Choo-choo! We’re back on the crunchy train today with one of my favorite homemade cosmetics! First, I’ll pretend that I don’t sweat or smell EVER because admitting that a good deodorant is part of my life makes me feel yucky. Obviously, you also don’t smell EVER so you would never need this either. With that said, let’s continue with the recipe in case you ever want to make it “for fun”. (See what I did there?)
Why homemade deodorant? First, traditional deodorants contain aluminum-based compounds as active ingredients and often parabens as preservatives. They also inhibit sweating which is the body’s way of getting rid of stuff we don’t need in our bodies. There doesn’t appear to be conclusive evidence that suggests these are bad for our health (namely cancer and dementia), however, I felt more comfortable swapping out this product. (Particularly because deodorant is applied so close to breast tissue.) Because my time is limited, I’d rather attempt to make the natural recipe that perform meticulous research on the side effects of excess aluminum.
Does it work? I do prefer more natural products when I can but natural does no one any good if it doesn’t work well. Frankly, that’s the case with many alternatives I tried like Tom’s of Maine. About three years ago, I made my first batch of this homemade, natural deodorant and I’ve never switched back. I love it in the summer, in the winter, even when I exercise. I was particularly impressed because after 24 hours, it worked better than my old stuff.
What are the downsides? Hippy dippy stuff like this isn’t for everyone so here is what to keep in mind when contemplating a switch.
- This formula is not an antiperspirant. That means, it’s only job is to prevent you from turning heads after a run (which none of us ever do, I know). It allows your body to perspire normally and doesn’t “interfere” with those processes like a traditional antiperspirant. I found that the first one to two weeks were a little odd because I wasn’t used to how my underarms felt. But my body adjusted quickly.
- The baking soda in the deodorant works well but can cause some irritation if you have sensitive skin. Some have found that applying a thin layer of vinegar to your armpits and letting it dry before applying can help ensure the pH is ideal for your skin. I also find that applying a thin layer helps as well instead of caking it on. Finally, reducing the amount of baking soda in the final formula and using extra starch has worked for others.
- Many people say that their bodies needed a few weeks to adjust. If you’re serious about switching, give yourself a few weeks to acclimate before making a final decision.
- You may need to tweak the formula to work best for you. Most don’t, but because you are using such simple ingredients with melting points around room temperature, adjustments can be necessary. Some people find this a royal pain.
So here’s the scoop on how to make your down deodorant in your own kitchen.
First up? Supplies.
Ingredients & Supplies
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch (cornstarch works in a pinch but arrowroot is better)
- 1/4 cup baking soda (decrease amount if your skin is sensitive)
- 4-5 tbsp coconut oil (any brand, but make sure it’s solid at room temp)
- 1 tbsp beeswax, bars or small pebbles (this makes the stick more solid, especially in the summer)
- 5 drops tea tree oil (an important ingredient to combat odor)
- 5 drops of some other essential oil (optional, I like citrus-y oils)
- empty deodorant container (either washed and reused or purchased)
A few supply notes: You don’t need to use a deodorant stick for this but if you choose to store it in a small dish or container, skip the beeswax, especially in the winter, because it will be easier to spread with your fingertips. You can stock up on most of these ingredients at an online store like Mountain Rose Herbs or use the Amazon affiliate links above! You can use other oils but I find that coconut’s natural antibacterial properties, albeit small, work well here. Plus, it’s solid at room temperature and makes the deodorant consistency easier to obtain. Be cautious with lavender oils. I read that they can cause some underarm darkening and found that to be true for me. It wasn’t harmful but did appear that I hadn’t shaved which was annoying.
Warm the coconut oil and beeswax in a bowl over a pot of simmering water (cooks call this a double boiler). I’ve done it in the microwave on low power but do prefer the stove.
Mix in the arrowroot starch and baking soda with a spoon. Depending on the temperature of your house and the ratios you use (particularly the beeswax), the mixture can change in consistency. Sometimes my batches have been more soupy and others have been more cookie dough like. If you use beeswax, it can be more solid because the beeswax will harden QUICKLY. If you skip the wax, then make sure your final product is the consistency of normal deodorant. (Imagine the last time your toddler took apart your stick and crumbled it all over the bathroom, for example. Or maybe that’s just me.)
Get the deodorant in your empty stick or tub with a spoon.
If you are like me, you’ll always have extra. Place it in a plastic bag in the fridge to fill up later. I’ve found that I often give samples to friend who are curious so I love having a little extra around. Place your sticks in the freezer to firm up. Note: If you royally screw up and your mixture doesn’t harden well, you can always keep the stick in the fridge permanently. One stick lasts me a few months.
There you have it. Easy, homemade deodorant that won’t melt in the summer and actually works! Please let me know if you have any questions and if you want a sample, I do have extra “not cookie dough” for those who are local!