Try New Adventures: Making my own Deodorant

I have a confession to make. For the past two months, I’ve been wearing men’s deodorant.

Early in the fall, I stumbled across a recipe for homemade deodorant–I don’t even remember the site. It called for coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch. I was stoked because it was an all natural recipe that I had all the ingredients for! Plus, I was looking for a way to use up my coconut oil because it totally massacred my favorite chocolate chip cookies with its nasty coconut flavor. (Maybe it wasn’t truly that malevolent, but I am really serious about these cookies.) I decided to wait until I was about out of deodorant to try it out.

Then I ran out of deodorant. I kept thinking to myself, “This weekend I’ll mix up some homemade stuff.” But I didn’t. I tried not wearing deodorant for a few days. I don’t think I carried a fog of b.o. around those days, but I definitely wouldn’t describe the scent of my pits as “come hither.” Then, that old slogan for Secret deodorant popped into my head: “Strong enough for a man. Made for a woman.” Except I ignored the “made for a woman” part.

We tend to have a plethora of men’s deodorant at our house. I bought a five pack of deodorant for Dexter right before we got married and ended up throwing away four of the sticks a couple of years later because had been expired so long. How does Dexter manage to stretch his deodorant for so long?

No, he’s not committed to a “one swipe” application.

No, he doesn’t shave his armpits (*shudder*) so he can use less.

He just doesn’t wear it.

Save for the occasional wedding or date night, my handsome husband is deodorant free. And, surprisingly, stank free. I don’t know what it is about him, but he rarely smells bad even though he spends the majority of his time at work next to a roaster, which creates a rather warm work environment. But now, Dexter’s lone stick of deodorant has almost disappeared, so the pressure was on. I have to say, it’s a good thing I was looking for something to blog about, otherwise I might not have dragged myself away from these adorable snugglers on my winter break to whip up my first batch.

Luckily, this recipe is incredibly easy to make and I was back on the couch, sipping hot tea, snuggling with my puppies in less than 15 minutes. Here’s the recipe.*

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 5-6 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions:

  • Measure baking soda and corn starch into a small bowl.
  • Add 4-5 tablespoons coconut oil. Mix in with a fork.
  • Add more coconut oil until deodorant-like consistency is reached.

Right now, you might be asking, “Why would anyone want to make their own deodorant?” I’ve done a little research, and here are the reasons I tried making my own.

  1. It’s all-natural. I would eat all of the ingredients (not alone, obviously), so it’s not scary to have it touch my body.
  2. It’s cheap! Most all-natural deodorants are upwards of $4. And it’s not fun to pay $4 for something to rub on your armpits.
  3. It’s easy. Although it took me forever to get around to making it, once I did, it was fast and didn’t leave me with a big mess in the kitchen.
  4. It’s free from aluminum and paraben, which have been linked to breast cancer in women. Read here for more details.
  5. If the companies you buy your ingredients from are cruelty-free, then your deodorant is cruelty-free.

After a few hours of wearing this new deodorant, I haven’t noticed any problems. I’m hoping to hop on the treadmill in a few minutes, so we’ll see how I smell after that. There is a trace smell of coconut, but it’s not overpowering. I’m not crazy about eating coconut, but I don’t mind the smell, so it doesn’t bother me. I imagine that it will remind Dexter of these, so he’ll like my new scent just fine.

*When I googled homemade deodorant to give myself a refresher on the recipe I’d read, because we all know what happens when I think I can just remember, I came across this recipe from Passionate Homemaking which was my guide.

Check out more adventures over at Alicia’s Homemaking.

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16 thoughts on “Try New Adventures: Making my own Deodorant

  1. Oh yeah…important detail 🙂 The answer: your fingers. I thought it was going to be really gross, but it wasn’t. As long as you start out with clean armpits, your fingers will be fine. You might have a little bit of baking soda grit on your fingers, so I recommend rinsing or washing your hands afterward, depending on how grossed out you are by your armpits.

    You can also save an empty stick of deodorant, store your homemade deodorant in that, and apply it like you would a store bought stick of deodorant.

  2. Next question… could I have a sample? My underarms are really sensitive, and I’ve only found one that doesn’t make me break out. I’d guess the more natural the better, but I’d hate to make a batch and the have it not work.

    • Wendy, I’d be glad to bring over a sample sometime. Hopefully between me, Rachel, and Leah, you can find an ingredient combination that works well for you!

  3. dude, i used this for over a month this fall and it worked pretty well. did nothing for the wetness factor- which means I need to figure out how to get stains out of my white shirts. but then all of a sudden i started breaking out all over the place with horrible rash. call me crazy, but i quit for a while. i read some other places that you can replace the corn starch with arrowroot powder instead of the cornstarch for break outs and also add some shea butter. i purchased both of these ingredients in early december- but have not made a new batch yet. i hope to though in a few weeks!

  4. I must weigh in.

    I have been using this basic recipe for something approaching a year (I usually add a bit of tea tree oil)… all through the balmy summer heat with no complaint and no problem.

    I like it so much I purchased several new empty deodorant containers to make some for friends and family. Even my mother-in-law is now a *very* enthusiastic user. (Side note: if you know me, I’d be happy to share a deodorant container with you… no more fingers, Kelsey! ;)… although I did happily use it that way also for the first several months.)

    So, the delightful irony in all of this? My left armpit is undeniably inflamed today for the very first time.

    I made a new batch about a week ago. Although I had noticed it was pink after a shower the other day, I ignored it. Today, it cannot be ignored. When I made the new batch, I changed a few things from the previous batches, so I’m guessing something here is the culprit:
    -Switched from Argo cornstarch to arrowroot powder from NP (out of curiosity mostly, per Leah’s suggestion)
    -Switched from Spectrum to Nutiva coconut oil
    -Switched from store-brand baking soda (don’t remember which one) to Arm & Hammer

    I also used more coconut oil (more like the recipe Kelsey has posted above), whereas before I was using 2-3 T. coconut oil with the same quantity of dry ingredients.

    So… I’ll stop my musing. I’m just trying to figure out what went wrong with the new batch…

    Let me know if you/anyone has insight and best of luck with your new adventure! I’ve definitely enjoyed mine thus far!

  5. Wow! Who knew there were so many experienced deodorant makers at my fingertips? Weird how Leah’s breakout came on so suddenly after using the same recipe. Rachel–hope you find out what the cause is! I’m glad to hear the deodorant containers work. I was afraid it would be too soft or too hard to make it work.

  6. Well, I must confess {although a lot of people might already know}, I rarely wear deodorant. It’s like an afterthought for me. Like “oh, wait, it might be hot today, I should wear some” or “wait, I’m going someplace nice”. But a good 9 outta 10 times I don’t wear it. Never had any really issues, and typically if I get a little sweating, dabbing on baby powder seems to work like a charm. I figure most people haven’t said anything and Jonathan {who is uber sensitive to smells} has never noticed then I’m all good. However, when I ever do run out of my current deodorant I’ll have to use your recipe.

  7. you are my inspiration. i have been wanting to do this for a year…and wanted to do other homemade and natural things.

    how do you find the time when working full time? Oh wait, you were on teaching break weren’t you…

    loves

  8. Aw, thanks! Yes, I was on break. But really, this took all of 15 minutes. It was one of those “if I would have known it was this easy I would have done it a long time ago” things. I’ve decided, however, that I would be an awesome stay-at-home wife–although I do love my job.

    • i have decided that i would be an awesome part-time worker, part-time making homemade things and writing blogs person.

      how did we end up so similar? must have been all those years of camp together…

      i’m glad the deoderant was quick. i was all set to make homemade laundry detergent one night, but my recipe called for washing soda and i couldn’t find it and gave up.

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