Back last spring I got the idea to mix up a few tried and trusted ingredients to make a simple and effective beeswax based deodorant. I heated up one part beeswax to 5 parts unrefined coconut oil, baking soda, and corn starch. I added three different essential oils: Clary Sage, Cypress, and Tea Tree. The mixture was both effective in staving off my and my roommates BO, and that of a number of my market friends, all the while having a lovely and clean, yet gender neutral scent!
The first batch was an immediate hit, landing on our Pike Place shop shelves within the week of it's production. Samples given to friends yielded the same response across the board! WTF?! What did you put in this? Magically effective!!! We asked around for what the cutest name should be, either Bee-O Stinger or Bee-Odorant or something else. Bee-Odorant seemed to do the trick, cute and curious and simple. I was so pleased to have made something that was so easy (well, mixing the ingredients is easy but getting it in the tubes is another horribly messy story) and effective.
For our 2nd batch, I upped the quantity by 10 times, and used generic brands of baking soda and corn starch from the restaurant supply store. Within a week, one of our employees mentioned to me that she had a red rash on her underarms and that something in the mix was making her allergic. I had no problem, but was still using the sample from the 1st batch, so ignored her and chalked it up to anything other than my fabulous new product!
Then I started on my 2nd tube, from the 2nd batch and too started having a reddish reaction with sensitivity in my pits. HUH? What could it be? Was it the generic baking soda and corn starch? Wait, could it be genetically modified corn in the starch that was somehow toxic? How could this totally natural, hell even edible mixture be giving anyone a weird reaction?
So I went to the co-op and found organic corn starch! Who knew they even made this. I bought all the small boxes of organic corn starch that I could find and bought all the Bob's Red Mill baking soda that I could find. I was already using unrefined organic coconut oil and beeswax from cappings wax (fresh delicate wax newly made this season by our bees and shaved off during the extraction process), so I figured now I had my bases covered. On my way out of the store I bumped into Kim, an old market acquaintance who now own the very successful and totally amazing moon valley organics out of deming. Kim and I both got our start at the market working for the same honey lady years ago, and now we both own small, handcrafted honey and beeswax based businesses at Pike!
anyway we were gabbing away and i mentioned the rash from my new bee-odorant and she quickly pointed out that it was likely baking soda that's the culprit. Why though, would something so natural be so intense? She replied "sometimes things can be too natural", and we soon parted ways.
I continued to think about what she said for days, but tried out the same recipe with all my new fancy organic ingredients. Wouldn't you know, within a week of wearing this new batch, I got redness and sensitivity back in my armpits. damn, I guess it's true that the anti-bacterial properties found in baking soda are just to strong for that concentration. Maybe it's just too acid and needs basing by some other agent? hmmmmm, back to the drawing board i go.
So now I have a new recipe to try out, but will hold off for a few weeks of personal guinea-pigging before I release it to the shop. I'll keep the same amount of coconut oil and essential oils, but I'll use half as much baking soda and double the corn starch. I'm also thinking of adding in some unrefined shea butter and maybe a little vitamin e to counteract the intensity of the baking soda. I might also add more beeswax because the last batch was pretty soft.
I think this warrants further testing, because like all the other things I've made or overseen for the shop, bee-odorant is a product i really want to use. It's the start of a whole line of beeswax based body products and skin care, and maybe even makeup that I've always wanted. beeswax based mascara with natural charcoal? Yep, that's in the works! Solid perfumes? you know it! Eye creams, lip stick, oh yeah!!!
But let's get this bee-odorant back on track first. Oh, and feel free to let me know if lavender or grapefruit or any other essential oil sounds like something you'd wear! Feedback is sooooooooo welcome!!!
We are back with the beeodorant remix, version 2.0!!!!!
OK so i cut the baking soda down to less than 25% of the dry ingredients, and added in skin-soothing cocoa butter and vitamin e. The cocoa butter is nearly as hard as beeswax, so additionally helps with the firmness of the paste.
As of today, 10/15/15, the human trials (that means me) have shown this miraculous beeodorant is effective for daily use, no sting when you use immediately after shaving, no skin irritation after 1 week, and no stink even after long stressful market days, long workouts at the gym, locking your keys in the car, having to jog home to find you left your spare key at the shop in Pike Place, and 2 Uber rides in stand still traffic!!!!! True story!!!