So, you’re interested in making DIY deodorant but want to make sure you have a recipe that works (and doesn’t take a chemist, special equipment, or hours upon hours to make).
We’ve got you covered—even if sensitive skin or underarms.
In this quick guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about making homemade deodorant in no time for pennies an application, including:
- The best natural odor-absorbing ingredients
- How to choose a base
- How to store your homemade deodorant (canister or stick)
- The best options for making non-toxic scented DIY deodorant
- How to make DIY deodorant for sensitive skin (baking soda-free)
- And more
No one should be without effective, affordable, and non-toxic deodorant, so let’s get started learning to make your own.
5 Reasons To Make Homemade Deodorant
If you’re already convinced DIY deodorant is the way to go, you can skip to the next section.
If you’re still on the fence, consider these five reasons to make homemade deodorant from all-natural ingredients:
1. Conventional deodorant is full of shady chemicals
For years, there has been debate about the potentially harmful chemicals used in commercial deodorants.
Some of the ingredients of concern include:
- Aluminum: A heavy metal used to block sweat ducts and prevent sweating in antiperspirants (deodorants do not contain aluminum). Although certain levels of aluminum exposure are associated with various adverse health effects, the research is mixed on whether aluminum “build-up” from antiperspirants is enough to cause harm.REF#2757 REF#2758
- Fragrance: A blend of potentially dozens of synthetic fragrance chemicals, many of which contain phthalates, known endocrine disruptors linked to reproductive health issues, developmental issues, cardiometabolic disease, cancers, and hormone disruption.REF#2759 REF#2760 REF#2761 Fragrances are also a top allergen.REF#2762
- Synthetic preservatives: Such as parabens, which may disrupt endocrine/hormonal function.REF#2763
- Talc: A known carcinogen when inhaled, ingested, and possibly when applied topically.REF#2764 REF#2765
- Synthetic colors or dyes: Many of which can cause allergic reactions, skin or eye irritation, and other adverse effects.REF#2766
What about triclosan in deodorant?
If you’ve read other articles on chemicals in deodorant, you may have come across Triclosan—an antibacterial chemical—as an ingredient of concern due to its effects on thyroid hormones and antibiotic resistance.REF#2767 REF#2768
Thankfully, the FDA banned Triclosan in cosmetics and skincare in 2017.
However, as discussed in Your Guide to Natural Toothpastes & 5 Ways to Whiten Teeth That Really Work, it’s still approved for use in toothpaste. So buyer beware.
Do Chemical Deodorants/Antiperspirants Increase Breast Cancer Risk?
Many people fear the chemicals used in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants may increase the risk of breast cancer.
This stands to reason as you’re applying them right next to the breast, and many of their ingredients, such as phthalates found in fragrance, are hormone/endocrine disruptors.
However, the stance of the American Cancer Society is that deodorants and antiperspirants do not cause or contribute to breast cancer.
So, why the continuing controversy?
Some research has shown no link, while other studies have shown a possible link, which has kept this debate alive. REF#2769 REF#2770
At this time, more research is needed.
2. Conventional deodorant antiperspirants repress your body’s natural sweating process
Sweating is an essential bodily function that cools and excretes toxins, and the armpits are a hotbed of sweat glands.
Deodorants do not repress sweating. However, antiperspirants work by using aluminum to plug the sweat glands, which stops this natural process.
Although the research is mixed on whether daily use of antiperspirants may negatively impact health (see previous citations on aluminum), some research suggests a potentially harmful effect. More research is needed.
However, if you don’t like the idea of repressing a natural detoxification function using a heavy metal, you may wish to consider giving up antiperspirants.
3. All-natural, chemical- and fragrance-free store-bought deodorants are expensive
Most genuinely natural and non-toxic manufactured deodorants are expensive compared to synthetic brands, typically running $10-$20 per tube.
This may be worth it if you can afford it and don’t want to make your own.
However, DIY deodorant can be made at home for a few dollars or less.
4. Many (if not most) commercial natural deodorants still contain some potentially harmful chemicals
Although most deodorants labeled “all-natural”, “organic”, or “non-toxic” are free from the most worrisome chemicals, many of them still contain synthetic fragrances and other ingredients.
There are a few exceptions, but these are few and far between.
5. Making deodorant is so easy, super inexpensive, and it works
You can avoid all these pitfalls (no pun intended) by making your own deodorant with just 2-3 ingredients.
Let’s get started with some recipe options!
How To Make Homemade Deodorant
Although there are many different recipes for all-natural DIY deodorant, you need only two or three ingredients:
- A base, typically a saturated fat, body butter, and/or type of wax
- An odor absorber, such as baking soda and/or natural starches like arrowroot, cornstarch, or clay
- Note: Some homemade deodorant recipes list diatomaceous earth as an option, which does work. However, given the possible link between cumulative inhalation exposure and respiratory disease, we are not recommending it.REF#2771
It’s really that simple, and if you’re making a deodorant powder, you need even fewer ingredients.
Optional ingredients include:
- Essential oils or dried herbs for natural scent and odor-/bacterial-fighting properties
- Note, some essential oils may be too strong for the delicate skin under your arms. Therefore, consider using only a few drops and avoid potentially allergenic oils like cinnamon, nutmeg, pine, and citrus essential oils
- Grapefruit seed extract or vitamin E oil to act as natural preservatives
- Additional oils, waxes, or kinds of body butter can help shape and harden a mixture for use as a deodorant stick
- Additional starches, which help absorb odors and moisture
- Dried herbs, such as lavender, calendula, rose, tulsi, rosemary, and thyme. These add a nice, natural scent while helping control body odor.
- A bowl
- A fork or pastry cutter
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Storage container of choice, such as a glass jar
Basic Baking-Soda-Based Homemade Deodorant Recipe
- 1/2 cup coconut oil OR 1/4 cup coconut oil mixed with 1/4 cup shea butter, OR 1/2 cup shea butter—any of these work
- Some people find shea butter has a better drying effect on the underarms, while other people prefer the convenience and feel of coconut oil. Experiment to see what suits you best.
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot, cornstarch, potato starch, or rice starch
- Note, you can omit the starch and instead use 6 tablespoons of baking soda. The starch helps create a slightly smoother consistency/glide but is not essential.
How to Make:
- Mix everything in a bowl using a fork, pastry cutter, or handheld mixer. You can also use your hands (just make sure they’re very clean) or a food processor.
- Add 5-20 drops of optional essential oils or spoonfuls of dried herbs if desired.
- Add optional preservatives if desired
- Store in a sealed container and apply with a small spatula or your clean fingertips.
Basic Baking Soda-Free DIY Deodorant Recipe for Sensitive Skin
Although baking soda is an amazing natural odor absorber, some people experience a contact allergy or sensitivity.
You’ll know if it causes itching or rashes under your arms.
In this case, opt for natural clay, like bentonite clay, to replace baking soda. Charcoal would work too…but who wants black stuff under their arms?
- 1/2 a cup coconut oil, OR 1/4 cup coconut oil mixed with 1/4 cup shea butter, OR 1/2 cup shea butter—any of these work
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
- 3 tablespoon bentonite clay
- 5-20 drops tea tree, sage, lavender, or thyme essential oil (these essential oils are natural odor-stoppers)
How to Make:
- Mix everything together in a bowl using a fork, pastry cutter, or handheld mixer. You can also use your hands (just make sure they’re very clean) or a food processor.
- Add 5-20 drops of optional essential oils or a few spoonfuls of dried herbs if desired.
- Add optional preservatives if desired.
- Store in a sealed container and apply with a small spatula or your clean fingertips.
Basic Homemade Deodorant Powder Recipe
Deodorant powders are great for dusting the underarms, under breasts, onto feet and thighs, or anywhere you need to help control moisture and body odor.
- 1/4 cup baking soda or bentonite clay
- 1/4 cup arrowroot or cornstarch
- A few spoonfuls of fragrant dried herbs such as lavender, rose, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon balm, calendula, etc.
How to Make:
- Mix everything together using a whisk or food processor.
- Store in a sealed container and apply using a duster or makeup brush.
Note: If allergic or sensitive to baking soda, omit it and use half a cup of your starch of choice in its place.
Basic DIY Deodorant Spray Recipe
Deodorant sprays have largely gone out of fashion due to the harmful effects of traditional aerosols.
However, non-aerosol homemade deodorant sprays are an excellent option for travel and a more hands-free, mess-free application.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar OR cheap vodka (apple cider vinegar works well for most people, but vodka will be extra-strength)
- Optional: 20-30 drops essential oils of your choice or 1/4 cup of your favorite hydrosol (DIY hydrosol recipe here)
How to Make:
- Mix everything together in a glass spray bottle.
- Mist onto underarms as needed.
How To Make a Solid Homemade Deodorant in Tubes
If you like the no-mess convenience of pre-packaged deodorant, you may wish to try making your own solid deodorant and pouring it into deodorant tubes.
Empty deodorant tubes are easy to find at DIY stores and e-commerce sites.
To make solid deodorant, you’ll need to add wax, such as beeswax, to the mixture from one of the first two recipes above, heat it over a double-boiler, then pour it into a deodorant tube or mold.
This takes more effort on the front side, but if you make a big batch, you could have enough to last several months or even a year.
Check out these additional recipes from Wellness Mama for solid deodorants for men and everyone else:
- Natural Deodorant for Men: Best Kinds and How to Make Your Own
- How To Make A Probiotic Deodorant Bar (easy recipe)
Homemade Deodorant FAQs
Q: What about the aluminum in baking soda?
A: Baking soda does not contain aluminum.
Many people confuse baking soda with its cousin, baking powder, which does contain aluminum.
So, you can buy plain old baking soda without worry.
Q: What if I’m allergic to coconut oil?
A: Substitute 100% shea butter or substitute sweet almond or jojoba oil for coconut oil and mix with shea butter.
It will be a runnier consistency, but will still work beautifully applied with fingertips or poured into an empty roll-on bottle.
Combining shea butter and beeswax (as outlined in the recipe links) should do the trick if you want a solid deodorant.
You can also search “coconut-oil-free diy deodorant” recipes to find one that works.
Q: Will DIY deodorant work as well as store-bought?
Yes, homemade deodorant can work as well as store-bought brands for controlling odor and even helping wick moisture.
Remember, deodorant will not replace an antiperspirant, which works by using aluminum to block sweat glands.
If you find your homemade deodorant isn’t neutralizing odor as well as you’d like, play around with the ratios of ingredients.
Sometimes, a little more baking soda, clay, or the addition of certain odor-blocking herbs or essential oils, such as thyme, lavender, or tea tree, can make all the difference.
Want More Natural DIY Skin and Beauty Care Recipes?
If you’re ready to start DIYing more skin and beauty care products, check out the following articles:
- 1. , "Impact of Daily Antiperspirant Use on the Systemic Aluminum Exposure: An Experimental Intervention Study", Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 1 1. , "Impact of Daily Antiperspirant Use on the Systemic Aluminum Exposure: An Experimental Intervention Study", Skin Pharmacol Physiol.
- 2. , "Relationship of aluminum to Alzheimer's disease", Environmental Health Perspective. 2 2. , "Relationship of aluminum to Alzheimer's disease", Environmental Health Perspective.
- 3. , "Exposure to Phthalate, an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical, Alters the First Trimester Placental Methylome and Transcriptome in Women", Nature. 3 3. , "Exposure to Phthalate, an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical, Alters the First Trimester Placental Methylome and Transcriptome in Women", Nature.
- 4. LIPIDS: Edited by Gerald F. Watts, "The role of endocrine-disrupting phthalates and bisphenols in cardiometabolic disease: the evidence is mounting", Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity. 4 4. LIPIDS: Edited by Gerald F. Watts, "The role of endocrine-disrupting phthalates and bisphenols in cardiometabolic disease: the evidence is mounting", Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity.
- 5. , "Allergens in Cosmetic", FDA.gov. 5 5. , "Allergens in Cosmetic", FDA.gov.
- 6. , "Phthalates and Their Impacts on Human Health", Healthcare (Basel).. 6 6. , "Phthalates and Their Impacts on Human Health", Healthcare (Basel)..
- 7. Melissa M. Smarr, Rajeshwari Sundaram, Masato Honda, Kurunthachalam Kannan, and Germaine M. Buck Louis, "Urinary Concentrations of Parabens and Other Antimicrobial Chemicals and Their Association with Couples’ Fecundity", Vol. 125, No. 4, 1 April 2017. 7 7. Melissa M. Smarr, Rajeshwari Sundaram, Masato Honda, Kurunthachalam Kannan, and Germaine M. Buck Louis, "Urinary Concentrations of Parabens and Other Antimicrobial Chemicals and Their Association with Couples’ Fecundity", Vol. 125, No. 4, 1 April 2017.
- 8. , "Talc-Treated Rice and Japanese Stomach Cancer", Science, Vol 173. 8 8. , "Talc-Treated Rice and Japanese Stomach Cancer", Science, Vol 173.
- 9. , "Talcum Powder and Cance", American Cancer Society.. 9 9. , "Talcum Powder and Cance", American Cancer Society..
- 10. , "Allergy to selected cosmetic ingredients", Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postępy Dermatologii i Alergologii. 10 10. , "Allergy to selected cosmetic ingredients", Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postępy Dermatologii i Alergologii.
- 11. , "5 Things to Know About Triclosan", FDA.gov. 11 11. , "5 Things to Know About Triclosan", FDA.gov.
- 12. , "Toothpaste and hand wash are causing antibiotic resistance", University of Queensland. 12 12. , "Toothpaste and hand wash are causing antibiotic resistance", University of Queensland.
- 13. , "An earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis related to more frequent use of antiperspirants/deodorants and underarm shaving", European Journal of Cancer Prevention. 13 13. , "An earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis related to more frequent use of antiperspirants/deodorants and underarm shaving", European Journal of Cancer Prevention.
- 14. , "Use of Underarm Cosmetic Products in Relation to Risk of Breast Cancer: A Case-Control Study", eBioMedicine Part of the Lancet Discovery Science. 14 14. , "Use of Underarm Cosmetic Products in Relation to Risk of Breast Cancer: A Case-Control Study", eBioMedicine Part of the Lancet Discovery Science.
- 15. , "Occupational silica exposure and mortality from lung cancer and nonmalignant respiratory disease G-estimation of structural nested accelerated failure time models", Environmental Epidemiology.. 15 15. , "Occupational silica exposure and mortality from lung cancer and nonmalignant respiratory disease G-estimation of structural nested accelerated failure time models", Environmental Epidemiology..