Your No BS Guide to Homemade Deodorant (2024)

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:

  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?

We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.

Read more about our vetting process.

Was this helpful?

Traditional deodorants and antipersperants may contain harmful ingredients. Natural deodorants leave out these synthetic and artificial ingredients. You can even make your own natural deodorant with a simple recipe.

Why switch to natural deodorant?

Banging out a set of burpees, commuting on a crowded train, or delivering a presentation to a crowd — any of these can leave your underarms damp, if not completely soaked.

Traditional deodorants and antiperspirants are designed to tamp down body odor and moisture, but some contain ingredients that could be harmful, cause irritation, or even make your pits smell worse in the long run. They can even change the pH balance to make your pits bacteria-friendly sweat saunas.

That’s why we’ve got the details on natural deodorants, and a few tips for making your own.

The science behind BO sounds a bit repellent. Your underarms create a warm hangout for bacteria, just like that petri dish in your chemistry class. When you perspire, these bacteria basically eat your moisture. The waste generated from this process creates the odor you associate with sweat.

What’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant?

There are a few differences between deodorants and antiperspirants.

Traditional deodorants are formulated to eliminate odor. They typically contain antimicrobial agents or ethanol, which help kill odor-causing bacteria.

Antiperspirants, on the other hand, are formulated to reduce or eliminate sweat. These products use aluminum-based salts to plug up the sweat glands so there’s no moisture for the bacteria to eat.

Most products you find on shelves are actually deodorant-antiperspirant combos, which might sound pretty great. Get rid of the bacteria and the odor, right?

Well, maybe not.

According to a very small study from 2016, these traditional products can alter your skin’s ecosystem, and not necessarily for the better.

The five study participants who didn’t use antiperspirant or deodorant had more Corynebacterium in their underarms.

This common bacterium sets up house in your armpits, along with Staphylococcus, Propionibacterium, and Micrococcus. Corynebacterium produces BO, yes — but it also provides a boost against infections.

Bacteria naturally thrive on your skin. While some of these can make you sick, other “good bacteria” can offer protection against more harmful bacteria and help with other important bodily functions, like digestion.

Using products that kill helpful bacteria could lead to the introduction and growth of new and different bacteria — ones that might cause an even stronger odor, or even affect immune system function.

If you’ve gone ahead and tossed your traditional stick in favor of building a better pit microbiome, you might be wondering what deems a product natural. Besides avoiding synthetic and artificial ingredients, these deodorants commonly have three components:

  • ingredients with disinfectant or antibacterial properties, such as coconut oil and tea tree oil
  • essential oils like lavender, sandalwood, or bergamot to provide a pleasant scent
  • naturally absorbent ingredients like baking soda, arrowroot, or cornstarch to combat moisture

Natural deodorants won’t plug sweat glands like traditional antiperspirants, but they don’t contain the often-worrying ingredient aluminum.

Natural deodorants cover smell, not sweat — and that’s a good thing

Don’t expect the same results as traditional deodorants when switching to a natural product. It could take a few days or weeks for your underarms to rebalance their ecosystem. You can try an armpit detox to potentially speed up the process, but keep in mind that natural deodorants won’t halt sweat. Instead, they’ll work to minimize odor when things heat up.

Generally speaking, you may not want to eliminate your own personal scent signature, anyway.

Most people talk about body odor as a bad thing — but it’s really not. As a matter of fact, your nose also plays a role in who you choose to partner up with.

So, although you might not want to go on a date without showering right after hot yoga, your natural, unmasked scent is totally acceptable in everyday circ*mstances. And it could just attract a potential partner.

You can buy natural deodorant at most natural food stores, online, or anywhere you might purchase other natural skin care products.

Some popular options include:

Finding the right natural deodorant for you can involve a little trial and error, much like searching for a favorite pair of jeans. That’s because not only does everyone smell differently, but everyone smells differently, too.

According to 2013 research, a unique set of genetic variations affects you perceive scents. You may not like how your natural odor pairs with a patchouli-laced stick, for example, but your sister might love the way it works with her chemistry.

It can help to try a range of scents until you find a natural deodorant that does you right.

Create your homemade deodorant

You can also try making your own, if the online options don’t appeal to you. Try this easy recipe:


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
  • 6 to 10 drops of essential oils, if desired


  1. Mix baking soda and arrowroot.
  2. Mash in coconut oil until blended. Add essential oils, if desired.
  3. Place the mixture in an empty glass jar.
  4. To use, just warm a small amount between your fingers until it turns into liquid. Apply to your armpits.

When making your own natural deodorant, feel free to experiment with different bases, powders, and oils. Shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil work well as bases, but you don’t have to have one if you prefer an all-powder formula.


  1. Combine equal parts baking soda and arrowroot.
  2. Add your preferred oils.
  3. Shake to mix.
  4. Store in an empty spice jar with a shaker top.

Try these natural deodorant alternatives.

Wondering why your BO seems so strong? It could have something to do with your typical diet.

In one 2006 study, 17 men ate a “meat” or “nonmeat” diet for 2 weeks, wearing pads under their armpits to collect samples of body odor. A month later, participants switched diets and repeated the experiment.

A total of 30 women rated the samples on pleasantness, intensity, attractiveness, and masculinity. According to the women, body odor from men eating a nonmeat diet were significantly less intense, as well as more pleasant and more attractive.

In short, frequent red meat consumption could worsen your BO — and make you less appealing to potential partners.

In a similar vein, think about how certain foods like garlic or onion affect your breath. When you sweat, those foods can make your whole body smell a little more potent, too.

Eating more fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, could have a positive impact.

If you use deodorant regularly and still have some concerns about your body odor, it’s not a bad idea to connect with a healthcare professional. Certain illnesses or health conditions can sometimes amp up your odoriferousness.

If you give natural deodorant a try but don’t notice much of a difference, you can also give these BO hacks a whirl.

But at the end of the day, try to remember that sweat and body odor are natural. Don’t let a fear of your natural fragrance keep you from putting your hands in the air and enjoying life.

Jennifer Chesak is a Nashville-based freelance book editor and writing instructor. She’s also an adventure travel, fitness, and health writer for several national publications. She earned her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill and is working on her first fiction novel, set in her native state of North Dakota.

Your No BS Guide to Homemade Deodorant (2024)


Your No BS Guide to Homemade Deodorant? ›

Baking soda can be harsh on the skin. It's fairly common to develop a rash when using deodorants that rely on baking soda. That odor-fighting alkalinity can irritate sensitive skin, especially if you shave your armpits. Baking soda is also highly abrasive.

Why not use baking soda in deodorant? ›

Baking soda can be harsh on the skin. It's fairly common to develop a rash when using deodorants that rely on baking soda. That odor-fighting alkalinity can irritate sensitive skin, especially if you shave your armpits. Baking soda is also highly abrasive.

What natural deodorant stops Bo? ›

AKT is made without parabens or aluminium salts, and is packed with ingredients that address odour and moisture, naturally. No more yellow stains or clothes that smell like BO… even after washing.

What ingredient in deodorant stops odor? ›

Antibacterial ingredients

Just as aluminum compounds are the antiperspirant active ingredient in deodorants, antibacterials are the active aspect of odor reduction. Antibacterial ingredients work to eliminate the bacteria that cause bad odors from areas where sweat is common.

Why is my DIY deodorant grainy? ›

Grainy deodorant occurs when the shea butter liquifies and then cools too slowly. The grains are harmless and will melt upon skin contact.

Does apple cider vinegar help with smelly armpits? ›

"Apple cider vinegar is a great natural underarm deodorant," says Georgianna Donadio, PhD. She suggests applying it directly to your armpits to kill body odor.

Does coconut oil work as deodorant? ›

Virgin coconut oil specially is bursting with antibacterial properties, as it's processed without heat. This means that, when applied topically, it combats the smell at the source. Say goodbye to body odour, and hello to not using any nasty chemicals to do the job. Coconut oil deodorant is so easy to make.

What is the healthiest deodorant to use? ›

Below, we list top-rated and Select staff-favorite natural deodorants that are in line with our experts' guidance.
  • Native ​​Regular Deodorant.
  • Necessaire The Deodorant Gel.
  • Schmidt's Deodorant Stick.
  • Salt & Stone Natural Deodorant.
  • Soapwalla Deodorant Cream.
  • Evolvetogether Natural Deodorant.
  • Kosas Chemistry Deodorant.
May 10, 2023

Why do my armpits smell like BO even with deodorant? ›

Even if you're using deodorant, you might still experience smelly armpits. This could be due to various factors such as diet, stress, hormonal changes, or even the type of bacteria present in your underarms. However, fear not! There are actionable steps you can take to control armpit odor and boost your confidence.

Is there a natural deodorant that actually works? ›

For Staying Dry: Glossier Deodorant

Why We Love It: The first deodorant from beauty powerhouse, Glossier, is refillable and aluminum-free. Available in four scents, the formula uses a blend of naturally sourced ingredients to keep you dry and odor-free.

How to make your own antiperspirant deodorant? ›

  1. Mix baking soda and arrowroot.
  2. Mash in coconut oil until blended. Add essential oils, if desired.
  3. Place the mixture in an empty glass jar.
  4. To use, just warm a small amount between your fingers until it turns into liquid. Apply to your armpits.

Why is mitchum deodorant good? ›

This is such a good deodorant. It's easy to apply, a little goes a long way, and it's very effective at keeping wetness and odour at bay. My skin can be very sensitive to the point where some deodorants have left my armpits red raw and so painful, but I have never had a problem with this one.

How to detox armpits? ›

To do an underarm detox, use 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay (a natural, detoxifying clay) mixed with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, which has cleansing properties, and 1 teaspoon of water. Apply the paste to your underarms for around 10 minutes daily for a week or more until your underarm odor subsides.

Which is better, cornstarch or arrowroot for deodorant? ›

Some recipes say that cornstarch can be substituted for arrowroot powder, I say DO NOT TRY IT. Cornstarch contains talc which can be an irritant. We broke out, and I've had many other friends who did too.

What does cornstarch do in homemade deodorant? ›

2. Deodorant. If you're out of deodorant or want a DIY alternative, try cornstarch. Thanks to its moisture-absorbing properties, it acts as a natural deodorant to decrease sweat and odor.

What does arrowroot powder do in deodorant? ›

Arrowroot powder is a natural sweat absorbent, clearly perfect for deodorants, and is gentle enough for even the most sensitive armpits. Though we still use a touch of baking powder in our natural deodorants, Arrowroot powder is really the ingredient that's keeping you dry.

Does baking soda detox armpits? ›

Claim: Increases the effectiveness of natural deodorant

Many of the articles in favor of armpit detoxes claim that the natural deodorant, such as baking soda deodorant, will work better afterward. However, there's no proof that these detoxes reduce odor or make a deodorant more effective.

Does baking soda in deodorant cause dark underarms? ›

Natural deodorants containing baking soda

But with a pH of about 9, it is highly alkaline which does not always agree with your body's skin pH of around 4-5.5. By applying a deodorant with baking soda in it, your skin may react to the change in pH by getting irritated and therefore becoming darker.

Can baking soda whiten underarms? ›

Found in almost every household, baking soda is the best thing to lighten underarms. All you need to do is mix baking soda with water to make a thick paste. Now, apply this paste to scrub your underarms twice a week and scrub the underarms. After you are done scrubbing, just wash the mixture off and pat dry the area.

Is sodium bicarbonate bad for you? ›

Sodium bicarbonate can also cause damage to your stomach if you take too much, or don't take it correctly. Too much sodium bicarbonate can make gas form quickly in the stomach, and cause your stomach to rupture.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Last Updated:

Views: 6201

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Birthday: 1992-08-21

Address: Apt. 237 662 Haag Mills, East Verenaport, MO 57071-5493

Phone: +331850833384

Job: District Real-Estate Architect

Hobby: Skateboarding, Taxidermy, Air sports, Painting, Knife making, Letterboxing, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Saturnina Altenwerth DVM, I am a witty, perfect, combative, beautiful, determined, fancy, determined person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.