So, what’s the lowdown on DIY Deodorant?
So, you’re looking for an easy and effective homemade deodorant recipe? We feel you. Maybe it’s because you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for at the store, or perhaps you’re trying to solve an underlying skin issue by eliminating certain ingredients. You could be starting your zero-waste journey, or focusing on making your own daily consumables to reduce your dependence on single use plastics. Or, perhaps you’re just like us: DIY freaks looking to take your handmade game to new frontiers by starting to make your own homemade natural deodorant.
Either way, here you are, wondering what the real deal is with DIY deodorants. Do they actually work? Do I have to buy 1kg of arrowroot powder? Who even sells shea butter? We’re here to tell you to close those browser tabs and put down the baking soda, because your journey is almost over! We started Make This Universe (MTU) to solve all these DIY problems, and more (like putting an end to the dreaded baking soda deodorant rash).
When trying to find out how to make deodorant at home, we quickly learned that sourcing the ingredients– or trying to make DIY deodorant without commonly available ingredients like coconut oil, baking soda or the elusive diatomaceous earth– left us asking: how is this even harder than knitting?! Along the way, we also learned a thing or two that we are just dying to share with you. For example; yes, coconut oil will stain your clothes. Not fun. And when you’re DIY-ing, you’re supposed to be having fun, right?
Why your DIY deodorants won’t (always) work
As it turns out, the best DIY deodorant recipes may not be found on zero-waste, green beauty blogs. For a homemade deodorant recipe to actually work, you need to know how ingredients chemically react to one another, including how to combine them in the correct quantities (hint: it involves actual math and chemistry) to ensure the end product is shelf stable, skin safe and simply effective.
Not buying it? Just ask yourself this: why is it that store-bought natural deodorant just seems to have a smoother consistency, last longer and work better than those DIY Youtuber sprays, blogger pit pastes and mason jar concoctions?
Maybe you have found something that works for you, in which case, you’re a natural formulator. Personally, we found we could never really beat the store-bought deodorants at their own game. And if you’re anything like us, an imperfect DIY project is just the beginning of a much longer DIY journey… one that sometimes turns into a business, because apparently that’s how dedicated we are to DIY-ing the universe! And what we did find out was: there's a pretty good reason your DIY deodorant may not (always) work!
Our Secret Ingredient: Why We Hired a Cosmetic Chemist
So, after realizing that we weren’t going to create the elusive “perfect DIY deodorant recipe”, we set out to find someone who could. A homemade natural deodorant recipe needs to take into account a lot of sciencey things – things we couldn’t find on the internet, which lead us to befriending some scientists and asking them: “just how do those drugstore brand deodorants do it?”
As it turns out, commercial brands do it with a secret ingredient you won’t find in bulk on Amazon– they have cosmetic chemists developing their products! So– we hired a professional formulator (yes, our very own Cosmetic Chemist), to help us solve the DIY deodorant puzzle. Apparently there are some things you just shouldn’t DIY. And one of those things is the recipe.
Three Tips for Effective Homemade Natural Deodorant
So, straight from our cosmetic chemist, here are our top three tips for any natural deodorant formulation to take into account:
- Lightweight Carrier Oil or Oil derivative
- High HLB wax or thickener
Firstly: opt for a lightweight carrier oil. So many DIY deodorant recipes online use heavier oils (like coconut oil) in their formulations, but these oils don't absorb as well, and can leave a greasy feel. Unfortunately they may stick around to stain your clothes too. So, it's essential to choose a lightweight oil when formulating.
Secondly, recipes formulated with popular, low HLB waxes (like beeswax) will only make the deodorant go on heavier and stickier, increasing the chance of your pits feeling like they're coated in something– the opposite of natural. Some of these waxes may even make you feel like you're sweating more as they work to trap in moisture, almost like a balm. So, choose waxes with a high HLB value for a smoother, lighter application.
Finally, when formulating a stick deodorant that uses oils or oil derivatives, you need to include an antioxidant. Commonly marketed as an additional ingredient that has skin benefits, antioxidants are best used to prevent the oils from oxidizing. Yip, even though natural deodorant sticks are anhydrous (i.e contain no water) and technically do not need a preservative, oils do have a shelf life and can go rancid!
Our DIY Natural Deodorant Kit: Something for Every Body
As you can see, even though homemade natural deodorant may seem simple– there are some rules to follow when formulating one for yourself.
We felt that the best way to make DIY deodorant more accessible would be to get our cosmetic chemist to create a flexible DIY formulation specifically for you to use when making your own DIY deodorant! With the added bonus of not having to buy ingredients in bulk as you experiment with what works for you, our kits will have you on your way to making that dream natural deodorizer in minutes.
So, here’s to natural deodorant with a little less DIY (like the dodgy recipe and lengthy ingredient hunt) and a whole lot more fun getting to make safe, shelf-stable, baking soda free, and effective natural deodorant.
To get acquainted with a few basics behind how Natural Deodorant actually works, and how to navigate our ingredient categories, plus a little bit more science to back it all up, keep an eye out for our next blog post!
TLDR? Don't worry, you can get all this info at more by signing up for one of our workshops here.