Homemade Deodorant for Sensitive Skin: Trials, Errors … and Success

Today’s post is from my friend, Megan.

It was about ten years ago that I first heard someone say, “I don’t use antiperspirant any more, its bad for you, and we’re supposed to sweat,” (or something like that).

Homemade Deodorant for Sensitive Skin

That got me thinking, and at that time it was difficult to find deodorant without antiperspirant (this was also before I knew of the existence of organic health food stores).

Eventually I found Toms of Maine deodorant. The stick version didn’t work at all for me, but thankfully, the citrus roll-on did!

About two years ago I made my first batch of homemade soap, and that opened the door to all kinds of homemade goodies!! Lip balm, lotion bars, body butter. It’s all SO much fun!!!

Well, I was on Pinterest (that dreaded, yet wonderful site) and when looking for soap recipes, came across a recipe for homemade deodorant. YES!!!!!

I already had most of the ingredients, except clay which I promptly bought from here.

There has been a lot of trial and error …

The first recipe was good, but too greasy, so the second time around I just added more clay. That helped a lot!

Then I decided to branch out.

I tried a citrus, arrow root and baking soda variety. Bad juju for me – my armpits itched like CRAZY! I just couldn’t handle it! So I scraped that into a jar (for emergencies – I don’t want it to go to waste).

Don’t get me wrong, it may work well for some, just not for me …

So I made my old recipe, but with a smidgen of baking soda in it. Guess what? Itchy armpits AGAIN!

I’ve come to the conclusion that the baking soda is just too abrasive for me. I do have very sensitive skin, so it makes sense.

So if you try homemade deodorant that irritates your skin, it may be that some of the ingredients are just too abrasive. No worries, though, you can make it without!

Now, for the smell … most recipes call for tea tree/melaleuca essential oil. I HATE the way tea tree smells on me(I feel like I smell like a man).

Instead, I do about half the amount of tea tree/melaleuca essential oil and add two of my favorite scents: lemongrass and grapefruit essential oils. With the right ratio, sometimes I smell like fruit loops (not on purpose, I just don’t measure).

You can do whatever essential oils you want. That’s what makes it so fun! I’m looking for hops essential oil, to use as my antibacterial, instead of tea tree. I’ll let you know how it goes once I get my hands on some …

Homemade Deodorant for Sensitive Skin Recipe

  • 2 T Beeswax
  • 5 T Shea Butter
  • 2 T Bentonite Clay (Note from Nina: I love the stuff from Redmond Trading Company)
  • 10 drops Tea Tree/Melaleuca essential oil
  • 10 drops Grapefruit essential oil
  • 8 drops Lemongrass essential oil
  • 4 drops Tangerine essential oil (if you don’t have that, you can try orange)

In a small sauce pan, heat the butter and wax on low just until they’re melted. Remove from heat. Add the clay and stir until it’s well incorporated. Stir in your essential oils.

Pour it into a small glass jar with a lid, or, if you’re using an empty deodorant container, wait until it’s cooled down a bit but still runny.

Keep it somewhere cool, or else it will melt. Apply as needed.

Do you make your own deodorant?

Megan Sargent is a biology student and student Midwife who has a heart for the nations. Wannabe pioneer woman. Lover of Jesus.


  1. Amanda says

    After you make your deodorant, why do you put it in a glass jar? Are you able to form it into a “bar”?

  2. says

    Mostly because that’s what was nearby. :) Some people store it in glass jars and just scoop out a bit and others reuse deodorant containers or buy new empty ones. I think if you had a mold you could pour it in there – I think that’s a great idea!

  3. Elaine R says

    Will adding bentonite clay stain your shirts? I have been getting ready to do my own deodorant and wondered about this…thanks!

  4. Elaine R says

    Thanks Nina! I must admit, am a bit nervous about stepping into the DIY deodorant world…lolol.

  5. Blythe says

    Quick question: I was reading about using essential oils (especially citrus essential oils) on the skin and it was saying to avoid during pregnancy. Any idea why? I am currently pregnant, so just wanted t check and see if you knew anything about this. Thanks!

  6. Emily Milbauer says

    I just made this recipe and it turned out to be an ugly alligator green color. I used the clay you linked to but I assume this is what turned it green since it was a yellowy clear before adding it. Any ideas as to why this would happen?

  7. Nicole says

    This is so great!! I’ve been trying a homemade deodorant that gives me a dark rash like it’s drying me out, unless I sweat a lot. So far I’ve just been putting up with it saying “It’s better than aluminum”, but I can’t wait to try this!!

  8. jl Li says

    Great post and I esp. like that you link to resources; however, there are questions here from other posters that I don’t see answered.

  9. says

    I’m not sure, Emily. Mine is a dark khaki color. It could have been the color of the shea butter mixing with the clay. Some shea butter is whitish, while others is a darker yellow. Does it work?

  10. Emily Milbauer says

    Trying it today and it is working great. Didn’t make my underarms green like I feared. Calling it a success.

  11. Laura says

    Just thought I’d mention that for me a “homemade” deodorant is as easy as using liquid magnesium straight from the bottle. No scent. I assume if there is any effect on the body, it is for the good. Works like magic, is very economical. If you miss the fun part, you could add some scent.

  12. kavita says

    Laura, I didn’t realize that liquid magnesium acts as a deodorant! My understanding is that the best way to intake Mg is through the skin. And as much as I enjoy baths, I don’t end up taking many. I was relying on Epsom salts in the bath for Mg source here. Where do you get liquid Mg?

  13. says

    I am having severe issues with nothing working. Nothing – storebought or homemade. I only have the tea tree and melaleuca oils. Is there a medicinal/antibacterial/deodorizing purpose for this or is it only for scent purposes?

  14. Danuta says

    Hi I have a Kaolin clay, Do u think it should work in deo? I am also very sensitive to baking soda..

  15. Amy says

    I just finished making this and used tea tree, ylang ylang, frankincense, and rose hip seed oil. The latter only 3 drops due to it being so thick, and I was impatient. HA! It smells HEAVENLY!! I can’t wait to try it out and see how it works. :) Do you think I could get by with one application daily or would I need to reapply throughout the day? Also, about how long does one recipe of this last you?

    My 9-year-old son, whose sweat doesn’t stink yet, asked me to make some for him when I told him what I was making. He says he stinks at recess – not sure what he means by that. Can you recommend any scents that would be good for him and not too overwhelming? His favorite EO scent is grapefruit, and he’s asked for it to be scented with that, but I’m afraid that would be too “girly”. Do you think a liquid roll-on would be better for him or a solid like this recipe makes?

    I’m sorry for all of the questions today…I had a DIY afternoon and early evening, so tonight is my time to research… :)

  16. says

    I would make him this one: http://doterrablog.com/diy-essential-oil-deodorant Maybe sub the grapefruit for the lemon. He could use it daily and get the benefits of the other oils in there, in addition to the smell-busting.

    I alternate between nothing, this deodorant and a deodorant stone, so it’s lasted me quite a while. I only apply a little bit, once a day. Though, I think if I wear this on a day that I go running or do a kettlebell workout, I need to apply right before that, too.

  17. Danuta says

    I just made it with kaolin and it seems to work great, no irritation of skin which was constant with the other diy deos with the baking soda and arrowroot powder. thank you for that. :))

  18. Suzanne says

    Thanks for the post Megan!

    Ever try Lavilin? I think it’s miles better than Tom’s of Maine. I started using it a year ago, and I’m totally obsessed! Got the foot cream for my husband as well…for both of our sakes :)

  19. Megan says

    Bentonite clay(and other clays) can vary in color based on where they’re from. It’s all in the minerology :)

  20. motherhubbard7272 says

    I react to baking soda as well, so I am excited to try your recipe out. I am especially excited to see it uses bentonite clay. I am always looking to include it in my products as much as possible.

  21. Cristina says

    Hi Shalom mama,
    Kind of impossible to find bentonite clay here where I live, so can gren or white clay or maybe rhassoul make it?

  22. says

    I have liquid bentonite clay. Will that work or do I need the powder? I make my own deodorant but my husband can’t use it anymore-it causes a nasty rash under his arms so does Toms of Maine, so I want to try your recipe and see if it will work for him! Thanks for posting.

  23. says

    Hi Nina, I’m teaching myself to make my own body spray/deodorant and I wanted to know if you had tried a recipe with hops extract yet. I’ve sampled different brands and found that the ones I tried with hops definitely made a difference. Did it make a difference for you? If so, how much did you use in it? Thanks!

  24. Elizabeth Rose says

    I have seen different versions of these recipes all containing beeswax, any possible way to leave that out or substitute it?

  25. aria says

    cool info. I really like putting lime essential oil in my deodorant ( smells like coconut lime . yum ) I make mine with coconut oil, arrow root powder, lime essential oil and a tiny bit of bentonite clay. I had to ditch the baking soda, it made me itch like crazy too, even with just a little. I love the 5 for ~$6 empty deodorant containers on amazon. look for the ones with perfect reviews. they don’t leak and sometimes I make different scented ones like coconut coco( think german chocolate cake), coconut bergamot, ( I get all my oils from edens garden :) hint – the 6 pack pick your own sampler CAN be cheaper than buying individual bottles. I just got into making my own beauty products too and im loving it as well. fun! try castor oil on the eye lashes and eye brows for faster growth/fullness you can get empty mascara tubes on ebay for $1-3 I do it before bed

  26. aria says

    PS try mixing tea tree with peppermint. it wont smell so teatreeish and will give skin a fresh tingle


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