It’s been over a year since my first foray into homemade deodorant and last week, I finally ran out and decided it was time for an upgrade.
My original recipe was way too moody. During the summer (especially in my un-airconditioned apartment) it completely melted and all the solid bits slid to the bottom. During the winter, it was so rock-solid that part of my morning ritual became using a knife to pry a pea sized amount of the stuff out of the jar, sticking it under my arms, and brushing my teeth while I waited for it to melt before rubbing it in.
There was also a really obscenely high oil-to-solid ratio. After the oils soaked into my skin, the powder rubbed off onto my clothes. Without anything with a higher melting point in my recipe, there was nothing to keep the powders stuck to my skin.
With those two things in mind, I did a little research and set out to create a better recipe. I removed the cocoa butter since it got hard so easily in the winter and could just as easily be replaced by a softer oil. I added beeswax because its melting point is 145ºF/63ºC – way higher than the human body. The beeswax stabilizes the mixture in the summer and keeps the powders adhered to my skin after the oils have already been absorbed. Last, I reduced the amount of arrowroot powder and bentonite clay. So far, I haven’t noticed any difference in odor-prevention and let me tell you, it has been an ungodly-hot past couple of weeks.
Bentonite Clay Deodorant
Rather buy than make? Head over to Etsy and pick up a few tubes.
In the spreadsheet blow, make your own copy in google drive (“File” > “Make a copy” > “OK”). Enter the amount of lip balm (in grams) you want to make in the pink box and the spreadsheet will auto-calculate ingredient amounts for you.
The second tab, “Price,” will calculate price of the final product based on the ingredient sources that I use.
- Coconut oil is moisturizing, antibacterial and anti-fungal. This just happens to make it perfect for deodorant; it helps fight the bacteria in sweat that cause odor.
- Shea butter is all kinds of moisturizing. It’s anti-inflammatory and can help soothe razor burn.
- Beeswax turns a mix of soft oils into a real live salve that doesn’t change consistence too much even when the temperature changes. It’ll help keep the deodorant from melting once it’s on your body so that you don’t have to reapply throughout the day.
- Vitamin E oil is moisturizing. It’s also an antioxidant, which is great if you understand what that means. I don’t, but I like how the oil feels on my skin.
- Arrowroot starch absorbs moisture and helps keep you less sweaty. It’s pretty much the same thing as corn starch.
- Bentonite clay is a weird, semi-magical substance that makes sure any possible smells stay away. A word to the wise: don’t store your deodorant in a metal container or stir it with a metal spoon if you use bentonite clay because metal stops it from working.
- Essential oils add a scent to your deodorant and, depending on which ones you choose, can also help fight bacteria. Lavender, tea tree, and grapefruit are good choices because they’re antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. Just a word to the wise if you’ll be exposing your underarms to the sun: citrus essential oils are photosensitive. Don’t use lemon or grapefruit (or orange, tangerine, lime, etc.) if you’ll be sunbathing as they’re photosensitive and will make your skin burn faster.
- Sterilize the container you’re going to store your deodorant in. If it’s plastic, just wash it in really hot water. If it’s glass, boil it or run it through the dish washer. Pro tip: if you’re using a mason jar, either find 1 piece lids (good luck, I keep failing miserably) or hot glue that shit together. Otherwise you’re going to be annoyed every single time you go to open this stuff and have to lift off the disc part of the lid and end up getting goo all over your hands and your countertops. I speak from experience so just trust me here.
- Set up a double boiler by placing a pyrex measuring cup in a pot full of hot water. If you put a washcloth below the cup, it won’t jingle so I’d recommend doing that. Alternatively – if you’re not a massive hippy who cares about things like potentially zapping the magic powers of shea butter – you can just melt everything in the microwave.
- Measure out the shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, arrowroot powder, and bentonite clay. Make sure you use something plastic for the bentonite clay. I don’t understand why, but somehow metal renders it useless. I discovered this the hard way when I smelled not so great on a trip. I thought that I was just stressed out, but after little reading, I discovered that the metal travel container I stored my deodorant in was deactivating the bentonite clay.
- Melt everything together in the double boiler, stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Once everything is melted, remove the glass bowl from the stove and stir in the essential oil(s).
- Pour the mixture into your storage container and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- After it’s hardened up a bit, stir everything around so that the powders are evenly distributed and the deodorant is a nice paste-like consistency rather than hard salve.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.