The Why and How on DIY Deodorants
I’m really excited to share this blog with you. Making your own deodorants is such a wonderful and easy way of being healthier and kinder to the environment. I’ve used ‘alternative’ deodorants for about half my life now, beginning when my mom bought me a crystal deo stick as my first deodorant as a teen. My mom refused point blank to purchase anything going on my armpits with aluminium or alcohol in it; if I wanted conventional deos, I had to buy them with my own money. Looking back now, I’m grateful to her for introducing me to healthier, natural deos, as I now make my own and know exactly what is going into my skin and pores.
As you may know, we have lymph nodes right in our armpits, and this area is a major site where foreign substances and infectious agents meet with the lymph (part of the immune system). So ask yourself if you really want to be adding more chemicals to an already sensitive area of your body? Healthier DIY deos largely eliminate this issue as they are free of aluminium, parabens, alcohol, propylene glycol, phthalates, and all the baddies and carcinogenic toxins found in conventional deodorants, and they are a great way of doing your bit to reduce chemicals and waste in the environment too. DIY deos are made from natural ingredients, many of which can be found around the home, and you can reuse the storage container so you are saving all those plastic roll-on bottles and pressurised cans from heading to the dump site when you’re finished with them. Along with all the other benefits, making your own deos can be really cost effective too. Many of the ingredients are household items and you only need to apply a very small amount at a time, making the deos long lasting.
I’ve personally used many of the DIY deodorants mentioned below, and I can promise you that they work. I’m a fairly active person too, and I’ve never had a problem with odour or too much sweat. Please be aware however, that they are not antiperspirants which block your pores, they are merely deodorants, so you may sweat a little (sweating is actually incredibly healthy). Everyone’s skin is different and people react differently to substances, so you may need to try out a few until you find the deo that works for you. Some people may develop a rash, so please do a skin test first. But at least you won’t ever have yellow or white marks in the armpit region of your clothes again. You may even find yourself sweating less, as sweating is the body’s way of getting rid of toxins (conventional deos full of chemicals, alert!).
A word on baking soda: some people may develop a rash when their skin is exposed to baking soda. It may reveal itself quickly or it may take years to develop or it may never happen. The rash is due to baking soda having an alkaline pH, while our skin is naturally slightly acidic. If too high a concentration of baking soda is used, the skin may react to it, causing the rash. This is easily remedied by simply using less baking soda in your deodorant or just stopping use for a while.
Right, let’s get into some recipes. DIY deo ingredients include items found around the house such as baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils. Essential oils each have their own unique properties, but many are antibacterial, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and good for irritated or sensitive skin, so they are ideal for use in deodorants. Below are a few essential oil combinations you may like to try in your homemade deo, otherwise simply use your favorite oil.
Citrus burst: lemon, mandarin, sweet orange, grapefruit
Forest fresh: frankincense, juniper berry, eucalyptus, grapefruit
Sensitive skin: lavender, geranium, Roman chamomile
Flower power: geranium, lavender, clary sage, ylang ylang
Invigorating: rosemary, peppermint, lemon
Generally about 12-20 drops of essential oil is sufficient, depending on the quantity of deodorant you are making.
Simple Peppermint Baking Soda DIY Deodorant
This is the deo that got me through varsity for four years. It kept me fresh through long days of lectures, sports and nights out.
2 - 3 T baking soda, or enough to fill your storage container ¾ full
15 - 30 drops peppermint essential oil
Add the essential oil drop by drop, mixing into the baking soda as you go. You will know you have added enough essential oil when the baking soda has the consistency of a dry-ish paste. Store in a glass jar or tin. To use, wet your fingers, dip in the peppermint baking soda mixture, and apply to your underarms.
Homemade Grapefruit Deodorant
I’m currently using this deo, and I love it! It works perfectly and smells good enough to eat too.
½ c coconut oil
¼ c bicarbonate of soda
¼ c arrowroot powder
20 drops grapefruit essential oil
Melt the coconut oil, then mix in all the ingredients. Store in a glass jar. To use, simply scoop out a little on your finger tip and rub into your underarm. It will melt into your skin.
For a deo with a little more diluted baking soda, try this recipe:
Shea Butter Deodorant
3 T coconut oil
2 T shea butter
3 T baking soda
2 T arrowroot powder
20 - 30 drops essential oil of your choice
Melt the coconut oil and shea butter in a bowl over hot water. Remove from heat and blend in the baking soda and arrowroot. Lastly, add in your essential oil(s). Store in a glass jar.
For those who don’t want to use baking soda at all, try this:
No Baking Soda Deodorant
30g coconut oil
20g shea butter
10g carrier oil such as almond or jojoba
15g arrowroot powder
15g food grade diatomaceous earth
5 drops vitamin E oil
20-25 drops essential oil(s) such as lavender or tea tree
Melt the oils and beeswax in a bowl over hot water. The beeswax will be the last to melt but just keep stirring until it has. Remove from the heat and add in the vitamin E oil, diatomaceous earth, arrowroot powder and essential oil. Store in a glass jar.
Bentonite Clay Deodorant
5 T coconut oil
1 T baking soda
6 T arrowroot powder
2 T bentonite clay
5-10 drops essential oils (lavender, frankincense, sandalwood, or citrus oils are all good)
Combine all ingredients together. You can melt the coconut oil to make mixing easier if you wish. Store in a glass jar. It will form a paste, so simply scoop out a small amount on your fingertip and rup into your armpits.
Magnesium Oil Deodorant Spray
1 T magnesium oil
20 drops essential oil (lavender and frankincense is nice)
pinch of sea salt
Pour the first three ingredients into a 50ml glass spray bottle and fill the rest of the way up with witch hazel. Shake gently to combine. To use, spray a small amount onto your underarms and rub in gently. Magnesium oil may sting a little if you have just shaved.
Apple Lemon Spray On Deodorant
¼ c apple cider vinegar
¼ c spring water
30 drops lemon or lemongrass essential oil
15 drops lavender
5 drops tea tree
Combine apple cider vinegar and essential oils in a glass spray bottle. Add the water. Shake well before use.
Aloe Vera Spray On Deodorant
½ c witch hazel
¼ c aloe vera
¼ tsp baking soda
10 drops clary sage
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well.
A very simple and gentle deo, ideal for teens or those with sensitive or mature skin:
Simple Witch Hazel Spray Deodorant
90ml witch hazel distillate
10 - 12 drops essential oils of you choice
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well.
All of these deodorants are made from natural ingredients and are free of aluminium, parabens, alcohol, propylene glycol, phthalates, triclosan, and all the baddies and carcinogenic toxins found in conventional deodorants. If you have never used natural deos before, you may go through a detox period, similar to if you are using natural shampoo for the first time. It is your body’s way of cleansing and will be over soon. After that, you may actually sweat less, and your armpits will definitely be healthier. Please consult with your natural health practitioner if you are pregnant, as some essential oils can be too powerful.
Making your own DIY deos is easy, fun and a great way to contribute to the health of your body and the environment. If you have teenage children, making your own DIY deodorants with them can be an excellent way of educating and introducing them to a more natural way of living, plus it is great fun!