How to Make Natural Deodorant That Work

Ah, the eternal quest: stay fresh and dry, without a bunch of toxic crap-ingredients found in both conventional and many natural deodorants and antiperspirants. If only you could learn how to make natural deodorant that works–like truly works, also has moisture-absorbing properties (without toxic ingredients), and doesn’t stain your clothes (you know all too well those nasty yellow pit stains on your favorite white blouses).

Sound like a fantasy?

It’s not.

In this post, I’m going to share how to make natural deodorant that works. It’s an easy-to-make three-ingredient recipe so clean you could eat it (not that it would taste very good), with an optional extra ingredient to add a naturally fragrant kick if you’d like.

I have made and worn the natural deodorant in this recipe for years. I can personally attest that this stuff works better than any deodorant or antiperspirant I’ve ever used–conventional or natural.

Plus, this natural deodorant makes me feel confident because (1) I made it myself (!), and (2) I’m not exposing my body to toxins research indicates potentially contribute to disease.

Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant

Technically speaking:

  • Deodorants neutralize or mask odor (they do not absorb moisture from perspiration).
  • Antiperspirants absorb perspiration (a feat that has required crap ingredients, doesn’t always work, and often leaves yellow pit-stains on white shirts/blouses).

Store-bought Deodorants and Antiperspirants (Why You Need My Natural Deodorant Recipe)

Let’s face it:

1) Most natural deodorants don’t work very well.

  • Personally, I find that “natural” crystal deodorant stick doesn’t work well. I’ve also found it smells bad with use—like the stick itself. I’ve huffed on not just my own past crystal stick, but my mom’s and those of a few of my friends. Same deal. (Yeah, I smell things. Deal with it. Smelling = learning.)
  • Others feel sticky in my armpits, while others, like roll-ons, are so wet (and don’t dry) I can’t even tell the difference between them and my own sweat. (The same can be said for many conventional deodorants as well.)

2) There are crap ingredients in conventional deodorants and even “natural” deodorants (yes). Your armpit is smack dab in a hot-spot of your lymphatic system. What you put on your armpit-skin is quickly absorbed, gets into your bloodstream, and eventually winds up in your liver. If your liver isn’t functioning optimally (which is the norm in the modern world, not the exception) your body can’t detoxify these toxins.

Some toxins don’t even make it as far as your bloodstream. Some of what gets absorbed via your armpit skin gets deposited and stuck in breast tissue (especially in women, but also in men).

Don’t get me started on conventional deodorants’ crap ingredients. One example: manufacturers rely on usually-chlorinated phenolic compounds, like triclosan, a harsh antimicrobial used to mask body odor produced by bacteria that grows on sweaty skin. This is bad new because triclosan kills your good bacteria, allowing bad bacteria to proliferate.

Environmental Working Group also gives the thumbs-down to triclosan:

Triclosan, a powerful pesticide registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, may cause changes in the human hormone system, harming reproduction and development. Recent studies also show that higher triclosan levels in people are linked to increased sensitivity to allergens (1).

Triclosan may also disrupt hormone function at large, and thyroid function (2).

Check out EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database’s listing for triclosan.

Even many allegedly “natural” deodorants contain toxic ingredients, just like conventional deodorants. Perfect example: parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, etc.), used to inhibit microbial growth during storage.

Parabens can trigger allergic reactions and disrupt hormone systems (3).

Check out EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database’s listing for parabens.

Deodorant shouldn’t be this complicated or hazardous to your health!

3) There are always crap ingredients in antiperspirants. One word: aluminum. Aluminum blocks sweat glands on the skin’s surface. There’s enough research out there about the potential dangers of aluminum to warrant avoidance of this ingredient.

Research has linked aluminum with increased risk of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. When you initially research the subject, it appears as if the linkage is “controversial.” However, deeper investigation reveals:

1) Aluminum can be absorbed through the skin, and recently-shaved skin absorbs it even more readily (4).

2) Breast tissue absorbs aluminum because it is regularly found in both normal and cancerous breast tissue (5).

3) Aluminum chlorhydrate (the active ingredient in antiperspirants) negatively influences the function of estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells (6).

4) Only very small amounts of aluminum are required to produce neurotoxicity that can lead to neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s disease). Such amounts are easily achieved over many years of exposure (7).

There’s also a reason why we don’t see “natural” antiperspirants: because they don’t use aluminum. So the natural personal care market focuses on deodorants.

Also, remember that crystal deodorant I huffed on? It’s made of alum (aluminum sulfate + potassium or ammonium). This is arguably different (read: larger molecules) than the aluminum found in conventional antiperspirants. However, there isn’t enough research on this kind of alum to make me feel confident enough to use it. Plus, it doesn’t work well anyway (again: stinky!).

As a functional practitioner and vigilant researcher, when I investigate root cause(s) of disease in my clients, heavy metals can play a big role in triggering an array of what I call cascade conditions. Along with mercury, aluminum is one of the more stubborn heavy metals to remove from the human body. Much of what we consider disease (thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, autoimmunity, cancer, food sensitivities, mental health imbalances, etc.) is really a cascade condition. When you dig deep enough, you start to see epigenetic factors, like heavy metal toxicity, viruses, etc. (to name a few). These factors can even turn on expression of harmful genes that would have otherwise laid silent. Sometimes you need to tackle the cascade conditions themselves, but you also have to address the root cause(s). It’s a delicate art and science to determine which goes first, and how to titrate effective evidence-based healing protocols.

But case in point: aluminum (a heavy metal) is a biggie to get out of your personal care products (not to mention your cookware and food storage containers!).

My Recipe: How to Make Natural Deodorant That Works

So without further ado, here’s how to make natural deodorant that works better than any store-bought brand–with some safe moisture-absorbing properties to boot.

(To clarify, it’s not that this formulation prevents perspiration; it simply absorbs it–naturally. Prevention = bad. Absorption = good.)


  • 2 Tbsp organic arrowroot starch/flour (other options: non-GMO cornstarch or tapioca starch)
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil (refined or unrefined)
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • OPTIONAL: A few drops of organic steam-distilled rose essential oil (or sandalwood, or jasmine–your choice!)

Want to make more or less? Just keep the proportions 2:1:1 (arrowroot : coconut oil : baking soda), and you’ll be a-okay.


1. Melt coconut oil over stove until liquid. If the weather is warm, nature may have already taken care of this step for you.

2 Pour coconut oil into bowl or glass storage container. (I like to mix my deodorant directly in the glass container I plan to store it in because I’m lazy strategic and like to reduce the number of things I have to wash.)

3. Mix in dry ingredients, stirring with a small spatula (I’ve used a chopstick and that works too). Stir until smooth and you don’t see any lumps.

4. If desired, add a few drops of an organic essential oil of your choice. Stir to homogeneously distribute.

5. Apply with your fingertips.


  • The mixture’s consistency will fluctuate with the weather, or depending on where you store it. It will be more viscous during warmer months, and harder during cooler months.
  • If you want the mixture to be thicker, add in extra arrowroot powder and stir. If you want the mixture to be thinner, let your glass container sit in warm water until it softens, then add in extra melted coconut oil and stir.
  • If you find clumps/white powder left behind in your armpits after application, you’ll want to follow the instructions above to thin the mixture.
  • A note, if you don’t like applying with your fingers: I’ve been playing around with a recipe that includes shea butter. This additional ingredient would allow the mixture to hold a stable form without being too hard or crumbling, so it could be stored in a standard plastic deodorant container. But this solution presents another problem: plastic. If I’m DIY-ing my personal care products, I want to it to be and stay as clean as possible. And plastic ain’t clean (yes, even “BPA-free”). I don’t mind using my fingers because I have greater control over how much I use, and where it gets applied. And you’ll soon realize how a little goes a long way with this recipe.

Save Money

I’ve seen a few natural deodorants with ingredients similar to mine hit specialty store shelves–touting rather outrageous price-tags.

People have told me I should package this stuff myself, but I’d much rather teach you how to Do-It-Yourself whenever possible.

Here are some reasons why you should make your own, instead of buying pricey products with similar ingredients:

  • A little of this natural deodorant recipe goes a long way.
  • Ingredient-cost = cheap.
    • A one-pound bag of arrowroot starch might run you $5-$10. It will take you forever to use the whole bag, if you’re solely using it to make deodorant.
    • A box of baking soda costs next to nothing.
    • You should already be eating coconut oil. You can easily spare a tablespoon to make natural deodorant every couple months.
  • If you consider that time is money, and this recipe takes mere minutes to prepare, this natural deodorant is by far and away the best bang for your buck.

Bonus: Makes Great Gifts!

This recipe can be used to make great gifts too!

I make a big bowl of it, then pack it into pretty glass containers (like the one pictured in the feature image). I add some decorative string to affix a card, and voila!

Pretty soon, your gift-recipient will be asking you for the recipe. When that happens, you can share this post.

If you have a health problem you’re committed to getting to the bottom of, and you’re curious about how my incisive systems-thinking approach can help, learn more about my Custom Coaching HERE.

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DISCLAIMER: This website, and the contents published herein, are intended for educational purposes only. They are not intended, nor should they be used in any way to replace sound consultation, diagnosis and treatment by a licensed medical practitioner. This website and its contents are not intended as, nor should they be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or prescriptions. Always consult a qualified licensed medical professional before making any dietary, supplement, exercise, or lifestyle changes. Read full disclaimer HERE.

Image copyright Erika Herman


1. Triclosan: Not Safe, Not Effective.

2. Teen Girls Body Burden of Hormone-Altering Cosmetics Chemicals.

3. Ibid.

4. In vitro study of percutaneous absorption of aluminum from antiperspirants through human skin in the Franz™ diffusion cell.

5. Aluminum concentrations in central and peripheral areas of malignant breast lesions do not differ from those in normal breast tissues.

6. Aluminum, antiperspirants and breast cancer.

7. Aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease: after a century of controversy, is there a plausible link?