Make a natural shea butter deodorant in under 3 minutes (no baking soda & no itchy armpits)

It's time to embrace the power of nature and unlock the secrets of shea butter. Known for its nourishing properties and ability to deeply moisturize the skin, shea butter is more than just a skincare hero—it's a game-changer in the realm of deodorants.

Did you know that thinking that more ingredients in a recipe make a more efficient product is not necessarily true?

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that more ingredients automatically lead to a better result. But let me tell you, that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the real magic happens when a few key ingredients come together in perfect harmony! 

This recipe is super easy. It doesn't involve any melting, all you need to do is to simply combine all 5 ingredients together, just like a cake!

This deodorant simply contains:
1. Oils - will help underarm moisturised and free from irritation.
2. Powders - to keep underarm sweat and odour free. 
3. Essential oils - to make your armpits smell nice for longer and prevent odour-causing bacteria from forming

Have a read at each ingredient profile and how it works within the formula below:


Want to listen to the ingredient's descriptions instead of reading it? Click below and pop me in your ears, listen and learn while you cook, do the dishes or walk the dog!

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Arrowroot powder or corn starch

A starch is really key in this recipe. Not only starches have a velvety texture, which is really pleasant on the skin, but they also have a sweat absorbing action. Additionally, starches will also absorb a bit of the oils and butters we have in the recipe, ensuring your deodorant won't turn out too greasy. Finally, starches will thicken and solidify the recipe so you can be sure your deodorant won't melt away during high temperatures.

Shea butter

Shea butter will thicken our recipe, turning the deodorant into a wonderful cream which is easy to apply. Shea butter is packed with oleic acid, a fatty acid which are perfect to use on the most sensitive skin. Therefore, it also creates a protective layer which keeps our underarms soft and moisturised. I highly recommend using a refined version because the unrefined one has quite a strong smell.

Fatty acids: Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in contained in the oils and butters, and each fatty acid has specific properties. Understanding the fatty acid profile of an oil can give you a clue regarding whether the oil will be more or less moisturising, lighter or heavier on the skin.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil will help soften the deodorant so it's not too stiff. Additionally, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid particularly beneficial at fighting off bad odours, thanks to its anti-bacterial properties. However, if you want, you can also use a different oil. Just make sure it's quite lightweight - some good alternatives are sweet almond oil, sunflower oil or safflower oil.

Anti-bacterial: when we sweat, the combination of the bacteria present in our skin develops the typical bad smell we want to get rid of using a deodorant. This is why ingredients containing anti-bacterial properties are very beneficial in deodorant recipes.

Choose between: baking soda, magnesium hydroxide or zinc oxide

Baking soda, magnesium hydroxide and zinc oxide are three very different ingredients that can be used in this deodorant recipe, depending on what you are able to source. Here is the profile for each ingredient:

  • Baking soda is widely used in natural deodorants because it has a high pH, which can fight off the odour causing bacteria present in our sweat. However, many people are sensitive to it. I know i definitely am, and try to avoid it. Alternatively ingredients you can use are: magnesium hydroxide powder or zinc oxide.
  •  Magnesium Hydroxide Powder is an inorganic magnesium salt with the chemical formula Mg(OH)2. It is a common ingredient in many products designed to aid digestion. It looks like a white powder. It is made from sea water which is treated, sedimented and filtered from any residual brine. When added to deodorant recipes it does a really good job at killing odour causing bacteria. It's considered safe to handle and non toxic. It is a little hard to source though. Your best option would be to look for it in food supplement stores or pharmacies.
  • Zinc oxide is often used in sunscreens due to its UV protection properties. it has really soothing properties which are perfect if you suffer from itching related to razor bumps. Zinc oxide is also able to reduce odour-causing bacteria thanks to its antimicrobial activity. It's important to get the non-nano kind so you can be sure it cannot be absorbed into your pores.

  • Clays are not a suitable substitution to any of these ingredients in deodorants. In fact, clays have detoxifying properties, but they don't actually have odour killing properties. Therefore, you can add them to your deodorant to increase the "slip" and improve the feeling of the deodorant on the skin, but they will not be as effective at keeping you odour free.

    Essential Oils

    Essential oils are compounds obtained by distillation of plant materials. Essential oils with anti-bacterial properties are perfect to be included in deodorants. You can also add essential oils even if they don't have strong anti-bacterial properties: they will still give a nice scent to your deodorant and will make you smell good.

    I recommend the following essential oils or essential oils, in any combination:

    Lavender, Tea tree, Geranium, Palmarosa

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    This recipe makes 1 deodorant of 50g/ 1.76 oz | 6 months shelf life

    Download the recipe card here

    • 63% Shea butter: 31.50 g/1.11 oz or 2 tablespoons
    • 30% Arrowroot powder or corn starch 15 g / 0.53 oz or 2 tablespoons
    • 8% Coconut oil 4 g / 0.14 oz or 1 teaspoon
    • 1% Baking soda 0.5 g / 0.02 oz or about half teaspoon or magnesium hydroxide or zinc oxide*
    • 1% Essential oils of your choice 0.5 g / 0.02 oz or about 15 drops

    *if using magnesium hydroxide or zinc oxide you could also increase the % to 5%, and remove this 5% from the starch amount. I don't recommend doing the same with baking soda as it might cause irritations. 


    • High precision scale
    • Glass or Ceramic Bowl
    • Tablespoon
    • Teaspoon
    • Silicone Spatula
    • 50g / 1 3⁄4 oz wide mouthed aluminum glass or plastic jar with lid.

    I have provided measures in spoons, but I highly recommend to weight your ingredients using a high precision scale!

    Step-by-Step Process of Making a Natural Deodorant:

    1. Mix the arrowroot powder and the baking soda or the other powder of your choice (magnesium hydroxide or zinc oxide) in a bowl
      make your own natural deodorant
    2. Add the shea butter and the coconut oil to the same bowl
    3. Mix well until there are no clumps left
    4. Add your essential oils in, and mix well
      make your own natural deodorant
    5. Prepare the tin or jar and spoon the mix in
    6. Label the deodorant (name, ingredients, date)
      make your own natural deodorant

      Note: You don't need to store this deodorant in the fridge, and it will last you for at least 6 months, unless you finish it earlier.

      Don't keep yourself waiting any longer! It's time to dive in and give this incredible natural deodorant a try. 

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