The Great Deodorant Hunt, Part 7: DIY Deodorant Recipes!

Posted by:  Jordan

We’ve tried the craziest thing yet…homemade deodorants!  And guess what?  They actually work surprisingly well!  Dare I say it and risk jinxing it?  I think they *might* be the best natural deodorants I’ve tried!  There are a few but’s though, and we’ll get those right out in the open…such as the biggest one: Emily can’t use either of them.  She found that she’s allergic/sensitive to baking soda in her deodorants, unfortunately.  Our friend Amy said the same thing about the Miessence deodorant (which contains sodium bicarbonate, aka baking soda) giving her a red rash under her arm.  I’ve occasionally experienced the red irritated skin too (strangely only on my left armpit), so I sometimes have to switch between deodorants that contain baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and those that don’t.  Problem is, I think the sodium bicarbonate is the essential ingredient in natural deodorants’ ability to keep you from getting stinky.  The other drawback to these homemade recipes is that they’re both a little high maintenance in that you have to either scoop them out of a jar, or, as in the first recipe, you can freeze them into pucks.  But whichever method you choose to contain them, you have to deal with temperature variances: if it’s really hot outside, you get a liquified deodorant.  If it’s freezing, you get a rock-solid jar of deodorant.  But those drawbacks aside, these deodorants are pretty incredible and SO cheap too!  Both recipes make large batches, so it’s wise to either share with friends, as Emily and I did, or to cut the recipe in half.

Emily and I tested out these two recipes back in August, when it was still prime sweating weather.  With her air-conditioner on full-blast, we decided to see which recipe was our favorite!


Emily making up a batch of DIY Deodorant


DIY Deodorant Recipe #1 from Angry Chicken’s blog:

3 Tablespoons shea butter
3 Tablespoons baking soda
2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons cocoa butter
2 vitamin E oil gel caps (puncture and squeeze out the oil)
Essential Oil

I melted all the ingredients (except the oils) and gave it a good stir. This only took about 30 seconds in the microwave. Then added the oils, stirred again, and poured it in a jar, then placed it in the fridge to set. This recipe filled the jar in my hand, which is a 1/4 pint.


Stirring up some deodorizing goodness


For this recipe, Emily and I chose a few different scents to make: one was unscented, one scented with orange essential oil, and the third with lavender essential oil.  Because the cocoa butter smells a little like chocolate, we chose scents that complimented that smell.  We decided to take the suggestion to freeze the mixture into muffin tins, thereby make deodorant “pucks”.  This was a really handy way to store and apply the deodorant…unless you live in an un-air-conditioned apartment, like I do.  So I had to store my deodorants in the freezer during the summer!  Not exactly convenient.  But during the cooler months, it’s a great idea!  So, what were the results?  Well, here’s my email I sent to Emily on the first day I tried my homemade deodorant puck:

“It’s 96 degrees outside today. I tried a puck and I was sweating up a storm, but still smell completely normal and odor-free!  Amazing!!!!  The only thing that isn’t great is that when you sweat, like I did a LOT this afternoon when I went up to Harlem to visit Matt’s school, the butters tend to feel a little wet and slimy in your armpits.  Kind of gross…But at least I don’t smell!”


We chose mini muffin tins to make our mini deodorant pucks. Note the tape, telling us which scents were which: unscented, orange, or lavender


I also tried the suggestion that someone made in the comments section of Angry Chicken’s post to pour the still warm deodorant liquid into an old deodorant container and let it set.  This did not work.  I couldn’t get the deodorant dial to push the solidified deodorant up at all.  So I had to end up digging my fingers into the deodorant container to get it out.  The pucks were much more convenient.


Jordan scooping some cocoa butter into the mixture


DIY Deodorant Recipe #2 from How About Orange blog:

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (What the hell is arrowroot powder?  Emily and I substituted corn starch, which we had on hand)
4 tablespoons coconut oil
10 drops essential oil

Just mix everything together and spoon into a jar…no heating required!  It really doesn’t get much more simple than this.  I think I like this recipe just a little bit more because it doesn’t get the slimy feeling, like the first one did, in 95+ degree weather.  Of course if it’s a normal day both recipes are great, but I think this recipe is my preferred one simply because it’s as easy as can be!  Be sure to store it in a cool, dry place (but not too cold like your refrigerator because then it becomes too solid).  I made two different scents with essential oils I had on hand: one was grapefruit and the other was rosemary-peppermint.  I love the rosemary-mint scent!  It really only smells for the first 10 seconds you put it on, but it’s a rather nice 10 seconds.

I have given samples of both of these deodorants to friends and both have given them thumbs up.  My friend Melissa even went as far as saying it’s the best she’s tried!  Do we have a winner, Great Deodorant Hunters?



Filed under Deodorants, DIY Beauty

23 responses to “The Great Deodorant Hunt, Part 7: DIY Deodorant Recipes!

  1. I love your great deodorant hunt!

  2. Kates

    Jordan and Emily,

    I love this post! I’ve been on the great deodorant hunt for the last year and I have finally decided to make my own, this has motivated me to start sooner than later.

    I’m super excited to hear that it actually works, without all of the yucky chemicals!!


    • Jordan

      Oh that’s so good to hear that it’s motivating you to ditch the nasty chemical-laden deodorants!!! You’ll have to let us know if you like either of those recipes, or if you find another that you like even better. We’d love to hear about your homemade deodorant trials!!

  3. Julia

    I have to agree that your homemade deodorant is by far the best I’ve tried! Thank you! I love both the scents 🙂

  4. For those of us who aren’t so good in the kitchen, check out Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream at I love this stuff!!!

    • Jordan

      Thanks Jamie! That’s great to hear…I’ve been wanting to try out Soapwalla’s deodorant cream, especially since they’re a Brooklyn company–love buying local AND natural!

  5. Great article. It doesn’t surprise me that people are looking for natural deodorants and are finding ways to make it themselves. The word is getting out about harmful aluminum deodorants.

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  9. Do you think I can replace coconut oil for another oil, as olive oil, sweet almond oil, for example?

    • Jordan

      I haven’t tried anything but coconut oil, so I can’t say for sure…but it wouldn’t cost you much to give it a try and see how it works! Let us know what the results are! I love having coconut oil on hand at all times anyway because it’s such a great all-over body moisturizer.

  10. Hi! This is a random question way after the publication of your post, but I would really appreciate any suggestions. I’m trying making my own deodorant and I’m having the same problem that Emily did – the baking soda is really really making my skin angry, in a very itchy rashy way. This is part of the reason I switched from commercial deodorants, because I either immediately have or develop an allergic reaction to every single manufactured deodorant I’ve tried (including, yes, Tom’s of Maine). Any ideas or thoughts? Thanks for any help!!

    • Hi Michelle,
      Oh, I am SO sorry to hear you’re having this problem! I continue to have the same issues. I wish I had a magic cure to offer you right off the bat… I am still working on this issue and will definitely keep you posted. For now, the best thing I can offer is these few ideas:
      – I alternate days of deodorants (if I find two that work, I use them alternately to minimize irritation, and keep changing it up when I find new products)
      – so far, the least-irritating one I’ve found is Soapwalla: (Jordan wrote about it, too)
      – when possible, I try to take a day off from deodorant all together (I know, ew, but the occasional day off REALLY helps minimize irritation)
      – one of our readers, Amy, who has also guest-posted for us, found that using MORE product is actually LESS irritating (I know, it sounds counterintuitive, but it works!)
      – on the days off, I treat my armpits with pure shea butter for soothing, or more recently with Weleda’s baby care line– I’ve tried the diaper cream and the Calendula Cream– both really help eliminate irritation!

      I hope some of these tips help you, and I will continue to post suggestions as they come– your question made me realize I need to do a post about this!

      Good Luck, and thanks for reading!,

  11. Ulrik

    This is absolutely awesome!!! The deo works like crazy 🙂 How much essential oils did you use though? I chucked in nearly 20 ml for the recipe above… Also, how do you apply it? Like a frozen bar? I found that at room tempterature, it kind of crumbles, so I ended up melting it partially in my fingers and then i kind of smeared it on…

    • Jordan

      So pleased to hear that one of the recipes is working great for you, Ulrik! You’ve definitely got the best application method–warm it with your hands and apply with your fingertips (The bonus to applying with your hands is that you’re giving yourself a daily check for any lumps in your glands and breast tissue under your arms). Wow, was your deodorant super strongly scented with 20ml of oils?? It depends on the strength of your essential oils, but I usually only use 5-10 drops.

      • Ulrik

        I wished I had breasts! 😀 I’m a (feminist raised) man! It was enough scent to ruin some food in the freezer where I kept them, but I am considering other storage options. Actually, people told me it was not particularly strong when I wore it. Also, one reason I wanted to use this deo was that I wanted to be more ethical. However, because of the fat that stays on my clothes i have to wash them in water 20 Celsius warmer which increases energy consumption unnecessarily… Water-based deos (like CK for example) wash off much more easily. If anyone has tips on this I’m all ears!

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  13. K

    Try adding a shelf stable probiotic to your deodorant. Great for your skin, and it eats up all the stinky bacteria under your arms!

  14. Ann

    I read about different brands of baking soda at and thought it may be applicable to deodorant making:
    Arm & Hammer (and other similar brands) use a chemical process that turns trona ore into soda ash and then reacts carbon dioxide with the soda ash to produce baking soda. This is not necessarily bad, per se, but it’s not the same as …
    Brands like Bob’s Red Mill and Frontier procure their sodium bicarbonate directly from the ground, in its natural state.

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