Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Homemade Deodorant, Revisited

So back in the early weeks of this blog, I did a couple of posts about my adventures in trying to make all-natural homemade deodorant. You can find those posts here and here.

I figured it was time to post an update about this. Turns out that shortly after the last post, I found that my armpits were getting really irritated. I did some more research, and found that this is actually a really common problem with baking soda-based deodorants. Some people are just really sensitive, and I'm one of them.

I became a bit discouraged as I was pretty sure that it was the baking soda that make the stuff so effective. It really did work great. I REALLY didn't want to go back to aluminum-based, chemically deodorants. I decided to try a few "natural" brands, but honestly, not one of them worked. I ended up going back to the chemically stuff, mostly because I didn't want to be stinky. But it bothered me to be putting all that junk under my arms. Last week I made a vow to let my current stick of conventional deodorant be my last.

I thought about the problems I had with my first few attempts, and tried to come up with a recipe that would keep the good stuff, while getting rid of the parts that weren't working. I wanted it to keep me smelling fresh, be less "gloppy" and be non-irritating. Here's the list of ingredients I came up with and why:

  • Coconut oil:  Not only moisturizing, but also has antibacterial properties. 
  • Tea tree oil: for fragrance, and for it's antibacterial properties. (you could use any essential oil)
  • Corn starch: absorbs moisture. (some people who are sensitive to baking soda may also be sensitive to corn starch. I'm not sure yet if I'm one of those people, but I guess I'll find out!)
  • Beeswax: to firm up the mixture, and make it less "gloppy"

shredded beeswax and coconut
oil, ready to be melted.
Here's what I did: First, I shredded up about 1-1/2 Tbsp of beeswax, which I put into my beeswax-melting pyrex bowl (yes, I have a designated bowl for melting beeswax, because it doesn't wash out easily) I then added 5 Tbsp of coconut oil. I put this in the microwave on 50% power, stirring often, until it was all melted together. Watch it carefully! Next I whisked in the tea tree oil and the cornstarch, then poured it immediately into a small jar. Let it sit undisturbed for a while, until it firms up. 

I've used this for two days now. So far... it's OK. Just OK, not great. After a workout I did feel a little stinky, so it's definitely not nearly as effective as the baking soda stuff. My skin feels great, and I haven't had any irritation, but I didn't with the other stuff in the beginning, either, so I'd say the jury is still out on that. In the end, I'd say that if you want to give this a try, definitely go with the baking soda recipe first. Perhaps you'll be one of the lucky ones who doesn't get irritated pits. I desperately wish I was one of those people, because that stuff works great. 

So, for me this is definitely still a project-in-progress. I'm going to try another formulation soon and will post a follow-up to this adventure... meanwhile, if anyone has any hints/tips/stories about natural and/or homemade deodorants, I'd love to hear!


  1. Ive been doing the baking soda cornstarch thing and am noticing a little irritation. I think I'm going to try less baking soda and more cornstarch and see if less baking soda is less irritating but still works. My husband noticed if he used less of the deodorant it still worked but didn't irritate him!

  2. Good to know, Amy! I'm thinking I need to add in some baking soda, for effectiveness. I'm working on a new recipe using arrowroot and baking soda.