Does DIY deodorant actually work?

Pierina Ortiz DIY Health

Zero Waste Natural Deodorant

Photo by: Alacazar Creative

Let’s get stinky up in here! I live in sunny Phoenix AZ, and my deodorant needs to work. So when I ventured into more sustainable options for deodorants I was beyond nervous. I was an antiperspirant addict.  I would apply multiple times a day. Today, transitioning from antiperspirant to deodorant is something I don’t regret and this is how it went for me.

After reading on the subject and found out that my body needed to detox from antiperspirant. DETOX.  What! This is the process where are the chemicals from your antiperspirant leave your body. During this phase, the BO is supposed to be extra smelly.  This is why people (including myself) usually discard natural deodorants as ineffective because we don’t wait for our body to detox from all the nasty chemicals.

I decided to help out the process by creating an apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay mask for my pits.  From my experience, this totally worked and decreased the amount of time that my armpits were extra stinky, but my statistical nerd inside of me regrets not using one armpit as a test subject and the other as the control.  I would apply this mask after for 5 to 10 minutes at night for a week.

Now comes the DIY part!  How to make your own deodorant.  Well, this is the hard part. I tried the simplest of formulas: coconut oil, arrowwood powder, baking soda with a few essential oils, but I hated it. Again, I live in Arizona and it’s damn hot here. So my coconut oil was always in the liquid state so applying this was plain irritating.  I noticed that it didn’t really help me I needed a little extra help, so I added bentonite clay to it. I still hated dipping my finger in the deodorant and rubbing it into my pits. So I decided to get the paper kraft tubes that can be placed in your compost after you are done with them.  Also, if you have an empty deodorant tube just keep reusing that!


Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a great antibacterial

Beeswax: To harden up the deodorant

Shea butter: Moisturize

Arrowood powder: Helps absorb extra moisture

Bentonite Clay: Helps to draw out toxins

Baking Soda: Helps neutralize odors

EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT! Everyone reacts differently to ingredients and it’s OK.  After perfecting and using my deodorant for a few weeks I noticed that I started getting a rash on my armpits.  It was itchy and it burned while I worked out. My body was reacting to the baking soda. Again, everyone is different.  My husband keeps using the original recipe without issue, but I do recommend that you start with a low amount of baking soda if you have sensitive skin. I decided to make another batch without the baking soda and my rash slowly went away.  

One thing about deodorant that I did have to get used to is sweat.  I used to think sweat equated to smells, but it’s not true. Sweat is a natural process of our body to cool off and the purpose of antiperspirant is to suppress it.  I used to be very subconscious about getting noticeable sweat stains on my clothes, but I decided not to care anymore, and it’s sooooo been liberating.  

DIY Natural Deodorant


  • 28g coconut oil
  • 8g beeswax
  • 13g shea butter
  • 10g arrowroot powder
  • 12g bentonite clay
  • 0-14g baking soda (depending on your skin sensitivity)


Melt the coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter in a double boiler or in a microwave-safe container.  Once melted, pour the rest of the ingredients into your bowl and stir. Pour into you a deodorant container of choice.  

If you are too busy at life, not a DIYer or just plain lazy, don’t worry you can buy my natural deodorant here

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