Homemade Natural Deodorant Recipe

Today’s recipe is for something you’ll make in your kitchen with ingredients you would normally use for cooking, but that you shouldn’t actually eat. (Or you could, but you’d be missing the point.)

Today’s recipe is for a natural deodorant. I realize personal hygiene isn’t an altogether food-friendly subject, but making your own cosmetics is not so different from making your own dinner, and I am so enthused by this one I thought I’d share.

I’ve long been weary of store-bought deodorants, and although it is easier than ever to find aluminum- and paraben-free deodorants, the list of ingredients remains disconcertingly long, and many of the “natural” deodorants I’ve tried over the years simply don’t work very well.

It is easy, it is cheap, and most important of all, it works!

So when I stumbled upon this formula on Maggie’s blog (while searching for a sewing tutorial, of all things), I was instantly drawn to the idea: you simply mix coconut oil with baking soda and some kind of starch (such as arrowroot powder or cornstarch) to get a creamy lotion that will harden in the fridge (coconut oil solidifies gradually below 24.5°C / 76°F) and form a deodorant “stone” that you can rub on like an ordinary deodorant.

It is easy, it is cheap, and most important of all, it works. Coconut oil is a bit of a Swiss knife product, used in cooking but also to nourish the skin and hair, and for medicinal purposes: the lauric acid it contains is deemed to have antibacterial qualities, which explains its role here.

If you’re worried about the coconut smell, don’t be: although the deodorant itself does smell of coconut, the smell is very faint (and localized!) once you have it on, so it won’t interfere with your usual perfume. It is also relatively trace-free — though you do have to be careful when you put on your shirt, as with most deodorants — and doesn’t leave marks on clothes at the end of the day.

The only downside is that the deodorant stone needs to be kept in the fridge if you want it to keep its rub-on texture, which means that 1- you have to remember to get it from the kitchen before you shower, and 2- it’s not very travel-friendly. However, you could also apply it like a lotion — a little messier, but no less efficient.

UPDATE: I am now using this travel-friendly deodorant formula.

So, are you ready to give this a try? And do you have any other homemade cosmetics recipes you want to share?

Homemade Natural Deodorant Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

This amount lasts one person 2-3 months.

Homemade Natural Deodorant Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons starch of your choice (arrowroot powder, corn starch, potato starch, tapioca...)
  • 3 tablespoons (35 grams) organic virgin coconut oil, softened (available at natural foods stores)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and starch. Add the coconut oil, and stir it in until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a flexible food container -- this can be a small plastic tub, or a couple of muffin liners -- and refrigerate for a few hours, until hard.
  2. (If you have an empty deodorant tub with a little wheel thing that pushes the stick up like a push-up ice pop, I'm fairly sure you could refill it with the coconut mixture. I couldn't bring myself to buy one only to throw out the deodorant stick, though, so I haven't tried it.)
  3. Once hardened, pop the stone (or stones, if you've made several) out of the container(s), and rub it on like an ordinary deodorant. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge to preserve that rub-on texture, or at room temperature to apply like a lotion.

Notes

Adapted from Maggie's blog.

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  • Kaylen

    Since I ran out of Burt’s Bees Herbal Deodorant Spray I’ve been refilling the spray with a mixture of vodka, witch hazel, and essential oils. It seems to work just as well as the original deodorant. (I don’t measure anything – I use a bit less witch hazel than alcohol and add essential oils ’til I like the smell.)

    • Bela

      I just drink the vodka and the smell doesn’t bother me much anymore …

  • http://www.gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday Samantha @ Bikini Birthday

    Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.thetrashsalad.com Abbey @ The Trash Salad

    I can’t wait to try this! I already use a few teaspoons of corn starch/arrowroot powder as sort of a dry shampoo on my roots on days I don’t wash my hair. It can also doubles as baby powder without that awful overpowering scent.

  • http://www.scandifoodie.blogspot.com Maria

    I will definitely give this a go! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Jackie

    I’ve been using this deodorant for about 6 months now, and it works better than any store-bought stuff I’ve ever used. On top of that, it’s natural! The only problem I had with it was that it made my skin too dry, and I started peeling. I just added more coconut oil and it’s perfect. I only keep mine in the fridge when its 80 degrees or more outside, other than that, I just rub it on.

  • Violetta

    I’m trying this today! Thanks for the non-food recipe. I’m thinking of adding a drop or two of something like tea tree or lavender oil to aid in deodorizing/bacteria killing, any thoughts?

    If you’re into home-made deodorant, you may also be interested in this article I found on making your own shampoo – also with baking soda.

    I’ve used it with great results.

    Thanks again! I love your blog to bits!

  • Clogg

    I have have a few friends who have used this. It does not work for everyone. Try it for a while and then ask a very honest friend whether it works for you.

  • http://wanderluck.wordpress.com Kate

    I have been thinking (distantly) about trying homemade deodorant after having run out of The Body Shop’s DeoDry roll-on. Crunchy Betty has a recipe for deodorant without baking soda, which may be better for folks like me with sensitive underarms. :) She also has many other homemade beauty recipes and tips. I highly recommend checking her site out if you get a chance.

  • http://the-vole.blogspot.com Heather Shaver

    We use this basic recipe as well, and would like to point out depending on your climate, you could leave it out. We leave ours in the bathroom and it doesn’t melt (here in Seattle), and the only trouble we’ve had with melting has been in travels (warm cars and such). We also add a few drops of favorite essential oil which adds beautiful scent.
    Once you make it a few times you can adjust the amounts by teeny bits to adjust the texture and meltiness.
    Yay for natural deodorant!

  • http://mrsredbootsfood.blogspot.com/ Annabel (Mrs Redboots)

    I make my own soap, and coconut oil is an essential ingredient, as it helps it lather. I gather that if you use too much it makes the soap rather drying, but up to 25% of it mixed with other oils really improves it!

  • http://naturally-delicious.blogspot.com/ renee

    I will have to try this. Currently I use the crystal spray deodorants, but if I can make it myself it will cost less and I will be in control of the ingredients. Thanks for the recipe. Please feel free to post more body product recipes!

  • http://delight-blog.com/ cassandra

    I recently posted a recipe for making a lavender oil spray to protect heads from head lice! I have no scientific proof, but while it seems that every year there is a head lice epidemic at school, when I treat my kids with lavender oil, they stay lice free. The year I did nothing, my daughter was infested twice… it was terrible. Besides protecting your babies, they enjoy it as their own special perfume/cologne, so sweet! Here is the recipe.

    • Elaine

      I surfed over to your blog. Excellent tip, Cassandra!

      • http://delight-blog.com/ cassandra

        Thank you!

    • http://coldgirlfever.blogspot.com PGYx

      lavender oil on a cotton ball works very well to keep moths away from clothes closets!

  • Katie

    This is awesome! I had been buying my deodorant from a vendor on etsy who makes it in her kitchen, but she got some press in some women’s magazines recently that resulted in a lot of extra sales so her prices went from expensive to OMG. Luckily, for the same price, I can make oodles of this deodorant! Thank you SO much for sharing!

  • http://lateraleating.wordpress.com Gaby

    Brilliant! Coconut oil is indeed a Swiss knife in all senses. Will give it a go very soon, thanks!

  • http://www.boulderneigh.blogspot.com Michelle McMillen

    I’m one of those for which most deoderants do not work. I’ve had to switch to the heavy-duty “clinical” formulas to stop ruining tops. I have all the ingredients so will try this, but don’t have much hope that it will work for me.

  • http://bigmonkeypie.wordpress.com/ Randi

    I’m definitely trying this. I’ve been bouncing around among “natural” products for a few years and have yet to find one that really works.

  • Elaine

    For years, I made my own soaps, bath salts, and scrubs, which I always found to be a little bit like cooking, only different. Soap recipes for the serious minded can be found all over the web (they’re lengthy) but soap combinations were dreamed up of my favorite things: a goat milk-based chai spice; egg-based amber; antibacterial tea tree oil and poppy seeds; oatmeal; kahlua and coffee; and of course, lavender and sandalwood. I sold them at charity events and they made great holiday gifts/stocking stuffers (start at least in Oct).

    Now my favorite home beauty treatment is the Greek yogurt mask. I use it to prevent blemishes, which (at my age) I’m still prone to get. About three times a week I use a mild scrubby cleanser, then scrape off the bit that always clings to the top of the yogurt container lid – in Europe, I prefer Nestle’s plain – apply as mask, have my coffee, watch the morning news, shower off with a bit of my daily cleanser… Et voilà! If I add dark, mountain honey to the yogurt for breakfast, I scrape out the container and apply that too. Smooth!

  • http://www.in-homeculinaryclasses.blogspot.com Vicki Bensinger

    Sounds interesting. Could be fun to make but just have to be sure to put the deodorant in a zip lock bag prior to refrigerating, otherwise it could be a bit stinky and of course absorb odors from the frig which may not smell too great on your body!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    So glad you share my enthusiasm for this kind of “recipe,” and thanks so much for sharing your own. I’m taking notes here! :)

  • http://www.witchy-kitchen.com Carrie

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m very much getting into natural beauty, I think deodorant might have to be my next project. I switched from shampoo about a month ago to baking soda and vinegar (which was an adjustment, but now I love it) and I wash my face with honey (which was not an adjustment at all, it made my skin so much nicer than soap).

  • Megan

    This sounds great! As for other homemade bath essentials, I like to use a mixture of honey and baking soda once or twice a week as a facial cleanser. Works wonders!

  • http://bee-and-you.blogspot.com Kathryn

    I’ve been using a baking soda and corn starch mixture. I have it in a cute little tin with a cosmetic puff and just apply the power after a shower.

    Some people claim 6 parts corn starch and 1 part baking soda does the trick…I find I need it to be more like 3 parts corn starch and 1 part baking soda for myself (the corn starch softens the soda on your skin). Works great and it can stay on your bathroom shelf at all times.

  • Cathy

    I have used this for quite a while. It’s deodorant, not anti-perspirant. Works great for me in the winter. In the summer, not so much — I think I sweat it off and would have to reapply during the day to keep the stink away. Luckily, where I live, hot summers are short!

  • Jayne

    thanks for the recipe. I’m all for knowing what’s really in the stuff I put on my body. I like this in particular because no more plastic (deodorant containers) going into the landfill. Like the suggestions to ‘custom’ the scents too.

  • http://stitchandboots.com Angelina

    I wonder if adding some beeswax to this would make it more stable in warmer temperatures. I want to make my own deodorant too and the recipe I was thinking of trying calls for vegetable oil and beeswax mixed with essential oils. I like the idea of using the coconut oil instead. I just might have to experiment with this one!

  • http://www.carolegbert.com Carol Egbert

    I like this deodorant and have also found that coconut oil is great for dry skin, particularly dry heels. Thanks for posting this.

  • Megan

    I’ve lately been using a wedge of lime or lemon as deodorant. Just rub in on your underarm area and let it dry. Works really well and kills even the strongest smells.

  • http://www.EllaRDinLA.com Ella, RD

    This is fascinating! I don’t think I ever would have thought of making my own deodorant. I have to say, the coconut scent appeals to me!

  • https://freshdillandparsley.typepad.com Raluca

    Great! Thank you for sharing! This is a must try particularly given the health risks to of using regular deodorant. The only natural store bought deodorant that has worked for me is the one from Lavanilla which is or used to be sold by Sephora.

  • http://teaandcookiesblog.com tea_austen

    Thanks so much for posting this, Clotilde. I’ve used the Lush deodorant bars for years, but am keen to try making my own.

    I’ve been taking a look at chemicals in my body products. I recently switched from shampoo/conditioner to the baking soda and cider vinegar solution with great results. I was surprised how much I like it, much better than shampoo for me.

    I’ll give this a try next. Thanks!

  • http://insideabritishmumskitchen.blogsot.com Mary

    I’ve been baking with coconut oil and LOVE it – who knew about using it for personal hygenie!! Wonderful – will absolutely give this a try!
    mary x

  • http://www.flavorinspades.com Michelle

    Wow. What an amazing (and bold!) idea. I’m going for it!

  • Kirk

    I’ve been using this recipe for quite some time now. I can say, without a doubt, that it does work.

    i usually add a few drops of an essential oil to give it some fragrance.

    But I can say that it is not needed to leave in the fridge. I mix it, put it into an old twist-type deoderant container and let it sit for about 24 hours. Works fine. Only in days where it got above 90 in the house did it start to liquify.

  • http://design-smith.blogspot.com/ design_SMITH

    I use coconut oil as ‘lotion’, slathering it on after showering. Who knew it was also deodorizing my pits too? Bonus! Thanks for sharing.

  • Aisha

    You really are full of (neat!) surprises Clotilde!
    I’ve been using homemade deodorant for a few years now, after I got fed up with the traces left by regular deos, the strong headache-inducing perfume of some, the prohibitive prices of some well known natural brands and the fact that no deodorants worked as well as I expected them to.
    I started off with the cornstarch-baking soda mix. It was a pretty good anti-perspirant. Not so good on body odor. And a bit fiddly (a bit hard for me to dab the mixture on without sprinkling the powder all over my bathroom and bedroom floor).
    I switched to using a piece of alum rock or crystal. Alum (this is potassium alum we’re talking about, not aluminium, totally unrelated) is said to have astringent and antibacterial properties. I would just wet the crystal to dissolve some of it and apply. It was good at controlling sweat and odor. But again, a bit fiddly as I needed to wait a while for my pits to dry before wearing my clothes. Not to mention water droplets dribbling down my arms…
    Finally, I had the bright (I’m sure I’m not the first) idea to dissolve the whole crystal in water in order to get a saturated solution of potassium alum, and dump it in a spray bottle for ease of use.
    The next step was to dissolve the crystal in a mixture of water and Burt’s Bees Rosewater toner (contains witch hazel, alcohol and rosewater, heavenly smell, more ingredients with cool properties).
    Final step, when I ran out of all things Burt’s Bees and had to start making a unisex deodorant: I dissolved the crystal (now I just use potassium alum powder directly) in mint water, added guar gum to thicken it and stuck it in a roll-on tube. Great easy-to-use fresh smelling deodorant with a cool feel to it. And it works real well! This website I order cosmetics from also has a selection of natural antibacterial ingredients that I’m experimenting with now.
    I’m with you Clotilde on the appeal of homemade cosmetics. I once tried to make my own khol eyeliner by letting a wick dipped in vegetable oil burn up with a cover to gather the soot. I *do not* advise anyone to try this (the fire hazard! the smoke-filled room!) But I did end up with a wonderful pitch black powder that I applied with and eyeliner brush.
    I make my own scrub by mixing up sugar, salt, ground oatmeal, powdered milk and olive oil to bind.
    Face masks are always improvised, depending on what needs to be used up: cooling yogurt, soothing honey, firming egg white, astringent tomato juice, purifying (and staining!) turmeric mixed with yogurt. Chickpea flour (besan) is good too. And of course, coconut oil as a hair treament.
    For the rest, I’m really happy with the natural personal care and cosmetics websites I order from (I’m not daring enough for the vinegar-baking soda hair wash).
    Thanks so much for bringing this up Clotilde!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks so much for sharing all this, Aisha — very entertaining and informative!

  • http://www.lindseyalyce.com Lindsey Alyce

    I have been using natural personal care products for years, now, and reduced the products I used as much as possible to reduce the waste in my life. Still, I could never find a way around the deodorant, which is so necessary, but also has such bulky plastic packaging. This is a revelation! Thank you so much! I will definitely be linking from my blog.

  • Maria S.

    Have to try. Having a daughter who is moving into puberty, I am especially wary of giving her products with too many chemicals. Thanks

  • kingford

    Milk of magnesia (any brand will do) not only takes care of your tummy but works as deodorant like magic. Have used it for a couple of years and recommend it highly. it’s long-lasting and scent-free. A small bottle will last a good 3-4 months.

  • http://www.facebook.com/youcandoitapp You Can Do It

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe. I’m surely gonna try it once!

  • http://www.mysocialchef.com MySocialChef

    I work out a lot. Will this really help? I’m a bit nervous. Is this strong enough for a man?

  • http://www.scout-holiday.com/blog/ Cheri

    I tried it and it DEFINITELY works! Thanks so much for sharing this. Nice to meet you with Aaron at Verjus.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      So glad you gave it a try successfully, Cheri! And it was, indeed, a treat to meet you that night.

  • kayenne

    Clotilde,

    for the issue of containers for the mixture… why not make use of the empty toilet paper cores? line the inside and one end with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, fill and chill. push up from bottom or tear away from top to use.

    read about this somewhere before for a natural something for the face.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Clever! Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Sally

    another option is to rub coconut oil on your armpits (like lotion) and then dust baking soda on with a makeup brush- you can touch up during the day with the powder, which soaks up sweat and smells… an it travels well, too!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Good tip, thanks Sally!

  • Traci Bowman

    I think this looks fantastic. My question is…does it help with the BO smell? lol I have horrible armpit smell. (probably something else wrong with me!) The only thing that has been working for me is Toms natural stuff. It is a roll on so i put baby powder on after it has dried a bit. So I would do this if it will help my terrible smell!!!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      This is a deodorant and the coconut oil has antibacterial properties, so it helps with the BO. If you feel it’s a particular problem in your case, I can’t guarantee a miracle, but it’s worth a try!

  • http://bigsislittledish.com Silvi

    Interesting! Yes I am willing to give this a try ;)

  • http://www.kitchenimpromptu.com Ulya

    Wow, what an interesting idea! Thanks for sharing!!

  • aysin

    Salut Clotilde, merci pour l’article; j’ai hâte de l’essayer. T’arrives à trouver l’huile de coco où à Paris?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      L’huile de coco se trouve facilement en magasin bio (version bio, donc) ou supermarché asiatique (version conventionnelle).

  • Vita

    Passes the winter test! I’ve used for about 2 weeks now, and am sold, at least for the winter. Definitely works better for me than commercial deodorants. Tested daily in an overheated, sometimes very busy office (ie running around!) in a very mild Northern California winter. Also a brisk walk during an unusually warm January day (hi 50s-lo 60s). Other people can’t smell the coconut (or me). I keep it in a small jar and use my hands. We’ll see in the warmer months. My issue with using store-bought deodorants in the summer are the sweat stains that won’t wash out of my clothes (which I don’t get when I use antiperspirants). Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Delighted to hear it, Vita, thanks for reporting back on your experience!

    • Vita

      Update: Still a mild winter. Alas, the baking soda in the mix *was* irritating my skin (due to the rubbing of the mix into my skin). I switched to just coconut oil, topped off with a powder puff of cornstarch. Worked 90% (meaning, you’d have to get *very* close to notice anything). Then I added baking soda to the cornstarch “powder.” Back to being stink-free even after a sweaty day at the office. Thanks to Clotilde and all the commenters. Now I’m looking for a washable garment shield b/c I hate sweat stains!

      • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

        Thanks for sharing your experimentations with that recipe, Vita!

  • Veronica

    Do you think cocoa butter would work aswell? It melts at body temperature. I dont think it has the antibacterial properties of coconut oil, but I think if I add tea tree, along with say mint and orange and baking powder/corn starch, it might be ok. I live in a tropical country but strangely, coconut oil isnt readily available. Opinions? Sugestions?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m not sure, Veronica, as I’ve never tried it myself, but it can’t hurt to try! And if you can report back, we’ll all be interested to hear what you think.

    • Grace

      The cocoa butter should work well, though it might be more solid than you might want so you can also add some liquid oil like sunflower, safflower, sesame, or jojoba to loosen it up and make it more easily spreadable. While cocoa butter has a little bit of antibacterial properties, the addition of your essential oils you mentioned should make up for it. Just add a little extra of those or use more potent ones like eucalyptus or rosemary. Careful with the potent ones though, it could be overdone. Also you might want to add a touch more baking soda for more odour sucking properties. This would also work well if anyone has a coconut allergy. Good luck and take care :-)

      • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

        Thank you Grace!

  • Asia

    Dear Clotilde,

    When I was buying coconut oil (especially for this deo) it was not clear if coconut oil is just the liquid oil or also the solid one (I did search online). In the end I bought the solid version. Is it what you mean? Can I use it to make the deo? Or when you say ‘softened’ do you mean actually liquid?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Coconut oil is liquid or solid depending on the temperature, so the products you were looking at were probably the same. When I say softened, I mean it should be creamy, so you can easily mix in the other ingredients.

  • Jen Storment

    Thanks for posting this recipe! I, like some of your other commentators, find that most deodorants/anti-antiperspirants just don’t work for me. I had to switch to clinical strength, which eventually worked, but would cause an extreme burning sensation during the first couple of weeks of using it, which tells me that it’s not good for me.

    Regardless of what I would use, I’d have to reapply by early afternoon. Then I switched to an all-natural deodorant with nearly identical ingredients (the addition of tea tree and peppermint oil were the only changes). I was skeptical, but OMG it totally worked! The stuff is crazy expensive, and because the ingredients were simple enough, I just knew I could make my own for less. Thanks for the post! Now I’m definitely going to give it a go.

    My all-natural pricey deodorant is quite firm and would likely never melt without being left directly in a heat source, so I’m wondering if perhaps more baking soda, starch, and/or the addition of a bit of beeswax would help it to solidify and travel well? I might try and experiment. Thanks again!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Glad you’ve found the right formula for you, Jen, thanks for reporting back!

  • Kat

    To make this product temperature friendly (without needing to refrigerate)you can add an oz or so of organic beeswax, or candelilla wax (if you are vegan) to help keep it solidified (just melt it into your oils before adding to your dry ingredients—a lot like baking logic), and this also acts as a skin polisher, that will help retain the moisturizing qualities of your carrier oils like your coconut oil. I’ve been making this for years I started as a teen, since I needed a natural deodorant that would not irritate me(for those of us with chemical sensitivity), and could go in my school bag :) I hope this helps some with that particular issue. Your proportions are key, as you do not want too much or too little wax. Too little may make it greasy, too much can make it greasy and will coat your skin instead of absorbing with your oils. There is a Goldilocks zone I should say, for proportions :)

  • KJ

    Ooh, I liked learning about this — thank you! I use a dampened alum crystal as well, with very good results, but sometimes Tom’s on hot (or stressful) days.

    A friend just told me that she takes chloraphyll (sp?) pills and as a result does not use ANYTHING on her underarms and is completely odor-free from the inside out. I think it also has other benefits, although I am too lazy to have researched anything before posting this.

  • http://www.livingoody.com Miri

    Did anyone experienced whether this deodorant stain your cloths? I tried so many recipes that left my blouses stained. Does this recipe leave stains?
    Thanks !!

  • http://coldwaterswimmers.blogspot.com Catherine

    Great to hear about this, thanks! I wonder if beeswax added would help at warm temperatures, as one commenter asked. I might have to try both versions!

    (By the way, your anti-spam measure — typing a food name — is the best I’ve seen!)

  • Randall

    So I’m very interested in making your homemade deodorant! Quick question though! A standard deodorant container is about 2.5 oz, so with your recipe, do you know how many containers I would need to purchase…??

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Unfortunately I haven’t weighed the ingredients for this recipe so I’m not sure what to tell you. But if it’s just for yourself, I would recommend filling one container and keeping the rest to top it up or refill later.

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