Zero Waste Natural Deodorant Recipe That Actually Works!

Today I am sharing with you my favourite zero waste, natural and vegan deodorant recipe. It's a deodorant with a base of shea butter, coconut oil, arrowroot powder and baking soda.


Note: in this video I used only 1 tablespoon of shea butter but I since then increased the quantity of shea butter to 2 tablespoons. Please see the recipe below.

In case you wondered, it's not our sweat to actually produce a bad smell. It’s the combination of the bacteria present in our skin and the proteins and fats in the sweat that do! 

natural deodorant diy

When I first made the switch and started formulating my first deodorant recipes, I noticed that most of the recipes contained baking soda. Not just a little, but literally tablespoons of it.

I had actually developed a deodorant with baking soda myself a few months ago which gave me a terrible rash. Needless to say, I had decided to get rid of baking soda from all my deodorant recipes. 

Since then I have believed for many months that baking soda was really bad in DIY recipes and it could make your skin irritated. I tried making deodorants that were baking soda free, but honestly, these deodorants never worked really well. They covered any smell for a short amount of time but were not able to stop any new odours from forming.

I then did more research and became more and more familiar with making cosmetics and the basics behind skin chemistry. I found out that the reason why many people, myself included, got a rash from using baking soda in deodorants, was due to the high ph of baking soda, and the extreme quantities of baking soda used.

A high ph is necessary to kill off the bacteria, which is what we need to kill odours. The problem was the crazy amount of baking soda used. Most of the recipes I found on the internet included 1 to even 4 tablespoons of it! No wonder I got this terrible rash!

I have realised that I could incorporate baking soda, but at a very small quantity. Since then, I have finally formulated a baking soda recipe that really works, keeps you fresh and reasonably dry, and does not irritate the skin.

Among the the other ingredients, the arrowroot powder is amazing at absorbing any sweat, while the shea butter will keep your skin very soft, protected and moisturised along with the mild anti-bacterial function of coconut oil.

What you will need / and how to get them zero/ low waste

Not sure where to buy the ingredients from?

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder / Where to buy: many bulk stores sell package free arrowroot powder. I get mine from The Source Bulk Foods. Powders are normally harder to ship in paper unless in small quantity, so this is difficult to find plastic free on Amazon but I found this brand that sells it in a more sustainable packaging. You can substitute arrowroot powder with corn starch too (amido di mais).

2 tablespoons shea butter / I get my raw, unrefined and organic shea butter from The Soapery. If you get in touch with them and ask them to ship in paper rather than plastic, they normally do their best to accomodate! Many bulk stores sell package free shea butter. I know that The Bulk Market in London sells it.

shea butter zero waste

1 teaspoon coconut oil / very easy to get plastic free, almost all regular supermarkets or Amazon sell coconut oil in a glass jar. I use a deodorised version which I get in bulk from The Soap Kitchen, but you can totally use the version that smells more like coconut :)

half teaspoon baking soda / for some reason baking soda is super easy to find in simple cardboard or paper packaging. Yay! I am sure you will be able to spot it easily at your local supermarket or on Amazon. Otherwise, pretty much any bulk store sells it in bulk and package free. 

If you want to make this deodorant an anti-perspirant or if you are sensitive to baking soda, simply swap the baking soda with some cosmetic grade magnesium hydroxide. I use this kind.

Watch the baking-soda free version of this recipe:


10-15 drops essential oil of your choice. In this recipe I have used lemon for cleansing properties, grapefruit for its uplifting and odour control power, and tea tree for its incredible antibacterial properties (for me, a must in deodorant recipes!) / Same as the coconut oil, essential oils are sold in glass. The cap is made with plastic but you can always keep the little bottles instead of throwing them away. I normally reuse them to make my own essential oil blends or cleansers! I get my essential oils are from Freshskin. They are 100% pure, have a very good quality and are reasonably priced.

essential oil zero waste

Recommended essential oils combos:

lavender + tea tree
lemongrass + tea tree
peppermint + tea tree
grapefruit + lavender
palmarosa + lavender


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1.  Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in the microwave or on a double boiler at medium heat

2.  Mix the arrowroot powder and the baking soda in a bowl

3.  Add the melted oils/butters to your powders

4.  Mix well until there are no clumps left

zero waste deodorant

5.  Add your essential oil/s and mix well

6.  Pour into your container

7. Let sit for about 1 hour in the refrigerator

I hope you will enjoy making this recipe as much I as always do.

I think my body has completely adapted to them and I am so happy that I have finally settled with this deodorant recipe. 

Have you been using natural deodorants for a long time as well? Let me know your experience in the comment below!

zero waste deodorant

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