Homemade Deodorant-That Actually Works!

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Did you know you can make your own homemade deodorant that actually works??  There are many dangers lurking in traditional deodorant. Mainly preservatives and aluminum that may be linked to cancer. A DIY deodorant is easy to make, affordable and definitely a switch that should be at the top of your list to make. 

The concept of remedying B.O. is quite simple. Underarms tend to sweat–>Bacteria forms–>Bacteria stinks–>Ingredients like coconut oil and essential oils are antibacterial and ingredients like arrowroot and baking soda absorb moisture. Hence, homemade deodorant. 

I will warn you, I have a very hippie mentality on deodorant. I am totally fine not wearing any. I do sweat and stink but keeping my detox pathways open is more important to me then always smelling fresh. However, there is a time and a place for airing out your “natural” smell and social events where everyone greets you with a hug is not that place. So, deodorant is definitely a product I keep close.

I have become very familiar with making my own products and actually have a couple of DIY deodorant recipes. A simple spray deodorant comes in very handy when you need to freshen up during the day. A solid deodorant like this recipe is stronger and more effective long term. I also have a Pit Wipe recipe that comes in handy for freshening up easily and on the go.

What’s Wrong with Traditional Deodorants?

Using traditional deodorants effects the pH of your pits and can make you smell even worse in the long run. Did you know that our pits need balance just like our gut? Using antiperspirants and unnatural deodorants will throw this balance way off making your pits a breeding ground for bad smelling bacteria. Not to mention, the function of deodorant masks bacteria smell and keeps you dry but in the process, it is trapping toxins in your body. 

Traditional deodorants use antimicrobial agents or ethanol to kill the bacterial stink. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, use aluminum-based salts to plug up the sweat glands so that those armpit bugs can’t chow down and create a stink.

A 2016 study shows that these traditional products alter your skin’s ecosystem. You could be making your body odor worse while compromising your immune system. Study participants who did not use pit products had Corynebacterium in their underarms. This bacterium produces body odor, but it also boosts the immune system against infections.

Did you know that their are 20 to 30 axillary lymph nodes under each arm?  Translated, A LOT is absorbed in the underarm. 

A Few Scary Ingredients in Deodorant:

  • Aluminum (alzheirmer’s)
  • Parabens (hormone disruption)
  • Triclosan (dermatitis and considered a pesticide)
  • Talc (contains asbestos fibers)
  • Propylene Glycol (kidney and liver damage),
  • Steareth (human carcinogen)

None of these are an option for me personally, hence embracing DIY deodorant!

Why Switch to a Homemade Deodorant:

A homemade deodorant’s main role is to neutralize stinky smells not just to mask them. All though, the strong scent of essential oils do help to mask and neutralize.

The lauric acid in coconut oil kills odor-causing bacteria and tea tree and lavender essential oils are antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiviral. These 2 essential oils are powerhouses when used to kill bacteria. I keep an antiseptic roll on handy for tick bites, rashes, ring worm etc.

Mango butter will absorb into your skin at lightening speed, thicken up your deodorant and nourish your underarms. 

Arrowroot powder and baking soda are used to absorb wetness and stink. 

Transition and Detox:

When discontinuing use of traditional deodorants that block the pores and contain harmful ingredients, a period of detox will occur which means you might smell worse than you thought for a period of time. I find it helpful to help the detoxification process along with a Pit Detox Clay Mask. It’s easy to make and will help pull chemicals out of the underarms naturally. 

Keeping a spray deodorant with you at all times will help ease the transition and your mind when you’re afraid you’re stinking up the room! 

Homemade Deodorant Recipe:

3 TBSP. Organic Coconut Oil (find it HERE)

3 TBSP. Mango Butter (find it HERE)

3 TBSP. Arrowroot Powder (find it HERE)

2 TBSP. Baking Soda (find it HERE)

20 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil (find it HERE)

10 drops of Lavender essential oil (find it HERE)

Directions:

  1. Fill a pot half way full of water.
  2. Place a glass bowl with a spout in the pot.
  3. In “double boiler” melt coconut oil and mango butter.
  4. Once coconut oil and mango butter are melted remove from heat and mix in arrowroot powder and baking soda.
  5. Add essential oils.
  6. Pour in deodorant containers (find them HERE) or a glass jar.
  7. You can place in the fridge to speed up the cooling and thickening process.

Troubleshooting DIY Deodorant

  • Some people find that baking soda is too harsh and after a few uses can get an uncomfortable rash. If you intend to use deodorant everyday and are experiencing discomfort I would reduce the baking soda and up the arrowroot. Since this DIY is so cheaply made, making a whole new product is necessary. If you know you are sensitive to baking soda, omit it all together and use 5 TBSP. of all arrowroot.
  • Shea butter, cocoa butter or kokum butter can be used if you don’t have mango butter. I love mango butter because it absorbs so fast but it can easily be replaced.
  • Because of baking soda, I do not suggest you put this deodorant on directly after shaving. It will sting. Waiting even a few minutes after shaving can fix the issue.
  • Do not use too much homemade deodorant or you’ll end up feeling wet from the coconut oil and possibly transferring oil to your clothes. It does not take much of this recipe to do the job. 
  • Feel free to empty out your old deodorant container and fill it up with this recipe! 
  • If you don’t have a deodorant container, you can put your deodorant in a jar and scoop and apply. Many people use their homemade deodorants this way because it’s easier to control how much you’re applying.
  • If you find this recipe ends up being too soft, adding more butter will help tighten it up as well as nourish your skin. 
  • I have linked all Mountain Rose Herbs products, however feel free to use Amazon for pure baking soda and organic arrowroot.

More Underarm DIYs:

xx, Jenni

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Jennifer Phillips worked as a licensed aesthetician for over 8 years before creating the green beauty blog, Jenni Raincloud and her natural skin care line, J. Raincloud Organics. Jennifer has been blogging full time for 7 years and loves to gain and share knowledge on living a natural lifestyle.

36 thoughts on “Homemade Deodorant-That Actually Works!”

  1. I have been making my own deodorant for a couple years now. Initially, your body will expel A LOT of perspiration! Hang in there! It will cease in a week or two. Your body is ridding itself of what has been trapped in there for so long 🙂
    I have friends asking me for it all the time now. Easy to make/use and you can use a few variations in your recipe.
    I use: 1 c coconut oil
    1 c cornstarch
    1/2 baking soda
    2 T beeswax
    10 drops petit gran essential oil (it doesn’t smell good. It’s purpose is antiperspirant and antibacterial)
    Mix the dry and then melt down the oil and beeswax. Mix into dry and then add essential oil.
    Pour into deodorant containers & let set up for a day or two. I usually put mine in the fridge and then move them to the basement after they set.

    1. I made this recipe, but also added arrowroot. I used it the first day with no problem. On day 2, I noticed a little irritation on the outside edges of my armpits…..not the middle. I thought that was a little strange. It’s almost like chaffing. Has anyone else experienced this, or no something I can tweak? I’ve tried DOZENS of store bought natural deodorants and have never found one that controls the smell. This is the first one EVER to help with that problem, so I really want to try and make it work. I use Young Living oils, so I even wondered if I’ve used too much oils?

      1. Joy-That is strange!! I have never heard of arrowroot causing irritation, or irritation not being in the middle! I think you are onto something with too much oil. What oils are you using? Young Living has great oils so if anything it’s just that you used too much. Armpits are so sensitive! Could you go back remelt and add more coconut oil so you could dilute some without wasting the batch?

        1. Great idea .. add more coconut oil. I used Purification with baking soda & the other ingredients awhile back ~ & in the winter ~ & I got the chafing feeling & even red bumps. I quit using it with intention to melt back down .. will add a little more CO to try to dilute more. And this helps, too, in my expectation of what the homemade DO will/ won’t do! I love that it allows our sweat to come out rather than “stifle” it!! All for HEALTH, right?!?

          1. Jessa-Have you tried to omit the baking soda and do arrowroot? This might remedy the irritation so you can have a more solid deodorant. And yes-I need those toxins to come out-never want to block that nastiness in again!

      2. Baking soda irritates my under arms very badly. I just baking soda irritates my under arms very badly. So I just use Arrowroot and admit the baking soda. I also do a pre-spray of magnesium oil before I put on my deodorant if I haven’t shaved that day

          1. I’m wondering if I typed that reply very early in the AM with some pretty bad grammar – oy! Reread your posts Laura! Or that was talk to text and I did not go back and double check it…

            For the deodorant, I just use Arrowroot and omit the baking soda. It doesn’t even sneak up on me; it lets me know from the get go. Ouch!

            I don’t use the spray that much right now. I do use magnesium gel almost every other day, but I will not use it if I shaved that morning and sometimes I wait 2 days before I use it after shaving. I will take a quarter size squirt of the mag gel and put it on my pointer & middle finger, take the other hand and distribute an equal amount to the fingers on that hand, and then rub it under my arms. I do this about every 3 days in lieu of deodorant in order to try and get my magnesium levels up in my body. Initially, I did feel an odd tingling sensation there, but now I don’t notice anything. I’ve put it on my legs for charlie horses and when I first started doing that the sensation kind of drove me nuts, but it doesn’t bother me much anymore. The really good news is that since I started using the mag gel as occasional deodorant, I rarely have those night cramps, and it’s a great deodorant. I thought about trying to incorporate it into my deodorant, but I’m not sure how all of those would mix together.

            Sorry not to answer your question sooner; I did not know that you had asked it.

      3. If you went directly from commercial deodorant to homemade that isn’t very strange. Antiperspirant deodorants team a lot of chemicals and toxins in that area. When you stop using them and those toxins start to move, many people begin to get a rash and blame the new deodorant, when it isn’t really the culprit.

  2. I’ve been using non-commercial deodorant for about 4 years. I use a coconut moisturizing stick that I buy from Basa Body. (I’m going to make my own when this one runs out) It’s made of coconut oil and beeswax, that’s it. For antiperspirant I apply all natural, organic body powder (that’s going to be my next DIY) under my arms and breasts when the weather is hot or I’m going to be doing something physical. I only apply the coconut stick every other day or so and rarely have any problems with odor. This was my first step into green beauty.

  3. I’ve been trying forever to find a homemade deoderant that actually works! I work as a registered massage therapist and really can’t risk smelling bad.. I’m excited to try this one out, to me I think the tea tree oil in this recipe will make all the difference. One issue- I can’t find bee’s wax anywhere. I wonder if it would make a huge difference?

    1. Hi Natasha-I hope it works well for you! Beeswax thickens up the consistency-I have linked where I buy mine in the post and on my side bar to the left. I usually get mine at Mountain Rose Herb or Amazon. Thanks!

  4. I was wondering if you thought frankincense oil would be a good addition to this recipe instead of the eucalyptus (eucalyptus is my least favorite smell of anything, but I do use it for when I’ve got that cough and cold stuff going on).

  5. Jenni, Recently in touch with you about my homemade toothpaste, with diatomaceous earth. I have not yet made deodorant, gathering recipes, but had read that if baking soda, cornstarch or arrowroot powder causes irritation, you can try diatomaceous earth.

  6. I was using Primal Pit Paste, but it has baking soda in it. I hear that can irritate eventually so I am looking to make my own deoderant. The Pit Paste was actually doing a great job, no complaints. That being said, I have read that you can use food grade Diatomaceous Earth and other things instead of baking soda. As for the coconut oil, maybe those with issues should look for a non comedogenic type carrier oil. I know it breaks me out to use coconut oil on my face and sometimes I get a heat rash on the crook of my arm so I avoid lotions, etc. there. Another trick I found quite useful while you detox your body from commercial deoderant is to use a 50/50 ACV and Witch Hazel mixture on a cotton ball and clean your pits before applying. (Less ACV if sensitive skin.) That kills the bacteria and it only smells for a few minutes until it evaporates. I actually use it on my face as a toner so I used it on my pits and it works great. Hope this helps.

  7. Not sure if my previous post went through, message indicated that it didn’t….sorry if this is a repeat. I made this a year ago. It lasted that long! Nothing was working for me once I hit a certain age…around 60. Nothing worse than a stinky old woman! My previous post stated that I used your recipe however, I found the recipe that I did use. 3 tbs. coconut oil, 3 tbs. shea butter. Melt in jar placed in boiling water. Add that to 1/4 c. arrowroot and 1/4 c. baking soda, add 20-30 drops of tea tree oil. This time, I substituted the baking soda with arrowroot, making the total of 1/2 c. arrowroot. I lined 2 custard cups with cupcake papers and poured into the paper. Put a lid on when it has congealed. If it doesn’t work with the substitution, I’ll let you know. I believe it’s actually the tea tree oil that is killing the bacteria that causes the odor. You can’t smell it after a few minutes, so don’t worry that you will smell like tea tree oil!

    1. Deborah! Thanks for sharing-I love experimenting! And oh yes, it’s that tea tree that goes a long way with killing bacteria therefore reducing odor. Keep me posted! I would love to know if 100% arrowroot will work because baking soda can really irritate your skin if you use it daily.

  8. Hi, im going to try this for my daughter who battles with her underarms smelling very bad. We have tried all the deodorants and have had no luck. Its almost as if she hasnt washed for days. Holding thumbs this work for her. Just want to let you know I am in Cape Town South Africa. Love this post.

    1. Jill-I feel your pain! Is she eating something that could be contributing to her smell? I can’t use 99% of natural deodorants because I swear the react to my body chemistry and make me smell worse. This recipe works great. I hope you have great luck with it. Thank you for your kind words!!!

  9. HI jenni.
    I’m commenting on Jill’s post above: Severe underarm odor was one of the first symptoms of a over-active thyroid which can be dectected by a simple blood test.
    I found Iit didn’t matter how many times I washed and reapplied deodorant the odor persisted. I COULD EVEN DETECT IT IN MY CLOTHES AFTER THEY’D BEEN WASHED AND DRIED!
    I kept travel-sized deodorant sticks in my purse and in my car I was so self-conscience of BO, ITd IDN’T HELP THAT I WAS LIVING IN A HOT AND HUMID CLIMATE at the time. I did try “home remedies”(powders, witch hazel, nothing worked);I knew the aluminum based commercial deodorants had been linked to breast cancer but who wants to chance being the “smelly” girl??That’s unthinkable in our society. After my thyroid was treated the severity lessened significantly, but I still worried about it. It got to be quite an unhealthy” thing” with me.
    I hope I can still make a positive difference in my health by using safer alternatives after years of “self-poisoning”.

    I thank you Jenni for writing this blog and freely sharing your recipes, so very generous of you.

  10. Hi Jenni,
    I made this recipe written last week except I didn’t have petit grain so I used a blend of tea tree and lemongrass and lavender. I also accidently added 1T of castor oil1because I had 2 recipes out and confused them.Today is the 4th day in use. So far so good! No baking soda irritation at all. I’ve only had 1 day where I had to reapply it in the late afternoon, otherwise I use it in the morning after showering and that does it for the day. i’VE EVEN APPLIED IT TO JUST SHAVED UNDERARMS AND WHILE IT DID STING INITIALLY IT WASN’T too awful. I made one deodorant stick and the remainder I poured into a glass jar. I was curious to see if one application method was more effective than the other. Both work equally well. I’m really happy with this product and it’s so easy to make! I think it took me longer to buy commercial deodorant because I like to compare brands/prices and there are so many scents to choose from.
    Thanks again, this is another “keeper recipe”

    1. Hi Sue,
      I know this is an old post but just wondering if the accidental CASTOR OIL added a nice “slip” to your DEODERANT? I love homemade DEODERANT (as it works well) but I do find it is not always easy to apply from wind up tubes? I’ve been trying to formulate a more slippery recipe that is non greasy & doesn’t melt too easily but not sure which ingredients to change (or add)?

  11. Hi Jenni,
    I’d been using this recipe for a few weeks and it was very efffective but my underarms were becoming itchy and red and I felt a large lump, rather like a pimple that wouldn’t come to a head. I’m moving on to your witch hazel spray formula.

    1. Michelle-I haven’t made this in a long time so I’m not totally sure but I believe it will make around 10 oz. You could cut the recipe in half if that’s too much.

  12. I started using this about 3 weeks ago and OMG I love it!! I’ve tried a few marketed healthier, aluminum free, fragrance free, etc., versions and not only did they not work they left my armpits feeling sticky. So, I wasn’t expecting all that much with this but figured time to give it another try. For me, it’s actually better at controlling odor than the chemical laden brand I’ve been using for years, shhh it’s a secret. I only need a small amount and I don’t have to reapply. Another great recipe find from you in my search for a chemical free, organic lifestyle. Thank you so much!! Big hugs!!

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