Bentonite Clay Deodorant

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.

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None of Your Beeswax Deodorant

Contrary to popular belief, lots of hippies aren’t dirty. In fact, many of them smell pretty sweet, thank you very much.

I like to think that I smell positively floral. And a lot of that is thanks to my homemade deodorant. I’m gonna level with you here and let you know that the reason I initially switched to homemade deodorant (or any beauty products, really) wasn’t so much about my health as it was about a whole constellation of other things. Let me lay them out for you:

+ Cost: I find it really hard to part with my money when it comes to stupid things like toilet paper or tampons. Deodorant was just one more thing that I hated buying every month or so. But then buying the materials to make deodorant expensive too. $30 for a pound of cocoa butter? You’ve got to be kidding me. So I started with a cheap, easy recipe: coconut oil, arrowroot powder and baking soda. When I started making more of my own things, though, I started to realize that investing in raw materials wasn’t as expensive as I thought.

+ Product: The real thing that drove me crazy about store-bought deodorant was how sticky it made me feel. I didn’t like that I had to scrub under my arms every time I took a shower and I didn’t like how I could literally shave it off my skin.

+ Consumerism: Call me a crazy anti-capitalist lesbian feminist, but I like when I don’t have to buy something that’s been researched and marketed to me. I like not putting money in the hands of giant companies. And yes, I know that Whole Foods is just another one of those companies that does things like base prices for their healthcare on discriminatory pseudoscience. You can’t win them all, you know? As soon as I can find cocoa butter somewhere else, I’ll be running in their general direction.

+ DIY nerdiness: In the words of Angry Chicken, I understand that there are plenty of people who would read this and say “why would I bother making that?” And to those people I say: I feel you. I have never in my life felt any need to knit or make my own pickles. But this is a thing I enjoy making!

+ Health: Last but not least. So I’m not quite sure what I think about aluminum and cancer because scientists aren’t quite sure what they thinks about aluminum and cancer. But hedging my bets on that is a nice little bonus of making my own deodorant.


This stuff works differently from traditional deodorant and, as such, takes a little getting used to. Because it doesn’t block your sweat glands, you won’t feel quite as dry as you’re used to and this can be a little unnerving. I’m happy to report, though, that I’ve gotten nothing but positive reviews from my friends who I made smell me and assure me that I didn’t stink.

Even though it doesn’t prevent you from sweating, the powder added will absorb moisture, meaning that you won’t soak through your shirt. And if you’re worried about the oils and butters in this stuff staining aforementioned shirt, don’t worry! As long as you let it soak in for 30 seconds or so, you’ll be fine. I’ve been using this for months now and I haven’t noticed any oily (or sweaty) marks in my clothes.
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