Monday, August 11, 2014

Adovia Mineral Skin Care / Cleopatra's Choice Shea Butter: Review and My Homemade Deodorant Recipe

So how many of you were previously (or are still currently) using chemical-laden harsh deodorants? I used to buy Lady Mitchum Clear Gel because it had high Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly (20%) (Anti-Perspirant) and It was more powerful than most clinical strength ones in stores (clinical ones often were much more expensive and only 17-18%).

There were many years of using those terrible chemical deodorants/antiperspirants and I did not know of the dangers of aluminum absorption and did not really pay attention to all the other chemicals listed in my deodorant. Just look at them all, what are they? Seriously, if you would lose a spelling bee trying to spell some of them, or would have trouble explaining what they are off hand (without notes or a smart phone Google search), then they probably aren't good.

I made the switch to safe, natural, skin loving ingredients and now make my own deodorant using Pure Shea Butter This brand is from Adovia and Cleopatra's Choice, and I add a few other wonderful ingredients to make my own blend. (Sometimes I buy deodorant in my favorite natural brand (to keep on hand for traveling or to keep in my purse, etc.), but sometimes I run out of store bought, or cannot afford to buy another--I like to use this whenever possible).

But first let me explain why I have forever switched to natural deodorant.

This is in my previously beloved Lady Mitchum:

Active Ingredients: Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly (20%) (Anti-Perspirant)

Inactive Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearyl Alcohol, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Dimethicone, Talc, Parfum (Fragrance), PEG 8 Distearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hydrogen Peroxide, Silica Dimethicone Silylate, Laureth-23, Silica, Sodium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Linalool, Coumarin, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Geraniol, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citra

Listed below are some popular ingredients in today's deodorants. After a Google search, here are some definitions and causes for concern:

Many deodorants and cosmetics contain parabens, which are synthetic preservatives. Absorption of parabens and other chemicals harm hormonal balance, cause skin irritation, and can lead to health problems. It is scary to think about early puberty in children, increased risk of breast or prostate cancers, and risk of Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease. Paraben and other chemical exposure has also been linked to birth defects and organ toxicity. For those women like me that shave their armpits, these chemicals are absorbed in greater amounts and quicker (as it opens the pores up) and these chemicals can seep in through knicks as well.

Aluminum based deodorants (contained in a high percentage of deodorants on the market) can cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects and the formation of breast cancer cells. There is a chance that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer. I do not want to put myself at risk.

Here are chemicals found in regular deodorants (and possible harm they can cause with repeated use and absorption into our bodies):

Aluminum Chloride:
Organ system toxicity, reproductive effects at moderate to high doses, brain & nervous system effects at high doses.
Aluminum Chlorohydrate: Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Neurotoxicity

Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine:
Strong evidence of human neurotoxicity

Diproplyene Glycol:
brain and nervous system effects at high doses
1 PEG-14 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG – 18/18 Dimethicone, PEG-8 Distearate, and Triclosan: Also known as 1,4-Dioxane: Endocrine disruption, identified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Propylene Glycol: FDA says is safe for general use but can cause cancer, contains toxins that affect reproduction. It is a petroleum based material that is used to soften cosmetic products--gives a glide. Propylene glycol was originally developed as an anti-freeze. Scary.

It is utilized as the odor killing part of antiperspirants for its anti-bacterial properties. It is also commonly used in antibacterial soaps, hand wipes and gels. It is classified as a pesticide by the FDA and as a carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Alcohol Denatured:
Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

Butane and Propane:
Allergies and immunotoxicity (Aerosol deodorants/hair sprays/dry shampoo sprays)

Could be anything, and most likely chemical based, unless it states otherwise.

"Fragrance" is such a general term, wouldn't you like to know something was fragranced with an essential oil or botanical (floral/plant based) ingredient instead of a chemical that is generically labeled as "fragrance"? (Don't get me wrong, I am not all high and mighty or a 102% earth, wind, plants hippie, I am a regular gal and I DO use regular, and chemical based perfumes, I am not completely "All Natural" and do not claim to be any better than anyone else. I do try to limit my body's exposure to chemicals when I can. There are many cosmetics that I have not made a switch to natural. I still use mostly regular make up, the only more natural type makeup items I use are mineral foundations and powders. I do use mineral eye shadows sometimes.

PEG/PPG – 18/18 Dimethicone:
A silicone, can cause organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

Benzyl Alcohol: Neurotoxicity

Cancer, Allergies/immunotoxicity

Info above are nearly direct quotes, Source

I have 2 natural deodorant selections that work for me against odor and wetness and do not cause me any irritation. 1.) My homemade deodorant and for store bought: 2.) Lavanila Deodorant (my favorites are Lemon Vanilla and Pure Vanilla scent). I have tried at least 10 brands of natural deodorants from various online stores, etsy shops, drugstores, and Natural grocery stores. They all either burn me (too much baking soda) or they do not hold up well to fighting odor and wetness.

Now I must mention. I did have to get my body used to not having all the chemicals. Just like going Sulfate-Free (shampoo, soap, etc.) with your hair, there is a break in period. When I went sulfate free, my hair was oilier than normal for a few weeks. When shampoos contain sulfates (the foaming, sudsy agents, the scalp and hair is drying out (stripped of natural oils) and the scalp tries to over compensate and product more oil. When I stopped sulfates, my hair and scalp needed to normalize. I now wash my hair twice a week and my hair is soft, clean, fresh smelling, and full of natural gloss that used to be weighed down with daily shampooing and striping of natural oil.

I have been using natural, chemical free deodorant for a year now. My armpits took the 2-3 months to normalize and get accustomed to natural deodorant. But it is so worth it I promise! I started my journey to chemical free deodorant in the middle of a heat wave last year. Our house was about 85 degrees INSIDE (100 yr old home, poor insulation and a broken AC system for the entire summer) while it was 95 or more OUTSIDE. So yeah, it was not always a pretty or comfortable thing to start becoming more natural minded and stop using antiperspirant. What? You thought this deodorant will clog up your sweat glands and prevent ALL sweat and wetness? Nope. It won't. It is not supposed to. We are supposed to sweat, we release toxins through our pores. Sweating is what keeps our body from overheating, it cools us down. Source

That being said, I actually am LESS wet under my armpits now and have LESS odor since switching to a cleaner, natural deodorant. I am not putting toxins and chemicals into my body and I am nourishing my skin with the soothing and healthy ingredients. Shea butter, Coco butter, and Coconut oil are amazing for our skin and hair.

The brand of Shea I am using is from one of my favorite natural brands, Adovia / Cleopatra's Choice. If you read my blog regularly, which I hope you do, you will hear my raves and praises about this company. :) They use top ingredients, give generous product portions for the price, and have a wide variety of natural items to suite everyone.

Shea Butter is wonderful for smoothing and soothing dry Skin, psoriasis, eczema and acne. It contains Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin F (Essential fatty acids). For pregnant beauties, this is excellent for moisturizing stretch marks which makes pretty bellies during and beyond pregnancy. This brand of Shea is always 100% Natural and Organic. It is made with the finest nuts from Ghana. It does not clog pores--which is great for overall skin use on the face, body and yes, armpits (deodorant). It is super moisturizing and makes your skin supple and soft.

I like how this Cleopatra's Choice Shea arrived neatly packaged and in a reseal-able container. It will stay fresh. This will last a long time and can be used in many homemade beauty creams, butters, dry foot/heel/elbow balm, lotions, lip butters, soaps, shaving creams, deodorant, and so much more! Trust me, this will get lots of use here in this home.

Here is my recipe, feel free to play around with the mixture to suit you. You can make smaller or larger batches if you need to split up among family members. This would also be great for preteens and those just starting to need deodorant. This homemade deodorant is natural, and there aren't chemicals being absorbed into their body.

Recipe for Fresh and SOFT pits: (This will make enough for about 2 1/2 to 3 oz and will last you probably 2 months or so. This can be pressed into a clean deodorant stick (from a past commercial stick and then placed in the fridge to keep it solid, however, this works best in my opinion as it melts into my skin, and I can massage it in.) I used a 2 oz jar I had cleaned and sanitized for myself, and also a 1 oz travel jar for my husband.

2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (I prefer using unrefined--it smells sweet like coconut, but I only had refined (which is unscented--you choose what you like best, just make sure it is pure)

1 Tablespoon Coco Butter (I prefer using unrefined as it smells like chocolate chip cookies, and that is what I used)

1 Tablespoon Shea Butter (Raw and unrefined Shea Butter is high in Vitamins A and E and is incredibly soothing for your skin.)

2-3 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder (You can adjust the amount added for consistency, arrowroot helps with keeping you dry.)

1 Tablespoon Kaolin Clay (Draws out toxins and assists with keeping you dry. Some people use Bentonite Clay, but that is a darker color and I worry about staining my clothing.)

2-3 squirts of Witch Hazel (I love the Lemon scented by Thayers---it has Aloe Vera, Essential oils and Citrus extracts, It does have some Alcohol in it so skip it is you think it will not suit your skin or get one of their Alcohol free versions)

25-30ish drops Essential oils (I like using ones that are antibacterial/antimicrobial and that have odor preventing properties)

For this recipe, I used about 15 drops of pure tea tree oil, 15 drops of pure lavender oil, and 5 drops(approximately)of pure lemon essential oil. Use what scents you like, I only "scent" my deodorant with natural, pure essential oils and never use chemicals or fragrances. Another essential oil that you might decide to use is rosemary oil in case you don't have one of the others, or you can use smaller amounts of the others. If you find that the deodorant is irritating, try using a few less drops of essential oils.

OPTIONAL: I always add in some Calendula oil as it is a healing and skin loving oil. I make my own by adding Argan oil, Jojoba Oil, Grape Seed Oil, and dried Marigold flowers in a Mason jar in a sunny spot for 4-6 weeks. I then strain it from the flower and oil mixture, and the oil becomes Infused Calendula. So essentially my armpit cream has lots of skin soothing oils in it.

Now you may be thinking, that is A LOT of ingredients, I thought we were trying to save money by doing this homemade?? Trust me, when you buy the ingredients, you may pay a bit upfront, but you will have enough ingredients to last a year or more. The uses are endless (we use the Shea Butter for so many things. We use the essential oils daily to make cloth wipe solution, and more.

If you do decide to use baking soda in your cream, you could get away with using less lavender and less tea tree (since those are used for preventing odor), and use MORE lemon essential oil, and add pure vanilla essential oil (smells very similar to vanilla extract that you cook with but is not the same) If you did it this way, your deodorant smells like a chocolate chip lemon cookie (I have done this in the past and it is WONDERFUL smelling.) The coco butter when (un-refined) smells like a cookie.

I am happy with my current lavender, tea tree, lemon scented deodorant as it smells fresh and clean.

You can play around with the measurements and do what works best for you based on how much you are wanting to make and how thick or smooth you want it. The Arrowroot (or cornstarch if you use that instead) not only helps to serve as a thickener but it also has the power to help draw out toxins and creates a slight powder feel on your armpits. The coconut oil contains lauric acid and is antibacterial and antimicrobial, which PREVENTS the bacteria growth, which is what really makes you smell. Sweat does not generally smell, it is the growth of bacteria on your skin that occurs from the wetness and closed up warm areas (like under your pits). When bacteria come in contact with the sweat, this causes body odor. Stink is more likely in those who eat junk food. It is always important to drink plenty of water and eat fruits and vegetables, and limit sugars and junk food.

"Bacteria living in your body only react with what you “feed” them. The smell in your armpit won’t be offensive if it’s just perspiring excess minerals and healthy metabolic waste products; however, it will stink if your body is sweating toxic byproducts which come from eating…processed, refined food." Source, Dr. Joseph Mercola

Adding Baking Soda to this deodorant is OPTIONAL and I would only add this if you DO NOT normally have skin sensitivity (most people do well with baking soda in their deodorant, and it seriously kicks up the power of this deodorant, (neutralizes pH and body odor) however, I have tried lessening the amount of baking soda, and it still bothers me (makes my pits itch and a bit pink), so I always leave it out and do just fine without it. If you add baking soda, I would suggest starting small with perhaps 1 teaspoon in the batch then working up to 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons. Another thing to note is that sometimes the irritation you may have is the detoxing phase that runs its course. (which may take 1-3 months to get all the toxins out of your body that were absorbed from previous chemicals, junky foods, starches, sugars, and such)

Some people add beeswax, to make the deodorant more solid, but for me, the Coconut Oil, Shea butter, and Coco Butter are more solid at a cooler temp (you can put your deo in the fridge if you plan to use this in a reusable commercial deo stick.) Beeswax is yellow and I think it would have a tendency to stain clothes, so I personally do not recommend it. I like my deodorant to be in a jar and sort of creamy to apply with my fingers and rub in. This is what works best for me after about a year of trials.

Suggestion: Save the small pink spoon(s) you get from the sampling at ice cream shops as they are perfect for scooping out the perfect amount into your fingers. You just need a small amount on each armpit and rub in gently in a circle. (The amount on my fingers above is roughly how much TOTAL you need (of course you can adjust the amount to your needs)---just split it evenly in half for each pit). Massage in, and let the Shea Deo mixture soak into your skin. This makes for very soft armpits. I would suggest waiting about 5 minutes before dressing to insure the cream has fully soaked in. The picture of just my fingers shows a light sheen after the deodorant is applied, this is not heavy or greasy. The arrowroot makes the cream dry a bit powdery.

Now hear is a secret: This is what I do. I like to freshly shave my armpits each daily or at least every other day, even if they do not need it. It makes me feel ultra smooth and provides light exfoliation. I use a vintage safety razor (love mine and am never going back to traditional modern ones), natural shave soap and a shaving brush. I wash my armpits really well in the shower and pat dry, then I apply a small thin layer of plain coconut oil to my fresh bare pits (creates a barrier to block bacteria growth). I then put on my towel/robe and wait about a minute, then I apply my deo cream. After the deo cream is applied, I wait about 5 minutes, and while wearing my towel, I brush my teeth and rinse my mouth. My armpits are dry and then I dress. If you need more time, put on your makeup while waiting for the cream to dry. It really shouldn't need more than 5 minutes. It may need less, depending on how much arrowroot you put in it. Since I do not use the baking soda, I have not had a problem with irritation on the day I shaved. If you have a problem, try lessening the essential oil in your mixture.

Please note, this is what works for me personally. I am not promising you will love this and am not promising it will work for you. I also am not promising this is the exact mixture for your skin. You be the judge on what works best for you and what you are comfortable with. I am not looking down on anyone who decides that they want to use regular deodorant. This may not be for you. I also am not a skin specialist. Please mix and use at your own risk. This is just what I use.

I really like this Shea Butter from Adovia and Cleopatra's Choice. It is the perfect base for my deodorant. It is much better than a brand I had used previously for my base. The previous one was rock hard all the time (even in summer) and did not feel as smooth, silky or creamy. I can definitely tell a difference in this one. If you are interested in finding out more about this Shea Butter, you can find it on Amazon: Pure Shea Butter

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