Natural Beauty: Homemade Deodorant

You know what they say: necessity is the mother of invention

Well, it’s also the mother of make-things-yourself-because-you-can’t-afford-to-buy-it.

Now, I’m not saying that deodorant is a luxury that blows my budget. I’m just saying that this one time last month, I was out of deodorant, and if I went to the store to buy it, I was going to have to pay with a credit card, or ask Yuseff to buy it for me (He absolutely would have, but there’s something super sad about needing to ask someone else to buy your deoodorant).

Also, I’ve never gone into the hygiene/beauty section of a store and left with just the necessities. There’s always a display of the season’s latest nail polish colors, or hair volumizing potions, or sweet-smelling body scrubs that I just have to have. So, not only would I have charged deodorant to my credit card, I’d have charged all of these other goodies, too. I have a shopping problem. I admit that. And I’m combating the problem by just staying out of the stores.

Enter: this deodorant recipe from A Sonoma Garden (which she found at Angry Chicken). I came across it because I tend to treat Google like a crystal ball. One day, I was annoyed that my freshly shaved armpits looked like they had a five-o-clock shadow (too much information? sorry!). So I Googled: Why do I have such dark armpits?

I then spent a few hours reading up on how some women with darker complexions (like me) have very dark underarms from the aluminum that is used in antiperspirants.  Then I read about how aluminum may be linked to breast cancer. And then I read some more about it can clog your sweat glands. block toxins from escaping your body, and cause painful bumps in your underarms (this actually used to happen to me a lot, but I never knew why).

At the time, I was using Donna Karan Cashmere Mist deodorant. I looked up the ingredients and sure enough, it’s an antiperspirant with aluminum. I really, really love this stuff. But in the interest of going aluminum free, I decided to trade it in for some Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant. I only kind of  liked it. My underarms did get lighter, but this deodorant smells like alcohol. I truthfully kept the Donna Karan hanging around to use for special occasions when I especially didn’t want to smell like a lush.

So, this brings me to early August, when both of my deodorants and my checking account were empty, and I needed something to smear in my underarms. I had all of the ingredients for the recipe from A Sonoma Garden/Angry Chicken, so I went for it. If you don’t have all of the ingredients, there are some recipes out there that are even more basic.

This deodorant recipe was superbly easy to make. It has a nice texture, looks pretty sitting on my bathroom counter, and keeps me smelling fresh and clean.

First, let’s look at the ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp Shea Butter
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Butter
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarchabsorbs moisture (can substitute with arrowroot powder if you have a reaction to cornstarch)
  • 3 tbsp Baking Soda– neutralizes odor
  • 10 drops Tea Tree Oilantibacterial (optional)
  • 10 drops Essential Oilfragrance (optional)
  • 2 Vitamin E tablets- good for skin (optional)

I’m not really sure what the what the exact purposes of the shea and cocoa butters are, but they smell good and are moisturizers. At the very least, they bind everything together and make it creamy. There are totally non-stinky people out there who just dust cornstarch and baking soda on themselves in the morning and call it a day. So, the rest of this is really fluff.

To make: Get a glass measuring cup, add the first 4 ingredients, and microwave until it’s all melted (I think I did 2 1/2 minutes in 30 second intervals). Then add your oils (puncture the tablets and squeeze out the vitamin e) and stir. Pour into a jar and let harden overnight or in the refrigerator.

To apply: simply scrape a little out with your finger and apply to your underarms. Just like putting on lotion!

To see how I made the super cute chalkboard jars, click here

Does it work? Yeah. Astonishingly well. I don’t really know what exactly I was expecting, but the results here have blown me away. 

With store-bought deodorants, I’d always get to that point at the end of the day where it had clearly worn off (maybe not so much with the Donna Karan, but for sure with the Tom’s of Maine). It wasn’t like you could smell me from across the room, but you know…

With this stuff, the fragrance eventually fades, but I don’t smell like anything. It’s actually kind of bizarre. I’ve made Yuseff smell me to confirm that my nose still functions and that this deodorant is awesome.

Be warned though, it’s not an antiperspirant (no aluminum. remember). I don’t sweat a lot because I’m always cold and generally despise working-out and/or doing anything physically demanding so it doesn’t matter to me. But if you are a sweaty person and don’t enjoy it, then this may not be for you.


Please visit A Sonoma Garden and Angry Chicken to learn more about their experiences with homemade deodorant and other natural beauty and living recipes and tips


5 thoughts on “Natural Beauty: Homemade Deodorant

  1. Pingback: Natural Beauty: Homemade Lotion « By the (cook)Book

  2. Pingback: Natural Beauty: Homemade Shea Butter Deep Conditioner « By the (cook)Book

  3. I know this is an old article. But I have to tell you a little secret about the DK deodorant. It is a safe aluminum. I go to hear the cosmetic chemist who created it, Mark Potter(look him up, brilliant man) speak when I was a GM at Sephora. He created a formulation where the aluminum is encapsulated inside of glycerine. So, sweat penetrates through the glycerine, is absorbed by the aluminum, and NEVER comes in contact with the skin. This was commissioned from him by DKNY, so they own the patent and you won’t see this formulation in any other deodorant(unfortunately). He also created a Nanocapsule technology that encloses fragments of the scent and is only broken down at higher temperatures. So if your body heat rises during the day, scent is subtly released.

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