DIY Extra Strength Deodorant

I’ve been working on an extra strength deodorant recipe for a long time now.  I’ve always liked my other deodorant recipe (the Gentle Deodorant recipe) for times when I’m at home but it wasn’t really cutting it for when I’m running around like crazy at work!  The reason I kept failing, however, was because I think I was just getting a little too fancy with the recipes.  Turns out, it was just a matter for finding a good starch that absorbs sweat effectively and the right proportions of the bacteria-killing baking soda and essential oils.  Add a few spritz of my favorite DIY Body Spray, and I’m good to go for the day!

DIY-Extra-Strength-Deodorant pin

Ingredients:

Note: I’ve noticed that not all tea tree oils are created equal.  If you have sensitive skin and aren’t sure how strong your tea tree oil is, you might want to start with a small amount (like 10 drops).  You can always soften your deodorant once again and add more tea tree oil if you want.

Steps:

1. Lightly heat your coconut oil so that it is nearly liquid in consistency. I actually just microwaved it for 20 seconds because I was being lazy but generally, I like the double broiler method which looks something like this:

DSCN0370

2. Once your coconut oil is just melted, add in your tea tree oil and grapefruit or lemon essential oil.  Stir really well.

3. Start adding small amounts of potato starch and baking soda; every time you add a bit, stir well to completely incorporate. Keep doing this until you’ve added the full amounts of each.

4. Leave the mixture out to thicken, stirring it every 10 minutes or so.  (The stirring is necessary so that the baking soda/potato starch doesn’t all just settle at the bottom.  You can cool it in the fridge if your house is too warm for the coconut oil to harden (just make sure to still stir while it’s cooling).

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31 replies

  1. Hi Alex! I’m excited to make your deodorant this week. I’ve been making my own deodorant for awhile now, but usually use arrowroot powder, baking soda, and lavender + tea tree oils. I’m wanting to try something a bit different for summer and the fact that yours is called “extra strength” has caught my eye more than once. I’m curious however, why potato starch? Looking at other recipes online, I see that people use a variety of products (arrowroot, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca flour, etc.) and I’m just wondering if there’s something about the potato starch that makes it a better choice than others, or if it’s simply there to help absorb the oil.

    And I’ve gotta say, I love your site. I think about you almost daily in that I am trying harder and harder to make the diet of myself and my family more nutrient rich, every day. I still struggle to balance family and work and have time to cook (and everything else that goes along with being an adult), but knowing that I’m making wiser choices on most nights is a good feeling. I also love how you weave in medical knowledge with nutrition. Good stuff.

    Thanks for all the inspiration!
    April

    • Hi April! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a nice message. It makes me so happy to hear that you’re feeling good about the choices you’re making day to day and that you’re finding my info helpful…I can completely relate how hard it is to juggle all of the things! But awesome that you’re willing to put in all that hard work and effort into it anyways 🙂
      As for the deodorant, I’ve found potato starch to be far more efficient at absorbing sweat than any of the others. I actually don’t know why, but I’ve tried all the other starches and just had better luck with the potato starch. I have sensitive skin so I like that the potato starch let’s me use less baking soda than I would otherwise so it helps me not have any irritation. Let me know how it goes for you! I always love hearing other people’s experiences.
      Have a great day!
      Alex

    • Awesome! Looking forward to the update 🙂 I don’t know how it is where you are but it’s pretty warm here in Chicago (finally…).

  2. I am going to try to make some of this but I’m wondering, can I put it in a tube or is it too soft and needs to be in a container like your picture. I have sensitive skin so I hope this works – I need the extra strength!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Actually, I’ve been thinking of trying it in a tube myself! But I haven’t done it yet. It’s pretty dense so I think it would work though I was thinking of storing in the fridge in extra hot days. It’s usually not so hot in our house most of the year since we live in Chicago (in the winter, I wouldn’t have worried at all) so it might only apply for a few months in the year. Let me know how it goes! 🙂 I have the sensitive skin/need extra strength combo as well so I hope it works out for you!

      • I love this deodorant! It ALWAYS works!

        I’ve been toying with this idea as well and my friend suggested I reuse an empty deodorant container (down side is they’re plastic). Well, I tested it out today and it totally worked! I boiled some water to clean the container out and poured the warm deodorant inside. I carefully placed it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. When I pulled it out, it was ready to use. I’ll have to see how it goes with the temperature of my home — maybe I will need to keep it refrigerated.

        I would love to hear if you have any other ideas for container. I typically try to stay away from plastic.

      • That’s awesome!! I’m so glad it’s working for you! I keep mine in a glass Tupperware and scoop it out with my fingers/small wooden spoon. It’s messier but I’ve just kind of gotten in a habit with it. I wonder if you could put it into a paper cup and them tear away the paper as you used it? It would be a completely disposable system and pretty cheap. I haven’t tried this myself though! I bet you won’t have to refrigerate in the winter but my home gets pretty hot in the summer so sometimes in melts…not a problem in a Tupperware but I could see it leaking out of the empty Deo container!

    • I’m in St. Louis and I have it in a jar in the bathroom. Our house is usually in the mid-upper 70’s, and the deodorant is fairly liquid. I’ve made deodorants with beeswax in them so that they can be poured into a tube and hold their shape in the summer, but I’ve found that the beeswax almost seems to diminish the qualities that make the deodorant work, and it gets dry and chunky when applying and ends up flaking off. I much prefer just smearing some on with my hands because you can really rub the oils in. Alex — your recipe has worked like a charm! Love it! I love the addition of the citrus for summer.

      • Hooray! I’m so glad it’s working for you! (If you do ever want it to be less liquid-y, you can add more potato starch and +/- baking soda.) I agree with the beeswax and found that if stains certain fabrics! No good for clothes…

  3. Hi Alex! I’ve been wanting to try to make my own deodorant because I’ve been paying a lot of money for “paleo” deodorants but nothing seems to work for me. I end up stinking pretty quickly. Even the brands that have amazing reviews! Anyway, in my hunt for a DIY recipe I saw some comments/concerns about using a starch like potato or corn because it may cause a yeast issue (warm dark place like an armpit) Is that even a real concern and would you still recommend this deodorant for someone like me who seems to be sweatier than the avg person?

    • I’m sad to say that I’m sweating than the average person! And have never had s problem with this (in fact, I’m not sure I understand why that would be true.) I can definitely relate to the expense! It’s nice to figure it something that works for you but doesn’t cost a fortune 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Hi. I’m going to try this, but admit I’m scared. I, too, love (hate) my clinical strength deodorant antiperspirant. I was wondering what brand you recommend for teatree oil and the essential oils. Also, I prefer an unscented deodorant. I’d rather not smell anything coming from my pits, if you know what I mean. Do you have any suggestions for keeping the efficacy as high as possible and the scent as low as possible? Thank you so much.

    • I hear you on that Heidi! I think you’ll be surprised by how easy the transition is. The links in my post is to the brands I like so check those out. You can skip some of the essential oils if you want to decrease the smell but I wouldn’t skip the tea tree oil for efficacy.

    • I think that’d be a pretty good swap though I’ve never tried it personally! I have two cats and I just keep it stored away safely.

  5. What is exactly is potatoe starch? Maybe a silly question but I want to be sure. Is it something you buy like corn starch?

    • Not silly at all! It’s just isolated starch from potatoes (they grind them up and dehydrate it all) and yes, you can just purchase at the store or online just like any other flour.

  6. Wanting to try making this one, I am just unsure of the baking soda. I switched to a natural one a little over a month ago and it has left my skin dark and yesterday pretty red. Any recommendation for that?

    • I would try increasing the amount of potato starch and decreasing the baking soda by the same amount (so 2 tablespoons baking soda and 4 of potato starch…and so on until you get it to the level you want). You could also try replacing some of the baking soda with clay (like a white bentonite clay) instead. I’ve done both and found they worked really well! Let me know how it goes 🙂

  7. Hi Alex…you’re right, it’s extra strength!!! I love how it keeps me from being smelly ALL DAY LONG!!! The only drawback is that I get a little itchy and I thought it was probably because I shave my underarms (hair growing back, you know), until my husband used it. He also loves how powerful it is from keeping the smell at bay, but he also got rashes (and he doesn’t shave his pits!). So, I thought maybe it was from the too much tea tree oil (?), but I only used the minimum amount. So I made a batch with the same ingredients, except I left tea tree oil out (and I used grapefruit oil as I did with my first batch). I still get itchy! Is it the baking soda? I read on some of your comments to try using white bentonite clay instead. Should I try a batch with the same ingredients as you listed above, using minimum tea tree oil and replacing baking soda with bentonite clay?

    • Yay! So glad it works well for you! And yes, I think baking soda is the likely culprit. You can try replacing all or some of it with more bentonite clay or more potato starch (I’ve tried that when I ran out and it worked great!). I’d imagine you can increase the amount of tea tree oil again but you can reheat it just slightly and add more if you find you want more of it. Hope that helps!!

  8. I like the idea of this but I m allergic to coconut. (I have an epidemic) what could I use instead that would be as effective?

    • You could try a combo of Shea butter and almond oil (or really any liquid oil)! I’d guess something like 2 parts Shea butter and 1 part liquid oil would give you a similar consistency…though you might have to play around with it a little bit 🙂

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