Saturday, March 31, 2012

DIY help! Deodorant Conundrum

For the past few months, I've been working on a homemade deodorant recipe. Sadly, my chemistry skills leave something to be desired. I know the formula works, and it works really well. Anytime I use it, I'm stink free all day. My boyfriend is also a good guinea pig for the effectiveness as he works out often and comes home still smelling fresh.

HOWEVER (yes in all caps), we have had random reactions and sensitivities to the deodorant and need to take a break from using it every now and then. I've also asked my friends to help me test it. Some have had a reaction, while others have used it successfully. I've gone back a few times and re-researched all the ingredients, reading blogs, searching the cosmetic safety databases and consulting my reference books. Everything I read says that these ingredients should be safe and effective. If it is not the individual ingredients that are causing a reaction, then it must be how I'm mixing them, right?

Formula 3: solid, hard consistency
Then there is the issue of texture and consistency. The recipes have come out ranging from a hard solid to a runny cream. I've experimented with different blending techniques and quantities of ingredients. I melted the oils first and the blended them with the dry ingredients. The last time, I combined all the ingredients first, then set the mixture over a double boiler to soften the oils and butters as I mixed it by hand. I've also tried changing the ratios of dry to wet ingredients, but this just produces either an oily or gritty formula. Nothing seems to be working.

Here's what I figured out today...

I'm not too proud to ask for help. I could use some constructive criticism and suggestions to help identify things that I might be doing wrong. I'm frustrated with the process. My brain just doesn't work well with numbers. And I cringe at the waste of good ingredients. Maybe the same bloggers that I've been using for inspiration are up to helping me with this challenge?

Floraesthetics Deodorant - Formula 4

Formula 4: creamy, runny consistency
Dry Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp White Clay
  • 1 tsp Oat Flour

Wet Ingredients:
  • 3 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 3 tsp Cocoa Butter
  • 2 tsp Shea Butter
  • 1 tsp Sweet Almond Oil
  • 1 tsp Vegetable Glycerin
  • 1/2 tsp Emu Oil
  • 6 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • 6 drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 3 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 3 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 3 drops Vitamin E
  • 3 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract

Directions: Sift dry ingredients into a heat-proof bowl. Then add all the wet ingredients and set bowl over a sauce pan with hot water (not boiling) on the stove. Mix until ingredients are soft and totally incorporated. Remove from heat and pour into small glass jar. Let it cool before using.

If you have ideas, please leave a comment with suggestions, send me an email, or write on my Facebook wall facebookcom/floraesthetics. Any insight into this deodorant conundrum will be much appreciated!

Previous posts on my homemade deodorant attempts:


  1. I found this a few days ago, hope it helps you.

    1. Thank you Cndy! The formula looks very solid. I will have to test it out. I appreciate the help :-)

  2. I have been using and formulating with therapeutic grade essential oils for almost 3 years now. It may be that the oils you use are not therapeutic grade or, if they are, you may be getting a detox response. Although somewhat uncomfortable, the detox response will become fewer and farther between. Of course I am assuming you eat a healthy diet and you might want to up your water quality/intake.Also, maybe try having 2 different batches of deoderant available at any given time so that you can alternate which one you use (different essential oils in each of the two) on an every-few-days/weekly basis. We tend to detox through our skin readily and sweat contains a concentrated amount of thrown off toxins. Hope this helps! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    1. Hi Patty! The essential oils are therapeutic grade... mainly Now brand. I do have an overall healthy diet. I cheat sometimes, but in general it's organic and local produce and meats. The 2 different batches is a fantastic idea. I have to do that with hair and skin care all the time. I will totally try a couple different recipes!

  3. Hi there, I think that there's nothing wrong with the actual process you're using to make it - seems standard. However, I think there's just way too much going on here! I'd keep it simple during your first attempts. Baking soda and cornstarch are perfectly safe and green alternatives to synthetics, however they can be an irritant for some people. The essential oils are about the right amount. Personally I'd use less wet ingredients (around 5 tbsps in total for butters), up the clay to around 3 tbsp, lessen the amount of base oil's you're using (not sure I'd go much beyond the tbsp to be honest). Consider using a small amount of beeswax, around 1-2tbsps (or alternative wax) to help it harden. Also try thickening it in a bowl surrounded by ice, then pour into containers as it starts to cool down. Keep out of heat and light. Hope this was helpful in some way, this is just the way I would do it. Let me know how you get on!

    1. This is such helpful information! I am still struggling with the formula, but I have definitely simplified it. After a lot of testing, I think the baking soda is what is causing a reaction. I removed all potential irritants and have been adding them back in one at a time with each batch. The non-baking soda, arrowroot formula caused no reaction with my skin. It also didn't work as well as a deodorant. I'm going to try some of your suggestions and see if I can strike the right balance of ingredients and effectiveness. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. loving ur blog :) im deffo a new follower!.. xx