Happy Armpits: Make Your Own Coconut-Oil Deodorant (Recipe Included!)

By Ana Jadanec

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

I’ve always been picky about deodorants. Not because they didn’t do their “job”, but there was always something I wasn’t too happy with. Scent, consistency, usability, bottle shape, irritation, drying factor… Well, this whole pickyness escalated in 2003 when I read the ingredients printed on the packaging of my store bought deodorant.

Aluminium jumped right at me. Let me just explain what this most abundant metal in Earth’s crust does, and how it ended on our armpits.

Aluminium-based complexes react with the electrolytes in the sweat to form a gel plug in the duct of the sweat gland. What this means is that someone in some lab discovered that adding aluminium complexes into the already suspicious mix of ingredients in deodorants closes pores in the skin and prevents sweat production. Well, this new piece of information officially started my crusade for happy armpits, without metals from Earth’s crust.

The more I focused on finding a health-friendly deodorant, the more problems I’d create. Namely contact dermatitis, which is just a fancy way to say localized rash or irritation of the skin caused by contact with some foreign substance. It would get worse, then better, then worse again… an endless cycle that depended on seasonal changes, temperature changes, exposure to sunlight etc.

I allowed all this for years because my skin has always been very free-spirited and abundantly willing to express itself and its dislikes since childhood; so, I just took it as one of those things that the biggest bodily organ does on an equally strange human body.

But all this changed when I discovered Coconut Oil, a wonder of nature used in the Philippines for centuries.

Recipe for Homemade Deodorant with Coconut Oil

The recipe is simple….

Ingredients:

1/4 cup melted unrefined extra virgin coconut oil which corresponds to 4 tablespoons of solid coconut oil

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup corn starch

10 drops of essential oils (I used lavender and tea tree oil)

Glass jar with lid

Steps:

Place all the dry ingredients into your favorite bowl (you should love your utensils!)

Add the melted coconut oil and essential oils and stir well.

You’ll end up with a fragrant paste which should be poured into a jar before it solidifies. Remember, coconut oil’s natural state is solid, and the end product should look something like this.

Leave it to cool naturally before placing it in the fridge for extra solidification. I like to keep it at room temperature for easier application, but you can also keep it in your fridge.

The Final Word

Oh, and in case you wondered how these ingredients have been proven to work… baking soda absorbs odors, cornstarch absorbs wetness and coconut oil is an anti-oxidant and a moisturizer with anti-fungal/anti-bacterial properties. The essential oils you added will add their own properties. In my case, I added lavender oil as an antiseptic and tea tree oil for its antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic qualities.

And that’s how you can create happy armpits!

Further Reading:  9 FAQs About Happy Armpits: Make Your Own Coconut Oil Deodorant

About the author:

Croatian-born Ana is a quirky star-child who strives to expand into different activities and touch as many aspects of life as she can. She is not here to preach nor teach, just to share a different perspective of life on Earth and the various potentials she has found within. Ana lives life intuitively and freely, and hopes that her love for the starry sky, our space brothers and sisters, planet Earth, nature, dogs, sewing and life will enable her to shine tiny sparkles of hope and love around the world. Visit Ana’s website:  analilscorner.wordpress.com

  • http://Website Shannon

    What can we substitute for the cornstarch, now that we hear that all corn in this country is genetically-modified? I don’t want it on my skin.

    Thanks!
    Shannon

    • Ana

      Shannon, you can use arrowroot. It wasn’t included in the recipe as it’s not as readily available as corn starch. But you can purchase organic cornstarch, which will be GMO free.

  • http://Website T M Sabin

    It’s important to mention that the coconut oil be melted in a pan, NOT in a microwave oven. Microwaving destroys all the natural anti-oxidant and anti-fungal/anti-bacterial properties of coconut oil. Great recipe!

    • DianneP

      …and ensure it is virgin, cold pressed etc. It costs more but it is good to the last drop. I am going to try this recipe.
      From what I read, it may be toxins after a few weeks especially combined with baking soda. A friend did a 3 day eating cleanse and definitely it released toxins.

  • http://Website Sheri

    I just used this exact recipe (minus the essential oils) about a month ago. For years my underarms have felt waxy and gunky. I scrubbed them with a hard brush in the shower every night but never did feel like they were clean. I didn’t know what else to use other than store-bought deodorant until I found this recipe. The first 2 weeks were pure bliss. My underarms felt smooth and tender and I was glad to be rid of my chemical-laden name brand stuff. Plus, this new deodorant cost pennies compared to what I had been using.

    However, after about 2 weeks, I broke out into a horrible itchy rash that caused such bad swelling I had to put an ice pack under my arms. After doing some research I found out baking soda can cause allergic reactions when used in high doses like that. Since I’m not a heavy sweater anyway, I decided to go without long enough for the rash to go away. I did, and a friend recommended using straight coconut oil under my arms instead of the homemade deodorant. After about a week of being totally rash-free, I tried the straight coconut oil, and to my great surprise, the rash was back within the hour and I was miserable again.

    Even weirder is the fact that I rub the coconut oil on my feet for my eczema (after 18 years of suffering, my feet no longer itch all because of coconut oil). I also use the oil on my face, in my hair, on my legs, and in my mouth when I do my oil pulling. The only place on my body that reacted badly to it is my underarms.

    All that to say, if you develop a rash, it could be an allergy to the oil or the baking soda so proceed with caution. At the first sign of redness, stop using and find an alternative.

    I still won’t go back to store bought deodorant though – not ever.

    • http://Website Sandra

      Sheri, what other recipes have you used? I have the same problem. The coconut oil doesn’t work under my arms. I broke out in a rash that peeled like a sunburn. I hate using store bought, but I am not sure what other recipes are out there.

      • http://Website Sheri

        Actually, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I haven’t tried anything else yet. I don’t sweat much and my boyfriend swears up and down that I don’t smell even though I’ve been without deodorant for several weeks now. I think I’m going to try deodorant crystals. I’ve also heard you can mix equal parts cornstarch and baking soda and put it on with a powder pouf. I’ve heard of people having bad reactions to too much baking soda and crystals so I guess we both just have to find what works for us. You can also use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to help kill the odor causing bacteria under your arms. Decisions, decisions. Keep me posted if you find something that works. :)

        • http://Website Shanw

          Vinegar is good to use as well.

        • http://Website Rachelle

          beware also of the corn starch.. i have made a mixture of cornstarch and baking soda and i got a horrible yeast infection in my underarms because of it. i just don’t use anything at all. just sponge bath if you feel you are stinky. problem solved

      • http://Website Ana

        Sandra, you can also try rubbing a slice of lime or lemon. It’s not as harsh as alcohol, and it keeps the bacteria away, hence no BO.

        • http://Website Lynn

          My first husband NEVER used any kind of deodorant EVER and didn’t smell. I told him that he was really weird so he started using deodorant and started to smell.

          • http://Website Wendy

            Another alternative to rubbing alcohol is a high proof, clear alcohol, like vodca. It’s less irritating to skin than rubbing alcohol. It doesn’t work for everyone, but worth a shot.

          • http://wakeup-world.com Karen

            I’m in my late 50’s and I have never, yes never, used deodorant. I sweat in the summer, although as I’ve gotten older I seem to sweat a lot less than I did in my younger years, but my husband has never said I have an odor or should use deodorant. I think more people should try going without deodorant and see what the results are.

    • http://Website Diana

      Hi Shari, this is interesting!
      Wondering if the oil is “pulling” the toxins out of your skin under your arms, where you had used commercial antiperspirants before…..
      Also wondering if you had tried this recipe with olive oil….
      just some thoughts.

      I just discovered this site and recipe and am excited to try them after using “natural” deodorants. I hope they work for me. :)

  • http://www.coconutoilgood.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi Coconutoilgood

    I found coconut oil to work perfectly on its own, but it can get a little slippery over summer and so I add just a bit of bi carb for dryness. I’ve used many deodorants over the years since I have strong BO and I still can’t believe the best fix for me was just a bit if oil. Amazing!

  • http://Website Jennifer

    Vinegar works well. Not sure as a preventative measure but it kills any smell you have and then it’s own smell dissipates as well. I use it in the shower

  • http://Website Fran

    Baking Soda BURNS and makes a horrible rash!

  • http://Website losm

    I found that using aloe vera gel works way better as a base – the coconut oil hardens during cold months and runs in hot months. The AV gel drys after a few minutes.

  • http://Website Me!

    I made this yesterday and tried it today, I am so impressed to the point of being shocked!!

    I normally have to use the heavy duty anti perspirants and even they don’t work that great. Today has been 30*c and very humid, coupled with a trip in a sweltering car and some physical work – dry armpits!!

    Thank you for posting this recipe :o)

  • http://Website Karen Graham

    I really want to try this. I had developed a rash under my arms a few years ago and the dermatologist gave me an antifungal cream but recently it returned. I was getting ready for bed and had Vicks Vaporub handy so rubbed that onto the sore armpit. Voila! It worked so now if my ‘pits get irritated I use the Vicks. Works great.
    I do want to try this deodorant recipe, though. Sounds good.

  • http://Website Bouncy

    I’ve used this for the past two years and LOVE IT!! I had a weird period after about a week where my old armpits started peeling off leaving quite raw skin. I figured it was all the old nasty chemical skin coming away. Since then it’s been amazing! I do use a little less baking soda.

  • http://Website Nancy

    I’ve been doing some searching today and found that people have been using Milk of Magnesia! We love coconut oil and use it for cooking, lotion and I did try a little under my arms today, but with all the talk of rashes I think I may run out and get an inexpensive bottle of MOM and give it a try. I stopped using traditional deoderant about 3 months ago but even with the store bought natural stuff, sometimes there is a little body odor smell. I also take Magnesium supplements so maybe this will take care of my needs!

  • http://Website Caroline

    I made this very recipe about 6 days ago. After only three days my armpits became very sore and red! I have stopped using it and they are slowly improving, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone with sensitive skin try this.

    • http://Website Caroline

      Agree!

    • Aunt Shell

      You might want to try detoxing your armpits a few times with Bentonite clay. That worked for me. No more underarm rash!http://wellnessmama.com/25432/
      I get my Bentonite clay for topical use at bestbentonite.com.

  • http://Website suzanne

    easier and cheaper and less messy: use full-strength white vinegar in a spray bottle.

    • catdogme

      Like regular distilled white vinegar?

  • http://Website Patty

    Thank you for the great recipe. I will have to gather the ingredients and try to make my own. I would like to share an excellent all natural, aluminum free deodorant (I’ve been using for almost 8 months). I’ve tried the salt crystal, Tom’s, etc.. but they seem to work only for so long. However, I have experienced nothing but success with Nutural. After wearing this deodorant all day, and completing a 3 hour session of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates before dinner, there is still NO! stink and no stains on my clothes. I love it. nuturalife (dot) com

  • http://Website Caroline

    Didn’t work for me. Ended up with painful, raw armpits for nearly two weeks! I’ve gone back to crystal deodorant.

  • http://Website Sonia

    SENSITIVE SKIN?
    I have been making my own for about 6 months now and it’s the best I’ve ever used. One caveat: If you have sensitive skin, dial back the baking soda! The recipe above would scratch and irritate mine.
    Here’s my recipe:
    – 2 Tblsp coconut oil
    – 2 teaspoons baking soda (Use less if you have super sensitive skin)
    – 2 Tblsp arrowroot powder
    – 5 drops Oil of Oregano, 3 drops Lavender oil (any oils you like)

  • http://Website Amy

    Love the recipe, but how do you apply it?

    • http://Website REN

      I’ve heard you can use an old antiperspirant container, cleaned out of course, pour the mix and and allow to cool in the fridge or a cool place in your home. Also some people take out with a spoon and apply with fingers or cotton pads.

  • http://Website Patricia Miller

    Thanks for the great info. Though please never put lavender oil or lavender lotion on your body – anywhere. Enjoy lavendar’s calming benefits by enjoying small amounts in baking or cooking – or by enjoying it’s beautiful scent, available in many natural forms, including fresh picked or dried sprigs from the garden. In this form, it’s perfectly safe. However, extensive studies have shown it can cause tumour formation, especially of the breast. If we’re looking to improve our health by avoiding the use of applying aluminum and dangerous chemicals directly on our bodies – we must also ensure we avoid applying lavendar oils or lotion directly on the skin. This includes lavender soap. Thanks again for the great article!

    • catdogme

      Why? What does it do (or why is it bad)?

  • http://elizabethtwist.blogspot.com Elizabeth Twist

    Deodorant crystals are aluminum based! They are natural – but are typically a mined form of aluminum salt. Potassium alum is the most common – bauxite is another thing you’ll see listed on deodorant stone packages. It is also aluminum. I was sad to learn this, since the deodorant crystals worked well for me, but I wouldn’t go near it.

  • http://Website Nina

    hey I really love the idea of using coconut oil and I do believe it helps but when I used this recipe instead of just coconut oil my armpits started to get this really strange smell that I usually don’t even get. could that be from non organic corn starch? did anyone else have this issue

  • http://Website Kristen

    I just made this recipe and I love it. Super easy and smells amazing. However, I poured mine into an old deodorant container and refrigerated it until solid. Now, when I apply it the coconut oil melts immediately as I’m applying to my skin. It’s even gotten onto my shirts. Did I add too much coconut oil? Is this how it should be? What’s the best way to apply?

  • http://Website Tyler

    Does the deodorant melt in your hands like coconut oil? Am I supposed to scoop it up with my hand and rub it on my underarms? Does it leave white marks after being applied? Thanks! The recipe sounds simple and great!

  • http://Website Daisy

    Hi!
    Just wondering, does this stop YELLOW UNDERARM STAINS?
    Because it’s seriously driving me up the wall, I’ve stopped using shop deodorants and I’m currently just using baking soda (which works great btw) but it doesn’t stop yellow stains! I’m still staining my clothes which is sooo annoying because white is my best colour and I love to wear t-shirts but I can’t!
    Please help!
    Thanks you!

  • http://Website Jenn

    The amount of baking soda you’re recommending is *way* too high. The baking soda shouldn’t be more than half of the oil base. I’d recommend half a cup of oil and maybe two or three tablespoons of baking soda

  • http://Website Natashia

    I’ve been interchanging this same recipe and doing another recipe which is apple cider vinegar, cornstarch and coconut oil. Both work well.
    If anyone is burning or overly itchy it has to do with your pH balances and over time you will get used to it. What will help is after showering patting a small amount of apple cider vinegar in your armpits allowing them to do and then using your deodorant. Also use coconut oil immediately after showering instead of immediately applying your deodorant as the deodorant will probably irritate your freshly shaved skin.

  • http://Website Christine

    Anyone out there have anything for Athletes foot both feet of husband are affected, toenails also come away .

  • http://Website CJ

    I tried a similar recipe using bi-carb and coconut oil and have had no trouble whatsoever.
    I DO know that bi-carb dries things out and will dry out skin. I find I need the tiniest amount and it stops all odour completely, even under the hottest conditions. I suggest that those of you having red skin are using WAY more than you need to. The recipe I used had no cornflour in it at all, I can’t see any reason to use it.

  • http://Website dunkledorf

    I’ve been using this deodorant for a few years now and it’s the best! I used to break out in a rash when I used it, and then I stopped shaving my armpits and the rash went away. Could be a reaction to the micro-cuts one gets when shaving. My boyfriend also loves it.

  • http://Website Dennis

    I work out a lot. Been using Lavilin (www.lavilin.com). It’s amazing – an all-natural deodorant that lasts several days per application. Doesn’t matter how many times I work out during that period. They advertise up to 1 week odor elimination, but I never last that long. Really great product. Highly recommended.

  • http://Website Gerri

    I would like to try this, but I am worried the coconut oil will put oil stains on my clothes under my arms. Did this happen to anyone with use?

    • catdogme

      It will not. It’s clear. Plus it washes out well with warm water & detergent (at least for me) and doesn’t leave those oily stains that other oil does on your clothes (like if you drip it on your shirt or something).

  • Heidi TheHeathen

    Use your fingers to apply the paste to your underarms, then wash your hands. :)

  • Aunt Shell

    I’ve used almost this exact recipe for a couple of months now. In place of 1/4 cup cornstarch, however, I use 3/4 cup arrowroot powder. (I don’t want to put a GMO corn product on my skin.) I had rash problems when I first started, but I heard that this was due to detoxing. So I got some Bentonite clay and did a few armpit detoxes. (Recipe here. http://wellnessmama.com/25432/detox-your-armpits/) That worked for me. No more underarm rash!I get my Bentonite clay for topical use at bestbentonite.com.

  • catdogme

    You can get tiny little spatulas in any kitchen store or even some beauty stores (some sell them for mixing makeup, haircolor, etc.) You could use that, or even a cotton ball or tissue, maybe.

  • Beverly

    Ive heard people complainong about using baking soda under their arms. Breaking out in rashes and hives and bumps. What else is good in place of this?

  • jeniefrumdabloc

    Trying this !

  • Shell

    I made mine in silicone cake cases and used it like a lotion bar, it still gets all over your hands but it smells great, so I didn’t mind :)