Make your own deodorant.

So, we moved to Los Angeles, CA in February. And man, the sun in this part of the country is something else. It is hot and sunny all the time.

Of course, my Mitchum has been my friend for many years. When I first moved to this country, I never put deodorant. I didn’t know sweating made you stink. Perhaps, culturally, in India, it was acceptable. Or perhaps, I was just plain oblivious. Few months into my first job at University, I was summoned to the manager’s office. She was a kind and sweet lady, but fairly straight-up. She told me that folks in the office had a problem…with me. Because of my smell. My Smell?

First, I thought she was joking.

Nope. She was serious.

No one had ever told me that before. I put lovely-smelling lotions before I went to my job. I always sprayed some perfume. In some countries, it was okay to have occasional baths – but not mine. In India, we had a bath every day, and from the city I came from, sometimes twice a day. I washed my clothes, so it wasn’t my clothes that had a bad smell.

Then, I started to think about the food that I ate. Beans was the only form of protein I could eat as a vegetarian, and as a poor student, I often ate at MacDonald. I started to second-guess that the beans had lard that made me pass gas occasionally and that was the smell that folks had a problem with.

Then I did some reading. It wasn’t my clothes. It was BO. What didn’t matter in India was a big deal in America. I started with Secret and Dove solids that gave me horrible rashes. I settled on the gel form of Mitchum and was loyal to it over a decade. I also occasionally bought the Secret Clinical Strength (gel), which is perhaps the best deodorant on the market when it comes to keeping you stink-free. No more BO!

In the last year, I had a change of heart. I read more and as I learned more, I started to question the use of aluminum in deodorants. Aluminum supposedly blocks your sweat pores and prevents sweating. But sweating is a natural process. The goal should be to mask the smell of sweating and not stop the process itself.

I won’t lie. My nose is a lot more sensitive now. I smell body odor a mile away. So, not using a form of deodorant was NOT an option.

BUT – Why use something on your body that is linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s?

I started to experiment with non-aluminum deodorants. These allow you to sweat, because they are not anti-perspiring. But – they do block the smell. You start to feel a bit wet and damp in the pits after being hot for 20 minutes, but at least they seem safer.

I tried Tom’s but I got rashes from it. I have realized the solids don’t work for me, and will avoid it from now on.

I saw this brand Crystal Essence and picked up the Chamomile one. It was pretty well-priced and it was a roll-on. It did its job for an hour and then, it needed to be re-applied. This is a mess-free process and might work for you if you are okay with multiple applications. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being awesome, I would give this one a rating of 2 amongst natural deos.

Then – I tried Honest which worked great for a few days (it smells pretty good, BTW) and I like that it is a spray – but then, I used it once after shaving and it stung me – – OUCH! So, clearly it has something in it that my body does not like.

Also – Once, I used Crystal Essence in the morning and then sprayed Honest in the afternoon, and had a reaction. Rashes, again. And that itchy feeling that only went away after I put some coconut oil on it.

So – I think Honest is good. You will need to reapply a few times but it is better than Crystal Essence. It is also priced higher. Remember not to use it with other deodorant brands and definitely not after shaving your armpits. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being awesome, I would give this one a rating of 3.75 amongst natural deos.

After trying brands with and without the aluminum, I thought to make my own. This is not my recipe but I found it online and have been using it since a whole year. And it has worked for me. Perhaps it will work for you too. Here it is:


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Essential Oil of your choice


  1. Mix baking soda, cornstarch, and arrowroot powder in a bowl
  2. Add coconut oil and blend it
  3. Add 10-20 drops of your chosen essential oil (I used a combination of sweet orange and vanilla)

I usually add a little more coconut oil to make it a smoother paste. Corn starch is your natural antiperspirant but don’t add too much of it else it would make a very chalky deodorant.

Take a pea-size amount in your hand, rub it well on your hands. This will warm up the coconut oil and dissolve the powders. Then apply it.

If you are not careful, this deodorant will leave white marks on your clothes near the armpits. But this product is totally natural and a round in the washing machine should get those marks off!

Store your deo in a cool place. If you keep it near the sun, the coconut oil will change states from solid to liquid.

Happy deodorant-making!


Photo Credit: Photo Pin



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