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

    That might happen since it’s so hot. It will stay solid in a cooler room/the fridge, or you can just give it a little stir before each use.

  • Jenny

    Hey! I just found your recipe on pinterest. I recently got involved in doTerra essential oils for this exact purpose! To make my own deodorant, toothpaste, basically replace my medicine cabinet. Thanks for putting this recipe together. If you’ve heard of doTerra, let me know what you think. I’ve been using their oils about 3 months and am really enjoying them.

  • Joey O (the girl)

    Hi there! I just wanted to tell you THANK YOU for this recipe!!! I am allergic to most deodorants, and recently figured out that it’s propylene glycol that I have the issue with. I went to the organic store a while back and bought “Toms Natural” deodorant thinking it was all natural, only to read the label AFTER I got home to notice propylene glycol was the main ingredient :( So much for “all natural”. I can’t wait to try out your recipe, because I’m getting sick of oil stains on my bra and shirts from using just plain essential oils (which only mask odors for me). Thanks again… keep up the Bonzai !!!

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  • Stfup

    Shut up! By some secret and SHUT UP!

  • Stfup

    Mold? Mildew? Expiration dates?

  • Dragonphly

    That is crazy expensive, though. Especially in summer when citrus isn’t in season.

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  • curiousatom

    Is the Vitamin E oil integral or could I just swap it out for a different kind of oil?

  • atom

    I can’t get vitamin E oil can I use any old bio compatible oil? also can I use kaolin clay in place of the cornstarch?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I think you could sub another biocompatible oil. I think that would be just fine. =)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I’m not sure what kaolin clay is, but I know people have used other food-safe/skin-safe powders (like potato starch) with no problem.

  • Debbie

    About the irritation… Another site mentioned that the cornstarch might be irritating. They suggested trying “arrowroot starch.” I have not personally tried this. (It is in this article here:

  • ignorance

    ohe noes chemicals!

  • Michele Clarke

    You need a preservative when you add water to anything. Try beeswax or a hard butter.

  • Michele Clarke

    I had the same issue before switching. I will never go back.

  • Michele Clarke

    Too much baking soda can irritate your skin too.

  • Michele Clarke

    Tea Tree does that to me also. One day I applied just tea tree and the bumps showed up in the morning. You might be sensitive just like we are to foods. Try another and be careful of the eucalyptus. Try Geranium or patchouli. Citrus is nice too but if you expose your arms to the sun it will make you sensitive too.

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  • Nicole

    THE BEST deodorant EVER!! I am so thankful you posted this and I saw it.

  • bonitapita

    Do you know if I can use tapioca starch or arrowroot in place of the corn starch? I just don’t have any.

  • beth

    it’s probably propolyne glycol that you’re allergic to…
    i suffered terrible rashes under my arms, where my Dr assumed it was candida/ringworm/yeast (which ever you prefer to call it), until my derma insisted upon me undergoing allergy patch testing – my fancy and pricy “natural” deodorant from my local heath food store listed its first ingredient as the offender: “propolyne glycol”.
    check the ingredients of not just your deodorant, but your laundry detergent and body rinse as well….it’s everywhere…shampoo, skin care, hand cream, lotions, soaps, hair dye…the list goes on and on….
    (my friends wound up gifted with a small fortune of slightly used product from me)
    good luck!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Yes, you can use any of those!

  • Olivia Jean

    I switched to this 2 weeks ago, and I am in love <3 I smell so great! Thank you!

  • adriana garza

    Could you give me a tip on this recipe please? It works and I love the scent. However, no matter how little I apply it leaves white clumps under my arms. I can rub it in and it doesn’t dissolve until it eventually falls off on my clothes. I have to stir it each time to use it because the oil separates from the cornstarch/baking soda. I don’t mind stirring or using my hands to apply but it leaves a mess.

  • Butterfly

    Can you use rice starch instead of corn starch?

  • Sayward Rebhal


  • Sayward Rebhal

    If you store it in the fridge, it won’t separate. As to the white clumping, it sounds like you’re trying to apply too much. You only need a very little bit, you can rub it into your fingertips to melt it before applying it. If that doesn’t work then I would add more oil to the batch and remix. This will help it go on easier. Cheers!

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  • Emma –

    Yay for this recipe! I’ve been spending quite a bit of money on deodorants that haven’t been tested on animals, so this looks like a cheaper yet still just as animal friendly alternative. Where would you find Vitamin E oil?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I got mine at Trader Joe’s but I don’t think they make it any more. You could try Whole Foods, or any natural foods store/co op.

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  • Angela

    I tried this recipe out and when I put it on my underarms, I can feel the baking soda granules..even after an hour, when I touch my underarms the baking soda is still there…is this normal? I’m worried about the baking soda irritating my skin.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    How much did you use? You only need very very little. Also, if you feel it’s too high in baking soda, you can totally add more coconut oil. People with sensitive skin have had great success with this recipe by doing that. =)

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  • J Paige Polson Edwards

    Oh. My. Gosh! This had been amazing!! I love it better than any deodorant I have ever used before! (traditional or organic). It works marvellous. (I could only use half of the vitamin E called for because it was all I had. Can you tell me what role it plays? I’m guessing it’s key to the recipe… Thanks for sharing! Now if I can just get my hubby to try it.

  • J Paige Polson Edwards

    What is a biocompatible oil? (what are some examples?)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Actually, I see a lot of similar recipes without it, so i don’t think it’s key. I added it for softening (the actual consistency) and because it’s so good for skin. But I don’t think you need it – it’s a pretty adaptable recipe!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Just means that it’s safe for skin. =)

  • Angel

    Nice tutorial! :) We have a very similar recipe that we make. We have yet to put it in a pop up container though. We just keep it in a container with a lid so it can stay right in the bathroom! :)

  • TNO

    Kaolin clay is a high-quality cosmetic clay (sometimes available in food grade). It may work well, I would give it a try.

  • Neni

    Could you use Coconut flour instead of the cornstarch??

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  • Mmai

    Not sure if anyone still frequents this post or not but… Does this leave oil stains on your clothing?
    I’ve been going deodorant free for over a year now and was previously using bleach-free milk of magnesia. Now that summer is here and I’m sweating more, I’ve noticed that its stopped working almost completely for me.
    I’ve been using your recipe for toothpaste for quite some time now, but finally just mixed up the deodorant today.
    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.

  • Trail Trekker

    I made the deodorant following the recipe up to the oils. I opt for the 10 drops of lavender oil and 10 drops of peppermint oil. After mixing the baking soda and the cornstarch in a bowl, I add the oils and mix them in. I measure 3 tablespoons of jojoba oil and mix that in until it forms a paste. It stores perfectly in a shallow glass jar with lid. When I’m ready to use it, I put a small amount in the palm of my hand and mix in a drop or two of water (spreads more easily) and apply. Takes a few minutes to dry. I’ve been using her recipe here for about 3 months day and night, it works! Bonsai Aphrodite you’re terrific. Mmai I hope this helps. Even though jojoba has a yellow tint, it doesn’t leave a stain on my whites or other light colors.

  • Tara

    I use arrowroot powder in place of baking soda. Also use oregano oil, sweet orange oil, and peppermint. Mine stays liquid this time of year, which is more convenient really. I put it on with the back of a spoon.

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