Much to the dismay of my coworkers and loved-ones, I’ve been spending the better part of a year experimenting with DIY deodorant.
Like all of us, I used regular drugstore deodorant for years. But getting getting dressed each morning, it always made me wonder what the long-term ramifications were of marinating in chemicals all day, every day, for the remainder of my adult life.
Then I tried switching to those natural deodorant brands, but — like we all found out, one way or another — they never quite worked.
But then I came across this. And bingo.
I’ll provide two ways to make this: Stick form, which is more labor-intensive, and a simple paste, in case your skepticism requires you try it out first.
For this, you can either buy empty deodorant containers or you can clean and reuse one you’ve already finished.
- 1 part Baking Soda
- 1 part Arrowroot Powder
(or any thickening agent: Guar Gum, Cornstarch, etc.)
- 1 part equal amounts Coconut Oil, Shea Butter & Beeswax
First, melt your base. In a small (heat-resistant) mason jar, add your coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax; and set the jar in a shallow pan of simmering water (turned off). Beeswax is especially dense, so this step can take up to 10 minutes.
When your base has melted completely, add your baking soda and arrowroot powder, and mix thoroughly. Pull your mason jar out of the hot water bath and let it sit for about 60 seconds to take the edge off before pouring the deodorant into your empty container. (Too hot and you’ll leech the chemicals out of the plastic; too cool and it won’t pour.)
When you’ve scraped the last drop into your container, put it in the fridge to cool — and voilà!
Helpful Tip: Before you reach for the measuring spoons, if you don’t know the volume of your empty container, work backwards. Fill your container with water, then pour it out into a measuring cup to read. My empty container was 2.25 fluid ounces (66.5mL), which meant in my case, each part was 1.5 Tablespoons (22mL).
The paste version is great if you don’t have an empty deodorant container lying around, or still want to take this recipe out for a test drive.
In a small Tupperware or jar, combine:
- 1 Tbsp Baking Soda
- 1 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder
(or any thickening agent: Guar Gum, Cornstarch, etc.)
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is usually liquid at room temperature most of the year. If it’s not, microwave it for a second before mixing. If you need more liquid after combining your ingredients, add a little water, which’ll turn your paste into more of a gel. (If you have it, I recommend adding a couple drops of grapefruit seed extract as a natural preservative.)
Let’s be honest: the true champion at work here is Baking Soda. If it can deodorize your shoes, it can deodorize your pits. It’s dirt-cheap and next to impossible to exhaust, which means this deodorant won’t crap out on you in the middle of the workday. But some people may find the tiny granules can cause skin irritation. If you’re one of these people, just adjust the dose. But try not to remove it completely since it’s what’s doing the heavy lifting.
Coconut Oil is fantastically moisturizing and nourishing, especially for your armpits’ delicate skin. (Oh, yes; we’re going there.) But it’s also naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal — perfect for keeping odor-causing bacteria under control. “But Crunchy Urbanite,” you’re probably wondering. “Won’t oil in my deodorant ruin my clothes?” Oddly enough, no. Between skin absorption and the ratio of oil to solids, this deodorant is totally non-greasy. And if you’re making the stick recipe, Shea Butter is equally nourishing, with the added perk of bring shelf-stable for months, if not years. Which means you don’t have to worry about your deodorant going bad. Beeswax is a great natural skin conditioner, but in this small a quantity, it really serves to keep the stick as hard as possible.
Arrowroot Powder is a very lightweight thickener that helps give some heft. If you don’t have any on hand — or have never even heard of it — don’t sweat it. You can also substitute more common thickeners, like Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, or (organic) Cornstarch. Though, having tried various thickeners, I can tell you they’re not all created equal.
Now, as a guy, when it comes to applying, there’s the added hurdle of terrain. That is to say, it does tend to get caught in the weeds, if you get my drift. So to make sure my deodorant stick is as hard as possible each morning, I like to keep it in the fridge and apply fresh out of the shower.
Want scented deodorant? Blend your favorite essential oils into your liquid base before you add your powders. Aim for about 10 drops per Tablespoon (Or every 15mL). Whether you like lavender or lemongrass, I recommend a good base (40-50%) of Frankincense Essential Oil no matter what. It’s a natural antibacterial, which helps curb odor-causing bacteria. And given our armpits’ proximity to the axillary lymph nodes, it doesn’t hurt that frankincense is also anti-inflammatory and helps protect against tumor formation. After all, who wouldn’t want a homemade deodorant working to reverse the damage from all those years of drugstore deodorants?
It took a lot of trial and error to get to this, but it was well worth it. This is one iron-clad homemade recipe that doesn’t stink. And best of all, neither will you.
(Disclosure: affiliate links to Amazon do not affect the price of items for you, but may provide a certain Crunchy blogger with a small commission.)