In our quest to be ever more natural and ever more frugal, we have slowly been making more and more of our personal care products at home. Homemade soap, shampoo, and cough syrup are regular staples, and now homemade deodorant has been added to the list.
Not only does making our deodorant at home avoid all the toxic chemicals that are added to commercial deodorants, but we find that it works just as well. The recipe has stood the tests of hard farm labor and heavy-sweating performance nerves, and overall, we've been quite pleased. The scent is also completely customizable, so you can forego a scent altogether or use your favorite lavendar, ylang-ylang, citrus, or any other essential oil.
Hint: If you want to be even more frugal, you can just use plain baking soda as a deodorant. Brush it on with an old make-up brush after bathing and it will last at least 12 hours.
At these small quantities, I'm using metric weights, as that's the best way to get consistent results. If you don't have a scale, estimate to the best of your ability, as it's a rather forgiving recipe.
Natural, Homemade Deodorant
Yield: 1 old 2.8 oz deodorant tube
30 g coconut oil (approx. 2 Tbls)
20 g grated beeswax (approx. 1/2 cup grated or 3 Tbls pellets)
15 g shea butter (approx. 1 Tbls)
40 g aluminum-free baking soda (approx. 2 Tbls)
20 g arrowroot powder or cornstarch (approx. 2 Tbls)
10-15 drops tea tree oil
10-15 drops your choice of essential oil (optional)
- Melt coconut oil and beeswax together in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally.
- Add shea butter to the saucepan when the coconut oil and beeswax are almost melted and stir until all ingredients are completely liquid.
- Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda, arrowroot powder, and essential oils. A small whisk works especially well.
- Once everything is completely combined and the mixture is smooth, work quickly and pour the mixture into your container. Let it harden for a few hours before using. If you don't have an old deodorant tube to use, use any item that will harden in an easy-to-use shape – mini-muffin tin, extra-small prep bowls, ice cube trays, etc.
Know Your Ingredients
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is known for its creamy, smooth texture and is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.
Beeswax – Beeswax is what gives this recipe its structure and smoothness. It's also anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal, like most products that come from a beehive!
Shea Butter – Shea butter is known for its intense moisturizing properties.
Baking Soda – Baking soda is a natural moisture- and odor-absorber, as well as is alkalyzing for the body. By using an aluminum-free baking soda, you are also keeping yourself free of toxic metal exposure.
Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch – Both of these are thickening agents. Arrowroot powder dissolves more easily, makes a smoother product, and will result in a final product more the color of the beeswax. Cornstarch is more easily found and will result in a slightly thicker product that is white.
Tea Tree Oil – tea tree oil is strongly anti-fungal and is encouraged in this recipe since the underarms tend to be a dark, moist area where fungi like to grow. It may be omitted or reduced if you prefer, but it is a powerful protectant in the long-term.
Essential Oil – with essential oils, you can completely customize your deodorant's scent naturally. There's a wide range of high-quality essential oils available through Mountain Rose Herbs that we recommend. These are great for soapmaking, too.