Are you one of those people who cannot go for a minute without deodorant after your shower? Ever wonder if there are better deodorant options than what the big chemical companies have to offer? Is there such a thing as a natural non-toxic deodorant that actually works? How about an option you can create yourself? I have struggled to find just that for a long time and was about ready to give up when I decided to try my hand at formulating my very own recipe. After much trial and error, I succeeded in creating a deodorant recipe that checks all of my boxes and I cannot wait to share it with you!
Today I am going to let you in on my little secret on how you can smell great without gooping on toxins ever again.
When I researched various options, baking soda was almost always part of the formula. And while it does have amazing odor-absorbing qualities and sounds great in theory it has one major drawback. It can be quite irritating, especially to sensitive skin. Why? It turns out baking soda has a Ph level of 9, making it slightly alkaline. A normal Ph level for skin hovers at around 5.5, more on the acidic side. Going baking soda free was definitely a must.
But why switch from mainstream commercially available deodorant in the first place?
See, the little warning about keeping this “out of the reach of children” along with the suggestion of calling poison control? Ask your doctor if you have kidney disease? That just makes me nervous…
What’s wrong with the stuff from the health food store?
I recently discovered my reason when I bought some while cruising the aisles at my favorite crunchy hangout. For once I actually remembered that my musky teenager was dangerously close to running out of deodorant. When I spied a familiar brand I grabbed a couple of sticks, tea tree for him, lavender for me and I was on my merry way.
But after a couple of days of using the new “natural” brand, it became very clear that it just wasn’t going to cut it, for me anyway. Okay, so a new deodorant not living up to its promise is not unusual, right? But upon closer examination, I felt duped. The big “come-and-buy-me-and-I-will-keep-you-smelling-like-lavender” promise that had lured me in turned out to be, well, not exactly true. The only lavender component listed was “linalool” – at the very bottom of the ingredient list.
What is the point in paying extra, thinking you are doing the right thing and then wind up with a worse result? For me, that was the last straw. Challenge accepted. Determined to find a non-toxic deodorant recipe once and for all, I set out to create a natural non-toxic recipe that actually works. This was not my first time around the deodorant making block. But last time my efforts turned out to look and work less than optimal. Would you put this on your pits???
Didn’t think so.
So I set out on my quest, determined to find the recipe. That turned out to be more difficult than I had anticipated. There are a lot of different recipes to be found, but most of them contain the dreaded baking soda, which I wanted to avoid for the above-mentioned reasons. Find the recipe featured here along with other natural recipes, tips, tutorial and printables in the FREE Resource Library. Signup is below.
So what would make my recipe the one?
Here is a list of criteria for my natural non-toxic recipe that actually works:
- no baking soda
- safe ingredients
- easy to make
- keep stink at bay all day
- control wetness
- stick form
The last requirement is really mainly for ease of use and convenience. My son will not let me use anything other than stick deodorant on him and I am just used to this form. Simply omit the beeswax pellets for a (vegan) creme version, if you prefer.
Several recipes later I zeroed in on the proper list of ingredients. Just to be sure, tested one with the above mentioned baking soda. It left me smelling okay, but not for long and I found the consistency to be just a little too gritty and a little itchy. All of my gracious testers agreed.
Another ingredient that intrigued me was magnesium chloride. The recipe that had sounded so promising wound up an utter failure. Even though I had ground the magnesium chloride flakes into a fine powder, as instructed, I still wound up with gritty sludge at the bottom of the bowl that refused to dissolve. I do hear magnesium oil in spray form is an effective deodorant, but haven’t tried it myself.
LET’S MAKE A NATURAL DEODORANT RECIPE THAT ACTUALLY WORKS!
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I have to confess I was not too enthusiastic about this at first, because I was worried about staining. But so far so good on that front! The key is to use virgin unrefined coconut oil.
The reasons I opted to include it in my recipe are fairly straight forward. It is readily available, has well documented anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and it will give the finished product glide. Many of the ingredients are very versatile and can be used to make a number of other beauty recipes!
Arrow Root Powder
Arrowroot powder takes over the role of “wetness absorber”. I chose it over cornstarch because it is non-GMO, ph-balanced and has both antiseptic as well as anti-inflammatory qualities. It is safe enough to be fed to babies:)
This ingredient kept popping up in recipes that lacked baking soda and was featured as the active ingredient. Zinc oxide is more commonly used in homemade sunscreen recipes and diaper rash ointment (there is the baby safe thing again!), but I found out that quite a few people actually swear by using the rash ointment as a substitute for deodorant.
When ordering zinc oxide, make sure you are purchasing the non-nano kind that is also pharmaceutical grade.
The addition of Shea butter allowed for a slight reduction in the amount of coconut oil used. Katie over at Wellness Mama has a handy list with the many different uses for Shea butter. It is an ingredient I keep on hand for all kinds of homemade concoctions from hand cream to body balm to lip balm.
Bees Wax Pellets
This ingredient is necessary to give the deodorant enough firmness to be put into stick form. I buy mine locally whenever possible, but you can order high-quality beeswax pellets online. Beeswax forms a protective barrier to environmental assaults on your skin. Its water-attracting properties are offset in this recipe by both the zinc oxide and the arrowroot powder.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that reduces the damage done by free radicals. It is included here for its ability to fight off toxins as well as added skin pampering.
Many of the recipes I researched treated essential oils as an optional ingredient. At our house, therapeutic grade essential oils are used for many different reasons and I consider them a very important part of this recipe. Not merely for smell, essential oils can add calming and even cooling properties, depending on which ones you use. You can really individualize the recipe to suit your own taste and need! If you are going through the trouble of making your own deodorant, use the best quality oils you can get.
Not ingredients, but necessary nonetheless, are either deodorant tubes to fill for the stick version or small jars like these glass ones to store your deodorant in for the creme version. You can either use a couple of empty clean tubes or purchase fresh, reusable ones. The recipe will make the exact amount for two of them.
The combination of cedarwood, vetiver, and lavender drew praise from my testers, male and female. It is the same combination of oils I have been applying to my son morning and evening to calm him, so using the deodorant does double duty.
This recipe yields a formulation that is soothing and holds up well to average stink. If a stronger formulation to combat odor is desired, tea tree oil, thieves or purification (my personal fave, it smells so good) are all safe bets. Be aware that while it goes a long way in the odor department, you will notice more wetness. When I added bentonite clay to the recipe, it turned into something resembling concrete, even with a relatively small amount. The addition of bentonite definitely calls for either a reduction in the amount of beeswax or the addition of extra coconut oil, the choice is yours.
This recipe will yield 2 regular size stick deodorants.
- 2 TBSP COCONUT OIL, virgin unrefined
- 2 TBSP SHEA BUTTER, organic unrefined
- 1/4 CUP BEESWAX PELLETS
- 1/2 TSP VITAMIN E OIL – optional
- 2/3 CUP ARROWROOT POWDER
- 2 TBSP ZINC OXIDE POWDER – non nano
- 15 drops LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL – I buy mine here
- 10 drops CEDARWOOD ESSENTIAL OIL
- 6 drops VETIVER ESSENTIAL OIL
- or essential oils of your choice (do skin patch test first on any oil you plan to use)
PYREX BOWL OR WIDEMOUTH MASON JAR – dedicate bowl or jar to making beauty products
WOOD POPSICLE STICK OR SPOON HANDLE FOR STIRRING
EMPTY DEODORANT CONTAINERS (see link in post for source)
LABELS – optional
Combine coconut oil, beeswax pellets and shea butter in shallow pyrex bowl or mason jar and place in double boiler. Gently heat until oils and wax are completely melted, stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat and add vitamin E oil, arrowroot powder and zinc oxide.
Stir until very well combined and make sure there are no lumps. Reheat mixture slightly if necessary.
Once everything is well combined and slightly cooled, add essential oils and immediately fill into deodorant tubes/containers.
Let cool completely on a small tray lined with wax paper or paper plate.
Use as you would any deodorant stick.
Natural deodorant formulas will not prevent wetness as commercially available doedorant loaded with chemicals will. The arrowroot powder in this formula does a pretty good job though. You may need to reapply deodorant once during the day, if you tend to perspire a lot. A 2-3 thin layers work better than one thick goopy layer.
For a vegan or cream version: omit beeswax pellets and fill mixture into small jars instead.
While purchasing the ingredients for this recipe may seem like a big investment, they are very versatile and can be used in many different and simple beauty recipes and home remedies that will save you in the long run. This recipe is for only 2 sticks but can easily be doubled. I created a smaller batch recipe to reduce melting and handling time, which makes it easier for you. But remember the ingredients as listed, if purchased are plenty for several batches. If you compare that to purchasing all natural deodorant from the health food store, you will likely still come out ahead cost wise.
For other recipes using some of the same ingredients check out these posts:
And here you have it! A natural, non-toxic deodorant recipe that actually works! Be sure to sign up for this and other bonus recipes, tutorials and free printables in the FREE Resource Library here:
Inspired? Curious? Sure, making your own deodorant may sound a little bit too “crunchy” for some, but to be honest, it is a whole lot easier than it sounds. Once you have all of your ingredients on hand, it’s a snap to make.
Have you found your own favorite blend of essential oils to add? The possibilities are endless!