3 DIY Naked Body Care Recipes: Deodorant, Bug Spray & Sunscreen
Summer is flying by here in the states, and nudies are flocking to nude beaches, resorts, and skinny dipping places out in nature. Being naked outdoors and exposed to the elements means never leaving home without essential items like sunscreen, bug spray and deodorant.
Like the average American I’ve been buying these items for a long time, but over a year ago, I discovered I could make my own body care products that worked just as well as their store-bought counterparts! And rather than just being a marketing buzz word, homemade body care is truly “naked” — it’s stripped down to its simplest formula with no artificial preservatives, scents or harmful chemicals added.
Why make your own body care products?
• It’s healthier for your skin and body. Our skin is our largest organ, and a lot of what we apply to our skin gets absorbed into our bodies. Many of the skin care products on the market today, contain nasty chemicals, artificial fragrances, preservatives and synthetic colors. The FDA puts very little restrictions on what goes into our beauty and cosmetic products in the United States. While the EU has banned over 1,000 chemicals, the FDA has only banned around 11… That’s right – Eleven!
So by making your own products, you know exactly what’s going into them and what you’re putting onto and by default, into, your body. It’s the surest way to avoid toxic or potentially harmful ingredients.
• It’s eco-friendly. You can avoid single-use bottles, plastic packaging and all the waste generated from buying commercial products. Plus, you reduce the amount of bad ingredients that end up harming the environment, both from what you throw away and from the factories that produce the products.
With homemade body care, you can keep using the same jars or containers over and over again. You can also buy used jars and containers from consignment stores or reuse your own (please note: these jars / containers should be fully cleaned and sanitized, especially if reusing food jars).
• It’s cost-effective. You can save a lot of money by making your own products instead of buying them in the store.
• It’s empowering to be able to make your own body care rather than have to rely on store-bought items.
I have been researching DIY body care for the last year or two and will be sharing my newly acquired knowledge in a workshop at the 2015 Northeast Naturist Festival! Meet me there on Friday, 7/31 at 1:30 pm for more recipes and how-to’s on making toothpaste, moisturizer, toner, and more.
#1: Homemade Deodorant
Homemade deodorant is so easy, and there are many recipes online. Most involve some combination of coconut oil, baking soda, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, and essential oils. For summer, a key ingredient is beeswax, which keeps it from melting at warm temperatures. But if you’re just going to keep it in your air-conditioned home or in your fridge, you don’t need it.
All of these ingredients can be found at any local grocery or health food stores. You can find small chunks of beeswax at Whole Foods or often at farmer’s markets. Alternatively, you can buy beeswax pellets on Amazon or at the Mountain Rose Herbs online shop (easier than grating beeswax to measure it).
Summer Deodorant Recipe
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp shea butter
- 1 tbsp beeswax (grated or pellets)
- 2-3 tbps baking soda
- 2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 5 drops of tea tree oil (optional)
- 5 drops of essential oil such as peppermint, lavender, orange, rosemary (optional)
- Empty deodorant containers or a jar
Directions: First, get your container(s), baking soda, powder and essential oils ready. Then heat the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax in a double-boiler over medium-low heat (I usually place a jar inside of a small saucepan or a heat-proof bowl on top of a saucepan). Stir it all up until the beeswax and shea butter have completely melted.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir them all together. Then pour everything into your empty container. Because of the beeswax, this will solidify quickly at room temperature, so you don’t want to wait!
To use, apply a small amount to your armpits using your deodorant stick, or use your fingers and rub it in.
- The role of baking soda is to absorb odors. Some people find it irritates their skin so use the lesser amount if that does happen or you think it may be a problem.
- Tea tree oil is used for its antibacterial properties. (The smell under your arms comes from bacteria, not the sweat itself.) Some people say it’s essential to a deodorant recipe, but you could definitely try doing without and see how it works.
Does it work? Here’s what you should know:
This is not an industrial-strength aluminum-packed chemical deodorant. It’s also not an anti-perspirant. The point here is to eliminate odor, not the sweat itself. There may be a “transition period” when you switch from using a store-bought deodorant to this homemade one. Meaning, you might be a little smelly as your body adjusts. I know smelling bad is a huge fear for some people, but it doesn’t last and it’s worth the trouble to make the switch!
Make it easier: As long as you can keep it stored in a cool place, you can make a simple deodorant by combining equal parts baking soda and arrowroot or cornstarch powder. Then gradually add in melted or softened coconut oil until you have a paste. If you want, mix in a few drops of tea tree and / or essential oils. Put it in a container, refridgerate for 30 minutes, and you’re done.
#2: Homemade Bug Repellent
Nothing worse than trying to hike naked and find yourself getting eaten alive by mosquitos and insects. Nudies need bug protection. Witch hazel is a common base for homemade bug repellents. It’s easy to find and well-known for its bug-repelling properties. It can also be used on mosquito bites to relieve the itch.
There are quite a few essential oils that naturally repel insects, most notably those in the mint and citrus categories. Catnip essential oil is comparable to DEET in its power to keep away mosquitos. Unfortunately, it’s expensive and hard to find. Mountain Rose Herbs sells .5oz for around $40. (Essential oils can be expensive in general, but they are concentrated and thus typically used in small amounts. So they will last a while.)
Homemade Bug Spray Recipe
- Witch hazel
- Essential oils such as mint, lemongrass, clove, citronella, rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, catnip, thyme, lavender, cajeput, cedar
- ½ tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)
Directions: Pour ½ cup of witch hazel into a spray bottle followed by just under a ½ cup of distilled water into an 8oz spray bottle (or equal amounts into whatever size bottle you’re using).
Then add 30 – 50 drops of essential oils of your choosing, plus the vegetable glycerin (optional but helps it last longer on your skin). Shake it up and you’re done!
There are other recipes using different ingredients if you want to experiment. Stephanie Tourles has a recipe using a base of soybean oil, which has bug repellant properties and Wellness Mama lists a few different recipes using fresh and dried herbs.
#3 Homemade Sunscreen
This is the most complicated of the three recipes, but it is doable and doesn’t require a laboratory. You’re basically making a natural moisturizer and adding zinc oxide powder to it. Zinc oxide is a natural ingredient found in many sunscreens, and it protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. I couldn’t find it at any local store so I purchased a bag of it on Amazon. (At first I thought it was necessary to get the “non-nano” form so it doesn’t get absorbed by the skin, but this article from the Environmental Working Group suggests that this shouldn’t be a concern.)
If you still want to go store-bought, check out this list of the best natural and effective sunscreens. For DIY, read on:
The zinc oxide is combined with a few oils that have a natural SPF factor. Here’s a list of some oils and their estimated SPF (the SPF can vary based on quality and other factors):
- Coconut oil: SPF 4 – 8
- Sesame seed oil: SPF 4
- Almond oil: SPF 5
- Shea butter: SPF 4-5
- Avocado oil: SPF 6 – 10
- Carrot seed oil: SPF 38 – 40
- Red Raspberry seed oil: SPF 25 – 50
- Wheatgerm oil: SPF 20
Please note that the zinc oxide is necessary for a truly effective sunscreen as the plant oils will only protect from UVB rays.
Homemade Sunscreen Recipe
- 3 oz coconut oil
- 2 oz sweet almond oil
- ½ oz beeswax
- 4 oz distilled water
- 2 Tbsp or more of zinc oxide
Optional oils to add:
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 2 tbsp shea butter
- 1 tsp of carrot seed oil
- 1 tsp of red raspberry seed oil
- A few drops of essential oils for scent
Directions: Heat the oils and beeswax in a double boiler over low heat until the beeswax is melted. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Then add the water a little bit at a time as you blend it all together with a stick blender. (Or you can do the blending in a food processor or regular blender.) This is a bit tricky as you are attempting to mix and emulsify oil and water. After a few minutes, you should have something that resembles a body butter.
Let it cool a bit and then stir in the zinc oxide. (Be careful in handling the zinc oxide – you do not want to inhale it!) Then transfer the mixture to a squeeze tube or jar.
You could experiment by adding more than 2 tbsp of zinc oxide in order to increase the SPF. This formula has not undergone any official testing so there is no guaranteed SPF. (Also keep in mind that more zinc oxide will make it more like a sunblock that may leave a white hue on the skin.) However I can say that I have been using a basic version of this recipe (without the optional oils) this summer and it’s been working for me so far! (Please test it on yourself first with low or moderate sun exposure before relying on it for a long day at the beach.)
Make it easier: Try mixing up some melted coconut oil, shea butter and zinc oxide for a simple sunscreen.
So those are three of my naked body care recipes. I’m looking forward to sharing more recipes with the community at the Northeast Naturist Festival this Friday.
Do you ever make your own body care? What are your go-to recipes? Share in the comments!