Beauty and hygiene products are so common nowadays that we don’t even pay attention to the ingredients they contain. These products can have a huge impact on our body and well-being — but we tend to ignore that.

Coconut oil is a key element of the homemade deodorant. At the very end, your deodorant might look a lot like this. Image credits: Paul Reis.

Why make your own deodorant

In the past few years, lots of research has been developed regarding the linkage between some of the most common ingredients in our hygiene products and different types of cancer. For example, parabens are a very common industrial preservative for foods and hygiene products but have been proven to cause infertility, breast and skin cancer and hormonal imbalances on tests both in vitro and in vivo by researchers around the world.

The parabens come in various forms and shapes and are found in the most common products. Seriously, they’re almost everywhere. You find them in deodorants, body lotions, soaps, shampoos and many others that are part of our daily routine.

Aluminum-based compounds are also often used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. This might be good for your bodily scent, but it might not be so good for your health. Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds might contribute to the development of breast cancer, as well as several other major problems.

So for starters, commercial deodorants might no be so healthy. But that’s not the only reason you might consider making your own:

  • It’s really simple. Seriously, it takes like four minutes.
  • It smells very nice, and you can customize it. After you master the basic process, you can make whatever type of deodorant you want.
  • It’s cheap. Deodorants aren’t that expensive to start with, but they — making your own is also cheap.
  • You can carry them past airports. Just place them in something that’s smaller than 100 ml.
  • It’s kind of like a chemistry experiment, you learn stuff in the process, which you can adapt to other things.
  • Did I mention it’s really healthy?

The first step towards removing the bad compounds that could damage our health is to first read the label and then start choosing our hygiene products wisely, trying paraben free, healthy products. Even if you don’t end up making your own, it still pays off to carefully read what you’re buying.

How to make it

We have seen that we can make our own soap, which might be a little bit complicated and could take a lot of time to make, but what if I’m telling you that you can make your own deodorant with just three basic ingredients in just three super easy steps? Paraben free, aluminum free, deodorant — and it smells amazing.

Your deodorant might look like this. Image credits: Abi Porter.

What you need

1. Baking Soda

2. Starch

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3. Coconut Oil

That’s it, that’s literally all you need to start making your own deodorant. We’ll learn a bit further that you can add other stuff as well, but for the basic version, that’s it.

The recipe

The recipe is very simple. You need a clean bowl where you will mix the ingredients and a small clean spoon or spatula for mixing them. Basically, you just have to put everything in a bowl, equal parts of every ingredient and mix together very well. And that’s it!

Try to get everything in equal parts, 33% of the total quantity. I recommend this, but if you’d like to make it more abrasive, you can add more baking soda. More starch makes it smoother and more creamy, and more coconut oil makes it… more coconutty. Which is great, I love the smell of coconut.

Now you can test it. The best part about doing your own products is that if you don’t like the result you can change whatever you don’t like about it and personalize it, or fix it if you don’t like something. If it’s it’s too oily just add a little bit more starch. If it’s too thick add a little bit more oil. You shouldn’t add too much baking soda, though, because it’s too basic and you don’t want the skin to be too dry and uncomfortable. The consistency depends on your taste and the amount of time you like to spend using your deodorant. After you finish you can put it in an empty and clean roll-on container or in a cream container and use it daily like a normal deodorant.

More sodium bicarbonate makes the deodorant more abrasive. Image credits: Evita Ochel.

Keep in mind that coconut oil melts at 24 degrees Celsius (76 Fahrenheit), so if the local temperature is generally lower than that, it won’t be liquid and you’ll have a hard time getting it out of a roll-on container. If this is the case, you should try using it as a cream, just rub it gently and it will easily melt. If it’s always hotter than that, the roll-on is the way to go.

How does it work?

Everything plays an important part in the mix.

  • The coconut oil has antibacterial properties and helps against bad bacteria on your skin. At the same time is also hydrating and nutritious so it will prevent your skin from drying.
  • The starch has an absorbing effect helping the oil to absorb faster into your skin but also helps with the transpiration process.
  • The baking soda (which is basically sodium bicarbonate) helps with the smell due to your transpiration. It deodorizes you, so the coconut oil can fill in and give you a delightful scent.

So after all, you will end up with the perfect deodorant that won’t damage your skin: it absorbs the liquids, it’s antibacterial, and works very good against those nasty smells.

Lavender is a delightful addition to the deodorant. Image in public domain.

More tips

If you’re using a cold-pressed coconut oil, the smell of your deodorant will be amazing, but there are some alternatives if you don’t like it this way — some people just don’t like coconut and that’s perfectly fine. You can find deodorized coconut oil through mechanical processes which won’t damage the oil’s quality, and you can add essential oils.

To add some smell, you can add essential oils. Be careful with the essential oils if you are sensitive to powerful smells, it can be really strong. Lavender is a personal favorite and it seems to blend in quite nicely, but you can try whatever works for you. Usually, three drops of lavender essential oil will do the magic.

Do not mistake the essential oils with odorizing oils. The odorizing ones are toxic for your skin usually and do not have any of the properties the essential oils should.

Use only very clean containers and tools when creating your own hygiene and beauty products, this way the won’t interfere with unwanted bacteria that will damage the quality of your products on a long term.

If you want to extend the viability of your deodorant use 2-3 drops of vitamin E, usually you can find this in pharmacies or on the internet. It’s easy to get it over the counter. Also, it’s better to deposit your product in a cool dry place or even in the fridge.