Natural Homemade Deodorant

August 7th, 2009 - filed under: The Fashion » Beauty and Cosmetics


I recently reported on dangerous chemicals in cosmetics, and the information I uncovered in writing that article really affected me. If my friends thought I was a little eco-freak before, they need to prepare for a whole new level of glorious, fabulous ever-so-exciting neo-hippieness.

I was appalled, absolutely astounded by the questionable additives found in almost all commercial self-care products. I resolved, then, to purge each product as it ran out (no waste), and to derive my own amazing alternative.

A few days later, my deodorant was running low, and I came up with this solution.

OH MY GOD you guys, this stuff works SO GOOD. I can’t believe it! But I finished my recipe right at the start of a massive heat wave, and both my husband and I wore it through the entire week of 100º+, with nary a stinky or unsightly pit stain. How could something so simple work so well? I LOVE BAKING SODA!  *swoon*

Sayward’s Homemade Deodorant Recipe

1/3 cup Corn Starch

1/3 cup Baking Soda

10 drops of Antibacterial Essential Oil (tea tree, lavender, or eucalyptus)

10 drops of Antifungal Essential Oil (tea tree, peppermint, sandalwood, or eucalyptus)

2 tablespoons Vitamin E Oil

3 tablespoons Coconut Oil

Mix everything up in a bowl until it forms a thick paste. Transfer to your storage container and then allow 24 hours to ‘set up’. I used an old deodorant container ’cause it looks so cute and I thought it was neat, but I don’t recommend it. In the future I’ll be using a shallow, wide-mouthed jar, applying the deo with my fingertips.


In my own concoction, I used 10 drops of Lavender oil, which is an antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, natural deodorant, and soother of skin-irritation (like razor burn!). I also used 10 drops of Eucalyptus oil, which is an antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and increases circulation. In Damian’s version I just used the Eucalyptus oil, all 20 drops.

I can’t wait to hear how this works out for you guys!


  • Sayward Rebhal

    I think that peppermint alone would be fine, but you could add the rose if you like (may be a strange combo though?) Honestly the essential oils are added insurance but they’re not necessary, because coconut oil itself is a powerful antimicrobial!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    You could try 100% cornstarch, though I havent done it myself. I have heard of people doing just the coconut oil alone so it’s worth a try!

  • Britt!

    Not a strange combo at all!!! I smell like a lovely, yummy, sweet York Peppermint Patty!!! Fer REALS!!! = ) I’ve been running around with my nose in my pits for the past few days, inhaling myself deeply all day long! HA!!!
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOOOVE my new deodorant!!!
    Okay, so I did indeed use rose absolute (and I don’t think the smell lasts very long), but since it has jojoba oil in it, I think it makes it more difficult for the ingredients to mix…? I have to stir up the b.s. and cornstarch into the rest of the mix every time I use it, cuz it all settles on the bottom (mine is definitely NOT solid!). LisaMaddox said that adding H2O would remedy that, but I’m afraid that it’s gonna have the opposite effect. But she IS in Arizona, so she should know! = ) Any thoughts? Also, I just now added some more c.s. to my mix. I’ll put it in the fridge and see if it works better. Anyway, for super-dooper insurance power, I also added lavender and few drops of eucalyptus. I thought it might end up smelling pukey, but since I used mostly peppermint oil, the other oils just make it all smell super sweet and YUMMY!!! Not joking, I want to eat this concoction.

    It’s SO MUCH FUN to make your own personalized deodorant!!! It’s so empowering!!!

    Three cheers for personalized deo!!!

    Braveesimo!!! = )>

    [K, I'm done swooning...]

  • wickfingers

    ah, finally made my own batch. i substituted vegetable glycerin for the vitamin e oil and it actually made it an even nicer consistency, i’ll let you know how it works out c:

  • Allie

    Oh my goodness, thank you SO much for coming up with this, you’re brilliant. Even the products sold at health food stores have an alarming amount of harmful ingredients in them, and they don’t work nearly as well as this, or smell as nice:)

  • Krys

    did u find any Vit E oil?

  • Guest

    Is there anything else I could use in place of coconut oil? I happen to detest the taste and smell of coconut. I tried this recipe and found the coconut odour so overpowering that I put in a lot more essential oils to try to cover it up. Unfortunately, this made it too runny and I could still detect coconut so I’m not really eager to use it.

  • Darlene B

    My friend gave me a sample of this recipe and I love everything about it! I am a convert and never thought anyone could create something natural like this and keep you smelling good! Thanks so much. I don’t really care that it’s not a solid since it works, is natural and smells good! Just made my own batch – so easy!

  • Keri Lehmann

    I haven’t made this recipe yet, and it HAS been 3 months since you posted this, but I use rice powder in place of cornstarch for my products…maybe that will help.

  • Guest

    You can use deodorized coconut oil, all of the function, none of the smell :)

  • Seattle Vegan

    I am excited to try this recipe! Do you know if grapefruit seed extract would work in place of an antibacterial essential oil? Thanks!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I know that grapefruit is contraindicated for certain situations, and that it can react with certain medications. But if you know you can use it safely, then I don’t see why it wouldn’t work here. =)

  • Seattle Vegan

    Thanks!-I’ll give it a try.

  • Pingback: The Great Lie | Outlaws for Good

  • Emily M

    I can’t tell you how much I love this deodorant! About 4 months ago I started to get a rash in my armpits…I spent a small fortune on trying about every type of deodorant on the market and nothing helped. I finally went to the doctor and was prescribed a steroid cream. It helped somewhat, but I hated the fact that I had to use a steroid cream just to be able to tolerate deodorant. Ridiculous! I have been using your natural deodorant for about a week now and couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ve quit using the steroid cream and the rash is almost gone! And, on top of that, it smells lovely and even after an hour at the gym I’m not stinky!

  • guest

    Has anyone had problems with irritation due to the baking soda? I used to make a deodorant with just coconut oil, cornstarch and baking soda and found that the baking soda irritated my pits…especially after shaving. Just curious. If no one’s had problems I may try this.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Sometimes I get a little irritated if I apply right after shaving. I usually skip deodorant on the days I shave my pits. You can cut some of the baking soda and replace with equivalent cornstarch, and that will probably work.

  • Jennifer W

    That’s a good tip about the water. I have made the deodorant in the past, but once the heat came rolling in (Texas) I had problems keeping it solid. I stuck one in the freezer, but it was honestly quiet inconvenient to go to the kitchen and get dressed ; D
    I will have to try this real soon! :)

  • Carly

    Where do I buy the essential oils? sorry about the question but I really want to try this.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    They’re widely available, you can find them places like Whole Foods or other natural foods stores, or herb shoppes, or online like on Amazon. Try to get organic!

  • Jenn

    Whole Foods has got Aura Cacia which is a nice brand. If there’s no shops near you my two best recommendations would me and (very high-quality stuff there!)

  • Avien E Sahlein Bost

    I love this because people get all hung up on “safe” lotions, makeups and everything else then they put toxins in their armpits! DUH…this is awesome!! You rock! Thanks!

  • Jenn

    So I’ve been using this deo for a few days now and am AMAZED. I was using coconut oil and some corn starch and wasn’t doing much, but now I can’t even smell myself even after a full, active day!

    I’m really chemically sensitive so instead of EOs I used and 1/2tsp sweet almond oil to make sure the consistency stayed the same. Also put 1tbsp of water to the mix to firm it up a bit like a commenter suggested. It sure worked! Even have a friend of mine stoked to try this now!

    Can’t thank you enough for sharing this recipe. You’re awesome for it! <3

  • Angie Stevens

    This recipe looks good. Why don’t you recommend using an old deodorant container? I don’t like the idea of putting it on with my fingers.

  • Shannon Clark

    I’ve read that the crystal rocks (which never did much for me but cause itching) only “work” because of the high concentrations of aluminum that we’re actually trying to avoid (along with other things).

  • Little Bird

    Yay! Made this a week ago and the first week has been a huge success – no stinkies! Might one of the keys to solidity also be in *not* melting the coconut oil? I just mashed and mashed with a spatula until it was all smooth. It’s working well in a deo container – but my house is typically less than 70 deg in the winter, so maybe that’s why. I’ll try the T of water on my next batch in anticipation of summer.
    I super heart this recipe and the idea of not putting chemicals in my absorbent pits – plus not sending my dollars to pharmaceutical companies!!!

  • Lisa B Reynolds

    Ok so I have made the deodorant and love it. I decided to place the one batch I made into two deodorant containers- similar to the one above- and one batch fits perfectly into two containers. Ok so now for the next step!! I want to make the deodorant a wee bit more firm.
    So to Sayward and everyone, how can I firm this up a bit or more because I know I’d rather use in a deodorant container than with finger application??


    Sayward, I love love love your site and am going to comment on the other items I’ve made when I get the chance.

  • Lisabondellio

    So how did the vegetable glycerin turn out? Did it make a firmer at all? What kind of consistency change? Thanks!!

  • Lisa B Reynolds

    I went looking for some answers for hardening the deodorant and was wondering Sayward…like when I make soap or candles would adding a minute amount of something like palm flakes or soy flakes harden the deo enough and keep it hard even in hot climates??
    Thanks!!! Again I love your site!!

  • Pingback: Yoana Brecker» Blog Archive » Deodorant

  • Anyma

    thanks for sharing. great receipt. I tried it and it really works and my 10year old daughter amazed also. If you don’t mind I translated your story in Ukrainian an shared it in my blog here with a link to your page. Thanks so much

  • SpiritedShannon

    I found a little snafu with adding water. It did work to thicken it, but unfortunately for me, the water content in the deodorant created little mildew pockets in my deodorant after a month or so.

  • SpiritedShannon

    I cut down on baking soda for my second batch (as it made me a little itchy) and replaced it with arrowroot powder. So far, so good!

  • Laughingpainter

    I almost want to go back to the covered wagon days–almost. There were no additives then!!

  • kendra

    I used this recipe for about 3 weeks and it worked swell– I smelled lovely, and it was just a little crumbly going on (winter, cold, not too melty until I rubbed it in). Then I developed a rash around my pits–not in the pits, but around. Pretty sure it wasn’t the essential oils I used (lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus) because I’ve used them all before. Anyone else get rashy from this recipe? I’d love to change up the formula enough to use it…

  • Sayward Rebhal

    It could be either the baking soda or the coco oil – most likely the baking soda. I know this has happened with other people, and it’s happened to me too! Just “cut” the batch with more coco oil and corn starch, enough so that the consistency stays the same. It will still work great.

    If you still have the problem then it may be the coco oil, which is less likely but still possible. For that I don’t know of a replacement, sorry.


  • Naomivaughan

    You should not add moisture as this product is perishable. The water will grow bacteria:)

  • Caknight61

    This sounds great want to try this! However I just made an antiseptic salve that was similar soooo was thinking I might try some beeswax to help firm it up will let how that works

  • Jessica

    Try adding a little melted beeswax to your recipe. That will harden it up, but is still easy to apply once it hits your warm skin. I don’t use this exact recipe, but I want to give it a shot. In my other recipe I just use coconut oil, cornstarch, and baking soda, with some tea tree oil. I melted the beeswax first and added everything to it. I then poured it into an old deodorant container. It worked well, I used to have to keep my deodorant in the fridge to keep it from liquifying, but now I can keep it in the bathroom and have no problems with it.

  • Phoenix Song

    I’m trying it with EVOO, since that’s what I have around the house. I then sprinkled a little extra baking soda and cornstarch in to soak up the excess liquid. Just made it today, so I can’t say how it works yet, but it’s a nice creamy color and consistency. It probably won’t go into stick form, but if you’re okay using your fingers, a container with a tight lid is probably fine.

    (Ask again in a few days/weeks, after I’ve used it more than once…)

  • Tamara

    Thanks for the recipe, Sayward. It works amazingly well. Just working out the consistency issues.

    Incidentally, I pinned this page to one of my Pinterest boards so I would be able to find it easily. It was the most repinned post I’ve had to date.

  • Ashlee sakaishi Griffiths

    Sounds great! I also have been checking out natural options and came across a Youtube video using lemon or lime as a deoderant. It is amazing and so easy. Simply rub the lemon or lime in your arm pit and you will be smell free for 24hrs, if you get smelly you can simply rub more lemon or lime onto your pit and it will take away the smell.

  • Alisha103

    I have been using this for 2 months with no stink! I live in Virginia and work as a full time Firefighter / Medic and I definitely put this stuff to the test! THANK YOU!

  • Jessie

    My sister-in-law made this deodorant and gave me some to try. I fell in love! I made a batch and got a rash. I used cornstarch, she used arrowroot powder. That was the only difference. Cornstarch can contain talc, which can be an irritant to some people (you and me) so arrowroot powder is the alternative. I made a second batch with arrowroot powder (in the same amount as the cornstarch) and had no problems since. This works amazing on feet too! Hope this helps!

  • Jessie

    It’s not the baking soda. It’s the cornstarch. Try using arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch in the same amount. Worked for me:)

  • Catherine

    This TOTALLY works. In fact, it works better than any commercial deodorant I’ve ever used–I’ve used this recipe for about 2 years now. It’s helped me in places as warm as Arizona and as sweaty/humid as India. I also got a rash on the first couple of applications, but once my body got used to it they went away after about a week (not the best solution to wait it out and I’d advise experimenting with the recipes as others suggest, but I think I did because I was too lazy to get deodorant and give up on my home made remedy). I keep mine in a little jar and apply it on with my fingers. Easy peasy.

  • BB

    You can always keep it in the fridge if it melts. They also say if you develop rashes to play around with the amount of baking soda and make sure you don’t rub the deodorant into your skin. You just need to pat it on.

  • Itemplet0670

    Ok so I made it. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! I ran this morning on a bridge for a few miles and I dont stink and I didnt even sweat from my pitts. I am so happy that I found soemthing that works. The girls stuff didnt work so I used guy stuff but still found my pitts sweating. I love this stuff. I used Tea Tree and Peppermint.

    I have 1 question. I made it just like the instructions called for I let it set, however I have a layer of oil on top and the bottom is firm :( what do I do??? Mix it, leave it?? im not sure. Any help would be great :)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    It’s just because it’s summer so the coconut oil is melting and separating. YOu can just mix it up each time before you use it, or else keep it in the fridge. Glad you like it!

  • Anonymous

    I tried making this the other day, and the liquids are floating to the top while the cornstarch and baking soda sink to the bottom. I have to stick my finger in the container and mix it up. Also, I think either the cornstarch or baking soda is irritating my skin a little. Help please!