Homemade deodorant offers a wonderful alternative to commercial products on the market. It is frugal, contains natural ingredients that you can know and trust, and can be tweaked to suit your family’s unique needs. In my quest to find one that would work well for my family, I experimented with three slightly different recipes.
I evaluated each recipe in terms of its effectiveness, texture, and scent. I stored all three in small mason jars and we applied them with our fingertips. My husband tried all three deodorants as well, and I included his thoughts in my results. Our days require varying levels of activity and therefore sweat levels, but we made sure to use each recipe on warm, active days to give each a real test for effectiveness.
Recipe 1: Passionate Homemaking’s Natural, Homemade Deodorant
This was a very simple and straightforward recipe and Lindsay provides a helpful video tutorial and frequently asked questions on her blog. While not listed directly on the recipe, in the video she adds a few drops of tea tree oil to her deodorant. I added some to mine as well.
- 6 to 8 tablespoons coconut oil (solid state)
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)
- few drops of tea tree oil (optional)
This recipe was the easiest to make out of all three, and it had the thickest texture when finished. As the coconut oil changes states with the temperature, it gets a little lumpy and needs some stirring. It required two applications a day to be effective and held up moderately well to exercise and sweat. We enjoyed the scent, too, as it works well for both men and women.
Recipe 2: Wellness Mama’s Healthy, Homemade Deodorant
I was excited to see this recipe called for shea butter. I happened to have some wonderful raw, organic she butter that I purchased at the Historic Charleston Market on a recent visit to see family in South Carolina, so I was excited to have found a new use for it!
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons shea butter
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (optional)
- essential oils (optional)
This made a lightly golden brown deodorant. My husband and I only needed one application daily of this deodorant and I really enjoyed the added moisturizing effect from the shea butter. It is a little thinner than the other recipes but I just compensated by adding a little more. I did not add essential oils as I like the smell of my shea butter and was happy with it the way it was. This recipe did not even make 1 cup of deodorant (as you can see in the picture it only half filled my mason jar), so in the future I would double this recipe.
Recipe 3: Wardee’s Natural, Homemade Deodorant
I was very intrigued by Wardee’s recipe as I was not very familiar with Redmond’s Clay and was looking forward to having an excuse to buy some and learn about its benefits. The only beeswax I could find near me came in cubes instead of shavings or beads that I grated to be sure I had the right amount.
- 1-1/3 cups extra virgin coconut oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons beeswax shavings or beads (increase if you live in a warmer climate or for summer)
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 3/4 cup arrowroot powder
- 2 tablespoons clay (such as Redmond Clay’s Bentonite)
- 25 drops tea tree essential oil
- 5 drops lemongrass essential oil
Makes about 3 tubes of deodorant (depending on tube size). Melt coconut oil and beeswax together over low heat until just barely melted. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients except essential oils. Let cool, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until it hardens to a pudding consistency. Put in the fridge to speed this up, checking and stirring frequently. Add essential oils and mix well. Spoon into empty deodorant containers. Let harden overnight in a cool location. You can speed this up by putting in the fridge to harden.
Don’t have an empty deodorant container? Use a pint or half pint jar; use about 1/8 teaspoon for each arm. (Omit beeswax to make it easier to scoop.) Or, use muffin tins to create a “cake” of deodorant. Keep wrapped in tissue paper when not in use; rub the cake under arms to apply.
This deodorant is very effective! We had a very busy, active day in the heat and still only needed one application. We were pleasantly surprised! The texture was quite hard after sitting in a cool location all night and quite “soupy” during the middle of the day. (However, keep in mind that it is high summer right now.) To keep it the right consistency, I would recommend storing it in a cool location, and I may play around with adding more beeswax next time especially for a summer batch. I really like the quality of the ingredients and the healing benefits of having the clay in it to help avoid underarm bumps and rashes that can be a struggle for some. The clay gives it a medium grey-brown color, making it the darkest of the deodorants we tried.
A Final Experiment: The Stain Test
I took a white cotton onesie my daughter had outgrown and applied a liberal stripe of each deodorant across it (more than most would typically apply under their arms). I applied them in the same order as my reviews above: top — Passionate Homemaking; middle — Wellness Mama; bottom — Wardee’s. After giving the deodorants about 2 hours to “set”, I washed and dried the onesie on the normal wash setting without using a stain remover.
The first two deodorant stripes (Passionate Homemaking and Wellness Mama) left no stain, and there was only a very slight mark on the last spot (Wardee’s), likely due to the clay in the recipe. This would probably not show up at all on light colored clothing.
If you are concerned about staining with Wardee’s recipe, perhaps use a little less clay or more coconut oil to “thin” the mixture. Or you could try applying a small amount of a natural stain remover prior to washing the clothing. The mark was so faint, though, that I wouldn’t have noticed it without looking for it. Because most people usually wouldn’t have such a high volume of deodorant on their shirt anyway, I wouldn’t “sweat” it at all (pun intended) .
My Final Choice
My top choice overall is Wardee’s recipe. I really appreciated its effectiveness and the health benefits of the clay. But because I really enjoyed the shea butter in Wellness Mama’s recipe, I plan to experiment with adding that into my own version of Wardee’s recipe. It isn’t needed, but the texture and moisturizing effects were so pleasing that I think it will make the best deodorant for my family.