Monday, June 3, 2013

How to Make the Best Handmade Vegan Deodorant

This is the best natural, vegan deodorant I have ever used! If you follow me on a regular basis, you know I am always on the hunt for an effective deodorant as I have a tendency to sweat quite a bit! I have reviewed several vegan deodorants in the past, and they have all worked fairly well, but this handmade one is by far the most-effective deodorant and it is the only one I will use now.

This handmade deodorant effectively gets rid of any body odor, no matter how hard I sweat. It is tried and true! I've had people say this deodorant is the only thing they'll use now, and that it is the "be all and end all" of vegan deodorants! And these are active people in warm climates, and they claim even on the hottest day of the year at their most active this deodorant keeps them from smelling funky. I don't know how it works, but I suspect it may be magic (okay, maybe not, but it sure feels magical!)!

This magical deodorant recipe requires only three easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients and it usually yields enough deodorant to last me a good 3 months! Natural, effective, vegan and cost-effective deodorant – this is like the holy grail for sweaty broads like me!

Here is all you need to know to make it yourself:

You only need three ingredients - cornstarch, baking soda and coconut oil!
Plus you'll need some small bowls for mixing, measuring cups/spoons, and
some kind of mold or container for the deodorant.

Simple, Safe Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

¼ Cup Baking Soda

¼ Cup Cornstarch (if preferred, you can use Arrowroot Powder)


In a small bowl, mix the baking soda and cornstarch (you can also use arrowroot powder) together. Make sure you break apart any clumps in the mixture – I use a spoon to mush up any clumps.

Here is the solid coconut oil measured out (right before it goes in 
the microwave to be liquefied), plus the cornstarch and baking soda
mixed together in another bowl.

In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, measure out the coconut oil then heat on high in the microwave for 20 - 30 seconds, until the oil is liquefied, like in the bowl on the left below:

Liquified coconut oil, plus the mixed together baking soda 
and cornstarch, and an adorable skull mold I picked up
at the Dollar Store one Halloween season.

Slowly add the liquefied coconut oil to the baking soda and cornstarch. Stir together until well-blended and smooth, with no clumps (break apart any clumps with a spoon or fork). The mixture should now have the consistency of a thick paste, but it's okay if the consistency is a bit thinner. At this point you could also add a few drops of essential oil for scented deodorant, but I find essential oils in deodorants usually irritate my skin, so I steer clear of adding any additional perfumes to this deodorant – the lovely coconut smell from the oil is more than enough for me!

At this point you have two choices - you can keep the deodorant as a paste to smear on your armpits like a lotion (just store in a small Mason jar or other container) OR you can go with my preferred method, which is pouring the deodorant mixture into molds, sticking it in the fridge to harden and using it as a stick-like deodorant.

Pouring the deodorant into a Wilton Pumpkin Faces Silicone Mold,
which works great for this deodorant! They also have a ton of other
designs to choose from - hearts, shamrocks, stars, etc.!

As you can see from the photo above, I like pouring my mixture into some Halloween molds (which are usually either ice cube trays or silicone baking molds). You can find silicone molds for cheap on Amazon (like the link above for the Wilton ones or you can try these brain ice cube trays, which are perfect due to their size and shape!). Once poured into molds, I stick them in the fridge for a few hours or overnight so that they harden. Once hardened, I pop them out of their molds, place them in an air-tight container and keep them in the fridge so they stay hard.

Now, it took a little getting used to going to the fridge to put on deodorant every morning, but for this magical deodorant it was worth it! It goes on smoothly, melts into my skin with no residue (goodbye, white armpit stains!), and keeps me from stinking up the joint all day, every day!

A batch of "spooky" deodorant that will scare your stench away!
Say "boo" to bad B.O.!

Seriously, though, you can’t beat this easy-to-make, cheap, long-lasting, natural and vegan deodorant! Try it and see how magical it is yourself!

Update 11-April-2015 - This deodorant continues to be a great success! I've gone ahead and added all new photos to this post, especially since the original baking soda I included in a photo was not cruelty-free (stay away from Arm and Hammer - they test on animals). I still keep hearing raves on this deodorant, so I'm glad it is working so well for everyone! I am still using it and haven't had to purchase a store-bought deodorant in years! Also, I wanted to update this post in order to answer a few frequently-asked questions about this deodorant, so here goes!

Question: Is this an antiperspirant and will this stop me from sweating?
Answer: This deodorant is not an antiperspirant and will not stop sweating. Antiperspirants are actually really unhealthy for you since they interfere with your body's natural cooling system and clog sweat glands. I recommend staying away from them!

Question: I've used this deodorant but now I've developed a red rash in my armpits. Help!
Answer: When switching to a more natural deodorant, your body goes through a detox period. It has been recommended that when you ditch your store-bought deodorant you should give your pits a break for a week before you begin using this deodorant. However, this is real life, and I doubt you want to disappear to an isolated location for a whole week to let your pits adjust. Instead, I recommend using less of this deodorant - it really doesn't take much for it to be effective. Also, your body will adjust over time and your rash will go bye-bye. If it doesn't go away after a week, try using some apple cider vinegar on your pits to balance your pH levels. Just use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) on a cotton ball and smooth over the affected armpit area on a daily basis until you see improvement.  Another suggestion - ditch essential oils if you are using them to scent your deodorant - they can be irritating to the skin. Note: If it is a SEVERE rash, discontinue use as you may be overly sensitive to baking soda.

Question: How much should I use?
Answer: There isn't a right or wrong answer to this - I use around 10 swipes per armpit in the morning, but I tend to overcompensate and could probably use less and still be protected. I would advise trying different amounts to see what works best for you. Also, one application a day works like a charm - no need to re-apply throughout the day!

Question: Will this stain my clothes?
Answer: Nope! I've never had an experience where I got the dreaded white ring on my clothes (and all my clothes are black, so I definitely would have noticed!). If you do happen to get some on your clothes, it comes right off with a bit of warm water or in the wash, with no staining whatsoever!

Let me know if you have any other questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

Please note: There are tons of variations of this recipe all over the internet and unfortunately I don't have the source for this particular version, but I wanted to share it since it is the BEST recipe I've found! 


  1. Definitely going to give this a try - I LOVE that it is so damn simple, and that I already have all the ingredients in my cupboards. What most often keeps me from trying stuff like this is the trip to the store that is almost always involved. Yay!

  2. How dry does this keep you? That's my main concern. I'm replacing things with vegan/environment-friendly/cruelty-free/etc etc etc after I run out of them. Deodorant is something I'm very worried about especially since I sweat a lot. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cynthia! This is not an antiperspirant, so it does not stop you from sweating (I don't recommend using antiperspirants - they are seriously bad for you!), however, it does stop you from smelling! I sweat a lot too, but this stuff will keep you smelling fresh even if you sweat buckets!

    2. I finally tried your recipe and I LOVE it! The coconut scent is amazing and I appreciate being smelly-free :)

  3. Hey there! New to the vegan lifestyle here. I've been slowly switching mainly for personal health and skin issues, which leads to my question: Isn't baking powder bad for your skin? I've heard it isn't very good for it.

    Just wanting to know before I try this. Thanks! :)

    1. Hi there! Congrats on your new vegan lifestyle! So exciting!

      To answer your question, baking soda, aka sodium bicarbonate, is perfectly safe for both internal and external use. It is natural and has been used for years for various purposes, including medical, personal hygiene, cooking and more. Much safer than your standard deodorant that has tons of nasty chemicals in it!

  4. WOW! This is GREAT! THANK YOU! I just made this last week and it's rocking my world. I've been vegan for 10 years, and was using baking soda as my only deodorant (would just splat some on my pits in the morning) for years and years -- until I went into the working world and couldn't get away with the fluorescent white rings my baking soda would leave on the armpits of my shirts.

    I started using Nature's Gate deodorant about, eh, 4 or 5 months ago and it has not been good. After about 2 or 3 hours, I can smell myself, and by the end of the workday, I try to make sure not to hug anyone or raise my arms. So you can imagine how glad I was to find this recipe! And it WORKS! It's soooooo, so SO easy to make, and to store, and to apply -- and it lasts all day. I even tested it when I was out election canvassing for 4 hours in the hot sun, and it held up. I cannot thank you enough!

    I don't freeze / refrigerate mine like you do; I just leave it in a small, shallow plastic dish with cling wrap over it, and I use my finger to apply it after I wash my armpits each morning.

    1. Yay! I'm so happy it is working for you, Miranda!

      I was also ecstatic with the results of this homemade deodorant! It works soooo well and is so easy to make and cheap! :D

  5. My daughter made a similar product and I loved it..til the rash appeared, along with weird underarm "staining!" Not a pretty picture. I'll have to try again w/your suggestions. Thank you!

  6. Actually, the people who are asking about potential reactions to baking soda have legitimate concerns. If people develop a rash from using products containing baking soda on their skin, it is NOT due to "detox" and will not diminish with use over time. The pH of baking soda is too high for many people's skin, and this causes a chemical reaction that produces a very painful rash that will persist as long as the sensitive individual keeps using the product. I was using a natural deodorant with baking soda and developed a rash, and I was told that it would go away as my body got used to it. It didn't, and I ended up with bloody, peeling armpits. There are natural deodorant recipes that cut out the baking soda completely and use only arrowroot powder. If someone has issues with rashes while using baking soda deodorant, they should discontinue use and switch to a baking soda free recipe. Please pass on this important information to your readers!

    1. Yikes, well, yes, if it gets that bad then definitely common sense would be to discontinue use! The baking soda is what makes it so effective, so I'm not sure if anything else would work as well, but of course if someone has such a severe reaction that lasts over a week they should stop using it. Curious as to what you use now for deodorant?

    2. Unfortunately, I am using the (old) commercial deodorant from before the "experiment." I have tried every other cruelty-free product I can find, nothing works as well. Not giving up, though.

  7. I used this deodorant for 6 months and I loved it. The only problem I have is the melting all the time (i live in a dorm and a fridge is down a flight of stairs in a common area - not keeping my deo in there) and the baking soda slightly irritated my arm pits when I was still shaving them once every few days. Now that I wax, I'm trying this recipe again, bringing the baking soda down just a bit and adding shea butter to try to make it a bit more moisturizing! I've used some store bought vegan/organic deodorants during my "break" from this deodorant and I've liked them okay enough, but this recipe has always been the most effective, most comfortable to apply and wear (some of the store kind is kind of goopy and sticky throughout the whole day), and I love that I can make it smell however I want. I'll comment again if my changes helped me in a few weeks for other sensitive skin kids like me!

  8. I've used cornstarch & baking soda for years without oil. A rash happens from TOO MUCH BAKING SODA in your recipe. You only need about one part baking soda to about 5 to 10 parts cornstarch and it works perfectly. And cornstarch itself, without oil, is anti-perspirant! An OIL paste is not necessary and only clogs pores and makes you sweat more.