Saturday, August 27, 2011

Homemade Deodorant

I've been using homemade deodorant for over a year now. Prior to the change, I was using Tom's of Maine, but I was nearly always smelly at the end of the day. One day, I read a post on Simple Organic challenging readers to use a store-bought or homemade natural deodorant for one month. The rules: no aluminum (the main reason I stopped using antiperspirants), no parabens or propylene glycol, no added fragrance, no triclosan. I read the comments to that challenge, and many readers had said how much they liked a certain kitchen concoction.

I didn't commit to the challenge, but a few weeks later, just before I stepped into the shower one day, I impulsively whipped up the homemade blend I'd read about.

Here's the recipe I find works best:
  • 4 T. baking soda
  • 4 T. cornstarch or arrowroot powder (I've used both... most recently prefer arrowroot)
  • 6 T. coconut oil
Mix it all together in a little glass container.

Option #1: You can just keep it like this in the bathroom, which is what we do. When you're ready to use it, just dip a couple fingertips in the mixture and rub it in. One of the wonderful things about coconut oil (among many) is that it absorbs completely into the skin. Coconut oil has a melting point of about 76 degrees, so if it's cold, your deodorant will be hard. Just let it sit in an inch or so of hot water for a minute (while you shower) and it will soften up. If the temperature is hot, the oil might start to separate a bit. If this happens, remix before applying. We mix ours pretty often, whatever the weather.

Option #2: Save an old deodorant container and pour the mixture in there so you can just roll on. If you choose this option, keep your deodorant in the fridge or you'll have a mess on hot days!

I've always been a sweater, but when I started using this deodorant, I was eight months pregnant during a hot SoCal summer, busy with several outdoor projects. I haven't been smelly since the first application! Keenan started using it shortly after I did, and we've both been using it ever since. (The only hitch we've faced is occasionally finding some marks on some of Keenan's shirts, caused by his hairier underarms... just doesn't rub in as easily! However, they do come clean in the wash.)

By the way, the one who gave the original challenge at Simple Organic followed up with her results. She loved this one the most too!


  1. I've actually tried this one. Because of my sensitive skin, even the "Gentle on Sensitive Skin" Tom's of Maine sometimes gives me a rash. So I whipped up this recipe!

    The first time I used it was the first day of our backpacking trip in the Tetons. In the middle of June, pregnant, with a 25 lb pack on my back, hiking all day long, I never needed to reapply! And it rubs in so well you never know it's there.

    But with the extreme wilderness temperatures, it would melt every day and then freeze every night. The result was that even when I could get the lid off in the morning, I could barely scratch any deodorant off the top. I temporarily went back to Tom's. :)

    Now that I'm back in civilization, I think I'll start using it again. Thanks for the great tip, Nonie.

  2. Another plug for coconut oil! I haven't done much research on harmful chemicals in deodorant and other personal care/beauty products. That (and the many uses of coconut oil) would be a great post someone sometime :)

    Thanks for the info!

  3. Hi - I've been using this deodorant for the past week and it works !!!!
    Even after a workout at the gym - no more harmful chemicals for me ...

    thanks for the recipe.

  4. I use Dove unscented for sensitive for me. No more itchy underarms. This is a cool recipe to know about though.

  5. Using this exclusively now and I love it. Best deodorant I ever tried, hands down.

  6. oo! i am so excited about this! my mom used to tell me all the time that deodorant was bad for you, but i never really listened, i just thought she was always too worried about things in this world that you cannot change. she's 'hippie-like' and crazy! haha. then i got very interested in being raw vegan. Now I realize how correct she was/is. haha. funny how that works. anyway, when i started caring, i just STOPPED using deodorant all together. i am never really close enough to people for me to be embarrassed besides my husband so i didnt really care if i smelled, but it embarasses him so i started using toms even though i didnt want to. i didnt even know what specific ingredients were harmful but i assumed toms was better than what i used to use and i would later do some research. but i never got to the researching lol. so i am glad i 'stumbled' upon this page!! i am soo excited to try this! And of course share the recipe with my mom :)

  7. My husband has been using just straight baking soda for about 1 month with great results except that it's started to burn his skin.
    We'll give this one a try and see if it's easier on him. I have super sensitive skin, so I'm very nervous to try a homemade deodorant until I know it's at least not bothering my tough-skinned hubby.

  8. Hi there! Just made a batch yesterday and am excited to try it out. One question though... we poured it into 2 old containers and now it's "stuck"... aka, not budging when we turn the dial on the bottom. Any tricks on how to get it to move up with the dial? As for now I will use the liquid/bowl method and see how it goes! Thanks!

    1. I know this is late, you should be able to get the dial to start moving by dipping the plastic container in hot water for ten seconds, or so. That should loosen it just enough.

  9. I made a similar recipe but I added beeswax to make it set up better. Can you see anything wrong with adding beeswax?

    1. I would say yes to beeswax. Apparently, assuming you have a good source, it is even safe for eating, and can do some real good for your body.

    2. I would say yes to beeswax. Apparently, assuming you have a good source, it is even safe for eating, and can do some real good for your body.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.