I’ve always had some issues with regular deodorant. When I was a teenager, my dad, a biologist, would tell me that antiperspirant wasn’t good for your body because it inhibits the body’s natural sweating ability. While men can easily find deodorant that isn’t antiperspirant, there aren’t any such options in the women’s deodorant section.
In recent years, I’ve been suspicious of the aluminum and parabens in deodorant and antiperspirant being associated with breast cancer. Of course the research is still inconclusive, but after having a friend, a young, healthy mom my same age, recently die of breast cancer I am feeling less invincible than usual.
I have experimented with several natural, paraben-free deodorants and haven’t loved them for one reason or another. I finally found Primal Pit Paste and love it. The only thing that might be slightly weird about it is that you apply it with your fingers. Because it has a shea butter and coconut oil base, in the winter it is pretty solid. I use the outside of my fingernail to scrape off what I need each day. Other times of the year, it comes out easily with my finger.
The only downside of Primal Pit Paste is the price tag. A 2 oz container costs around $11 on Amazon. Of course a container that size will last for months, but after a look at the simple ingredients, I was pretty sure I could make my own for cheaper. Just like my laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent, I set out to make my deodorant from scratch.
I ordered my ingredients on Amazon, which I’m pretty certain was cheaper than running around to local health stores (local means an hour away when you live in the boonies). Even though the amounts you’ll need are very small, I usually look for a price break by buying in bulk. That way I can have the ingredients on hand for future batches (for myself or for gifts) and for future DIY body products like lip balm and lotion.
You will need:
Shea Butter— 3 Tablespoons — I use raw, unrefined shea butter. It definitely gets cheaper when you buy more of it. I bought 32 oz for a good price on Amazon, which is way more than you need for this project, but it’s used in lots of other personal care products too. You can buy it in smaller quantities for just a little more per ounce .
Coconut oil— 2 Tablespoons — I have used several brands of coconut oil. One of the best prices on Amazon is currently this one. You can also find it at your grocery store.
Arrowroot Powder— 3 Tablespoons — I got mine at Whole Foods, but you might be able to find it at a larger grocery store. It will be near the alternative flours in the baking aisle. The price on Amazon is comparable to what I paid at Whole Foods.
Baking Soda— 2 Tablespoons — Just regular baking soda from your pantry.
Essential Oils– I don’t have any affiliation with any particular oil brand. I used this lavender for my deodorant. I actually bought this set of six on Amazon a while back. One of my favorite combos is thyme and lemongrass (that’s the kind of Primal Pit Paste that I used).
Glass Jar– This recipe makes enough to fill a 4 oz canning jar. I just grabbed a jam jar from my canning supplies. You could also use a baby food jar or other glass container.
Put 3 Tablespoons of Shea Butter and 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil in a glass jar (I used a pint-size jar). Set jar in a pan of lightly boiling water until they both liquefy. Stir.
Mix in 3 Tablespoons of Arrowroot Powder and 2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda. Add in essential oils of your choice. Amount will depend on the strength of the oil and your personal preference.
Pour into your small glass container(s). Allow to cool and solidify. You can put it in the fridge to speed the process.
Directions for Use
Apply a pea-sized amount under each arm. Warmth of body will make it spread easily. I have not had any trouble with it leaving oil marks on clothing, but just to be safe, let your deodorant soak in and dry before dressing.
Some people experience a “detox” period when they start using natural deodorant. It’s actually a good thing! Your body is getting rid of the chemicals and toxins that have built up for years. Your pores are unclogging. You sweat glands that were blocked by antiperspirants are now free to get out all the junk. This might make you stinkier, sweatier, and more tender at first. Primal Pit Paste has some details on how to know if you’re experiencing pit detox and what to do about it. It doesn’t happen to everyone (I didn’t experience it at all), but it’s good to be aware of!
Now, my frugal friends, let’s take a look at the price breakdown. These are the prices that I paid. Prices on Amazon fluctuate regularly, so your price might be different. In fact, some of the prices have gone down since I bought mine.
Shea Butter— 32 oz for $12.50 ($.39/oz)
3 Tablespoons used (~2 oz) = $0.78
Coconut oil— 15.5 oz for $5.75 ($.37/oz)
2 Tablespoons used (~1.5 oz) = $0.56
Arrowroot Powder— 16 oz (56 Tbsp) for $7.00 ($.13/Tbsp)
3 Tablespoons used = $0.39
Baking Soda 16 oz box (33 Tbsp) for $.56 ($.02/Tbsp)
2 Tablespoons used = $.04
Lavender Essential Oil 10 ml bottle (200+ drops) for $9.99 ($.05/drop)
10 drops used- $.50
Total cost for 4 oz Homemade Deodorant = $2.27
Comparison of 2 oz Primal Pit Paste = $10.95
Until writing this post, I hadn’t sat down to actually do the math in detail. Wow! That was even cheaper than I thought! In fact, this aluminum-free, paraben-free natural deodorant rivals the prices of the cheap chemical-laden stuff you buy at the store.
To buy 4 oz of the name brand “pit paste” would cost $21.90, while 4 oz of the homemade version with the same ingredients is a mere $2.27. That’s a savings of almost 90%! I knew it would be cheaper, but I didn’t realize it would be so much cheaper!
I did shell out almost $20 for the two ingredients I didn’t have (shea butter and arrowroot powder), but that should make enough deodorant for, well, forever! Guess what everyone’s getting for Christmas?! Just kidding (that would rank right up there with socks and underwear, right?)!