Natural Homemade Deodorant that Really Works

I’ve been on a mission for the past three and a half years to remove toxins and chemicals from my household. It all started with our health care supplements, and from there it has grown and become almost an obsession to use only the purest, simplest, and health-promoting ingredients in our home. There was an overhaul in the kitchen to eliminate all processed foods, next went nasty unnatural cleaning products, and gradually we’ve been looking for suitable (often homemade) replacements for our beauty care supplies. I have four daughters, so it has not been an easy feat to find hair care, skin care, tooth care, make up, etc. that are good for our bodies and the environment. It’s often frustrating to find that these products are almost always more expensive and often do not work as well as their chemical-laden counterparts.

Natural deodorant that works is hard to find.

That brings me to the topic of this post…deodorant. We live in Texas; it’s hot here. And I have 4 teenagers, all of whom are athletic. Let’s just suffice it to say that we tried MANY different natural deodorants from various health food stores, and none of them were satisfactory for my not-so-fresh-smelling lovely ladies, even with multiple applications daily. Then a friend shared her recipe for a homemade deodorant. I was super skeptical at first, but because it costs only pennies to make up a batch, I figured I had nothing to lose. And I was happily surprised when it actually worked.

This deodorant smells nice, goes on smoothly, and beats the 100+ degree Texas heat! Add to that the peace of mind that we are not putting aluminum and other toxic chemicals right over our sensitive lymph areas daily, and this recipe is a winner. In fact, I add therapeutic grade essential oils to our deodorant that actually promote lymphatic cleanse and good function. A deodorant that is actually good for body? If that gets your attention, this recipe is for you.

A Few Notes

  • You can purchase deodorant dispensers online, or you can clean out the ones you already have and re-use. I use a skewer to get most of the deodorant out and then boil them to clean really well.
  • This recipe makes about 2 sticks of deodorant, depending on the size of your dispensers. In the pictures I have doubled the recipe.
  • I always use only Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils for so many reasons.
  • Some people are sensitive to baking soda and may experience a rash from this deodorant. You can substitute more arrowroot, but the baking soda is actually good for detoxifying and pH balance. In fact, a baking soda sensitivity is probably indicative of an acidic atmosphere, not an allergic reaction. This can be addressed through a healthy diet and supplements.
  • Be aware that this is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. While I think it keeps me relatively dry, it does not prevent perspiration, and that is a good thing! Your body was created to sweat as a way to cleanse and remove toxins. If we take away that ability, we trap those toxins in our bodies. For my girls, it took a little getting used to and they have learned that some sweating during work outs is acceptable as long as they don’t stink.
  • Also note that the first week or so you might not think the deodorant is working well and may even have to re-apply during the day. Your body is probably detoxing and cleansing all those trapped toxins. Give your body a while to adjust and know that your deodorant is no longer a risk to your health.

Natural Stick Deodorant

1/3 cup organic coconut oil

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3 Tbsp. organic beeswax pellets

2 Tbsp. unrefined, organic shea butter

1/3 cup arrowroot powder

1.5 Tbsp. baking soda

30-40 drops desired essential oils (I like 8 drops Thieves, 8 drops lavender, 15 drops Purification, 10 drops Endoflex, 5 drops tea tree)

Instructions:

  1. Melt coconut oil, besswax pellets, and shea butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once melted, remove mixture from heat, add baking soda and arrowroot powder, and stir to combine.
  3. Stir in your essential oils.
  4. Carefully pour into deodorant dispensers. They will settle a little as they cool, so you can top off each dispenser after a couple of minutes. If the mixture has cooled and gotten too thick, just warm it over low heat for a few seconds until you can pour it.
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For another great natural DIY recipe, check out my Homemade Old-Fashioned Bar Soap!

Homemade Old-Fashioned Bar Soap

The first time I made soap, it was a badge requirement for my American Heritage Girls troop. I invited 6 giggling girls over and we followed an internet recipe for lye soap. I didn’t expect the soap to be so lovely. It was creamy and cleansing, with a great lather to boot.

Since then, I have practiced more and more to come up with the perfect blend of oils for my family. I even use this soap to cleanse my face regularly, and I am pleased with the results: it’s not too oily and not at all drying.

Many people dispute the idea of using lye in soap because it is a toxic chemical. I agree. Let’s not put that on our bodies. But during the process of making soap, the lye undergoes a chemical reaction and is completely transformed. That means that there is no lye in the final product.

Let’s Make Some Soap

First, a few tips

  • This is a chemical reaction, people! The lye to oils ratio is very critical. If your ratios are not balanced, you will either end up with a soap that is too oily or, worse yet, one that burns and dries your skin.
  • If you don’t have the oils in my recipe on hand, feel free to adapt and substitute. However, each oil has a unique profile and they cannot merely be exchanged 1 for 1. If you want to modify the recipe, do a google search for a soap calculator. Put in the oils you want to use, and it will help you figure out the ratio of lye to oils.
  • Use a kitchen scale. Don’t measure with a measuring cup, and don’t eyeball it.
  • Only use glass or stainless steel utensils with lye. Do not use plastic, wood, or silicone until you combine the oils with the lye mixture.
  • If you want to add essential oils to your soap, you absolutely can do so. It will take a lot of oils for a whole batch of soap (around 3-5 mL). I personally prefer my soap unscented because it gets washed off. The fragrance of the oil makes for a nice smelling shower, but it does not stay on your skin. I like the clean, fresh fragrance of the unscented soap and apply my oils after my shower.
  • I started out using a cold process method and learned about the hot process method about a year ago. Hot process results in soap that is ready to use in just a few hours.  If you don’t mind waiting 6 weeks for your soap to cure, this recipe works equally well with cold processing.
  • The process is a bit tedious, but I suggest you follow it exactly.

Supplies

My Recipe

ingredients

6.01 oz. lye

3.51 oz. purified water

5 oz. organic beeswax

2 oz. organic cocoa butter

12 oz. organic virgin coconut oil

10 oz. organic palm kernel oil

1.95 oz. organic grapeseed oil

10 oz. organic extra-virgin olive oil

The Process

Melting the Oils

  1. Gather all your supplies before beginning.
  2. Place your stainless steel pot on the digital thermometer, and tare the scale to zero. Add each of the solid oils and beeswax into the pot, taring after each addition.
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  3. Place the pot on the stove, and gently warm over medium heat until melted. Turn off heat and remove from stove. Add remaining liquid oils and stir to combine.
  4. Meanwhile, place the glass measuring cup on the scale and tare to zero. Measure water into the measuring cup.

Mix the Lye

  1. Re-tare the scale and measure lye into the cup with the water. (Be sure not to touch it, as it can burn your skin. If it does get on your skin, wash off immediately with soap and water.) Immediately take this mixture outside or near an open window. As the lye dissolves, it will produce fumes that can burn eyes and always make me cough. Once outside, gently stir with a stainless steel spoon, and leave outside.
  2. Once lye is dissolved, you can bring it back inside. Use caution, as the mixture will now be hot (almost boiling) due to the chemical reaction.
  3. Wait for both the oil mixture and the lye mixture to cool to about 110°F. You may put them in an ice bath to speed up the process.

Combine

  1. Once both mixtures are cooled to 110°F, carefully pour them into the slow cooker.
  2. Use your immersion blender to start blending. Be careful to keep the blender submerged so as not to splash or incorporate too much air into the mixture.
  3. Blend for about 5 minutes, or until you start to see a cloudy “trace” on the surface of the soap. It will also thicken during this process. The final product looks like creamy, yellow pudding.
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  4. Turn the slow cooker on low and put the lid on. Cook for about 1 hour.
  5. After an hour, remove about 1/2 teaspoon of the soap, allow it to cool to touch, and try washing your hands with it. If it is done processing, it will produce a nice lather. If it is not done processing, it may feel greasy or even sting a little (don’t worry, it’s very minor stinging). Continue cooking until it produces a lather.
  6. Once it is done processing, use a silicone spatula to stir and incorporate any dry parts.
  7. If you want to add essential oils, oatmeal, coffee, dried flowers, etc., do so now.

Pour into Molds

  1. Begin filling silicone molds. Work quickly, as the soap dries and hardens almost immediately. I like to use a cookie scoop for this. Each mold will hold 2 heaping scoops. After scooping or spooning soap into molds, use the silicone spatula to smooth the top. Continue filling molds until all soap is used.
  2. My soap is always a little bumpy on top. If you want it to be smooth, you can dip your spatula in water and smooth the top of each bar while it is still warm.
  3. Once dried, pop the soap out of the molds and it is ready to use! The recipe above makes about 18 bars of soap.
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Shout out to my friend Amy, who taught me about hot processing and gave me tips for perfecting my soap-making skills. Check out her book, Anyone Can DIY with Essential Oils for more soap recipes and tons of other DIY creations!