Don’t Sweat It – Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

One of the products that people are most fussy about is their deodorant. And who can really blame them? Sweat, and sweat smell, is just the kind of thing that you want to not have to worry about during the day.

However, many of the storebought antiperspirants contain several ingredients that you really don’t want to use. The main cause for concern is aluminum salts (often aluminum chlorohydrate), which is the very thing that takes care of the whole antiperspiration in the antiperspirant. Unfortunately, aluminum also has proven links to Alzheimer’s and is suspected to be linked to breast cancer. Add to this the fact that aluminum is strongly irritating for skin, and, you know, the fact that it actually closes up and blocks your sweat glands, meaning the stuff that was supposed to exit your body stays inside.

But fear not, you can make your own homemade deodorant – and it really works! Read on to find some recipes that are so easy you’re not going to beleive it.

Homemade natural diy deodorant and antiperspirants

Coconut deodorant

First let’s start with what probably is the most popular DIY deodorant. This recipe in different variations circulates all around the no ‘poo world. It contains three ingredients: coconut oil, arrowroot, and baking soda. Here’s one recipe, taken from Passionate homemaking:

  • 6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)
  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder/cornstarch.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

I’ve made this recipe a few times with cornstarch instead of arrowroot, usually without measuring anything and just mixing everything until it looks all right (’cause that’s just the way I roll). It’s worked well as far as deodorizing goes, but I’ve had a bit of trouble with irritation. Sometimes even a lot of trouble. Some bloggers claim that this is due to the cornstarch, but my guess is that it’s the baking soda that is the problem.

 Alum deodorant/antiperspirant

Some of you have probably heard of the thai stone deodorant aka crystal deodorant aka rock crystal deodorant. This is sold as a cost-effective all natural deodorant. This product is actually a mineral called alum (INCI: potassium alum or sodium alum), which more specifically is form of aluminum. This is probably why they don’t want to call it “alum”, because the name is so similar to aluminium.

So alum is a form of aluminum. Does this mean it is also bad for you? The answer is probably no, and there are many reasons for this. First of all, alum is milder than aluminum, and so is not as effective, but also not as harmful. Also, the alum molecules apparently are bigger than the aluminum molecules, and do not enter our body in the same way that aluminum chlorohydrate. Nonetheless, there is a bit of a controversy around this, so if you want to be completely certain, skip the alum. But if you want an antiperspirant – that is a deodorant that prevents sweating as well as odor control – there is no more natural option that I know of other than alum. So I, and many other naturalistas with me, happily use alum as an ingredient in homemade antiperspirants.

Personally, I did try the alum stone, but it didn’t really work for me. So what I did then was that I simply ground up the stone into a fine powder, that I used in deodorant recipes. When combined with other ingredients, the alum worked wonderfully. Here are a few recipes that you can try in case you don’t like the stone either. Oh, and you can buy alum in the grocery store amongst the spices, or possibly at the pharmacy.

Alum deodorant spray

  • 1 tbs alum powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 dl) rose water or plain water

Pour the  water into a spray bottle. Gradually add alum powder until the water is saturated (the alum crystals won’t dissolve any longer).

Alum lavender deodorant spray

This is a bit more advanced version of the previous recipe, that uses lavender and yarrow root. The lavender is a great deodorant and yarrow root acts as a mild antiperspirant.

alum lavender homemade deodorant

  • 1 cup (2 dl) water or witch hazel extract
  • about 2 tbs dried lavender flower buds
  • 1 tbs dried yarrow flowers (optional)
  • 1 tbs alum powder
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: 5-10 drops of any of the following essential oils: cypress, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, patchouli, rosewood, sandalwood or tea tree
Combine the water with the dried flowers in a kettle, heat but avoid boiling. Keep on the stove for about 20 minutes.
Allow to cool somewhat, gradually add alum powder until the water is saturated (the alum crystals won’t dissolve any longer).
Add the apple cider vinegar and a few drops of essential oils if you like (optional and not for the most sensitive skin types). Pour into a spray bottle and shake.

Alum coconut deodorant

This recipe is very similar to the coconut deodorant recipe I mentioned at the beginning of the post, but with alum instead of baking soda. This makes the recipe milder and less likely to cause rashes, and it is also an antiperspirant at the same time.

  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 0.5 cup / 1 dl arrowroot or cornflour
  • 0.5 cup / 1 dl alum powder
  • a few drops of any of the following essential oils: cypress, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, patchouli, rosewood, sandalwood or tea tree (optional)
 Combine all the ingredients with a spoon. If the alum crystals are large, you might want to run them in the mortar a little bit before. You can add more arrowroot to make it thicker. I found that this recipe was a bit more fluffy than the original recipe with baking soda, so I don’t think this could be used in a deodorant container, but it works great to store it in a jar and just apply with your fingers.
Have you ever tried making your own deodorant? Did it work?
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    1. hilda

      Hi, the coconut oil recipes won’t stain your clothes any more than your average storebought deodorant. I have never experienced any staining, some people say they’ve noticed a tiny bit of staining on white clothes. Passionate homemaking says: “[Staining] can be avoided by soaking with soap after wearing and before washing. Dishwashing soap and hot water are very effective stain removers.” Good luck!

      1. Jamie

        Yes, using dish soap as a stain remover is great. I used dish soap on my daughter’s clothes when she was an infant as my primary stain remover and it worked every time. I’ve had no problems with the coconut oil on my clothes at all. It soaks into your skin shortly after applying and that’s it. Just thought I’d throw in my experience in case it helped. 🙂

  1. Ashley

    I’ve made my own deodorant before, with coconut oil as the main ingredient. My problem was putting it on; it was always in a semi-solid state, so I couldn’t really just pour some out, and I didn’t want to scoop my bare fingers into there and introduce any new bacteria.

    I’ll end up trying again, probably putting the finished product into some kind of tube as I’ve seen people suggest.

    Mmm and lavender is of course a great idea. I’ll definitely use some lavender.

  2. Heidi

    I’ve tried the first recipe and had a terrible problem with irritation, as you mentioned. None of the recipes I’d tried after that without baking soda worked. I’m so excited to see something with a new “active ingredient” to try! Thanks!

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