Extra Strength DIY Deodorant
March 21, 2017 | Kathryn Kellogg
Last Updated on December 2, 2021
I There’s no doubt about it, we can all get a little stinky at the end of a long day. While some people might be able to get away without wearing deodorant, I am not one of them. This easy zero waste DIY deodorant works. It’s good for your body and the planet!
By choosing homemade deodorant, you can reduce your packaging waste, know exactly what’s in the product, and save money. It’s important to note that homemade deodorant is not an antiperspirant. Sweating is good! Stinking is bad.
All the ingredients for this extra strength DIY deodorant can be found right in your pantry. With such common household ingredients as shea butter, cocoa butter, and baking soda, brewing the perfect deo just got a lot easier. It’s simple to make and long-lasting, my foolproof recipe will not only save you money, but also help make your lifestyle more eco-friendly!
the switch to a natural deodorant recipe is easy
When making the switch to zero waste living, some of the hardest things to replace are cosmetic and personal hygiene products. Leaving your conventional (and heavily packaged) products to the trial-and-error side of natural living can be stressful and difficult. Especially when it comes to deodorant, because no one wants to smell!
Nobody wants that post-run funk following them around all day. Luckily for you, there are several DIY deodorant recipes out there that are all natural, safe, and eco-friendly with no harsh chemicals or toxic ingredients to be found! Making DIY deodorant has been one of my favorite DIYs. It’s easy, fast, shelf stable, and really works.
One of the reasons I started living a zero waste lifestyle was because I was struggling with a hormonal imbalance. Many of the products and plastic we use in everyday life contain endocrine disruptors which interfere with our bodies natural communication system.
One of the first products I switched out was my antiperspirant deodorant. If you want to learn more about these issues, I highly recommend the book Estrogeneration.
common ingredients to avoid:
Parabens are used as preservatives, giving them a longer shelf life. Recent research has shown that the presence of parabens in deodorants can disrupt how the body produces and regulates certain hormones.
- Aluminum Compounds
Aluminum is one of the most common ingredients in antiperspirant. It acts as a clog, blocking sweat glands to minimize perspiration. Extra strength versions may even contain a higher amount! Once aluminum has been absorbed into the body through the skin, it mimics the effects of oestrogen. This hormone has been found in high concentrations in those that suffer from breast cancer.
Multiple studies have shown potential links between aluminum and the potentiality of breast cancer, but nothing has been proven yet.
Alcohol is added to help the product dry faster upon application and to kill bacteria. This drying effect can actually kill good bacteria that help fight off infection and help fight odor naturally. Plus, it can be painful and irritating if you have sensitive skin.
how to make deodorant
A great way to reduce waste is to start making your own products. While we aren’t all seamstresses or gourmet cooks, whipping up an odor fighter at home is surprisingly manageable.
Making your own deodorant is easy and cost effective, especially since you might already have everything on hand in your pantry!
ingredients for my natural deodorant recipe:
- 3 Tablespoons of Shea Butter (Bought in bulk from local shop)
- 2 Tablespoons of Grated Cocoa Butter (Bought in bulk from local shop)
- 3 Tablespoons of Arrowroot Powder (Bought in bulk from Rainbow)
- 2 Tablespoon of Baking Soda (Bought in bulk from Berkeley Bowl)
- 2-3 Teaspoons of Vitamin E Oil (Bought in a package from Whole Foods)
directions for diy deodorant
Step 1: Melt the grated cocoa butter using a double broiler
Step 2: Once the cocoa butter has liquefied, add the shea butter.
Step 3: Once the shea butter has liquefied, pull it from the heat and add in the baking soda and arrowroot
Step 4: Stir well to combine making sure there are no lumps.
Step 5: Add the vitamin E oil.
Step 6: Pour into an old cleaned out deodorant container or jar and refrigerate for about an hour. Once it has fully set up it’s ready to apply!
This particular recipe is oil-based and therefore very hydrating. If you’re finding that there’s a fine residue left over in your clothing after application try replacing coconut oil with shea butter or cocoa butter. You’ll get the same levels of hydration without the excessive oiliness. Everyone’s skin is different! Rest assured there’s a perfect recipe out there for you.
Keep in mind that it may take your body a couple of weeks to detox and adjust to all-natural substitutes. Don’t let that deter you! The body is very accommodating and will make the switch eventually. You can speed things up with a detox if you like. You can read more about detoxing in this post on zero waste deodorants.
diy deodorant faqs
how can I make my diy natural deodorant stronger?
Add some tea tree oil! It’s a naturally antibacterial ingredient that will add another layer of odor-fighting power, especially when combined with other essential oils like lavender. Just be sure to keep the total amount of drops the same.
do I have to add essential oil?
Nope! While essential oils add fragrance and a variety of boosts to your mixture, going without won’t mess up the overall effectiveness of your DIY deodorant.
why do I still smell after switching to a more natural deodorant recipe?
Switching from an aluminum-based product to a homemade one will require a little bit of patience. Your body is going to need some time to adjust, and that’s okay.
The bacteria under your arms will start to change and become more robust after about 30 days of using a natural deodorant. You may also be able to speed up bacteria changes with a quick armpit detox process. You can read more about detoxing in my other natural deodorant post.
should I wear homemade deodorants at night?
With aluminum-based products, you should not. With a homemade deodorant recipe though you absolutely can! At night, your body temperature drops and your sweat glands become less active. Less active sweat glands means your sweat ducts will be able to absorb the active ingredients in your DIY deodorant a little better, blocking any BO.
Hi Kathryn! New (ish) reader and aspiring zero waster here. Thank you for your blog- I have learned so much and found lots of helpful tips! I came to zero waste via the "looking to use less chemicals" road and deodorant is still my #1 issue because I live in Houston. Read: too hot for most natural deodorants to stand a chance. Looking forward to trying this recipe out! Quick question: what types of shops do you recommend checking with for the butters? Thank you!!
If you don’t have sensitive skin you can always try 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. If you have any local soap makers, that’s where I’d check first. See if any of their soaps contain cocoa butter or shea. Look around your downtown to see if you have any cute brick and mortar stores that sell their own beauty products is another great place to look.
Just make sure you explain why you want to buy the ingredients and that you’re looking for them package free. 🙂 It always helps to frame the picture since it might be an unusual request.
I am from Houston (I commend your natural deo journey in that heat)! This is definitely a good recipe, but if finding the butters proves to be too much of a challenge/not as ZW friendly as you want I would recommend checking out Schmidt’s deodorant. They’re recipe is pretty similar to this one, and they have a recycling program for their glass jars (they sanitize/reuse them), so they could be a good alternative! Either way, this combination of ingredients has been my fav so far for effectiveness!
A pity Schmidt’s uses palm oil.
Nooo, they do? I don’t see it listed in their ingredients, is under something else or in one of the listed ingredients? I try to avoid it if I can and would appreciate more info on that.
That’s awesome about Schmidt’s! I didn’t know that.
This appears to be the same recipe as Angry Chicken’s deodorant, which has served me well over the years. It’s easy to make, effective, and easy to customize. I used to pour it in a jar or make her "pucks of deodorant" version, but now I use an old Mitchum tube— the convenience of a twist-tube is hard to beat, isn’t it?
Great minds must think alike! I’ve been working on this recipe since last summer. First I tried beeswax and then clay, I just really couldn’t get the consistency right. Swapped the beeswax for cocoa butter since I had a ton lying around from a workshop I did and voila! This was born. Lol.
Pucks sound really cool! Albeit greasy. Yeah. I love the twist top. SO freaking convenient. OMG. My beeswax experiment in a small mason jar was hilarious. I practically had to chisel it out.
Could essential oils be added to this recipe, such as lavender or tea tree?
Sure! Add it with the vitamin E.
Hi Kathryn! Here in Spain starting a zero waste change. I love your blog, thank you for all the ideas. Here in Spain we don’t have yet so many bulk shops, and the ones we have are more for food than other things.
I tried a deodorant with coconut oil, baking soda and cornstarch, but it leaves oil stains in my clothes. This new recipe of your deodorant seems great for avoiding this. But I can’t find the arrowroot powder, what can I use in its place? cornstarch maybe?
What a great blog! New reader here. Thanks so much for explaining about detoxing prior to switching to all natural deodorant. My mind is blown. I recent tried to switch over. For about 3 or 4 days I was good. Felt happy with my decision and felt like I was making a big difference for myself. And then out of nowhere….I started to reak! I didn’t know what to do so I went back to my conventional deodorant 🙁 Quick question about the acv and clay. I’m assuming you put them on and then wipe them off right away? Or do you leave them on for a period of time? Sorry if that seems obvious lol.
It really depends you can wipe the acv on and leave it or you can make a mask out of the ACV and clay and leave it on for 5-10 minute while doing other things and the wipe it off.
You could sub cornstarch. It’s a little grittier, but shouldn’t be too much of a difference!
I am a brand new reader and I am making the switch to natural, zero waste living. Thank you so much for your post! I just have a quick question. You mentioned that you bought an item from Berkeley Bowl, so you must live in the Bay Area! I do as well over in Lafayette. I was wondering what the name of the local shop is where you got your cocoa butter and shea butter. Is that in Berkeley too? I’d love to check it out!
Thanks in advance and I hope to hear from you soon!
Send me an email, I’ll send you their address.
I love this recipe, very simple and easy to make and I had most of the stuff needed. The only thing I don’t really like about it is that my pits smell like chocolate, and I’m kinda self conscious about that haha. So I added tea tree oil and it made it better a bit, but next time I think I am going to sub the cocoa butter for beeswax as it seems to have a similar consistency and doesn’t smell like chocolate.
I’d use a little less beeswax and add a little more shea.
Hey, I see you mention rainbow as you have in a few other posts and Ive searched it up and can seem to find it and would love to see there products
If you type Rainbow into my search bar, it will take you to a whole post about the store.
I’m surprised Jungleman natural deodorants aren’t listed on here, junglejuice is my favorite one and I feel it works the best for any situation. I buy mine from https://www.junglemannaturals.com
I’ve never heard of them. I’ll take a look.
I want to try your deodorant recipe but I do not want to buy a new container with a twist top.
Do you think is possible to apply this kind of deodorant with your fingers straight from a jar?
It looks thicker than the deodorant with coconut oil.
You can keep it in a jar. I did when I tried out the recipe the first time. It helps to use a tiny spoon. I found it to be awfully time consuming and messy though. I would ask your friends if you can have one of their deodorant tubes when they’re done.
This is the BEST deodorant recipe!! Oh my goodness, thank you so much for sharing. I may never use any other deodorant for the rest of my life! Much love to you and the work you do.
I wanted to try this recipe for long time and since i was finishing my old deodorant it was the right time. I made everything and when i wanted to get it into the container.. it leaks through the bottom. 😀 yes, it was really "fun" 😀 what kind of container do you have? I have no idea how to prevent it from leaking from the bottom 🙁
Thank you very much 🙂
Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I was wondering what sort of shelf-life this product has?
I made it at the end of last month before I realised I needed to do an underarm detox, which I plan on doing until November!
Have you developed your deodorant w/o baking soda yet, i’m excited to try it?
Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!
what i’ve found works the absolute best for me, is tea tree oil. i am a smelly person biologically, it doesn’t matter how clean i eat. i’m lucky if i don’t smell the very same day i shower, and tea tree is magic. you may be able to replace the baking soda with that.
Made this deodorant it came out very good and work well and after two weeks under my arm started to get very dark so I discontinued it. I was wondering if you might know what might of cause that
Did you find out what caused the darkening?
Kathryn, thank you very much for this recipe. Due to PCOS, my sweat is my problem.I work for a big entertainment company, and it’s important for me not to smell badly. Unfortunately, since I went cruelty-free, I couldn’t find any deodorant strong enough to kill bacteria that causes the sweat to smell horribly. This is the ONLY deodorant – and I’ve tried handmade ones too – that lasts all day long. And though I have to make time in my busy schedule to make it, it is absolutely worth it.
THANK YOU. This is a godsend.
Thank you so much for taking the time to review! I am so glad that this has helped you! <3
I thought I’d done a great job following your recipe as I poured it into the refillable sticks I’d bought from Biome. But once set the sticks didn’t wind up. They were stuck. What did I do wrong? Should I have oiled the inside of the stick? We’re they too cold? Any help would be appreciated.
Hmmm, I haven’t had that happen to me before. I’d maybe just run the tube under warm water and see if that loosens it up a little so you can screw it up.
It seems like most are not aware how harmful deodorant can be. My motto is, if I would not eat it [an ingredient], I will not put it on my body. I don’t see the difference- through mouth or pores, it is still entering your circulatory system. Men diagnosed with breast cancer is on the rise each year- – yes, men. No, we don’t have breasts (well, at least I don’t*), but we do have breast buds and mammory glands. We all start off as the same chromosome. This climbing number may be linked to anti antiperspirants. You may have heard of ‘No-Poo’ (weening off shampoo and just using water). The same can be done with deodorant. I am proof this is successful. I allow my body to reabsorb any oil or sweat it has produced, and it self regulates. Be wary of not only deodorants, but other natural methods, like baby powder. Most of these products are still produced and manufactured by The Big 5 brands, which no surprise, are linked to Big Pharma. Why is au naturale no longer viewed as normal? We just started wearing deodorant and several decades ago, and like sheep, we see the commercial, think we must need it, and never stop, thus creating a cycle.
Cold N. Holefield
I made this with tapioca starch instead of baking soda (sensitive skin) and it has been my favorite recipe so far. Thanks!
I subbed zinc oxide for the baking soda, and considering it’s my first diy deodorant and I didn’t bother with any detox it’s working fabulous. I did omit the vitamin e oil, and added a bit of essential oils for scent. Week one down and not a whiff of skunk pits! Yay!
If anyone adds EOs please be aware that tea tree, cypress and several others touted for deodorants can CAUSE sweating/perspiration. That’s called being diaphoretic or sudorific. Actually know your EOs before using them- not info from blog posts.
Does it matter what mg the Vitamin E is? I have capsules that are 67mg that I can open and use the liquid inside. I am wondering if I still need 2 tsp? Thanks!
Hi there, so I followed the recipe but I’m not sure what happened. While mine are solid, the moment I go to put it on it melts into a mushy mess under my pits and has NOT helped with stench at all. I’ve been self conscious about it for the whole day for almost a week now. How can I fix it?
I’ve noticed that mine did that too (used a very similar recipe from a different blog) almost identical – so I remelted it and added beeswax to it and it helped keep it together without melting into that mushy mess!
I had the worst time trying to find a baking soda-free deodorant that actually still worked ( my skin was way to sensitive for even a little baking soda) I tried everything for months with no success until I found a recipe that used zinc oxide (non-nano). Works perfectly! And with very little adjustment time too. …for those of you out there who are tired of having to choose between smelling like sweat or having super raw underarms lol.
Hi! Thanks so much for this great recipe! I’ve been using it for the last couple of months and it not only works really well but also smells as good as my previous deodorant!
You got me hooked to try out more! 🙂
Thanks for your latest update – I’ve been wanting to reduce single use plastic and have tried other refillable deodorants with no success (they aren’t really antiperspirants or Rx strength). I am going to try this and hope to be buying less plastic in the near future!
Hey, is there an alternative to arrowroot powder?
(Last time I tried the deodorant, I think I got a yeast infection!)