This coconut oil deodorant recipe includes just 3 easy ingredients – coconut oil, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, and baking soda. Plus, it really works!
Like many of us, when I started using antiperspirant as a pre-teen, I just used whatever my mom brought home. It was the same brand she’d been using since she was a pre-teen.
However, after I went vegan, I started looking at beauty products through a different lens.
I approached it from a health perspective – both of my health and the health of bunnies, guinea pigs, and mice, on whom many body products are tested.
I needed a product without animal ingredients, animal testing, aluminum, parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, and propylene glycol.
After looking at the ingredients in antiperspirant versus deodorant, I realized this meant I’d be moving to deodorant.
I didn’t relish the thought, honestly. I liked feeling dry all day.
And pit stains? Not cute.
Still, I was up for the challenge.
I tried brand after brand of natural deodorants on the shelves of my natural grocery store.
The results? Not pretty.
And on the rare occasions that I found ones that worked, they were a lot more expensive than standard brands.
(At one point before natural brands went mainstream, I paid $18 for a stick!)
Then about 10 years ago, a friend mentioned to me that she makes her own coconut oil deodorant at home. The ingredients are just coconut oil, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, and baking soda.
(Any coconut oil will work. I just picked up a jar of what they had at Trader Joe’s.)
I was intrigued but unsure.
Would it work?
Did I want to make something else in my life from scratch?
Still, my friend said she’d been doing it for a long time with great results. And she said one batch lasts for months.
I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen already. So one afternoon I took the leap.
How to make coconut oil deodorant
Step one: Put the coconut oil, cornstarch, and baking soda in a bowl.
Step two: Stir to combine.
Step three: Move to a clean jar for storing. (A 4-ounce Ball jar is just the right size.)
If you’d like to skip a step, you can mix the ingredients in the jar itself instead of making it in a bowl and transferring it.
The oil mixes easier when it’s a warm liquid as opposed to a cool solid.
You can either warm the oil for 30 seconds to a minute in the microwave, until it has melted, before mixing it with the other ingredients.
Or you can use your fingers when mixing the ingredients. The warmth of your hands will liquefy it, making it easier to use.
How do you apply it?
Dip a clean finger into the mixture. Then swipe a tiny amount.
You don’t need much!
Rub it into your underarm area.
Since coconut oil is a liquid when warm and a solid when cool, the consistency varies upon temperature. But it works equally well regardless.
Does it work?
My husband and I have been using this DIY deodorant for about a decade now with great results.
Not only does it keep us smelling sweet, it keeps me pretty dry as well, even when biking in the summer heat.
(Note that you will still perspire, though. This is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant.)
Do you have to re-apply often?
I generally just apply once a day, and that works well enough for me.
But if you’re exercising or it’s particularly humid, dry off and then re-apply.
(It goes on better when your skin is dry.)
Can I add a scent?
I like the natural coconut-y fragrance.
However, if you’d like to add something extra, simply add a few drops of your preferred essential oil when combining the ingredients.
How long does it last?
Seemingly forever. All of the ingredients are shelf stable.
I make one batch, and it lasts many months. I’ve never had a batch go off.
And since you’re using just a tiny bit for daily application, it takes a really long time to go through a single batch.
How should it be stored?
I store mine in the bathroom cabinet.
Depending on the heat of the bathroom & time of year, sometimes the deodorant is more solid and sometimes it’s more melty. It works equally well regardless.
People have asked if it should be stored in the refrigerator, but I wouldn’t recommend that.
Coconut oil hardens when it’s cold. When the coconut oil is completely solid, it’s a little more difficult to apply.
So room temperature is preferable.
Since it’s made of oil, will it stain my clothes?
I haven’t had any problem with it staining my clothes. Keep in mind that you’re using a very tiny amount and then rubbing it into your skin.
If you have a problem with staining, I recommend using less, and/or waiting a bit before getting dressed so that the oil has a chance to fully absorb.
What if you’re sensitive to baking soda?
I haven’t had any problems with this deodorant giving me a rash. However, baking soda causes sensitivity in some people, which may cause a rash.
If that happens to you, discontinue use.
Or try halving or omitting the baking soda altogether in the recipe.
If that doesn’t help, make sure it’s not any essential oils you’re adding that are causing the issue.
Can I replace the cornstarch?
I’ve used arrowroot and potato starch instead of cornstarch. They have worked equally well.
Coconut oil deodorant
- Put the baking soda, cornstarch, and coconut oil into a bowl. Stir with a spoon until fully combined and creamy.
- Move the coconut oil mixture to a jar with lid or other container.
- To apply the deodorant, swipe a clean finger into the mixture. You only need a tiny amount. Rub the coconut oil mixture into your underarm area.
Content, recipe, and photos updated March 2020. Originally posted August 2012.