The thought of going all natural when it came to deodorant was pretty intimidating. I knew I wanted to make my own but had already tried natural(ish) over-the-counters that didn’t quite live up to my no-stink standard – and if they didn’t work then how could a DIY possibly work, right?
Well, it wasn’t until my conventional deodorant completely and utterly failed (I’ll never forget that day at work…) that I was motivated enough to start experimenting.
I’ve tried many suggestions including straight up coconut oil, witch hazel, acv, and essential oils, but in my experience the only thing that ever truly worked was a recipe with baking soda. However there is one MAJOR note to consider when it comes to baking soda… it’s very alkaline and abrasive and has the ability to cause a very unpleasant, itching, burning rash. I learned I was sensitive the hard way while testing out a 50/50 blend of coconut oil and soda. Owww…
Being sensitive does not necessarily mean you have to choose baking soda-free recipes. Personally, I had no problems using it lesser proportions and have even found I was able to increase the amount over time.
Below are some of the tips, tricks, and lessons I’ve learned about DIY’ing deodorant.
What to expect
It takes time to adjust. Please don’t give up after day one if you aren’t seeing the results you expected. I promise it’s worth the fight! Your body has a lot of adjusting and eliminating to do. You may need to reapply throughout the day but eventually you’ll get to a point where you can’t recall the last time you put your deodorant on… for real.
You’ll still sweat. Natural deodorant does not stop you from sweating – thankfully! The clays and powders do, however, absorb wetness to some degree. You may find over time, like I have, that you end up sweating less!
Try a detox first. I choose to use a little clay in my everyday recipe but here you can read about how and why Wellness Mama uses clay as an underarm detox before starting a natural deodorant.
Dab, don’t rub. Let the deodorant melt by the warmth of your skin and very gently spread or dab it around. Baking soda can be very abrasive and cause uncomfortable damage with rubbing.
Less is more. A small, less than pea-size amount is really all that is necessary! Any more and you’ll end up with chunks of deodorant collecting in your underarms and clothes.
Clay color. Although bentonite works wonderfully, it creates a relatively dark product which I’ve found to temporarily discolor lighter fabrics. White clay creates a tan/skin colored product that I feel more comfortable with.
Wear loose shirts. I mean, you don’t have to, but it will help prevent your shirt from absorbing the oils, clays, and sweat from your underarms.
Safe Ingredients. The recipe below is free from the questionable ingredients found in conventional deodorant such as parabens, sulfates, propylene glycol, aluminum, etc.
- Clay – absorbent, detoxing, texture
- Arrowroot powder- absorbent, texture
- Baking Soda- deodorizing, absorbent
- Coconut Oil – antibacterial, moisturizing
- Essential Oils- antibacterial, anti-fungal, fragrant
Allows your body to function as it should. Sweating is normal. It’s one way our body eliminates toxins. I dunno… preventing toxin elimination with products filled with toxins just seems a bit counterintuitive. Or counter logical, I guess.
Less waste. Storing homemade deodorant in reusable containers is one small but excellent way to help reduce your households plastic load – and thereby the Earth’s!
Cost effective. The ingredients in this recipe are probably already sitting in your kitchen cupboards. If not, they’re relatively inexpensive, have a long shelf-life, and are very versatile.
DIY Lemon Sage Deodorant
- 1 tbsp white clay (replace with arrowroot for a perfectly white deodorant)
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 tbsp (or more) baking soda
- Start with 1/2 tsp and work your way up if you feel the need to. Fair warning… a PH unbalanced rash is NOT fun – so please consider starting with less baking soda.
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (more or less – adjust to your preference)
- 8 drops Lemon Essential Oil
- 4 drops Sage Essential Oil
- Combine the dry ingredients and mix very well. You want to be sure to eliminate any clumps of baking soda. Those suckers can wreak havoc…
- Add your coconut oil and essential oils. Let your coconut oil sit in warm water for a bit to soften up if necessary. Mix well.
- Apply small amount to your underarms – smaller than a pea. Yes, that’s all you need! I like to let it melt then very gently spread it around.
I’d love to hear about your experience with natural deodorant!