You need 6 things:
Glass container with lid
3 Tbsp Coconut oil
1 1/2 Tbsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
Something to mix it all together
The first thing to note here is that this deodorant is unisex. We all start with the same ingredients and you can choose to scent it as you wish.
The second thing to note here is that this is natural deodorant. If you haven’t made the switch to natural deodorant, I recommend you try it out! A quick Google search will give you a lot of reasons why you should or shouldn’t, but for me, it came down to this: My natural deodorant works (for me) just as well as other deodorants, can be made with what I have on hand, produces significantly less waste, and is way cheaper.
I’m not here to convert you—do what works best for you and your body—but, if you are going to try out deodorant au natural, have patience, make your switch in the cooler months (or during social distancing!), and be ready for a transition period of ~2 weeks for your body to re-equalize completely.
Perks of social distancing during COVID-19—no one is close enough to smell you while your body adjusts!
How do I know it produces significantly less waste?
I use the same glass jar each time I make a deodorant batch.
Each batch makes about 3oz and lasts ~3 months.
I use coconut oil for cooking, as an occasional moisturizer, and to prevent rashes from forming on my thighs in the summer months. This makes it an item that I use for more than one purpose and it’s not a single-use product. When my glass jars of coconut oil are empty, I wash them out and use them to store leftovers, salads, extra coffee, grains, chocolate chips, etc. in my fridge and cupboards.
Baking soda and cornstarch are also staple items in my cupboard for baking and household cleaning and their packaging can be repurposed or recycled easily.
I’m a sweaty person. My body just prefers to let it all out. Even when I used non-natural deodorants, I’d have to reapply before or after working out or job interviews and during toasty days. That’s still how it is for me using this homemade natural deodorant. Every body is different and you’ll have to learn yours like I learned that drinking a lot of coffee and not a lot of water also gives me the sweats.
Coconut oil has a melting point of 76*F (24*C). If your house is warmer than this, it will melt. If you take it outside to a craft fair as a backup since it’s 94*F outside, it will melt. If you drive through a winter snowstorm with the car heat on blast, it will melt. When it melts, it basically becomes briefly useless since the coconut oil rises to the top and the baking soda and cornstarch drop and it’s only the fusion of all of these that produces deodorant. There is a fix, however. See the bottom of the recipe.
This is the recipe I’m using right now and have used for the last 6 months! Chances are, in a few months I’ll try another ratio or try it with arrowroot powder, or maybe if I’m bold, with beeswax. I like experimenting and I will keep you updated as to my findings.
IN DEPTH RECIPE:
1. Scoop out 3 Tablespoons of coconut oil and place in a glass jar (somewhere around a 4oz one is best).
2. Heat the solid coconut oil to a liquid form. Don’t microwave it. Put enough water into a stove pot to immerse most of the glass jar, but not all. We don’t want water in the coconut oil and the jar should not have a lid on it. Then, slowly heat the water in the pot over medium heat. You can gently stir the coconut if you’d like it to melt faster, but it’s not necessary and if you choose to do so, be careful that you don’t shake the water in the pot into the glass jar with the oil.
3. Once the coconut oil is liquid, turn the heat down to the lowest setting (or turn it off), remove the glass jar with tongs.
4. Add 1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch, 1 ½ Tbsp baking soda, and your desired essential oil combination (10-30 drops total).
Start with less. If you are sensitive to scents, either go scent-free or start with 10 drops of essential oil and test it out for a few days. You can always add more drops later.
The three scent combinations I’ve tried thus far are these:
11 drops tea tree oil, 15 drops lavender oil, 4 drops sweet orange oil
20 drops lavender, 10 drops bamboo
5 drops eucalyptus, 5 drops lavender, 3 drops tea tree, 10 drops cinnamon, 5 drops cedarwood, 2 drops peppermint
I really liked the scent of the lavender/bamboo. I don’t like the addition of the sweet orange. I added tea tree oil because of the antibacterial properties. The cinnamon, cedarwood, peppermint combo is very earthy, but I like it.
Common scents that are used for their pleasant scent and properties are: lavender, tea tree, lemongrass, bergamot, rosemary, citrus, and eucalyptus.
5. Stir until all combined! I found that putting the jar back into the stove pot* with the warm water helps fuse the ingredients together while you stir. I use an extra wooden skewer stick and then wash it and use it again next batch.
*If you put the glass jar back in the water to heat up the mixture again, take it out and let it cool for 10ish minutes before placing it in the freezer. Glass and rapid temperature changes DON’T MIX.
6. Put on the lid and set in the freezer for 30-60 minutes in order for the mixture to start setting.
7. Take it out of the freezer and let it set the rest of the way (depending on the temperature of your house this should take ~1-2hrs) then put it in your bedroom or bathroom to use!
8. To use, scoop out a pea-sized amount from the jar with your finger or a spoon, if you'd like, and gently rub well into your armpits. Wait 10 minutes before putting clothing on to give your skin a chance to soak up the goods.
JUST THE BONES RECIPE:
Melt 3Tbsp coconut oil in a glass jar by semi-immersing the glass jar with the coconut oil in it into warm water.
Once melted, remove jar and stir in 1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch, 1 ½ Tbsp baking soda, and essential oils.
Freeze for 30 minutes then keep at room temperature.
To use, scoop out a pea-sized amount from the jar and gently rub well into your armpits.
Wearing homemade natural deodorant tips:
If your bathroom is small and gets hot and humid when people take showers, don’t keep your coconut oil based deodorant in there because it will melt.
Apply deodorant first thing so it has time to soak into your skin while you wash your face, brush your teeth, etc. Even regular deodorant needs 10 minutes to soak into your skin before you get dressed so the deodorant adheres to your skin and not to your clothes. But this is especially true for coconut oil-based deodorant. I can tell a difference when I skip this step.
Don’t keep it in the fridge unless you have to. I’ve found that when I’m applying fresh-from-the-fridge, it is incredibly difficult to get the paste out and it melts too quickly against my skin. I don’t want it to melt, I want to rub the deodorant paste IN, and I think that happens best when the deodorant is a paste.
If your deodorant melts, just repeat steps 5-7.
If you want to add more essential oil drops to make the scent stronger, melt the deodorant just like we did in step 2, add the drops, and repeat steps 5-7. Just remember that you can always add, but you can't detract.