DIY deodorant allows you to control the ingredients, to insure that you use only safe, nontoxic ingredients. It also saves you money.
DIY deodorant is safer to use than commercial deodorant. It is conspicuously missing many of the toxic ingredients found in commercial cosmetics like parabens, aluminum, triclosan, phythalates, and artificial fragrance. Plus not only does making your own deodorant allow you to control the ingredients, it also saves you money.
DIY deodorant typically uses baking soda to shift the pH of your underarms and makes the area inhospitable to odor causing bacteria. However, baking soda is abrasive and can cause painful rashes in those with sensitive skin. My recipe removes the baking soda, which encourages a healthy microbiome rather than destroying underarm bacterial colonies.
I tested this recipe in the heat of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea in September during a heat wave. It works. I did not have to reapply it during our long days walking through the Old City or hiking in Ein Gedi, in the desert by the Dead Sea. The deodorant worked even better than commercial products I’ve tried. The addition of tapioca or arrowroot starch removes the greasy feeling from the oil and beeswax mixture so that it goes on dry and doesn’t stain your clothing. If you need a little extra staying power try this frankincense deodorant recipe with a tiny amount of baking soda added.
You may notice when you first stop using commercial deodorant that the underarm stink becomes worse. This is because it takes a few weeks for the colonies of bacteria in your arm pits to balance. The stink comes from the bacteria on your skin. Using commercial products under your arms, not only disrupts your hormonal balance but also disrupts the colonies of good bacteria that keep the odor causing bacteria in check. Washing with natural soap and water after exercise and especially sweaty times can significantly reduce the odor causing bacteria and encourage a balanced microbiome.
Once your body adjusts to using natural deodorants you will notice that underarm odor lessens, naturally, as your good microbiome comes into balance.
Lemongrass Deodorant for Sensitive Skin
Lemongrass is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal. It is soothing to sore musles and is gentle for sensitive skin.
Yield: 4 ounces
2 tablespoon shea butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons beeswax (8 grams)
4 teaspoons tapioca, potato, or arrowroot starch
50 drops of lemongrass essential oil
Make a double boiler using a glass measuring cup. In the glass measuring cup put shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax. Simmer over medium heat until the beeswax is fully melted.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the starch. Stir to fully incorporate into the mixture.
Once the mixture is unified, add lemongrass essential oil. Continue stirring until mixture becomes opague. Pour into 2 — 2 ounce tins. Label and date.
DIY deodorant should last 12 months if kept sealed in a cool and dry place, out of direct sunlight.
Other essential oils that can be used in place of Lemongrass essential oil include lavender, frankincense, marjoram, tea tree, rose geranium. Avoid citrus essential oils as they can cause sunlight sensitivity in some individuals.
How do natural deodorants work?
Natural deodorants are not antiperspirants. They do not stop your body from sweating the way commercial antiperspirants do. Sweat is a natural detoxification and cooling function of the body. It is necessary for good health. Natural antipersperants do not plug your pores with metal salts like aluminum.
Instead natural deodorants work in three ways:
- By neutralizing the odor with baking soda or coffee
- By preventing bacteria build up through the use of naturally antimicrobial essential oils and herbs
- By drying or absorbing the sweat quickly as it comes out of your pores so that odor causing bacteria doesn’t have a chance to proliferate.
This DIY deodorant recipe uses lemongrass essenial oil for it’s antimicrobial and astringent qualities. Lemongrass also adds fresh lemon scent, to this DIY deodorant to lift the spirit and emotions.
If you don’t have lemongrass essential oil handy, other essentail oils with similiar antimicrobial qualities include tea tree essential oil, rose geranium essential oil, frankincence essential oil, lavender essential oil, and marjoram essential oil.
See my article on making oil substitutions in lotion bar recipes for more information about changing out the other oils and waxes in this recipe, to tweak it for your own tastes.