DIY coconut lime deodorant

homemade coconut lime deodorant

I’ve been so curious about this project.  Who is going to be brave enough to try it … and who will just think I’m crazy?

Well dear readers, I am only crazy in an effort to bring YOU natural, healthy solutions to common problems.

And clearly underarm stinkiness is a common problem!

But first, why isn’t my store-bought deodorant, or *gasp* anti-perspirant, good enough?

Have you looked at the ingredients list on your stick of deodorant?

Active Ingredients:Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY (17.8% W/W).Inactive Ingredients:Cyclopentasiloxane; PPG-14 Butyl Ether; Stearyl Alcohol; Hydrogenated Castor Oil; PEG-8 Distearate; Fragrance (Parfum); Talc; Corn (Zea Mays) Starch; Vegetable Oil (Olus); Glyceryl Oleate; Propylene Glycol; BHT; t-Butyl Hydroquinone; Citric Acid .

Them’s chemicals, ’nuff said.

OK let’s look a little more closely.  Here’s the full analysis of this deodorant on the EWG site.

Aluminum is found in most anti-perspirants to physically block sweat from leaving your pores.  It absorbs into your skin cells, causing them to take on more water and swell, thereby blocking the sweat glands – read how it works here.  But isn’t sweating how our body releases toxins?  Yes.  This is why aluminum in anti-perspirants is so controversial.  Speculation is everywhere across the internet about whether it causes breast cancer or Alzheimers or a variety of other  conditions … but the truth is, we just don’t know yet.

Fragrance the big mystery ingredient which could contain anything from safe essential oils (which it probably doesn’t, because they’re expensive) to toxic, carcinogenic chemicals.  Companies are allowed to hide all of these ingredients in their proprietary fragrance.  It’s just a big question mark what you’re getting with this!

Stearyl Alcohol is drying and a potential skin irritant.

Talc is questionable because of risk of contamination with asbestos.

BHT is classified by EWG as causing cancer, endocrine disruption and potential reproductive toxicity.  Awesome!

Plus a slew of other questionable ingredients you can find in the full analysis link above.  And this deodorant only ranks a 5 on the EWG scale of toxicity!

Fortunately, there is a better and more natural alternative.

Anti-perspirant stops you from sweating.  We can’t make this at home, and we might not even want to (if you believe it’s good to sweat out toxins!)

What we can do is make a natural deodorant which inhibits bacterial growth so you smell sweet all day long.  Hooray!

This deodorant is simple and it works for me.  Variations of this recipe are all over the internet, but after a lot of experimentation, this is the blend that I love and use regularly.

homemade deodorant ingredients

This lovely, tropical-smelling homemade deodorant contains 4 ingredients:

  • Coconut oil.  Coconut oil is moisturising and has a natural antibacterial effect.
  • Arrow Root Powder.  Silky smooth for a nice texture.  I prefer Arrowroot powder to cornstarch, because cornstarch may encourage yeast growth? Not good.  Stick with Arrowroot.
  • Baking Soda.  Absorbs odors (you know how Grandma kept a box in the fridge to make it smell nice … same idea in your underarms!)
  • Essential Oils.  Antibacterial again, and odor-busting.  I use lime essential oil for a tropical fragrance!

And here’s how to make it:

DIY Coconut Lime Deodorant

2 Tb. coconut oil  (buy at your local health food store, or find it online here: US shop / UK shop)

1 Tb. baking soda  (Find this at your grocery store.  Also called Sodium Bicarbonate or Bicarb or Bicarbonate of Soda)

3 Tb. arrowroot powder (I buy this in the baking aisle of my grocery store, or find it online here: US shop / UK shop)

5 drops lime essential oil, or your preferred essential oil (you can buy this online here: US shop / UK shop)

 

Just mix it all together and put into a container.  If you want easier mixing, melt the coconut oil first and then let harden before using.

making homemade deodorant

Always always always label the container!

label your homemade deodorant

To use, scoop out a little bit (maybe 1/4 tsp) on your finger, press against your underarm for a few seconds to soften, then rub in.  Repeat on the other side.

homemade deodorant

My little secret: the top of my deodorant did not look this good at first.  So, I melted it down with a hairdryer for a few seconds, then smoothed it with a knife.  Yes, I admit it.  Pretty beauty products are more fun though!

Troubleshooting:

  • Coconut oil melts at very low temps, so if you live in a hot climate, you might want to store this in the fridge.  Or add a bit of beeswax to hold it together.
  • Baking soda can irritate some people’s skin.  If you want more odor-fighting, increase the amount of baking soda.  For a gentler deodorant, decrease the baking soda, or leave it out alltogether.
  • Don’t like coconut lime?  Use a different essential oil like tea tree or lavender.
  • Lime essential oil makes your skin extra sensitive to sunlight.  Since you use deodorant under your arms, it shouldn’t be a problem!

Effective deodorant seems to be a very personal thing, so change the ratio of baking soda and arrowroot powder until you find what works for you!

Are you brave enough to try homemade deodorant?  

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119 Responses to DIY coconut lime deodorant

  1. Christine says:

    I used just straight coconut oil and it worked very well as a deodorant, even in a hot climate. After my shower I rub coconut oil all over my body, including my underarms. It takes a few minutes to sink in but then your whole body is soft and sweet smelling for the rest of the day.

  2. Becky says:

    Does it stain your clothes?

    • Brian G says:

      I have been using a similar recipe and it has stained several of my shirts, However, it does work very well at keeping the stink off. I am a fairly large guy who sweats a lot and I have worked out, mowed the lawn and sustained a whole day without any complaints from a house full of women concerning BO. My advice is to keep it in the fridge in a small container (about 2″ x 2″ or smaller) and shake it out in a solid state and apply it like a rollon. That way you can control where it goes. Then let it soak in the skin a few minutes before putting on your shirt.

    • Niki says:

      I know this post is old but for those reading it now: If you get it on your clothes, I tend to get it on the front of my shirts from cooking or what ever, you can rub dish soap on the spot and let it sit a minute before throwing it in the wash. I also use straight coconut oil because the baking soda does irritate my skin. I keep coconut oil in a mason jar in my bath labeled “lotion” and my whole family uses it to smear all over their bodies, that includes my teen daughters.

  3. Penny says:

    What is the arrowroot for? Will this work without it?

    • Arrowroot is a thickening agent. It’s an alternative to corn starch. You can use it in stir fry and soups to thicken them up (which is why you find it with the spices at the grocery store).

  4. wee forks says:

    Instead of coconut oil, I use a mix of shea butter, jojoba oil, and food grade vegetable glycerin. In the summer I did a mix of tea tree, eucalyptus, and lemongrass oils, but the tea tree was very irritating. So for the winter, I have switched to the more holiday-scented clove, peppermint, and eucalyptus. It’s pretty awesome.

  5. What’s the difference of arrowroot from baking soda? I want to know. Thanks!
    Ps. The one I make works well for us here in the Philippines. Since we have a lot of extra virgin coconut oil..cold pressed, I mix it with baking soda and corn starch. Then I put it back in my empty deodorant t stick container.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Maria,

      Arrowroot powder is a lot like corn starch. The reason I use Arrowroot is because I read that corn starch can sometimes result in topical yeast infections or irritations in some people … so arrowroot powder is a good replacement. If the cornstarch is working for you though, no need to change!

      • I was using corn starch in mine, and it was fine, then I read about the yeast deal and thought I would try the arrowroot. Now I have an itchy rash under my arms. No bueno. Switching back to the cornstarch. Both work great for getting rid of odor though. This is a great recipe! And just an FYI, I actually found an article that recommended cornstarch to treat topical yeast infection, so I think you really just have to do what works best for you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intertrigo

  6. [...] Today I want to share a wonderful recipe with you from Amanda at VintageSavoirFaire.com for a DIY Coconut & Lime Deodorant. [...]

  7. meenohara says:

    thnks for this recipe with easily available and inexpensive ingredients

  8. Jasmine Ward says:

    I’m so glad I found this! I recently bought a “natural” deodorant (wasn’t as natural as I would have hoped) and I started searching on Amazon for an alternative earlier. I was on Pinterest and just accidentally came across this. I definitely will be trying this out. Going to follow you on FB now, looks like you got lots of great stuff to offer. :)

  9. Victor says:

    I’ve been using this recipe for about a month now and it’s far and away the best deodorant I’ve ever used. It doesn’t turn smelly at all after a day unlike store-bought deodorants I’ve bought. Also stays completely solid with a bit of beeswax. I’m a college-aged guy and this works great for me as a natural alternative. Thanks!

  10. curious says:

    Hello, I like in the UK and would really like to know where you found this jard of extra virgin coconut oil? Really want to try this recipe, thanks for sharing! Really inspiring website full of good ideas :)

    • Amanda says:

      You can buy coconut oil in Holland & Barrett (although it’s not cheap), for a less expensive option try ordering in bulk from Aromantic.co.uk.

  11. Anne says:

    I have recently made my own coconut oil, but it is not hard, it is a clear liquid!!!!

  12. Angela says:

    I made this, and I love it so far! The only thing that sucks is that it’s summer, and it’s melting. Otherwise, it’s amazing! Thank you so very much for this recipe/tutorial! You have helped me in my quest to maximize self sufficiency and planet friendly :)

    • Glad you’re loving it! I’ve kept mine in the fridge this summer to keep it solid … but will work on tweaking the recipe to make it more stable in the heat!

    • Sharon Askew says:

      I live in Kansas, and in the summer it is quite hot. I started using this as a powder without the coconut oil. works wonderful for my husband and I. I just keep it in an old sugar bowl with a lid and a powder puff. We just powder up after our showers. I work outside most of the time as we have a small homestead, with gardens and animals to care for. It holds up to the worst of days. Hope this helps those who don’t want to mess with the gooey stuff. Also I have noticed that not using the coconut oil eliminates the oily underarm stains in our shirts. The arrowroot powder also helps to absorb moisture.

  13. Ania says:

    Just made it! Will test it for the next few days and see how it goes! :)

  14. Ania says:

    Can I use baking soda instead of bicarbonate? I’ve run out!

  15. [...] sampling of this’s and that’s that grabbed my attention this week:*Morels! Everywhere! *DIY deodorant. *A homemade rain barrel. *Turn your 2011 applesauce into cake! *French children really do eat [...]

  16. Candice says:

    Hi,
    My husband and I have been using your recipe for a few weeks and love it – will probably never go back. We don’t live in a hot climate, but are having trouble keeping it solid. Any idea on how much beeswax to add? Or anything else?
    Thanks!

    • Maure says:

      Mine has been living in the fridge for the last month. It is its summer house !
      I guess it will stay there until September. The only difficulty is that the kitchen is far from the bathroom but I apply it between the shower and breakfast :-)

  17. [...] Anti-perspirants are one of the first things a natural beauty fan will eliminate.  You can try the natural deodorant crystal,  but I’ve found this DIY deodorant much more effective:  Coconut Lime Deodorant [...]

  18. [...] Coconut Lime Deodorant was included in Tips of the Week.  This stuff is getting rave reviews, and I’ve been using [...]

  19. Jenj says:

    Thank you so much! I’ll check it out.

  20. Jen says:

    Where would I get arrowroot powder? (Assuming I don’t just grind up some cookies :) j/k)

  21. Maure says:

    Just made your recipe!
    It was as easy as it seemed and the result looks good too (thanks for the hairdryer tip!).
    Now let’s see if it fulfills its promiss against bad smells :-)
    This is my first homemade cosmetic product, I am so proud, thanks Amanda !

    Just one additional question : how long does it last? Considering the products included, I am tempted to thing “quite long” but it does not give a clear clue does it? ;-)

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Maure! This recipe should last at least a year (probably more!) since it’s all oil-based.

      Give it a try for 2 weeks before deciding if you like it or not. Some people find their bodies needs time to ‘adjust’ to a new deodorant after using the commercial-strength stuff for so long. Hope it works as well for you as it has for me!

      • Maure says:

        After 2 weeks usage, I can now testify that this recipe totally works for me!
        I must admit I was sckeptical because I tried many natural deodorants before and it never worked. Even the worst chemical products of the market are not always efficient. But this is perfect! And we can make it smell just what we want it to smell.
        I have already convinced 4 girls to make it as well :-)

  22. Nicola says:

    Do you ever find this gets powdery or cakey? I made something similar once, though it included aloe vera gel and I can’t remember the quantities, and it didn’t seem smooth after I applied it. Sometimes it was fine, but other times it flaked off. Do you think it was the AVG?

    I really want to make this work, because I hate conventional deodorant and the BS/arrowroot/coconut oil is by far the most popular recipe online.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Nicola, I haven’t tried using AVG in a deodorant before but this recipe I use is really creamy/smooth (although it goes solid in the UK temps, so you have to melt it against your skin slightly when using). Let me know how it works if you try it!

      • Nicola says:

        Thanks for the reply. Thinking on this more, I think it might be the baking soda that caused problems. Quite some time after I tried this recipe I used baking soda to exfoliate and it left my face really red, so it could just be that the baking soda doesn’t agree with my skin. I’ve since found a baking soda-free recipe online, so I think I’ll try that first and then come back to this if it doesn’t work.

  23. sommer says:

    I created one awhile ago and put it in an old deodorant container. The application was fine, but as it dried, it would flake off my armpits and onto whatever i was wearing.

    What is the consistency of yours and how much do you put on your armpits?

  24. Lilah says:

    Sounds interesting. Can you use any other kind of oil besides coconut?

    • Amanda says:

      Coconut oil is great because it’s solid at room temperature. I think other oils would stay liquid, so the powder would separate and would also be more oily on the skin. Plus, coconut oil has some antibacterial properties not found in other oils.

      • Belle says:

        Hi Amanda,
        wrote this because Im worried about my daughter.She sweat too much and smells terrible after a while, even her clothes smells badly too. I tried using sage and rosemary added to baking soda and cornstarch, yes it works on the odor but it darkens her underarm and stains her clothes too. So is this recipe of yours darkens the armpit ? Thank you and God bless

    • cynthia says:

      If you don;t like coconut oil you can use shea-butter also, I don’t arrow root and wanted to make it right away so I used cornstarch and it is working fine. Hope this is helpful.

    • Georgia says:

      Where do you get the tins from for this project?

  25. Grace says:

    Very cool! I use a similar recipe as this. But I pour mine into an old, emptied out deodorant container for easy use. You check it out here:
    http://wifelife2011.blogspot.ca/2012/02/natural-deodorant-stick-recipe.html

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