Today we are going to be making a creamy homemade deodorant without baking soda.
If you have switched, or are trying to switch to a zero waste lifestyle, deodorant will likely be one of the first swaps you will attempt to make. Or perhaps you have already made this swap, but there is something about it that you don't like.
Baking Soda Alternatives
Let me guess... have you experimented with making a natural deodorant using baking soda, only to end up with itchy, red armpits? One alternative to baking soda is magnesium hydroxide powder.
However, I know many of you have a hard time sourcing this ingredient. So I am going to share with you another alternative to baking soda: a mix of gentle clays and the star ingredient of this recipe, zinc oxide.
Using Zinc Oxide in your Homemade Deodorant
Zinc oxide looks like a white powder and is often used in sunscreen. It has really soothing properties which is perfect if you suffer from sensitive armpits or general under-arms itching and redness.
Zinc oxide is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, so it will fight off odour-causing bacteria. It's important to get non-nano Zinc Oxide so it won't clog your pours.
Other Deodorising Ingredients
The other ingredients in the recipe will also contribute to creating a odour and sweat absorbing formula. For example, we will also use a really gentle clay, kaolin clay.
I chose kaolin clays because of its silky feel. I don't recommend swapping this ingredient with another clay because otherwise the product will become too dry and lose its silky feel.
We will also use arrowroot powder, although you can use any other starch. Make sure to check the recipe below for any substitutions. Starches absorb moisture and they also thicken our recipe.
Finally, we will use coconut oil for its anti-bacterial and moisturising properties. We will also add some beeswax, just to increase the viscosity of the recipe. The combination of these ingredients, in these proportions, will give us a non-greasy paste with odour controlling abilities, while will keep us moisturised and dry.
The final touch will be given by an essential oil of your choice. At the moment, I am really enjoying geranium essential oil. Other alternatives you could try are tea tree, lavender, peppermint, palmarosa or even any of these combined together.
How to make a Homemade Deodorant without Baking Soda
- 40% Coconut oil: 28 g/0.98 oz
- 30% Arrowroot powder: 21 g/0.74 oz
- 22% Kaolin clay 15.4 g/0.54 oz
- 5% Zinc oxide 3.5 g/0.12 oz
- 2% Beeswax 1.4 g/0.05 oz
- 1% Geranium essential oil
Baking Soda Free Deodorant Substitutions
If you are using candelilla wax, use just 1% in this recipe. You can also remove the wax altogether but the finished product will lack texture.
If you don't have arrowroot powder, any other starch like corn starch or tapioca starch will work.
You can swap the coconut oil for another lightweight oil such as sweet almond oil.
I don't recommend swapping kaolin clay but you could try using bentonite clay. However, keep in mind the deodorant might become too dry and stiff.
1. We will begin by adding our coconut oil into a bowl, followed by the zinc oxide. Make sure to wear a mask when handling zinc oxide because it's really fine and you don't want to breathe it in.
Zinc oxide is quite coarse, so if we don’t grind it first it will create clumps which will give you an unpleasant under-arm exfoliating effect. So make sure to press the zinc oxide with the coconut oil well using a teaspoon, or even better, use a flexible silicone spatula instead. Do this for a good 5-10 minutes, until all the clumps are gone. If you have a mortar and pestle, you could also use that to grind the zinc oxide without coconut oil.
2. Next, add the rest of the ingredients in, in no particular order (the wax, the starch, and the kaolin clay).
3. Now let's place the bowl with our ingredients in a bain-marie. This way the ingredients can melt gently. This should not take very long, about 10 minutes.
4. Make sure to give the ingredients a stir while they are melting.
5. Next, remove the bowl from the heat and place it on a scale to add your essential oils and then mix well.
6. Now, leave the product to air dry for about 20 minutes.
7. Once it has harden up a bit, but it's not solid and completely dry yet, give it final mix using a fork, a spoon or a whisk. This will loosen up the mixture and will ensure it won't become too solid when completely dry.
8. Now, start spooning the cream into your container. I am using a 50 grams tin for about 70 gram of product. Since it's mostly powder, we need more ingredients to fill a 50 grams tin.
If where you live is cold and the cream hardens again, don't worry, just loosen it up with your fingers. It will easily melt again when it comes into contact with the skin.
Thanks to the mix of soothing and moisture absorbing powders, it will leave your skin incredibly soft, hydrated, and most importantly itch and odour free.
If you try this recipe, I'd really love to see the results and hear from you on how you like it. Make sure to tag me @bottegazerowaste on Instagram!
If you'd like to discover more natural DIY skincare recipes, make sure to check out the Bottega Zero Waste Make Your Own Academy.