Last month I made our summer soap. We christened it Summer Shoo-Fly as its essential oils were chosen for their insect repellent properties. It is done curing now and is ready for the summer showering, camp use, gifts and trades.

Then last weekend, in between freezing pounds and pounds of berries I whipped up more summer skin care products: lip balm, body lotion, and deodorant.

My mom was running low on lotion (I'm her dealer - tee, hee) and we were running low on lip balm (getting down to the crystallized honey that seems to settle in the bottom) and I was plumb out of deodorant - a situation that needed to be remedied for summer.  

Homemade Deodorant Recipe

As I've mentioned before my first batch of homemade deodorant was based on Angry Chicken's recipe. This time around I made a few more modifications, enough to call it my own and share it here.


  • 3 tbsp cocoa butter with jojoba oil
  • 3 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp vitamin E
  • 5 drops each of clove, rosemary, tea tree and eucalyptus - these were the oils I had on hand that I thought would smell nice together. Use whatever you like.
  • 5 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract, natural preservative (optional)


  1. In a sterilized pan melt all the ingredients, except essential oils and GSE, together over low heat on stove.
  2. Remove from heat, add drops of essential oils and GSE, if using. Stir well with whisk.
  3. Pour into sterilized glass jar.

My last batch lasted months and never went bad or rancid in the bathroom cupboard. This week with such high heat the oils have melted a bit and the deodorant was quite runny so I took a tablespoon out and mixed it with some baking soda to firm it up. This worked well and I've been using this firmer mix in this high heat and humidity.

To apply simply rub some between your fingers and massage onto your skin.

Toothpaste Update:

While we're discussing natural skin and body care I wanted to mention that our family has decided on a toothpaste alternative. I have been looking for a toothpaste replacement. Something with truly natural ingredients that I could make myself, that would clean our teeth, freshen our breath and that we'd all like. Well we mostly scored with Uncle Harrys.

  • Natural ingredients - check, I even e-mailed to ask specifically what the plant essences were
  • Make myself - well maybe, I know what all the ingredients are but for now we're purchasing it
  • Cleans our teeth - check, definitely
  • Freshens our breath - check, definitely
  • Family friendly - mostly check, Brienne doesn't like how strong it is

Another huge feature of using this toothpaste is that it is great for backpacking and simplifies our packing and personal care products.

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Summer Shoo-Fly is so named as the essentials oils were chosen for their insect repellent properties. Unfortunately, it didn't appear to repel insects but it had a pleasant summer-woodsy scent.

This is not a recipe but the list of ingredients I used for making this soap. See my How to Make Soap resource page for soapmaking instructions.

Saponified Oils:

  • palm, organic
  • olive, garden herb infused (see plant list below)
  • coconut, organic
  • canola, Maine grown, non-GMO
  • sunflower 
  • soybean, organic, non-GMO 

Minerals & Plant Material:

  • bentonite clay
  • parsley
  • plantain
  • comfrey
  • calendula
  • yarrow
  • echinacea

Essential Oils:

  • citronella
  • eucalyptus
  • cedarwood
  • rosemary

When people find out that I make my own soap and other body care products they sometimes ask if I also make toothpaste. My answer has, and still is, not yet.

For some reason I have been afraid of making toothpaste. I think it's because everyone in my family dislikes either baking soda or mint; two of the most common ingredients in make-your-own recipes. So we've used multiple tubes of toothpaste for the past couple years. A non-baking soda mint and a fennel flavor from Tom's of Maine; the once local show now owned by Colgate-Palmolive. There is a bunch of other stuff in these toothpastes I am suspicious of so it's time to tackle the toothpaste monster and make my own.

But not until these tubes are all used up. So, while we're talking toothpaste can someone recommend me a not-so-baking-soda tasting, mouth freshening, teeth cleaning, tried and true recipe?

I've come across lots on the internet and read about the evils of regular toothpaste in green beauty books but nobody I trust has said "here, this is my recipe and I like it". Maybe you could be that person in my life.

Toothpaste is one of the few store bought body care products we use. The other is shaving lotion. We are still using up our last bottle of that stuff and when it's gone I have this pile of shaving soap ready for Damien to use. The special consideration for him is that he uses an old fashioned straight razor, like right out of a western movie.

This requires a good lather since there's no "moisturizing strips" in the razor or other feel good attachments. Just a cold blade of sharpened steel scraping against your face. So, the man needs a moisturizing, frothy lather.

I designed this soap to provide that but he has yet to try it since he's been using this last bottle of Kiss My Face for ages. Really, I made this soap last summer in anticipation of the bottle's eminent emptying. I think it might be multiplying in the cupboard.

Homemade products we use for our skin and hair

  • Washing faces, body and hair - Whatever soap happens to be sitting in the shower or soap dish; all handmade by me. The same bar is used by everybody for everything. I addressed special considerations for long hair in this hair care post from last summer.
  • Moisturizing face & body - Homemade, super easy to make lotion. I use this all year round on my hands and also on my face in the winter. My soap is very moisturizing so my skin does not dry out with washing, except in the driest months of mid winter and even then not so much. Ellen recently posted on her experience making my recipe. It really is easy. For lips I use my homemade lip balm.
  • Deodorant - Would you excommunicate me if I told you I rarely wear it? Even in summer. My husband never wears it, but does shower every night. Either we stink to high heaven and nobody's told us or we are a-ok since I don't smell us. But when I do want to wear some because, as Brienne says, "This smells good. I could smell it forever." (her nose was not in my armpit by the way but smelling the tin) I use a modification of this famous angry chicken recipe. I substituted cocoa butter for shea butter and used lavender and rosemary essential oils.
  • Shaving - As I mentioned above Damien uses Kiss My Face shaving lotion and will someday (soon?) start my shaving soap. He uses jojoba oil, straight up, as an aftershave. I apply witch hazel and lotion after I shave. I may be a nature girl but I still shave my legs from time to time.

I would like to add that I've read of people using just oil to wash their face, baking soda for their hair and a pat of cornstarch under their arms. These probably work but I actually like the mixing and making of beautiful smelling soaps, lotions and balms. It's an outlet for my creativity and makes wonderful gifts for family and friends. A jar of baking soda just isn't the same.

You wash, shave, moisturize, brush and maybe deodorize. And you walk out of the bathroom feeling like a million bucks. And if you're only using 3 or 4 products that you've made in your own kitchen your scent doesn't pollute the breathing space around you, your bathroom stays super tidy (except for reproducing toothbrushes - where do those come from?) and packing for camping/backpacking/travel is a cinch.

Any questions? Am I missing anything? And please, if you can, recommend a toothpaste recipe (that you've tried). I'd be forever indebted.

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