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DIY, Zero Waste Extra Strength Deodorant

DIY, Zero Waste Extra Strength Deodorant


Last Updated on September 11, 2020

I am about to enter into my third year of blogging. Which is INSANE. I cannot believe it. This can only mean one thing. It’s time for another deodorant update.

DIY zero waste extra strength deodorant from #DIY #deodorant #lowwaste #simple #sustainable #ecofriendly #upcycle #zerowaste #allnatural

I’ve consistently had a deodorant update around this time each year. (which I think is pretty humorous.) I am still perfectly happy with my last recipe, but if you’re really active it can be too light.

I work a desk job and my idea of exercising is a brisk walk with my dog and a 10-minute sleepy-time yoga routine. I am not very active on a day to day basis.

I don’t enjoy sweating. If I just described your life, my last deodorant recipe might be *perfect* for you. (However, I am super enjoying the ease of this recipe, so maybe try this one too.) 

I have recently tried very hard to be a little more active. I am personally of the mindset eat really, really well and exercise less.

But, alas, I am getting older and softer. Not larger, I just don’t have quite the definition I did in my youth. I miss you effortless 6-pack. 

I am trying to whip myself into shape, so I look like a super model in my wedding dress – ya feel? 

I know this is slightly off topic, but I seriously HATE exercising. Every. Single. Facet of it.

I hate changing clothes for only 30 minutes. I hate constantly showering and washing my hair. I hate how much more laundry I have to do.

It adds SO much extra work to my already packed schedule. All I have to say is thank God for dry shampoo and this exercise-friendly deodorant.

what I LOVE about this recipe: 

  • I love how easily it glides on, very similar to store bought deodorant
  • Without all of the nasty additives in store-bought deodorant. You can read about the additives here and why it’s important I avoid them here
  • Has a super silky finish – hello, luxury. 
  • It’s super convenient, takes no more time to apply than conventional 
  • I don’t have to try and dig it out of a jar, apply with my hands, and then wash my hands. (Just takes way too much time for me in the morning) 
  • It doesn’t leave oil stains in the pits of your clothes like some recipes with coconut oil
  • Shelf-stable
  • It works really, really well! (obviously, this was a non-negotiable) 

This deodorant finishes so silky smooth and absorbs quickly into the skin.

Because no one wants goopy armpits. It’s not an oil based recipe rather a butter based recipe so it’s very nourishing to the skin as well. 

I feel so fortunate because I can easily get these ingredients package free. I know this may not be the same for everyone.

There is a local shop in town that makes their own butters, soaps, bath salts, etc. They make a whole bunch of awesome beauty products. 

I stopped into their store and asked if I could get some cocoa butter and shea butter to go in my own container. They happily agreed! 

If you have any artisans in your town, call them and ask if you can buy some of their ingredients from them in bulk.

They will typically order massive quantities which will cut down on packaging waste similar to a bulk store, and you’ll be supporting a local small business. 

It’s worth a shot! 

diy prescription strength deodorant: 

  • 3 Tablespoons of Shae 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) 

Melt the grated cocoa butter using a double broiler. Once the cocoa butter has liquefied add the shea butter. When the shea butter has liquefied, pull it off the heat. Add in the baking soda and the arrowroot. Stir well to combine making sure there are no lumps. Add in the vitamin E oil.

Pour into an old cleaned out deodorant container or jar if you like, and let it set up in the fridge or freezer for an hour. Then it’s ready to apply!

You could let it set up overnight on the counter as well, I’m just anxious/impatient. I store it in the bathroom cabinet. No need to keep in the fridge since it’s shelf stable! 

Next year, it looks like I’ll be working on a baking soda free deodorant for sensitive skin. I’ve got to keep my tradition going! Are there any other skin care recipes you’d like to see on the blog, deodorant or not? 

AS A NOTE : If this is your first time switching to an all natural deodorant please make sure you detox. You can read more about detoxing in my last deodorant post

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  1. 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!!

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

        1. 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.

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

  3. 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?
    Thank you!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  4. Hi Kathryn!

    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!

    <3 Leah

  5. Hello,

    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.

  6. 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

  7. Hi Kathryn,

    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.

    1. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Hi,
    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 🙂

  10. Hi,
    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!

  11. 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.

  12. Hi Kathryn
    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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. I made this with tapioca starch instead of baking soda (sensitive skin) and it has been my favorite recipe so far. Thanks!

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

    1. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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 again,

  21. 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!