This post has been a very long time coming.

Why? Because of all of the questions I have been asked “how do I make my own deodorant” is by far the most prevalent.

The reason that I waited so long to post this recipe is because we are all different.

If you go into any pharmacy, there are dozens of different types of deodorants. Ones that smell like ocean breeze, or vanilla bean, or man. Ones that make you smell less bad, ones that reduce sweating, ones that eliminate sweating, ones that make your armpits lighter, or softer… the list goes on and on. The point is that there are so many choices because everyone’s body is different which means that different types of deodorant work better or worse for different people.

When I was using conventional (aka store bought chemically deodorant) I was always switching brands. It seemed like after a while one would just stop working, like my body changed, and I had to find something new. I would try brands that worked well for my friends, but they didn’t work for me, and vice-versa.

When I transitioned to a plastic free and zero waste lifestyle I stopped using store bought deodorant. This was for many reasons but the main reasons were the packing, the ingredients, and the fact that the natural version was less expensive and worked really well.

The Packaging: 
Conventional deodorant comes packaged in a plastic container with a plastic or foil (probably lined with plastic) protective thingie, and a plastic lid. Making your own deodorant you can prevent all of that waste from being created because you can buy your ingredients package free and keep reusing the same container over and over. I love to put my deodorant in a small mason jar. I also make a pocket sized version by re-using a glass ounce sized makeup container. It is perfect for when I’m on the go.

The Ingredients: 
The deodorant I make is different from conventional/store bought deodorant because it is free of chemical elements like aluminum which have been linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s, propylene glycol which can damage the central nervous system, and parabens which are carcinogenic and environmentally disruptive. All in all, no fun.

I have played with sooooo many recipes. Ones that were runny, ones that were firm, ones that smelled like lavender… I realized that the best way to make the perfect deodorant was to listen to my body. That means making adjustments here and there, but overall the recipe in this video is the one that has kept my armpits happy over the past few years.

BUT OHMAGOSH IF THIS DEODORANT DOES NOT WORK FOR YOU PUH-LEAZE DO NOT GIVE UP ON NATURAL DEODORANT! TRY AGAIN!

I can not emphasize this enough. There are so many toxins in conventional deodorant and, again, everyone’s body is different. So if this recipe does not work for you, try another recipe. Play with the amount of each ingredient, leave ingredients out, change the essential oil, and most importantly, give your body time to adjust.

I recommend testing each ingredient on your wrist to ensure there are no allergic reactions (for instance, some people do not react well to baking soda). If that is the case, leave it out. Also, if you shave your underarms, like with any deodorant, I’d wait a few minutes before applying.

Switching to natural deodorant has been amazing for so many reasons: I save money, I do not use any single use packaging, I can adjust the scent and ingredients to make it perfect for my body, and I am not exposing myself to any toxic chemicals. Try it out, share your experiences, and post any recipes in the comment section that work well for you. We can all learn from each other!

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48 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this.

    Can you find us a good dry shampoo recipe please ? corn starch and cocoa powder is what I know of. But all my ratios have been off so far.

    1. I have found that arrowroot is difficult to find in Europe but in the US they have it in almost every grocery store. Bob's red mill carry it. I'd say cornstarch works just as well, that's what I have always used in my deodorant 🙂

  2. I have tried so many natural deodorants and have found one that works for me. However, I end up having to throw out all of my white shirts because they discolour under the armpits. I don't have the same problem with the non-natural deodorants. Have you had any issues with this? If so, any suggestions?

    1. Yes, unfortunately sometimes that happens, I would suggest after wearing white t's to take a bar of soap and water and rub out the stain before washing to keep them nice and clean!

  3. This sounds like a good recipe! I quit using antiperspirant maybe 5 years ago and when I retired 3 1/2 years ago, I quit using deodorant. I've been blessed to never have much of a problem and have found that showering every day or two works fine for me. If I do very heavy work and perspire a lot, of course that means I need a shower afterward. I think this would be a good "backup" for those few occasions when I would feel more secure using something. I use minimal products, but love the idea of going natural, so have been collecting recipes. Thanks, Lauren, for all you do!

  4. I'm keen to try this but not in love with the idea of applying it by hand. Is this recipe hard enough to mold into bars? I'm envisioning some kind of deodorant Popsicle.

    1. Look up recipes for beeswax solid perfumes. Beeswax, jojoba oil, vitamin E, and essential oil for fragrance (optional) works better than any antiperspirant and deodorant I've ever used, and I used to use prescription strength antiperspirant. It's perfect because after you use your finger to rub it onto your underarm, you can simply rub it into your hands and pulse point to double as an all natural perfume.

  5. Awesome. I make deodorant like this too, my only suggestion is that if you don't have a double boiler, just put the coconut oil and Shea Butter in the Mason jar, close it and put it I a pot of boiling water. Once it's melted take the jar out with tongs and then mix in the powders and essential oils. Less mess since you are just making it in the jar you store it in.

  6. There's a wonderful hand-made, holistic deodorant made in small batches by a little shop I know in Brooklyn. It's never gone wrong for me. It comes in a little glass jar, so if you purchase it, then you will have a new jar each time, but far better than your typical commercial packaging. But making your own is definitely the most sustainable route for sure! Kudos.

  7. I'd be interested to see how it would turn out if it were poured into a baking mold instead of a jar, so instead of dipping your finger in it to apply, it could be rubbed on like a conventional deodorant bar. Thoughts anyone?

  8. hello there! english is not my mothertongue, but i really wanna try to do this! can anyone write the ingredients to me so i can translate the name into my language??? thanks a lot!

  9. I've been using natural deodorant for a few years, and I love it. I used to suspect that regular deodorant was actually making me sweat more, but I was so afraid of my sweatiness that I didn't want to try anything else. When I switched, there were a few weeks of my body adjusting, but now I sweat much less than I used to. I used sweat like crazy even in the coldest weather of the Midwest, and now I only sweat when it's warm–which makes sense to me. It's been quite a relief!

    I tried a few different recipes before I found one that didn't irritate my pits. Try decreasing the baking soda if that happens. Also, I melt beeswax in with the coconut oil so that the deodorant doesn't completely melt in the summer.

  10. Hello! You are so inspiring me with everything right now. I am curious if you shave your legs/ armpits and if you do what do you do it with instead of regular razors? and electric one? thank you! xx

  11. Love all your recipes, Lauren! Thank you!

    Has anyone else had the problem where the powder sinks to the bottom? I can only apply this after mixing it all together again. Wondering if it might be my ingredients or if I messed up the proportions?

    Thanks!

  12. Hi Lauren,

    LOVE your initiative-this is a truly inspiring blog!

    I have one suggestion-while sharing recipes for deodorants/cream etc. could you also sharing the purpose of the ingredients. For this of us who can't use those ingredients or don't have access to them (I am from India and shea butter is very rarely found and expensive), we know what to look for in our substitutes.
    I think this would help you go a step farther when reaching out to people across the world!

    Thanks!

  13. Dear Laura!
    I think you are the coolest person of all! At first i could not believe that you were living a zero waste life i New York, but I have really started to notice all of the unnecessary trash that we produce. I get so harmed when I am sitting a my job at a supermarket and see all the plastic that is sold along with the food. I really think that it should be changed!
    I have recently stopped using shampoo and i am now using a sort of clay called ''resul'' and an applecider vinegar – what are you using for your hair? And do you have som natural tips for your hair? Today i tried to make your homemade body butter and deodorant – i am so excited for the result! First of all, it would be really nice if you could write the ingrediens below the videos. I also have some questions for you.
    – The coconut oil that you use for the deodorant and butter. Is that non-smelling or with a coconut flavour?
    – Do you keep the deodorant in the freezer or can it manage a room-temperature?
    THE BEST OF LUCK from Denmark!

  14. I use a cream made with coconut oil, baking soda, beeswax (so that it doesn't melt) and tea tree oil and then brush on some powder which is a combination of rice powder and baking soda. I use both before workouts as I found it works better and is kind of antiperspirant or only the cream if I am not doing something that will make me stink too much or if it is not too hot outside.

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