Natural Deodorant


natural deodorant made with coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and the essential oils you choose

For whatever reason, no reason at all, really, just out of curiosity, a couple of weeks ago I decided to google around and look up how to make your own deodorant. And I learned I already had everything you need! Except Arrowroot. So I went and bought some Arrowroot powder (it’s like cornstarch or I guess in UK lands it’s called “corn flour”)…and the next thing I knew my kitchen countertops looked like a mad chemist’s workshop.

I had water boiling…I had baking soda going over here, arrowroot over there, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and white cider vinegar, tea tree oil, oil of oregano, rosemary oil, real vanilla, bay leaves…to name but a few ingredients…and empty bottles and jars and you name it all spread out on the counters…oh, and yeah, the main ingredient being coconut oil. I have found more and more uses for coconut oil!

The “recipe 1” here is what I used.


3 Tablespoons (T) coconut oil, 3 Tablespoons (T) baking soda, 2 T (Tablespoons) shea butter, 2 T (Tablespoons) arrowroot powder, and a total of about 10-20 drops of essential oils, or whatever feels right, smells right to you

Recipe 1- What You Need:

  • 3 T Coconut Oil
  • 3 T Baking Soda
  • 2 T Shea Butter
  • 2 T Arrowroot (optional)
  • Essential Oils (optional)

I followed her instructions, putting the coconut and shea butter into a 1-quart glass recycled spaghetti sauce jar and placing that in a bowl of hot water, then stirring those ingredients with a pair of chopsticks (long & reach down all the way to the bottom of the jar) as they melted.  Then I added the essential oils — I added oregano and rosemary oils, because I had them from my “skin issues” phase a year ago, and because I knew they were good for the skin, and smell good; and I like a “green” note in fragrances — and then the baking soda and arrowroot.  It was a liquid, and I poured the liquid into two small 4-ounce new Ball jars with the screw-on two-piece lids.


plain baking soda, mix with a dab of coconut oil on top of the jar, apply to armpits

Then I learned that you can make a real simple deodorant by just using baking soda, or even just plain coconut oil. Some people — me included — have started having a rash, using “just” baking soda, so that’s where the arrowroot powder comes in.  I had tried, the day before looking up this recipe online, just using baking soda alone, or baking soda and coconut oil, right after showering, when my armpits were still a little damp.  The plain baking soda worked, but a day later when my armpits became bright pink, I knew this was not a long-term answer.  I had to find something else.

My next recipe was mixing 1 part baking soda, 6 parts arrowroot powder into a jar, shaking that up good, and putting that into a container that you’ll use it out of. I read a lot of comments and responses — a lot of people are getting into this whole natural pharmacy thing — and I liked one person’s blog comment saying they add two bay leaves to the jar, and sprinkle in a little essential oil.


1 part baking soda, 6 parts arrowroot, about 5 drops of tea tree oil — or whatever other essential oil you’d like to very subtly smell like — on two bay leaves; shake it up good, put it in a jar you will use out of, and use a makeup brush to dust it on your body parts — using the makeup brush *only* for this purpose

Ah! Bay leaves. I have them. I sprinkled some tea tree oil on the bay leaves, then added the arrowroot & baking soda mixture… it’s a dry mixture that you can apply to your pits with your hands, or as some people suggested, use a face powder brush to apply the powder to your pits.  I put this dry mixture into another 4-ounce Ball jar with a two-piece lid, and put that in my bathroom cupboard, found a nice fat thick makeup brush to dust it on with, and I was all set & ready to go.

The first few days of not using store-bought deodorant or antiperspirants, I understand, you go through a stinky detox period.  I did that.  My body went through a phase of getting adjusted to the natural products.

The first couple of days I used just baking soda; that didn’t work too well for me, as it inflamed my armpits, so the next few days I tried the coconut oil & shea butter & baking soda deodorant.  That worked very well!

A few days into it, I noticed my armpits were getting inflamed again, though, so on those days I used the dusting powder, and that worked very well also.IMG_2248

Also, for whatever reason — not sure if this is connected to applying the deodorant or not — my fingertips on my right hand were getting very dry.  So some adjustments I made:  I started applying the deodorant with the back side of an elegant natural horn spoon, something I bought at Target years ago and never could find a use for.  Yes!  This works very well, and adds a nice elegant pleasing natural touch in my bathroom cupboard.  It’s been several days now that I’ve used the horn spoon as an applicator, and my fingertips aren’t drying out as much, and the deodorant seems to be working quite well.


my lovely, streamlined, de-cluttered, natural-products-only bathroom cupboard ❤

How effective are these products?  It is winter here, where I live, by the way, and I’m not sweating a whole lot.  I notice on the days I use the coconut oil / shea butter paste deodorant, all is well.  I don’t notice any odor all day long, and no odor even the next morning at shower time.  However, with the deodorant dusting powder, I notice that by the next morning it’s time for a shower!  It’s not as effective in the long haul.

Also, the first day I tried out my new coconut oil & shea butter deodorant paste with the oregano oil in it, I had to laugh…I smelled like a pizza.  I was going out that day to go shopping in the city, and hoped that a tall dark handsome wealthy Italian man might start stalking me.  I had no such luck, sadly.




I’m still using up my first batch of homemade deodorant with shea butter and coconut oil — there’s probably still a month’s worth of the recipe left, but I’ll be traveling soon and wanted a batch to take with me in unbreakable travel size containers, so I made up a new recipe today.

First of all, it’s amazing to me that it’s lasted this long.  Did I make a double batch to begin with?  Maybe.  Probably, actually.  Still, I made this recipe months ago and it’s not used up yet — and 3 or even 6 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2 or 4 tablespoons of shea butter, the baking soda and arrowroot and whatever essential oils I used probably cost me $2 altogether.  Maybe less.  I’ve used it for four months and it’s worked as well as, even better than, store-bought deodorant.  What’s more, what I’ve put into my recipe is actually *good* for my body.

Second, I’m still noticing that every second or third day my armpits are a touch red, and maybe a little sensitive, and sometimes I’ve noticed they darken.  The dark spots haven’t stayed.  What I’ll do on those “red” days is use straight coconut oil.  I have a little tub of straight coconut oil in my bathroom cabinet next to the homemade deodorant, and use that for face lotion, dry skin lotion anywhere, and deodorant when I need to.  It’s not an “anti”-perspirant, though, and I don’t expect it to act like it; in other words, the day after I’ve worn it, I can tell it’s time for a shower and a new application of homemade deodorant.  THAT stuff really works.  It’s even working still the next day, usually.

This time I made the recipe the same, but added additional essential oils.  Last time it was oregano and rosemary oils; this time I added tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar wood, and pine needle to the rosemary and oregano mix — three drops at most of those — and whooWEE!, does it ever smell “green”!  I am going to be smelling like a pine forest.

This has been so much fun, and so empowering, learning that I can make anything I need for my body, right here at home, with simple, healthy ingredients.  I highly recommend it.



About Susan Bame

Writer, Mediator, Facilitator, Teacher, fascinated with indigenous forms of conflict resolution. I love watching people become empowered. I have a master's degree in conflict resolution and a personal interest in organic food, detoxing and healing the body, alternative holistic approaches to health, self-empowerment and win-win solutions through mediation, Structured Water™, and energetic healing. I lived on the Omaha Reservation in northeast Nebraska for ten years, worked with Native families in the area, and have a great interest in Native history, culture, practices, traditions, stories, and current affairs. View all posts by Susan Bame

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