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How to Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

natural-deodorant

Guest post from Elise of Frugal Farm Wife

I remember the first time I bought deodorant after I got married. I found myself cringing as I shelled out dollars for a tube of the natural, aluminum-free variety, and then apologizing profusely to my husband for spending so much on a single tube of deodorant.

I need not have worried. We’re both cheapskates, but if anything, my husband is more health conscious than I am, so he had no problem spending a bit extra on the good stuff.

It was the last time I ever bought deodorant, though. When that bottle ran out, we tried using a deodorant stone for a while (with limited success), and then I stumbled across some homemade deodorant recipes online.

At first thought, making your own deodorant may seem far fetched, but believe me — it’s not! Odds are good that you already have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your kitchen cupboards.

ingredients

We have been really impressed by the effectiveness of this deodorant, and not only that, but everybody we’ve talked to loves it as well!

There is one drawback to using homemade deodorants; while they are very effective odor inhibitors, they are not technically anti-perspirants. The cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) does absorb perspiration, significantly reducing, but not eliminating moisture.

While homemade natural deodorant may cost a bit more than the coupon and sale savvy shopper pays for the drugstore variety, making your own deodorant is by far the cheapest and most effective way we’ve found to go natural.

homemade-deodorant

*NOTE: Essential oils are not completely necessary, but antibacterial oils do provide extra protection against odors — to say nothing of how nice they smell! — so I like to add them.

Elise is a God-follower, wife, mom of two munchkins, and dairy goat enthusiast, who blogs about affordable gluten-free living, making things from scratch, and farm life at FrugalFarmWife.com

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53 Comments

  • This seems like a great recipe, or blend, but without any form of Aluminum, this cannot stop the swelling of apocrine and eccrine underarm glands, which causes sweat. This sounds like it will help with odor, but not sweating. I think this would be an awesome formula if marketed as a powder or to prevent chaffing, though!

    • I think that’s why it’s called deodorant and not antiperspirant.

      • That seems kind of defeatist to me, I am not sure I would want to sweat or smell, even with a natural product. I also had a conversation with my dermatologist about other natural deodorants, including the crystal deodorants, which he stated also contain trace amounts of aluminum naturally; he also said that fr those who break out, sometimes staying clean and not wearing any item is the only way to prevent glandular irritation. I still think this product would be awesome as an anti-chafing product, or a foot cream especially for my husband after 5k’s!

        • Tracy S. says:

          I use thus all the time. Now, I’m not a huge sweater but the cornstarch does act as a drying agent. And the deodorant ability is great.

    • Elise says:

      You’re right – it doesn’t stop sweating. It’s not as bad as you may fear however. The sweat glands tend to stop producing as much sweat after they get used to not being stopped up all the time, plus the cornstarch dries up some of the sweat.

      For me personally, sweat stains haven’t been a problem.

      • It sounds good, but as I live in Mississippi, where with the humidity of the summer lasting far into the fall, and temperature spikes reaching into triple digits; I think this recipe would be awesome depending on your region. I would love to find something that incorporated both an antiperspirant and a deodorant. I am not concerned about staining, I’m not sure where that idea came from, I just don’t want to be wet at all, and to prevent rashes! Again, this idea sounds awesome for anti-chafing and for my runner husband. Thank you!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I make a recipe almost identical to this. After a while your body adjusts and the sweating is very minimal. I am 37 weeks pregnant and hot natured anyway and I do not get B.O. I do sweat a little with heavy activity but with a strong history of breast cancer in my family, a little bit of sweat is worth it.

      • Perhaps, but I wish their were more reports on the subject. Currently, the Cancer Institutes of America, the FDA, and the CDC have findings as of 2014 that aluminum-based products can increase the chance of cancer-causing cells by 1-2% (the same percentages as artificial sweeteners), and was no greater a killer of American women than diet soda. These same statistics also prove that the true dangers come from paraben-based products, containing Ethyl, Butyl, Methyl, Propyl, and Parahydroxybenzoate; the same active ingredient that is actually not aluminum based, but a paraben. These parabens, significantly increase artificial estrogen levels, and is the second most used product domestically in shampoos, conditioners, hair coloring products, moisturizers, shaving gels, make up, toothpaste, bubble bath, lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solutions, baby creams, deodorants, eye care, and nail products. They are also heavily used as food additives. Moreover, many natural products use non-food grade coconut oil, which contains these same parabens, and thus negates the anti-carcinogenic properties altogether. I think we all need to do more research on this topic, and focus on either completely ridding our home of all paraben-based products, and not just jump on the natural deodorant trend. Focusing on deodorant, and it’s pore clogging tendencies may not be the best way to go.

        • Elizabeth says:

          I for one have eliminated all of those things from my life. If each of those has a 1-2% increase that adds up. I make my own shampoo, hair rinse, deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, face lotion, face wash, use natural sweeteners instead of artificial, etc. So while I agree that eliminating only deo probably won’t help, for someone like me who has breast cancer 4 generations back, it is helpful to enlighten women to it’s risks, however small, and maybe they will also eliminate other risks in their lives.

          • I concur it is important to do so, and I started making all natural products and cleaners many years ago, too; my grandmother was a director for US Oncology, as well as chaired our local Relay for Life chapter, and so I was often afforded the opportunity as a child to attend cancer-related seminars and programs with her. Also, we should all keep up the good fight and continuously write out elected officials , demanding that more proactive research and funding be allocated for women-specific cancer research, in addition to blogging and making natural products. I wish you the best, and will keep you in my thoughts this year, especially in October when I run in our local Susan G. 5 k. Have a great weekend!

    • Angela says:

      No aluminum is the one of the main purposes to making your own. Aluminum is detrimental to your health and can cause cancer.

  • Veronica says:

    I currently wear a Tom’s of Maine deodorant and I like it a lot…but of course it is expensive. Tom’s works well for me in terms of odor control and I like that I doesn’t leave my armpits white.

    Does this homemade deodorant leave any white residue on your armpits? I would love to find an alternative to the $5 deodorant stick that I usually buy.

    • Loretta says:

      Ditto…inquiring minds want to know. =)

    • Erin says:

      It doesn’t leave any residue. I tried a similar recipe this winter and loved it, but once it got warmer outside I had to switch back to an antiperspirant. It’s a bit of an mental adjustment (since you have to rub it on) but I intend to go back to it when it’s cooler out and I’m not sweating as much. My friends thought I was crazy for doing this, but I’m okay with that!

    • Elise says:

      It doesn’t leave any residue that I’ve ever noticed.

    • linda says:

      I get mine from Vitacost the Almond roll on is amazing my sister buys only organic so I gave her a tube of this and she loves it

  • lyss says:

    I used this recipe for a couple of years, but then it made me break out in a itchy rash. ??? It worked well, before it became an irritant. : ( But it’s worth a try if you prefer aluminum/chemical-free.
    I currently just rub some baking soda on my underarms, and it works great! Of course, just like this recipe, it is only a deodorant, NOT antiperspirant. If it’s hot, I will sweat, but the baking soda does absorb odor.
    For those who are used to antiperspirant, it takes some getting used to. And, natural deodorants might need to be applied more than once a day. To me it’s totally worth it, because sweating is actually a good thing, and aluminum can cause cancer.

  • Robin says:

    For the last 6 months I have been using just coconut oil as my deodorant with 100% success preventing odor so far (better than any deodorant I have ever used). Of course it is not an anti-perspirant.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I keep hesitating to try these homemade deodorants with coconut oil in them because I don’t want my shirt underarms to become stained with oil. I wash most of my shirts in cold water and I imagine it would be hard to get the oil out. Anyone have any experience with oily stains (or not) when using coconut oil in a deodorant?

    • Elise says:

      I haven’t had any problem with oil stains on my clothes, but if you want to be safe, you could leave out the oil, and apply the deodorant powder with a blush brush, or something similar. It works great!

    • LaTanya says:

      When I would make the natural deodorant (similar to the recipe above), I did have problems with the coconut oil staining my shirts in the armpit area. I simplified the process and now I mix a little tea tree oil with melted coconut oil (I mix up enough for a month or two) and put a little of that under my arm about 5 minutes before I get dressed. Then I pat some baking powder/cornstarch mixture under my arm and get dressed. I’ve had no problems with oil stains anymore.

    • Elizabeth says:

      This particular recipe does not stain my clothes, but less is more with this type of deodorant. Just a half-pea sized amount under each arm to just cover the area is plenty!

  • Jody says:

    This is a great recipe! My husband and I used a similiar one for awhile but we got irratated from the baking soda. It worked great though so I was so sad when we couldn’t use it anymore. Now I use lemon juice and it works great. Doesn’t stop me from sweating but stops the smell. I just squeeze the cut up lemon in my hand to get the juice and apply (it does sting a bit after shaving). Inotice my clothes don’t have a sweat smell to the underarms that was herd to get out like when I used regular deodorant. (The lemons took about a week to start working during that time I used rubbing alcohol first then lemons so I could be around people but now its just lemons).

    • Elise says:

      That’s awesome! I’ve never heard of using lemon juice! I’ve also heard that coconut oil and tea tree oil work really well for those who are sensitive to baking soda.

    • Susan says:

      I use a similar recipe, and I had the same issue with baking soda. I cut down on the amount of baking soda, and now the irritation is gone. Even though this is not an antiperspirant, I find that I sweat less than when I used commercial antiperspirants. I love this deodorant!

  • Beka says:

    I’ve been making this for YEARS… like 6 years, it’s all I’ve used for deodorant since I learned about it! The one thing I’d add is that olive oil works much better than coconut oil because coconut oil is solid when cool and liquid when warm. So sometimes the coconut oil would be runny and other times very hard. Olive oil makes an even consistency all the time! I also like adding peppermint essential oil or orange, both yummy scents! Here is my recipe that I’ve had posted for years… http://unconventionalhomemaker.wordpress.com/test/deodorant-homemade/

    • Elise says:

      Yes, the varying consistency of coconut oil can be a bit of a bummer, but I find that it’s well worth a little planning ahead (making it thicker in summer, thinner in winter) because coconut oil is antibacterial and helps inhibit odor, and has so many other benefits.

      Olive or sweet almond oil is a great alternative though! Especially if you have a sensitivity to coconut oil.

  • Stevi says:

    It says something about how you can make it thicker or thinner depending on how you are going to store it, how would you make it thicker? I’m not sure I’ll be trying this though, even with an antiperspirant I still sweat a lot and I can’t stand it, I even sweat when I’m cold! It’s horrible, I know this is a little TMI but my armpits get soaked and I have to be careful of what colors I wear so the sweat marks aren’t noticeable =(

    • Elizabeth says:

      I have the same problem. Even with antiperspirant, and even if I’m not hot, I sweat a lot, so I have to be careful of the shirts I choose to wear. It’s a downer because it really limits my wardrobe. It’s obviously not the biggest problem in the world but it can be embarrassing. And it’s embarrassing to admit, but there it is! At least I’m sure we’re not the only ones.

      • Sarah says:

        Me too. It’s called hyperhydrosis. I sweat through everything and have decided there are worse problems, even though it’s not very “ladylike.” Wearing undershirts with sweat pads can help, when you can get away with it.

        http://www.advantagewear.com

        • Sarah says:

          By the way, I just made a recipe last weekend, that is very similar to this one, but has a few extra ingredients. I sweated through my clothes pretty severely today and was very happy to find my new deodorant working better than almost every natural brand I’ve tried (I’ve used a ton of them).

        • Elizabeth says:

          Thanks for the link!

    • Elise says:

      You can make it thicker either by adding less coconut oil, or more cornstarch/baking soda mix.

    • Susan says:

      I used to have the same problem when I used antiperspirants. Once my body got used to this deodorant (maybe about a week), I actually started sweating less!

    • Becky says:

      I had always sweat a lot, too, no matter the temperature, and often had to deal with sweat marks and even some occasional odor – even when I tried the “clinical strength” products. Even worse, my deodorant/antiperspirant/sweat combination left stains on my cloths that I couldn’t always get out. (It’s so much easier to admit anonymously online) I’ve been using a recipe very similar to this for years (maybe 4 or 5?) with a lot of success. I still pay some attention to what cloths I wear, but it’s as much out of years of habit as need. I sweat much less than I used to, I don’t have any odor issues (and I kept asking my mom and close friends who would be honest, because I was paranoid), and none of the underarms of my shirts are stained now!

  • Courtney says:

    I tried using Tom’s of Maine deodorant and wasn’t happy with it. I can’t stand the feeling of sweaty armpits – gross! – and I didn’t think it did a very good job of odor prevention, either. My husband tried it and his armpits got very red and chafed from sweat, so it was back to antiperspirant for both of us.

  • Jessica says:

    About 10 years ago I developed an allergy to deodorant/antiperspirant. I just use corn starch now. I don’t want my armpits to smell like mints or oranges or anything else. I’d rather smell like sweat! I am not a heavy sweater anyway.

  • E says:

    I am amazed at all of the complaints about not wanting to sweat. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t WANT to have sweaty pits, but the trade off is that things that stop us from sweating are very unhealthy. We are designed to sweat for a reason & when we stop that process we cause harm to our bodies.

    I made a deodorant w/coconut oil & powdered sugar (I didn’t want to run into the issues many people have of irritation or white residue due to the baking soda so I surfed & found a recipe w/out it) but added beeswax to help solidify it a bit so it would be more reliable in all temps (I’m sure it would still melt if in extreme temps, but in a house setting it has been great so far & hasn’t liquified even my other coconut oil & coconut oil made things have softened/melted). The beeswax worked like a charm… in fact, it worked too good because I found I didn’t sweat much when I used it, so I used less beeswax the next batch so I would actually sweat more. That said, I would guess that if you are going to block your pores (assuming the beeswax did that) doing it w/something natural would be better than something that is a toxic chemical.

    Again, don’t get me wrong… I don’t like sweat rings on my shirts, which I don’t get often, but when I do (under stress), I shrug it off & move on… I remind myself that everybody sweats ;). The more I fret about it the more I sweat so I try not to worry about it.

    I am also like others in that when I started to use natural deodorants, I stopped sweating & smelling as much.

    • Marlies says:

      Would you please share your recipe for the deordorant with cocounut oil, powered sugar and beeswax? PLEASE : )

  • Jess says:

    Hi, I’m writing from Australia and wondering if you have issues with the deodorant melting since you use coconut oil in it? I use coconut oil to wash my face, but it’s always in a liquid state since it’s so hot where I live and I wouldn’t want the same thing to happen to the deodorant. I wonder if simply refrigerating it would stop the deodorant from melting and if it would still work? Have you had this issue and if so, do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Sondra H says:

      You could very easily refrigerate it (just make sure to label it! ) it would probably feel really nice putting on a cold deodorant! I just keep mine in liquid state in a jar in the bathroom. I have to use less baking soda and more oil because the baking soda gave me a rash.

    • Laura says:

      I have also made the recipe using beeswax and coconut oil. The beeswax keeps the coconut oil from liquefying in warmer temps. It works well and it’s only one extra ingredient…

  • Corinna says:

    I just made this but since I can never follow a recipe exactly, I added some pure vanilla extract for the scent. I also used cornstarch baby powder instead of plain and mixed it thick enough for a deodorant container.

  • Liz says:

    I have a similar recipe. 1/3 coconut oil, 1/3 arrowroot, 1T baking soda, and essential oil. It is my go to recipe, doesn’t irritate my arm pits like other ones did even Toms irritated them. I have yet to try it but I heard you can use beeswax for consistency during the summer days.

  • Lucy Moore says:

    This is a great natural deodorant for startes like me. 🙂 Really easy to make and my first experience is good. I will definitely use this for a while, maybe I will try something else later. Thanks for the recipe!

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