Generating trash and wasting money stinks, but you don’t have to.

Making your own deodorant or toothpaste takes about 5 minutes and has many benefits all you need are four simple ingredients. (Dan Wood/The Daily Campus)

In response to industrial production of hygienic products and all the GRAS ingredients that consumers have become skeptical of, more and more people are finding reasons to ditch commercial hygienic products. GRAS is a Food and Drug Administration term that means “Generally Regarded as Safe;” meaning they are allowing the public use of these compounds without significant testing on human health. These ingredients are even in many processed foods.

Most of these big name products don’t even always work properly. Dandruff shampoo that makes your scalp irritated, deodorant that burns your armpits and causes rashes and toothpaste with an enormous list of additives and compounds. It’s easy to find a reason to distrust major companies like Unilever, Colgate and the like.

So what are the alternatives? Many people seek to purchase ‘natural’ alternatives to the major brand products that are typically about 25 to 50 percent more expensive. To my own personal experience, these products also have additives and many come in packaging that is not even recyclable. It has become too easy for companies to pander to the natural food trend buyers by putting information on their packaging that is very flimsy and has no real legal definition or meaning, such as the term ‘natural’.

What is the point of making a ‘natural’ product if the packaging isn’t recyclable or biodegradable? With only a little digging you can find how many natural retail producers shoot themselves in the foot with their own business practices and practically lie to their customers.

The best way to avoid all the potential side effects, headache and distrust of companies is to make your own of course. In total, making your own deodorant or toothpaste takes about 5 minutes and has many benefits.

While there is not a huge difference in the price of making your own toothpaste or deodorant, there are plenty of other reasons to be doing this at home. Conventional deodorant, on average, costs about $4 for 3.25 oz and has plenty of the negative aspects discussed earlier. Typical ‘natural’ deodorant will cost you around $6 and often doesn’t work. Homemade deodorant costs about $3.75 for 4 oz. When it comes to toothpaste, the homemade version costs about $3 for 4 oz to make, versus $3.50 for 4 oz of the conventional baking soda toothpaste.

Benefits of making your own deodorant include; saving money, generating zero trash, smelling great, no mysterious additives, won’t damage your clothes, won’t irritate your skin and you get to customize your scent! With toothpaste, you can still maintain whiteness and hygiene all while saving money.

Like to travel? These products are saturated, oil based and are not ‘liquids or gels,’ the type of hygiene products that are prohibited in certain containers or quantities in carry-on luggage. With these truly natural alternatives in your bag, TSA should have no reason to stop you.

Reducing waste, keeping clean and healthy and saving money? Sounds like a great way to keep green.

DIY Deodorant

  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 Tbsp baking soda
  • 3 oz Organic Refined Coconut Oil
  • 15 drops of essential oils or extracts of your choosing

Melt the coconut oil in a clean pan, over low heat

Combine the corn starch and baking soda in a small metal bowl

Whisk in the oil with a fork until homogenous

Whisk in your scents of choosing

Transfer to small container with a lid and allow to set

NOTE: the scent blend I prefer: 2 parts citrus, 1 part lavender, 1 part tea tree, all essential oils that are available online, but harder to find locally. If you want a neutral grocery store available scent, try using almond extract.

DIY Toothpaste

  • 4 Tbsp of baking soda
  • 2 oz Organic Refined Coconut Oil
  • Mint (or other) flavoring

Melt the coconut oil in a clean pan, over low heat

In a small mixing bowl, add the baking soda and whisk in the oil and the flavor of your choosing (10 drops of essential oil or ¼ tsp of extract)

Pour into small container and allow to set

NOTE: spearmint essential oil is my preference here but you can get mint flavor from the baking isle as well. You don’t have to use mint either, feel free to get creative!


Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.wood@uconn.edu.