Sunday, June 17, 2012


I've resisted the allure of DIY deodorant recipes for awhile because, while they may deodorize well, you're not going to get a very good antiperspirant without toxic ingredients and DAMMIT, I HATE SWEATING. Hate it hate it hate it.

So I clung desperately to my unscented Secret (which of course lists "fragrance" as an ingredient....what?) until these last few weeks, when it started finally getting oppressively hot around here and I realized that, frankly, it wasn't working that well anyway. I was still sweating and stinking and generally being all gross. So if I'm going to have to change my shirt halfway through the day anyway I might as well stop putting poison on myself and at least try not to smell bad.


I started with Anna's excellent recipe. I subbed in shea butter for some of the coconut oil, because...well, I like shea butter. I don't have a good reason. I was hoping it would give it a more sturdy texture since it melts at a higher temperature than the coconut oil does. I wanted to add some kaolin clay because I'd heard that it might actually help absorb the sweat (I HATE SWEATING) but I couldn't find any locally and I'm impatient, so I got some green clay (the kind you use for face masks.) It was that or red, and the green seemed less likely to stain everything.

Rather than rose & vetiver, I'd intended to use a vanilla essential oil (because I only like things and people who smell like dessert)...but it turns out that what passes for vanilla EO is actually a tiny bottle of jojoba oil with a squirt of vanilla extract in it... for $32. Ha. Fuck you. Right. I have a homemade version of EXACTLY THAT that I've been using as perfume, and last I checked, it DID NOT COST $32.

Conclusion: the essential oil market is a scam. Jerks.

So all together now:

- baking soda
- corn starch (I've heard arrowroot is good too, especially for sensitive skin, but I didn't want to buy more crap than I had to)
- green clay powder
- virgin coconut oil (Look in the food aisle. I found Dr. Bronners brand! WTF?)
- pure shea butter
- EO of your choice- in my case, jojoba oil with vanilla in it.
- container to put it in

Now because I'm terribly scientific, let me show you what I mean when I say "one scoop" of something:


That's one of those big honking tablespoon things. Not a real "tablespoon", just a big spoon.

OK! First, because mixing stuff up with butters/solid oils is a pain in the ass, I put one scoop each of shea butter and coconut oil in the microwave for just a few seconds, until I could mush it up into a liquidy paste. The coconut oil will melt faster, but that's ok, just mix it up well. (If you're only using coconut oil and it's a warm day, you can probably skip this part.)

Then add:
1 1/2 scoops baking soda
1 1/2 scoops corn startch
a bit less than a scoop of clay
a few drops of the EO


Stir that bitch! It'll be pretty runny because it's still warm. Put it in the fridge for a few minutes and see if it firms up into a more spreadable texture, sort of thick-yogurty. If you want it even thicker I guess you could add more powdery stuff. Test it on your arm to see if it spreads nicely (and make sure you haven't developed any sudden allergies.) Pour it into the jar, and hooray!


So far, I've been pretty happy with it. The vanilla wasn't strong enough to overpower the coconut and shea, so honestly it could've just been left out entirely- I smell like dessert at a Thai restaurant. I'll probably use all-shea next time because it's actually making me sort of hungry all the time (I know you can get filtered coconut oil that's less fragrant, but meh.) Definitely smells a lot better than my old deodorant though. Or than armpitstank.

I gave it the ultimate test the other day (white shirt, hot car...what, you thought I was going to go running or something?) and I still smelled like tasty sweet rice, and I didn't feel like I was any sweatier than I would've been with the regular stuff that was barely working anyway. The green clay didn't stain my shirt at all, which I was a little worried about. White clay still would've been better, but oh well. (I did have a lovely clay mask facial the other day to use up some of the extra, though.)
Anna's recipe had mentioned that it can sting when you put it on after shaving, but I haven't noticed that so I think it might be the essential oil's fault. All in all, I like it! Probably wouldn't rely on it for a summer job interview in a silk shirt, but otherwise...


  1. Interesting! How do you apply it? Is it goopy? Do you use a spoon or something?

    1. You kinda just rub it on like lotion. Slightly gritty lotion. I just use my fingertips and put a dab on.

  2. This is awesome! I've been spending a butt load on "clinical strength" deo that's probably giving me cancer :(

  3. Does it rub in clear or does it stay the color of the ingredients?

    1. I'd say it's comparable to regular deodorant, where it's not visible when it's on because it's such a thin layer, but it could potentially rub off visibly if you're not careful getting dressed.

  4. OK, so I've been using this stuff for over a year now and I LOVE IT. Also, great, great soaps. It's local to Chicago, which is also awesome.

  5. Yay! I've been making basically this same deodorant recipe for about half a year now, and I have nothing bad to say about it, and have converted some other peeps over to it as well. All in all it lets me down way less than any other deodorant I've ever tried in my life (which means almost never), and it's fun to switch up which EOs you use for a change of pace. To clarify, I just use the cornstarch, coconut oil, and baking soda version, never thought of adding clay...

    1. I don't know if the clay honestly adds anything besides green-ness, but I dunno, it seems logical, right? It dries out your face when you do a clay mask...haha.



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