that might make it less irritating) and essential oils (I always ignore this part, but then, I generally don’t like smells). Spread on like a lotion. (Oh, fun fact, coconut oil has a melting point of 78 degrees – I have no idea what that is in Celsius – and it’s been HOT here in the Gorge lately, so I’ve taken to storing the stuff in the refrigerator. I’m just waiting for someone to pull it out at dinnertime thinking it’s a condiment. Incidentally, keeping it in the fridge makes it rock solid, so I have to remember to take it out before my shower so it’s not so solid.)

UPDATE: New plan: Add some beeswax, just a pinch, to thicken this stuff up. Now there’s no oily sheen on top when it’s hot outside with the added bonus of being to store it on my shelf instead of the refrigerator. I also added 10 drops of essential peppermint oil (which I chose because the label said cooling! and also because it’s one of the cheaper oils out there. Good grief, this stuff is expensive!) so I’m minty fresh. Full update HERE.

For armpit detox:

1 tablespoon bentonite clay

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1-2 teaspoons of water for consistency (you want it “sour cream like”)

Mix in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon because something about ions in the clay and metal and destruction (that’s science). Spread on armpit in an even layer and allow to sit for 5-20 minutes (with the suggestion of starting off with the 5 and working your way up). Wash off; repeat daily until your armpits aren’t irritated anymore.

The first time I made homemade deodorant was right before I found out I’d be taking over the blog this year. It turned out rather lovely and I never had a problem with it staining my clothing even though it was oil-based. We’re not really that close so this might be TMI, but I have really sensitive skin and my armpits were pretty irritated from my store-bought brand and my razor, probably. I’d hoped that this homemade concoction would help on that front … but my armpits were still irritated. But I kept using it because I figured it would go away eventually. I’m always optimistic about the wrong things.

But then I ran out on Sunday, so on Monday I was trying to find the recipe I had used and stumbled upon a whole host of posts taking about this so-called need for an armpit detox to rid your body of … um, the toxins in purchased deodorant or whatever.

Well, I like weird stuff, so I was like, sign me up! And yeah, I forgot and used a metal spoon, but still, it worked almost immediately. Those gross red irritated bumps? GONE. Except they did come back and I’ve been faithfully detoxing my armpits ever since. I think it really is working. My pits aren’t as irritated and putting on the deodorant doesn’t make me want to scratch my skin off, so success! (I’m being dramatic. I would itch for the first few minutes, and then it would go away.)

Melting coconut oil in a saucepan of water is actually a pretty cool trick. Which I stole, obviously.

Melting coconut oil in a saucepan of water is actually a pretty cool trick. Which I stole borrowed.

And for my last trick: Toothpaste (source)

1 tablespoon xylitol dissolved in a spritz of water

2 tablespoons baking soda

2 large scoops of coconut oil

Peppermint oil to taste

I’ve made this a couple of times now. The first time was at a zero waste gathering (that’s me in the teal sweater if you click the link, no pressure) and this was the activity. It turned out perfectly. And minty because someone had brought their essential oils. The second time was in my own kitchen, and it turned out totally gross, just really gritty and weird. I ended up tossing it.

THIS time I was motivated to be successful again because I knew I had to report back to y’all and I was determined to make it work. In class, we mixed the ingredients together as-is, but I found that melting the coconut oil worked so well for the deodorant that I wanted to try it for the toothpaste, too, with the added thought that maybe it would melt the xylitol a little (that stuff can be alarmingly abrasive-feeling).

And lo and behold, yeah, it worked all right, but it took such a long time for the coconut oil to set again that I had kind of lost hope by the time I noticed it had. Anyway, I like this toothpaste quite a lot. It tastes nice, even without the peppermint oil (although P.S., I did break down and buy some on my shopping trip Saturday, although I haven’t added it yet because apparently that’s too much trouble), and it leaves my teeth feeling clean. But I kind of want to try toothpowder next, just for kicks.

Next up: I have a few more DIYs from last weekend, so I think we’ll just knock those off the list. Although zero waste lunch kits have been on my list for a while now, too … Any votes, I guess?

* It’s cool, we know what we sign up for when we become journalists. 🙂

6 Responses to Zero waste DIY: Facial scrub, deodorant (and armpit detox!) and toothpaste

  1. You have inspired me to spend some of my free time today making deodorant. I’ve been using the store-bought stuff recently (why did I buy it?) but every morning I look at it and swear I’ll make some soon. I find that adding cocoa butter to the coconut oil makes it less melty, but still enough for appication. I leave the cocoa butter out in the winter when the deodorant doesn’t melt.

    • Yay! Hope the deodorant making went well today! Um, so at the risk of sounding like an idiot, I had no idea that cocoa butter was used as a stabilizer. I don’t have any (although I wish I did … smelling like cocoa would not be the worst thing), but I just re-melted my deodorant, added a bit of beeswax and 10 drops of my new peppermint oil (took a sniff and wow, I think I just blew out my nasal cavity, holy smokes), and we’ll see what happens in the morning. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I used one of the scent free paste style deodorants and it was ok. I prefer the Weleda spray which I’m hoping to make out of the cheap vodka I buy in glass bottles for cleaning. Some vodka, water, and essential oils in a refillable spray bottle! Where did you source xylitol? You can find bulk unpackaged soaps at Whole Foods or liquid Dr. Bronner’s at WF, New Seasons, or any of the co-ops. Always looking forward to the next post!

    • Vodka deodorant! That is right up my alley. Any particular ratio of vodka to water?

      I got the xylitol in the bulk aisle of my favorite grocery store. I have no idea what else to use it for besides toothpaste, so my cup or so of the stuff is probably gonna last me a while. 🙂

      And thank you — I appreciate the nice words!

  3. Pingback: The continuing saga part II | The Simple Year

  4. Pingback: Zero waste DIY: Lip balm and toothpowder | The Simple Year

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