Best DIY all-natural deodorant

Oh, deodorant. I thought I was beyond the search. I’d found a great EWG-approved brand that actually worked for me, alas, they changed their formulation, which then earned a rotten rating from EWG. Last fall, I found myself back on the trail of trying to find something else to put in my armpits that my body understands.

Thankfully, we had some great AirBnb guests (I recently wrote about Airbnb here) who inspired and intrigued me with a homemade deodorant. Misa and Dennis of Namu Gaji, where I can’t wait to eat when I’m in San Francisco, showed me how to make a natural, non-toxic deodorant from household ingredients. Misa stored her concoction in the refrigerator which is what sparked the conversation. I’m so thankful for Misa’s recipe, and I thought some of you would appreciate it too.

The cast:

I have to qualify all this by saying that I’m no stranger to this search. I’ve tried a lot of things, including straight up baking soda, every. other. natural, store-bought brand that wasn’t toxic, the crystal, all of it. None of them worked perfectly. (Though a home-blended alcohol spray, which I haven’t tried, was next on my list if this didn’t pan out.) The thing about deodorants is that our bodies eventually figure out a way to grow the bacteria that causes odors (when not using heavy-hitter chemicals), so having a couple ace-in-the-hole deodorants that work for you might be a good idea.

The method:

1. Warm up the coconut oil so it’s completely liquid. Not piping hot, but not chunky and cloudy.

2. Add the ingredients using the following master ratio:

3 parts coconut oil : 2 parts baking soda : 2 parts arrowroot starch

On this occasion, I used tablespoons as my unit of measure, so 3 Tbs oil and 2 Tbs for the dry ingredients.

3. Whisk with a little whisk, or whatever whisking power you have. (Great reason to have a little whisk. A fork works just fine, too.) Add 10 drops of the pure essential oil of your choice (optional) after the dry ingredients are completely incorporated. Decrease the essential oil if you make a smaller batch. I like peppermint or lavender.

4. Decant into your container(s). I like having one for my bag (because, as with any natural deodorant, you have to reapply) and one for home use. Your travel container should have a tight-sealing lid because in warm environments this will remain a liquid. I find the need to reincorporate my home jar by stirring with my finger prior to application.

5. When you apply it, just use your finger to dab a small amount into your pits. The warmth of your finger will warm and soften the mixture if it has hardened. I’ve not had any trouble with this coming off on my clothes (which was an issue with the straight up baking soda), but test it out on items that you can easily wash and spot treat if you’re worried.