Quick Stick Deodorant

by Daisy on 03/18/2009

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In the DIY world of home health and beauty products, deodorant seems to be the the most feared replacement. Stinking is NOT OKAY in our culture, right?

But aluminum crammed in your pores cannot be good for you, and it seems in recent years that store-bought deodorant is becoming less and less effective anyway. This deodorant uses a natural moisture absorber (cornstarch), a natural deodorizer (baking soda), and a natural anti-bacteria/fungal oil (tea tree oil) to keep any stink from developing in the first place.

So, here’s what I suggest….make this stuff ahead and use it on SATURDAY, or a sick day, or any day you aren’t going to see anyone special, so you’ll feel secure and not look like a nut obsessively sniffing your underarms all day. Once you get over the stink phobia, let your body get used to it, and you’ll never go back.

Homemade Stick Deodorant

1. Put 1/4 cup each of baking soda and cornstarch** in a bowl with 10+ drops tea tree oil. (I like 20 drops, but I’m a tea tree oil nut. I hear lavender oil will work as well.)

2. This deodorant can be used as a powder, but if you want a stick, go to the shortening section of the store and buy this solid-at-room-temperature-awesome stuff:

3. Stir 2+ TBSP in until it’s the consistency you like.

4. Smash into empty deodorant container. (Will be a bit sturdier once it sets a day or so.)

When applying this deodorant, use a lighter hand than you would with normal stick deodorant, especially the first couple of days or it’ll drop little balls on your bathroom rug.

Used correctly, this stuff is invisible and lasts for ages, as it works with a very light layer. You should not be able to SEE it once applied.

**If you have especially sensitive skin, increase the amount of cornstarch to 6T and decrease the baking soda to 2T.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivory Soap May 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

We just use empty ones from store-bought deodorant

kim June 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Go to the Asian market, and buy a bag of Alum. It’ll be about $1.00 and there will be 10-16 oz of rock alum. Get a piece wet, and rub it on your skin. It’s like the crystal deodorant.
Cornstarch also feeds yeast. If you are prone to yeasty skin, infections, or such, the cornstarch will help you grow a quick little colony of the stinky, itchy, little critters.
A mixture of 50% vinegar (in water) spritzed onto the irritated area is a quick sting away from a cheap lab test. *
*Verify wit a doctor. (disclaimer)

Phoebe June 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I made this and love it, I keep mine in the refrigerator, cooling on a hot day and keeps it nice and firm.

Rae June 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

If you are trying to get away from the harmful effects of aluminum, then I’d stay away from alum (which although isn’t the same compound used in deodorants is still a metallic compound that can be absorbed through the skin). If you are worried about the cornstarch, arrowroot powder is a great alternative.

Sara June 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Does yours twist up like regular deodorant? I just made mine today and it doesn’t twist up. I melted my coconut oil with beeswax to make it sturdier but it seems pretty gooey still. Will a few days in the fridge correct this, you think? THX!

Ivory Soap June 20, 2012 at 6:10 am

It does twist up like regular deodorant. I don’t rely on the type of oil/wax to make it firm. It’s the amount of cornstarch.

Debbie Loeppky June 28, 2012 at 10:17 am

I will be trying this deodorant soon. So far I have made hair conditioner, shampoo and toothpaste. Thanks.

Melody July 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm

My friend makes homemade deodorant, much like this, and instead of using a used deodorant container, she puts it in little jars – plastic or glass or metal. Then you just take out a pea sized amount and rub on the skin after it melts a bit. It works so well! Sometimes I have an allergic reaction to the tea tree oil and have to take a short break from it and go back to the evil aluminum filled deodorant. 🙂

Sara July 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Why don’t you skip the tea tree oil and use lavender or eucalyptus or nothing at all?? I don’t use any essential oil because my skin is so sensitive and I don’t smell bad : ) Make sure your oil is appropriate for use on skin.

Melody July 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Thanks for the idea! I’ll have to try one of those other oils next time, or just leave it out. Good to know!

PhatGranny July 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm

I just made some deodorant today using this recipe but instead of coconut oil, I used extra virgin olive oil, and instead of tea tree oil, I used patchouli oil. Its really firm, a pleasant yellow, and smells amaaazing. Seems to be a good alternative.

Mia July 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for a great deodorant recipe! I was using baking soda alone before, and it was harsh on my skin. But combined with coconut oil, cornstarch, and lavender oil, it is WAY more gentle and SUPER effective!!! Better than the natural deodorants I’ve bought in the past. I put mine in a jar & it’s going to last forever!

Kimberly August 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I just finished my second batch. I made the first batch with tea tree oil and reeeally disliked the smell. So, I made a batch of lemon lavender and it smells divine! Looking forward to trying it out, once it sets up. Thanks for the tutorial!

Barbara August 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I’d like to try turning my powdered mixture into a roll-on but I’m concerned about adding oil – has anyone found that leaves a grease mark on clothing?

Sophie De Backer August 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm

To Barbara- I use coconut oil (extra virgen) and Illipe butter and no grease on clothing!! Just add enough to hold the powder together, then refrigerate to set the oils -that you heated- and voila!!

Kimberly August 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I love this stuff! I made a batch with lemon and lavender EOs and it smells fantastic. The one thing that I didn’t like is it’s relatively soft. Do you think melting and adding a small amount of beeswax would work with this? I thought maybe a small enough amount so that it sets a little harder and doesn’t make the stick so messy.

Thanks for your input and for posting this recipe!

Sandra Vivas September 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Hi! I have been using baking soda and water for about three years but just recently (inspired by YOU!!!) decided to try this… I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! IT NO MORE MESS! No more sticky hands! I followed the recipe but used Palma Rosa Essential Oil and home made coconut oil instead of the brand recommended and the cream still settled even in this hot hot hot caribbean weather…
THE BEST PAST IS THAT IT WORKS!!!! and I don’t make a mess in my bathroom! And I can travel mess-free! THANKS THANKS THANKS! I feel like THE WORLD should know this amazing invention!

kai November 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I use a combo of tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil in water. I put in a spritz bottle. It kills bacteria and has no wax/caking agents that cause me to break out. If your sensitive to TTO try lavendar eo instead

mrae November 19, 2012 at 11:24 am

I admit, I was skeptical. Could it really be that simple? I thought what-the-heck, try it and decide for myself. I’m a convert now. It has worked great for me. My sweetheart gave me a quizzicle look when I pulled my deodorant from the fridge, but then he just rolled his eyes and smiled. He know’s his turns coming, hehe. I know what’s in it. I don’t have any negative side effects. No animals are being harmed. The revenue goes to the resource providers and I’m reusing my old deodorant containers. It’s a win/win. Thanks and I love your book, it’s a favorite on my shelf.

Nina December 1, 2012 at 11:02 am

I have been making this deodorant since 2010, and it still still my favorite. I have actually been tweaking with it that long! Here’s what I have found really works (for me anyway). I make it as directed, but I use 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil.. makes it easier to work with. Do Not use 3, that is way too much. Then when I’m done, I let it set in the fridge. This recipe makes about 2-3 standard size deodorant sticks, depending on size, so I generally stick all of them in the fridge to set, and just leave them there, taking them one at a time up to the bathroom as needed. After that, I just keep the one in use in the bathroom, and so on.

Jackie Lilleodden January 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Just getting into this sustainable living so I don’t know the ins and outs but I love this recipe, except I am allergic to coconut oil. Is there another alternative for this oil?

Nicole January 27, 2013 at 9:35 am

I tried using this and within 15 minutes my underarms were on fire! They are red and raw. It looks (and felt) like I walked around with sandpaper under my arms. Never again.

cat January 29, 2013 at 11:01 am

this is great! ive been using this for 6 months and im never going back to buying it at the store.
i was wondering though, are you at all concerned about the cornstarch being genetically modified? i just realized this! and i am usually very consious of GMO ingredients in food. whats your take? i guess we could always buy organic cornstarch.

Sophie De Backer January 30, 2013 at 7:39 am

Cat, use arrowroot instead of cornstarch. It is safe (non gmo) and it behaves the same.

sophie De Backer January 30, 2013 at 7:54 am

Jackie, the reason for coconut oil is the anti bacterial propriety of this oil and its consistency. I guess you could use another oil instead with beeswax to make the right consistency and also get the anti bacterial from EO ( tee tree like in the basic recipe but you can also use lemon EO. Others that you can add are geranium and eucalyptus but their action is not as complete). Have fun trying!!

Kayla April 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I LOVE THIS! I added lavender/tea tree essential oil and it’s wonderful. My first batch I just put into small tupperware containers; it worked great but I hated having to apply with my fingers then wash my hands after (lazy, I know!). So this time I reused an old deoderant container. It’s setting now… I have high hopes it’ll exceed my first batch :). THANK YOU!

Klara May 29, 2013 at 8:29 am

I quartered the recipe and made enough to fill a .5oz (tavel size) deodorant container. I usually have to use clinical strength, but lately, store bought just doesn’t work and I have to change brands each time I run out. (Clinical stuff is $$$). I made this for probably 20 cents! Today is my first day with it and I have been able to make it to work dry, which is a miracle! I used lavender EO for this batch and now my husband is asking me to make him some. I figure lavender is too girly, but possibly a tea tree oil and eucalyptus EO mix might be better for a “man flavor”.

Armine July 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Thank you so much for the great helps. So appreciate it!

Jennifer Lies September 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I substitute olive oil for the coconut oil, because I don’t have central air and the “room temp”melting point of coconut oil is not a plus in that situation. The olive oil allows it to harden very nicely and no bad odor. I also add geranium oil to the tea tree oil, and love, love, love the smell. I’ve not used any other deodorant for years now.

Sharee February 3, 2014 at 8:19 pm

I live in Australia and I was reading this. I’m a bit uncertain about what American Cornstarch is. Here I think it’s basically a flour. Is your cornstarch more like a flour or is it actually made from corn? Thanks

Daisy February 3, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Sharee–Well, I’m not sure what you call it, possibly “corn flour” which is what I believe it is called in GB. It is a very white, powdery thickening agent that feels slippery (a dry kind of slippery) to the touch. Sound familiar? If you have it, I’d love to know what you call it there! Oh, and yes, it is made from corn, but it’s a far cry from cornmeal which is coarse and grainy.

Sharee February 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

We do have “cornflour”. The ingredient being Maize Cornflour.

Sharee February 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm

I made this deodorant and was very impressed by it. I had no body odour which was fantastic. A couple of weeks after using it, my underarms were getting itchy and now I have a brown rash under one of my underarms. I used tea tree oil in my deodorant and noticed that someone else has said they also reacted to tea tree oil. May have to try a different oil next time?

Mary March 13, 2014 at 8:01 pm

I am new to this blog. I love the info. I made the deodorant but on the second day a redness and slight irritation on the skin. Any advise?

anonymous July 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm

If anybody is worried about yeast infections and such they could try a vodka and EO spray for their pits. It stings a bit right after you shave, but works great!

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