Friday, September 24, 2010

How to make deodorant (that's frugal, effective and toxin-free!)

It's been about two years since I gave up wearing aluminium-filled deoderant. Reading Living Green convinced me that there were just too many health risks associated with it, since it blocks underarm pores and prevents toxins from being released. As I had planned to breastfeed L, I didn't want toxins to be accumulating in my breast tissue and potentially passing onto her, so this really motivated me to look for other options.

Not to mention the scary rumours that abound about the link between commercial deodorant use and breast cancer. One of the main theories there (as I understand it) is that the parabens and aluminium in commercial deodorant can imitate oestrogen in the breast tissue, causing abnormal growths.

Since reading Living Green I've experimented with various natural deodorant alternatives, some which worked, and some which stung my armpits like crazy and still left me smelly at the end of the day.

Then I happened upon this High on HealthYou Tube video and decided to give Fran's recipe ago.

*Update: Unfortunately after several months of using baking soda and water mixed together, my armpits were red and irritated so I had to abandon it. Then I saw hippygeek's comment below and realised baking soda would work perfectly well if your armpits are dry. So that's what I do now, and it's even simpler and cheaper than my old method.

What you need
  • Baking soda (Bicarbonate of soda), preferably in a shaker container with holes in the top so it's easy to sprinkle out.

After showering, dry as you normally would and then sprinkle a little baking soda onto your hand and wipe it onto your armpits. That's it! Applying it when you're dry prevents the baking soda from stinging your armpits.

What I love about it
  • Would you believe this method works better than any deodorant I've ever tried? My armpits still don't smell 24 hours after applying the baking soda. Even after heavy exertion! It works because armpit smell is caused by bacteria, and baking soda is naturally antibacterial so it stops that bacteria from forming. 
  • Despite being made with a white powder, this is one deodorant that doesn't leave white marks on my clothing.
  • It's super frugal, as baking soda is cheap if you buy it in bulk. 
  • It's easy to apply.
  • Since the baking soda leaves my armpits completely odourless, I can apply perfume without risk of interference between the deodorant scent and the perfume fragrance. 

  • Baking soda doesn't prevent sweating (which is good because it means the toxins are releasing, but not good if that's your main reason for wearing deodorant.) 

If you give this method a go, I would love to hear how you get on.


  1. Hi Emma,

    I use baking soda as a deodorant too and am always amazed at how well it works. If you don't have any water you can just sprinkle a bit of baking soda on your damp armpits and it works just as well. I also sometimes just rinse my armpits with ACV (mixed with water 1:4) after showering. This seems to work really well too - something about soap alkilanising the skin and so the ACV reverses it.

  2. Hey Pipee, what's ACV? Is it something really obvious. I'm running through all these possibilities in my head but just can't think what it stands for. Cheers, Emma

  3. I love this idea! I'm definately going to try it!

  4. Hi Emma,

    ACV is apple cider vinegar ;-) sorry, am so used to using it as abbreviation!

  5. Hi Emma, thanks for the tip, I have been looking for a sensible alternative! I bought a "mineral deodorant" crystal thingy and it did not work! More a placebo effect than anything real. I also read somewhere else that you can use bicarb and ACV to wash your hair (one after the other, not at the same time), so that might be all I need in the bathroom (+soap). I can't wait to try it now! Just thinking that I'll probably use a face cloth rather than cotton buds so that I don't create extra rubbish :) I'll be sure to blog about it if works! Cheers, Liz

    1. Hi farmer_liz, I'm surprised your crystal deodorant didn't work as I have no trouble with mine, I swear by it! Did you moisten it first so it glides over your skin? (then dry the crystal off so it does't dissolve away).

  6. Good luck with this Liz. I still use it and find it great. Sometimes I alternate it with a natural deodorant, either when I'm being lazy or if the baking soda causes my armpits to get sore, which it does from time to time. Not sure why that is.

    Anyway, let me know how you get on.

  7. Liz, I tried the baking soda then ACV thing on my hair and just couldn't get used to it. I felt like I needed to pour a ton of baking soda on my hair to get any traction. I think I did it for about a month before giving up. My hair seemed a different consistency too. More oily the whole way through.

  8. I'm a bit late for commenting on this post but just wanted to let you know that I too use baking soda as a deodorant - without the water though. The new Hansells (?) baking soda container has shaker holes, so it's a quick 5 second thing now, just as fast as a roll on! I just shake it into my hand, divide between both hands and slap it on.
    I find if I put it on while I'm still wet I get a bit of redness that can hurt after a while. So putting it on dry is much nicer for me.
    I also do the BS & ACV on the hair - shame you didn't keep it up a bit longer, 6 weeks is the typical amount of time for your hair to recover from shampoo & conditioner and start acting normally so that BS & ACV work for you. You were SO close!! It is a crappy time of oily hair and bad hair days - but it's just your scalp throwing out extra oil because it thinks it has to - you've spent years stripping oils out with all that shampoo and your body learnt to make heaps more in response. All good when it settles down :) I hope you'll try it again, bs & ACV have been really great for me (and it's fantastic when people ask me what shampoo I use because they think my hair looks so healthy and bright hehehe)

  9. I have just tried this with much relief! I have really struggled with shirts getting damaged from odour, where I just can't get the smell off.
    Ending up throwing away clothes because the smell bothers me.
    In desperation I have been using the clinical defence deodorant which fixed the prob, but at what cost. I hate to think what's in it .
    I don't mind sweating (much), so I am converted. And no smell!
    So many uses for baking soda!

    1. Yay! I'm so glad it's working for you too. I'm still using baking soda deodorant, many years later.


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