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DIY Deodorant

Unlike my other recipes, you don’t actually eat this one. But because I make my deodorant (mostly) out of food ingredients and several people have asked me how I do it, I thought I would go ahead and post the recipe on this food blog.

This stuff works. When I first decided to attempt to live plastic free, I had the most trouble replacing conventional shampoo and deodorant. I tried to solve these problems simultaneously. I was a mess. The bar shampoo I bought left my hair dull and matted to my head. I found Lush’s deodorant bar difficult to apply. Rock crystal deodorant did not work. Using no deodorant did not work. I looked bad and smelled worse.

Thank goodness for baking soda. I wash my hair with it—followed by a cider vinegar rinse—and use it as a base for deodorant.



1. Combine baking soda and cornstarch in a small, wide-mouth jar.

2. Stir in coconut oil and essential oil. If the coconut oil is solid, melt it over a low flame for easier mixing.

3. Pat yourself on the back for your self-reliance.

A few notes

The jar. I prefer to use a shallow jar for this, preferably with a wide mouth. Because I apply this deodorant with my fingers, I need to easily retrieve it from the container.

The cornstarch. I have seen recipes that call for arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch, but I don’t have any of this on hand. At least, I don’t think I do. (The lesson: Label your jars from the bulk aisles!)

The coconut oil. I used two tablespoons. You can actually make this deodorant without the coconut oil, but I like the easy-to-apply cream that coconut oil renders. Adjust the amount of coconut oil you add to the dry ingredients until you have a consistency you like. I prefer mine very thick and creamy, not runny.

The essential oil. Apparently essential oils have antibacterial properties. Although I can’t find a reliable source to back up this claim, even if the essential oil does nothing to fight odor, it does make the deodorant smell nice. I have also used lavender oil and peppermint oil. I have also made deodorant without using any essential oil—it works well either way. For this batch, I used lemon (it’s what I had).

Warning. This deodorant may sting a little on freshly shaved underarms. I think that goes for many commercial deodorants too though. You may want to wait a little while before applying.

Update 01/18/20: Occasionally, someone will tell me the baking soda in this deodorant stings (whether they have shaved recently or not). Stop using this if it stings.

The application. Dip a finger in the jar, pull out a pea-size amount of deodorant and apply. You need only a very small amount.

I find this deodorant works well even on the second day, which makes me happy because I’m currently on a red-eye flight and don’t want to reek when I land. (I know flying is bad. I will have to stop. No flying in 2015.)

Of everything I make in my attempt to reduce my waste, homemade deodorant is one of my favorite recipes. It contains no crud, costs little to make and does not come packaged in a giant hunk of plastic. I hope you’ll try it! I think you’ll be impressed with how well it works.