Deodorant – Recipes & Application

To learn about deodorant myths vs. truth, read this post.  This post focuses on deodorant recipes and the nuance of applying these non-toxic alternatives.  If you don’t want to make your own, the only plastic-free, here are a few good ones you can purchase:

  1. Primal Life deodorant – Vanilla Matcha
    Cocos nucifera (Coconut oil), Manihot Esculenta (Arrowroot) root powder, zinc oxide (non-nano), euphorbia cerifera (Candelilla) wax, myroxylon pereirae (balsam of peru) oil, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, bentonite, matcha green tea, magnesium hydroxide
  2. Creatrix Solutions Tallow – Fresh Scent
    Grass Range Fed (no hormones or antibiotics) Rendered Cow Kidney Tallow, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aluminum Free Baking Soda, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Zinc Oxide Powder (non-nano), and Essential Oils (High Altitude Organic Lavender, and Tea Tree)
  3. Toups Organics Grass-fed beef tallow
    100% grassfed tallow, organic arrowroot powder, magnesium hydroxide, organic virgin coconut oil


P.S. never apply anything to skin that has just been shaved!



First, a note on diet.  Through my own experimentation, I’ve found that depending on what I’m eating, my sweat/body odor may smell differently, especially noticeable when my armpits are sweating while sitting in a hot bath.  I am still exploring this, but I have a theory that eating foods that are healthier – namely vegetables, fruits, and grass-fed animal fats, etc — may result in less offensive odors.  Yet another reason to eat well??  Recently my inspiration for eating well comes from Terry Wahls, who has gone from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in a wheelchair, to biking and running with her family again!  — all through diet and electrical stimulation – seriously!  I first read about her in book The Other Side of Impossible.

Second, you might try some armpit detoxing, which basically means, you mix a slurry of bentonite clay and water (other kinds of clay can work too), and put it on your armpits and let it dry.  Do this several times. Play with the consistency, play with the thickness of the amount you put on.  Get to know this slurry because it can also be helpful as a poultice for other parts of the body/other issues.  Bentonite clay is a useful thing to have around.

Third, you might try not scrubbing your armpits with soap in the shower.  I know it seems counter intuitive.  You might even smell yourself while still in the shower, or even AFTER you get out of the shower or hot bath, and think “this is ridiculous”….but just try it.  When you get out of the shower, wipe your armpits with a towel and see how you smell.  If you still sense an offensive odor, begin experimenting with the ingredients below in the recipes section.  I think it is best to begin experimenting with single ingredients – there is always time later to combine them when you feel like you know what works for you.

When showering, I find it is easy to scrub my armpits clean with hot water.  When taking a hot bath, I find it is not so easy.  I try to scrub as best as I can with the hot water in the bath before exiting.  Once out, I wipe my armpits clean with the towel.  If the odor is still present, I begin experimenting with ingredients.  
I’ve also found that applying homemade calendula salve, which is simply a mixture of olive oil infused with calendula flowers, melted with beeswax, also works.


Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 10.38.52 AM
Bathrobe made by Toast

When applying something with an oily consistency, or a powder for that matter, it is best to wear your lovely fancy bathrobe fancy bathrobe during and after, giving whatever substance you applied a few moments to soak in, or any excess powder to be ‘brushed’ off.  The armpits of the bathrobe are quite loose and don’t really touch YOUR armpit, therefore you’re not rubbing the deodorant substance off as you would with your shirt, and you are preventing your shirt from becoming prematurely dirty.   I love bathrobes that fall all the way to my ankles or the floor, as I’m often cold.  Find my recommendations for comfy bathrobes here.



For powder application, the best method is to pinch a bit of powder and put it into the palm of your hand.  Wet the fingertips of your other hand under the faucet, and rub your palms together.  Then apply the powder with your palms.  The second method you could try is to use a makeup brush or a “puff.”  As I happened to haves some washed wool (also known as fleece), I made my own wool puffball by ‘picking’ the wool apart with my hands, forming it into a ball, and securing the layers together with a felting needle until the ball was big enough.


I keep the wool puff ‘in’ the bowl, which has arrowroot powder or non-GMO corn starch.  The wool puffball is slightly larger than the opening of the bowl.  When I want to apply the powder, I press the puffball down a bit, so that it comes into contact with the powder.  I shake it once, and dab on.   It works super well and the puffball looks lovely on the counter!

Photo on 12-17-17 at 5.37 PM

For liquids…I’ve thought about spray bottles, but hate the fact that the nozzle and siphon tube are made of plastic.  I’ve though about using those little glass alcohol bottles like The Glenlivet in 50mL, which you can find at local liquor stores (many of the these bottles are actually plastic – find the glass ones – and go for a dark colored glass to protect the contents), but the cap is made of aluminum.  All bottle/jar caps seem to be made of aluminum (except these and these) is the price difference between these two suspicious? – haven’t looked into it).  Anyway, in theory you could carry a small bottle with either vinegar or witch hazel or whatever works, if you find yourself with an odor emergency at work or in a setting where you can’t afford to smell ‘off’.  Set yourself up for success!  I don’t know how to avoid plastic and aluminum all together, when on the go.  If you have ideas, leave a comment.


The Powders: Corn Starch (non-GMO) / Arrowroot powder / Dry Powder ‘milk of magnesia’–magnesium hydroxide
Many people don’t need anything other than this – dab one or make a mix.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Dab on.

Witch Hazel
Mountain Rose Herbs sells a lovely organic witch hazel with only 14% alcohol content (some witch hazels sold have a much higher alcohol content, and then, I suppose, we might as well be buying straight booze) – dab on.  If not working, try adding vinegar to the mix.

Magnesium Paste A
I would love to understand why magnesium oil seems to work so well!  Presently, still a mystery…
Makes approx. 1/2 cup / 4 ounce jelly jar

  • 3.5 ounces tallow by weight – about 1/2 cup melted (purchase or render tallow)
  • ¼ C or more of Corn Starch (non-GMO), Arrowroot powder
  • ¼ C or more dry powder ‘milk of magnesia’–magnesium hydroxide. Hydroxide is what stops odor, vs. magnesium chloride, which is what people use for topical magnesium supplementation.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Melt the tallow gently over low heat, then pour into a large bowl and mix in the olive oil and dry ingredients. Allow to cool for about an hour, then whip until frosting-like.  These tallow-based pastes are pretty shelf stable since they don’t have water.

Magnesium Paste B
Makes approx. 1/2 cup / 4 ounce jelly jar

  • 3.5 ounces tallow by weight – about 1/2 cup melted (purchase or render tallow)
  • 2 tablespoons magnesium oil

To Make Magnesium Oil (purchasing is also an option)

  1. Heat water to almost boiling.
  2. Combine magnesium and water and stir until the flakes are completely dissolved.
  3. Add the aloe vera and carrier oil and stir. They will not combine with the magnesium water.
  4. Decant into a container with a pour top spout.
  5. Shake vigorously before use each time to combine the magnesium, aloe, and carrier oils.

To Make the Paste

Melt the tallow gently over low heat, then pour into a large bowl and mix in the olive oil and dry ingredients. Allow to cool for about an hour, then whip until frosting-like.  These tallow-based pastes are pretty shelf stable since they don’t have water.


Vitamin C Water
Mix 1⁄4 tsp. Vitamin C powder w/ pint of water – dab on; then dab on cornstarch.

Citric Acid Water
Mix 1⁄4 tsp. citric acid powder w/ pint of water – dab on; then dab on cornstarch. Only a few drops of these acids under each armpit are necessary. If these acids burn the skin, dilute more.

Alcohol (not rubbing alcohol)
Food grade alcohols: grain alcohol or vodka – non-GMO.  dab on; then dab on cornstarch. If the alcohol ‘burns’ your skin, dilute it with water.

Zinc Oxide (can also use to make homemade sunscreen)
Uncoated, non-nano zinc – buy here: Mix 1 part zinc oxide powder w/ 3 parts water. It does not dissolve; just shake it up to use. You could add cornstarch to it to give it a creamy texture: heat 3 tsp. cornstarch in 1 cup of water, to boiling, until dissolved and clear. Cool and add some to the zinc oxide mixture (about equal parts). Store unused starch mixture in the refrigerator. Only make enough for a month.

Alcohol & Zinc Oxide
This is the most powerful deodorant. Apply alcohol first, then the zinc oxide; then dab on cornstarch.


There are tons and tons of homemade deodorant recipes on the internet, most involving coconut, shea butter, etc., with baking soda, arrowroot powder, cornstarch, and/or essential oils.  I prefer straight cornstarch or arrowroot powder, rather than a paste, because I think powder is less dangerous when it comes to clothing, and keeping clothing clean!  I also prefer using beef tallow-based pastes, as I don’t believe in importing ridiculous amounts of substances from halfway across the world (I live in the Midwest USA).  For the recipes above – feel free to mix and match and build.  Fo example, why not try a mixture of vinegar and witch hazel?  The options are many..

May your armpits see/smell many happy days ahead! 🙂




  • Terry Wahls, www.terrywahls.comThe Wahls Protocol, & Cooking For Life
  • The Other Side of Impossible, by Susannah Meadows
  • The Cure For All Diseases, by Dr. Hulda Clark

2 thoughts on “Deodorant – Recipes & Application

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s