L’Egghead Presents: Gee, Your Pits Smell Terrific! (DIY Deodorant)

I don’t know why I got it into my head to try to make my own deodorant. It just seemed like a cool challenge, and if it worked, then I could do away with my Mennan Lady Speedstick and its aluminum and titanium dioxide contents. I found this recipe on the boards and it seemed like an interesting concept, especially with summer on, I figured it would be a good time to test the mettle of the concoction. I think I thought it would be a challenge, and it was, in more ways than one.

The photo on Pinterest looks like this:

The Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup shea buttercocoa butter or mango butter (or a mix of all three equal to 1 part)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tsp  beeswax
  • optional: Vitamin E oil to preserve. I added 1 tsp vitamin E oil for  this recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda (Omit this if you have sensitive skin and just use extra arrowroot)
  • 1/2 cup organic arrowroot powder
  • 2-3 capsules of high quality probiotics that don’t need to be refrigerated (I love Bio Kult brand)
  • optional: Essential oils of choice – I used about 20 drops of lavender essential oil

This recipe can be adjusted to make any quantity that you’d like by increasing the amount of ingredients used. This batch made enough deodorant for my husband and I for about 2-3 months. You could also cut the recipe in half if you want to make a smaller amount.

How to Make:

Combine coconut oil, shea (or other) butter, and beeswax in a double boiler, or a glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it.

Turn the burner on and bring water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth:

Remove from heat and add the vitamin E oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder, probiotics, and essential oils. Make sure the mixture is not hot to the touch (warm is ok) so that the heat doesn’t kill the probiotics.

Gently stir by hand until all ingredients are incorporated.

If you will be making these into bars, pour into muffin tins or other molds while still liquid. If you will be putting into an old deodorant container to use like stick deodorant, let the mixture harden for about 15-20 minutes at room temperature to harden and when it is about the consistency of peanut butter, use a spoon to scoop into the deodorant tube and pack down to fill. Then, leave the cap off overnight to completely harden before using.



So, I set about assembling the ingredients, which turned out to be almost as hard to find as horcruxes.

First I went to the local Vitamin store, where I found the vitamin E oil, probiotic capsules and coconut oil.

 Then I searched a few drug stores, but the only cocoa butter I could find contained additives. The beeswax was the real challenge. Nobody around had pure beeswax, and online the price, when you added in shipping, was too high to make the project viable. Finally, I remembered a little local family farm that has a sign outside advertising honey. I figured maybe they might have some beeswax byproduct, and sure enough, they did, along with arrowroot, and a whole lot of delicious, organically grown produce. This place was an excellent find, and we’ll be frequenting their little store often.

I still needed cocoa butter, so, I decided to try Whole Foods, and they had it, along with an entire line of vegan and raw products, including a whole aisle of natural beauty products that were additive and cruelty free, not to mention ready-made.

By the time I was ready to start, I had already made more of an investment than I had originally planned:

Cocoa Butter: $8.49

Beeswax: $5.99

Vitamin E Oil: $4.99

Probiotics: $9.99

Coconut Oil: $9.99

Arrowroot: $6.99

Baking Soda: $.75

Total: $47.19 !!!

So, I hadn’t even started yet, and the project had already dug deeply into my pockets. My old Speedstick (at $4 a pop) was looking better and better (despite its aluminum and titanium oxide additives) as I tallied up my receipts. Plus, when I told Manfrengensen that I was going to make these, he joked that I had gone “over the edge”, and I couldn’t give much evidence to the contrary…yet.

So I started to think that maybe I should sell a few on Etsy to help offset the cost, but, if I were to sell them, what kind of container would I use? I mean, who was going to buy deodorant that looks like it was made in a cupcake tin?

So I went looking for containers. Michael’s didn’t have them, and neither did a local container store. Online they were pricey. Three containers for $5.75 on eBay, plus shipping. I found them cheaper, at $.91 each on an industrial container site, but they charged an additional $10 for small orders. Then, I was in the shower, which is where I think best,  and it hit me: the dollar store. Buy it, empty it, wash it out, and voila.

So then, I was all set.

First I got my double boiler rigged and put in the coconut oil and cocoa butter while I started cutting up the block of beeswax. But here’s the thing: the beeswax really put up a fight. I tried microwaving it (at 30 second intervals, 3 times), which I think helped to soften it just enough to break off a bit to put in the concoction.

Then I stirred the three ingredients until the wax melted, which took about 15 minutes. The directions say to stir until it’s smooth, but it never really mixed together entirely because of the oily components. I ended up using a wire whisk to break up the bigger clumps.

Then I added the arrowroot, vitamin E, and when it had cooled a bit, the probiotics. Also, I wanted to get a little scent in there, so I added some baby powder for a “powder-fresh” scent.

The recipe says to mix it by hand, but it was really messy. It was greasy, like waxy butter and hard to wash off. I ended up using a wooden stick that was left over from when we painted our dining room. If you plan to make any of this, I would definitely recommend investing in special bowls and utensils to use just for the purpose of making your products.

At this point, the kids thought I was making some kind of cake and excitedly asked whether they could lick the spatula when I had finished mixing. This was a tempting proposal, I must say, just for the inevitable looks on their faces.

I don’t know what you cut your beeswax with, but I can tell you that an ordinary kitchen knife literally doesn’t cut it. Maybe I should have tried a Ginzu…

After mixing everything together, I let the concoction sit and congeal for about 20 minutes, and then used the wooden stick to transfer it into the empty deodorant containers.

And then I let it dry and harden overnight. The consistency was still pretty creamy, and the deodorant had changed color, becoming darker, like an oatmeal kind of shade.

I decided to try it anyway. The consistency once it went on was a little waxy, but not uncomfortable. I set about running the morning errands with the kids, and by 10:30, the temperature outside had reached 93 degrees. I wasn’t entirely dry (remember, it’s not antiperspirant) but my armpits smelled great!  Fresh and actually a little flowery, almost sweet. (That’s right, I smelled my own armpits — for science, People!! SCIENCE!)

So overall, success. If it hardens a bit more, I will offer it in an upcoming contest here on the site. Stay tuned, and stay cool.