DIY Deodorant Recipe (That actually works!)

by Cath

Let’s talk about something not glamorous about me: I’m smelly.

My mom hasn’t used any deodorant for years – even if she sweats she doesn’t smell. I kinda envy that and wonder why I didn’t get those genes.

I’ve tried out multiple brands for years and mostly the one that always works for me is Nivea.

But I started to worry about the amount of packaging that goes into a bottle of Nivea deodorant and their contents. There are a lot of ingredients that I’m absorbing in my armpits that are not good for me.

The quest to find a zero waste deodorant

But everytime I tried to switch, I’d go back to Nivea.

I have a powerful sense of smell and if I sense that I’m smelly I get super self-conscious.

It’s one of the things that I was struggling to move to a zero waste option. Changing to cloth napkins easy peasy, changing deodorant SO SO difficult.

However, I kept trying to find a zero waste deodorant that would work for me.

The alum deodorant was a complete fail, other options were as well, I always reverted back to Nivea.

Thankfully, I did have success with “Ben&Anna” deodorant (after several months of so many fails!) but it was a bit expensive.

DIY Deodorant that actually works?

Hence why I decided to try out to make my own zero waste deodorant. Obviously that I love to make so I was also eager to make a new experiment, there’s something magical about learning how to make deodorant. And the best about this? I’m happy to report that this homemade deodorant really works for me.

Obviously, there’s always waste, nothing is really zero waste. The shea butter that I bought came in plastic packaging, but I was able to make homemade body butter, soap bars and lotion bars with it too so I do consider it slightly less wasteful.

Will it stain my clothes?

I was very aware of this issue because some lower waste deodorants stained my clothes really bad. To avoid this when using your diy deodorant, apply it as soon as you leave the shower and let it dry and only after that put your clothes on. What I usually do is brush my teeth and put my pants while the deodorant is drying. This has helped me avoid staining.

Does it last for a full day?

It depends. I want to be super honest here because in my quest to find the best deodorant that would work for me I found a lot of conflicting information. If it’s a very stressful or very warm day, I need to reapply it at lunchtime. This is fairly easy to do, I just put it in the bathroom stall at work. I put a little bit less than I would if I was at home and let it dry for a bit to avoid staining.

Adding the tea tree oil helps immensely in lasting for longer. I made one batch with just lavender oil and found that I was smelling way faster than when I put tea tree essential oil. If you’re allergic to tea tree essential oil, try out oregano, thyme and clove which are also known for there anti bacterial properties. I’ll try it out in my next batch and update this post too.

deodorant in small jar without lid

Is is true that there is a transition period?

Yes there is. My advice to you is to spend 2 days without any deodorant – diy or commercial – and then start using your diy deodorant. This will help your armpits detoxify, if they smell just wash them with regular soap. If you can’t do that, just switch to homemade deodorant and be patient. I found that the first days were the smelliest, probably a week or 2 before back to normal.

Be sure to moisturize your armpits before going to bed during this transition period, this will nourish them.

How to make DIY deodorant

One of the things that I love about making my own deodorant is that it’s very quick to make. There aren’t many steps, just mix everything together, let it melt in a double boiler and microwave, transfer to a jar and you’re good to go. It’s as simple as that.

You do have to be careful about one thing: you don’t want the mixture to be too hot when adding the essential oils, otherwise they’ll evaporate.

deodorant in small glass jar with lid closed

Homemade deodorant recipe

Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil


1. Simmer a few inches of water in a saucepan.
2. Add all the ingredients, excluding the essential oils, into a mixing bowl (metal or glass)
3. Stack the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure the bowl fits snugly.
4. Carefully mix everything together until incorporated. Remove from heat.
5. Let it cool off for about 1 minute and add essential oils, mix.
6. Transfer to a clean jar.

I can’t find arrowroot powder near me!

You can substitute arrowroot powder with cornstarch or potato starch, something I need to test as well but since they have very similar textures I believe it would work.

Make your own deodorant today!

And let me know how it goes, I’d love to know your experience.


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