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Risks of Commercial Deodorant and How to Make a Natural Version at Home

There are certain hygiene habits that we do every single day without giving a second thought to them. For many people, this includes brushing your teeth, washing your hair, and putting on deodorant before leaving the house. But have you ever stopped to think about what’s in your deodorant, for example, or why it works to reduce body odor and sweat?

In this article, we’re discussing what’s in deodorant, the risks of common deodorant ingredients, and how you can make your own natural version at home.

Photo credit: How can I recycle this via Flickr

What’s in Deodorant?

Designed to eliminate underarm odor, many commercial deodorants have an alcohol base and are formulated with antimicrobials to reduce bacteria growth that causes sweat to take on a foul smell. Many deodorants contain chemically produced fragrances or essential oils for the purpose of masking odor. Many use ingredients such as aluminum to reduce sweating, but which can be toxic to your body. Some deodorant ingredients have been a cause of great concern because of their skin irritation tendencies and carcinogenic potential.

Risks of Common Deodorant Ingredients

For example, some deodorants contain aluminum compounds that have shown to mimic estrogen and promote breast cancer cell growth. Parabens are also commonly used in deodorant, which have been linked to hormonal imbalances and the formation of breast cancer as well. Meanwhile, silica can irritate the skin, and triclosan has the power to kill both good and bad bacteria on the skin. Deodorant may also contain steareths, which have been linked to cancer, and two chemicals that are tied to liver and kidney damage called triethanolamine and diethanolamine.

Natural Deodorant Recipes

Hygiene product labels can be quite deceiving, especially when they claim that a product is natural or fresh. Words like this are thrown around far too easily in this industry, and it can be hard to trust the companies that you’ve grown up with and used products from for many years.

To take the issue of body odor into your own hands, you might want to try making your own DIY deodorant at home. This way, you’ll know exactly what’s in it and won’t have to worry about potential carcinogens or skin irritants.

Photo credit: lisaclarke via Flickr

For example, here’s one example of a deodorant recipe that contains just five ingredients that are truly natural.

Natural Deodorant Recipe #1


  • 3 tbsp. shea butter
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. arrowroot powder
  • 2 tbsp. baking soda
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil


  • Fill a sauce pan half full of water and put a heat-safe bowl on top to create a “double boiler”
  • Add the first four ingredients to the heat-safe bowl on top
  • Heat the water underneath until it boils
  • Stir the ingredients until smooth
  • Remove the heat-safe bowl and stir in lavender oil
  • Pour the mixture into a glass mason jar, allow to cool, and add a lid
  • Apply a small amount of the mixture to the underarms daily

Natural Deodorant Recipe #2

For an even simpler DIY deodorant with ingredients that you may already have around the house, try this recipe as an alternative to the store-bought version in your medicine cabinet.


  • ¾ cup non-GMO cornstarch
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 5 tbsp. melted coconut oil


  • Combine first two ingredients in a bowl
  • Add melted coconut oil and mix thoroughly with a whisk
  • Pour the mixture into a mason jar and cover with a lid
  • Apply a small amount of the mixture to the underarms daily

Natural Deodorant Recipe #3

The most simple recipe for the laziest person just involves one ingredient … and it works.


  • Use a spoon and scrape some coconut oil into a wide-mouth glass jar


  • Dip your finger into the coconut oil (if you are not squeamish) and apply a small amount to your underarms daily. For those of you who are sensitive to baking soda, which may cause a rash, using coconut oil alone will solve this problem.

Another excellent source for recipes for making your own natural soaps and deodorants is Wellness Mama.com.

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