Rosalee’s Natural Deodorant Recipe

For the past year I’ve been crafting and re-crafting deodorant recipes to find one that really works well. I know I may get thrown out of the granola-hippie-club, but when the summer heat is on, I like to continue smelling good!

However, smelling decent shouldn’t mean we have to slather ourselves in a slew of chemicals that pose serious health risks!

In this newsletter we’ll take a look at commercial deodorants and why they are so bad for our health and then dive into my perfected stick deodorant recipe.

The potentially harmful chemicals in commercial deodorants…
Commercial deodorants often contain a variety of chemicals that have strong implications with serious diseases. These chemicals are then rubbed onto the underarms, at least once daily, where sensitive mammary glands and important lymphatic glands are located.

One group of chemicals are parabens, which are commonly used as preservatives. Parabens have been widely implicated in an array of diseases, including the poor development of infants and cancers.1

Another common chemical is aluminum, which is added for its antiperspirant abilities.

Basically, it stops a person from sweating.

Anytime we stop our natural bodily functions red flags should be going off! Is that really safe? We sweat for a reason. Stopping this natural function can clog our lymphatic system and inhibit our natural eliminatory functions, creating a backup of metabolic wastes. High aluminum levels have also been implicated in Alzheimer’s and cancer of the breast and prostate.2

Some people are concerned that they “sweat too much” and so they use antiperspirants more and more. However, many people notice that when they stop using antiperspirants their tendency for excessive sweating dissipates. Some hypothesize that the body just tries harder and harder to sweat in an effort to restore natural function and overrule the antiperspirant. By letting your body perform its natural function, you can achieve more balance.

If you are still using commercial brands of deodorant I hope you are ready to ditch the chemicals and make the switch to a more natural personal health care.

Wait a second! What is natural?
I encourage you to walk down your health food store aisle and check out their “natural” (and incredibly expensive) deodorants. I did this recently and found a whole slew of chemicals that I didn’t want to touch with a ten foot pole. Actually, what first inspired me to make my own deodorant was that the “natural” and expensive deodorants from the store often gave me a painful rash.

The best way to trust what goes on your underarms is by making it yourself!

I’ve been making and recommending homemade deodorants for years and what I’ve come realize is that we are all different (duh!). What works great for one person doesn’t work for the other. So if this is your first foray into homemade deodorants, stick it out until you find what works for you. Poisoning yourself with chemicals from commercial deodorants is not the best choice!

Before I share my newest deodorant recipe here are a few other simple ideas.

Yep, plain old limes. My dad learned about using limes for deodorant when he first moved to the Yucatan of Mexico. I was dubious at first but limes are some of the best, truly natural deodorants out there. To use them, simply slice a lime in half and apply the fresh juice directly to the underarm. Store the lime (well labeled!) in the fridge and it can be used repeatedly for about a week and then it becomes apparent it’s time to get a new lime.

Baking soda
Some people find that simply shaking baking soda under their arms is a great deodorizer (think of what it can do for your fridge!). The con is that this can be a little messy and won’t work well with your black tank top. (You can buy powder containers from Mountain Rose Herbs to make application a bit easier).

Witch Hazel and Essential Oil Spray
Simply adding some drops of essential oil to a spray bottle filled with witch hazel is a simple and easy deodorant. Most essential oils are also antimicrobial, which also helps to improve smells wafting on an especially hot summer day. Some of my favorites are pine, lavender, citrus and sage.

Lavender smells great and is a wonderful antimicrobial.

Go au-natural
Okay, so maybe they’ll let me back in the granola-hippie club after all! Going without deodorant at least once a week is a great idea just to give those sensitive underarms a break. While I like to have a more neutral smell when working closely with others in a professional setting, I don’t think we should be brainwashed into thinking our natural scent is gross.

Granted, after a week of heavy labor in the hot sun most people will smell extra special. But for those of us who shower more regularly, our natural scent, while different than the commercial deodorant smell of “Tropical malibu,” isn’t repulsive! If you feel that you have an especially strong scent even with regular showers you may want to look into the health of various eliminatory organs such as the lymphatic system, digestion and skin to make sure everything is operating optimally.

Rosalee’s Deodorant Recipe
Like I said, I’ve been working with this recipe for about a year. You’ll notice that it calls for some strange butters like kokum and illipe. My first batches didn’t have these hard butters and instead called for more beeswax. However, I found that the beeswax left a waxy orange residue on my clothing. This latest recipe creates a firm, stick-like deodorant without leaving a waxy residue. I apply it once a day and it’s been working great, even on hot summer days.

For this recipe you’ll need…

To begin, weigh out all of your different butters and beeswax and place them in a pot or double boiler. Heat very gently, stirring continuously.

Once they are completely melted, turn off the heat and slowly pour in the oil. (I like to make an herbal infused oil for this using aromatic anti-microbial herbs. Sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary and cottonwood are all great ones to use. Here’s a video on how to make an infused oil. If you aren’t using an herbal infused oil you may want to add essential oils instead.)

After a couple of stirs the mixture should again be clear with the butters and oil completely combined.

Next add the baking soda and stir well.

Then add 1/8 tsp of lime juice. When you add this it will react slightly with the baking soda and produce a more combined end product (before the baking soda was probably all clumped at the bottom of the pan).

Keep stirring to let it cool briefly.

Then, while still liquid, pour it into a used (or new) deodorant container.

There you have it! My best deodorant recipe that has taken me a year to formulate. I hope you enjoy making your very own deodorant!

Enjoy the summer!

  1. Julie Dockery says:

    Hi Rosalie! I’m looking forward to making this deodorant, as all deodorants that I have tried break me out. I’m even using a crystal stone right now…and i’m broke out. It itches! :) I’m having trouble finding deodorant containers, like the ones you have pictured though. Would you mind sharing where you got them, and how big they are (2.5 oz?)? Thanks so much!


    • Rosalee de la Forêt
      Rosalee de la Forêt says:

      I can’t remember the company where I bought these. I bought them years ago and have been refilling them ever since. If you do a google search you’ll find lots of different companies and varieties.

  2. Pamela Owen says:

    I am starting ablog for my family to get information on natural products and herbal cures. I have been learning this on also. I read what you post also. I use Mountain Rose Herbs and supplies and Teas. I live in Springfield, Oregon right next door to them. What I want to ask is if I can use your pics and info on the deodorant story on on my first posting of my new blog? Thanks so much for reading this. Pamela

      • Rosalee de la Forêt
        Rosalee de la Forêt says:

        Hi Pamela,
        These comments are not moderated and I just happened to see your post now. Thank you very much for asking permission to use our photos. Please feel free to link to our article but it is best if you use your own photos and words. I hope it went well.

    • Rosalee de la Forêt
      Rosalee de la Forêt says:

      You would still need to use an oil, you can’t substitute one for the other. If you wanted to use plain oil and add essential oils as a fragrance then it would depend on the particular type of essential oil you are using.

  3. stacy robinson says:

    This looks very interesting. I have made my own before and it broke me out. Do I have to use so many different butters? What are the benefits (other than moisturizing) to using so many?

    • Rosalee de la Forêt
      Rosalee de la Forêt says:

      I originally just made the recipe with beeswax but the residue was very orange and sticky and it stained my shirts and bras. The other waxes are not quite as hard as beeswax but lighter in color to avoid that problem. Feel free to experiment and find what works for you!

  4. Parin Stormlaughter says:

    I think I’ll try this at, say, one quarter the recipe but use an infused vegetable glycerin instead of oil, just to experiment. I’m in Alabama, the Heart of Dixie Rain Forests. Glycerin being hydroscopic, I wonder if it would absorb any moisture? It would be usable regardless and if I don’t like it, won’t be much to use up.

  5. Trinity Oaks says:

    Kristie, MRH doesn’t sell the illipe butter anymore. I asked Rosalee about this, and she suggested doubling the amount of kokum butter instead.

  6. Ashleigh Chapman says:

    Finding the right natural deodorant recipe as been my most difficult challenge. I exercise a lot and finally tossed my old commercial deodorants in the trash over a year ago (long overdue). I have tried a ton of deodorant recipes since, but they all seemed to turn a bit skunky and felt very greasy underneath my arms. If I added more backing soda, it was simply become more flaky. So far, the best ingredient I have found to improve the above-mentioned is the addition of clay. I recommend kaolin white clay because of it’s light color. Perhaps try 1 TBSP of white kaolin clay and 2 TBSP of arrowroot powder (or baking soda). This helps a bit with the absorption of sweat and provides a more traditional dry deodorant feel (not greasy under the arms). I find that combing a few drops of organic Melissa and lavender essential oils is effective at combating odor. I haven’t tried mango or kokum butter yet and would really like to, but I can’t seem to find them organically made.

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