There’s a long-standing debate on whether store bought deodorant does more harm than good. If you frequent public spaces and transportation, then you’re definitely in favor of deodorant, but sometimes curiosity or a health scare makes you want to break the norm. For me, it was a combination of both; mysteriously swollen glands and the continual desire to simplify my beauty products and routine. Whether I believe deodorant is toxic or not, I do believe we use a lot of unnecessary stuff simply because we’ve been told to. And, as was in the case of many deodorant experiences I’ve had, they’re not all that spectacularly effective. Always a rebel, I decided to risk my reputation by ditching my deodorant mid-July.

At first, I went cold turkey, not applying anything under my arms at all. I was so brave (and maybe inconsiderate), doing this in the dead heat of summer. It actually worked OK for a little less than two weeks, as long as I bathed (at least under my arms) morning and night, and occasionally in the afternoon if I was out running around. If I smelled during this time it must not have been too bad since yes, I still have friends. But, having to bathe that often is not the most efficient thing when considering low maintenance. After about two weeks I wasn’t satisfied and was admittedly feeling a little grossed out. Clearly, this method was not going to work.

Moving from the absolutely bare method, I went the next level up in trying to keep things simple, and began using baking soda (think Arm & Hammer). A couple dabs under my arms using my two fingers before leaving the house kept me fresh throughout the day, and sometimes even into the next. It was pretty satisfying to feel like I had found this miraculous loophole that essentially everyone should be on board with. That was until I removed my under arm hair and swiped some baking soda over the fresh skin. It felt like bleach covered sand. Scratch that idea.

But I wasn’t ready to give up, and if I was being honest with myself, I knew there were homemade deodorant recipes available if I’d just ask Google and be willing to invest a bit of time and some ingredients to get it made. As expected, Google didn’t let me down (I mean, when does it ever really?) and I found a super simple homemade deodorant recipe staring back at me from my mobile. Coconut oil? Check. Baking Soda? Check. I went home that day and whipped up a small batch.

Because of the coconut oil, I prefer for the mixture to be kept cool, though this is apparently optional. After leaving it a few hours to harden in the refrigerator and taking a shower, I excitedly embarked upon my next non store bought deodorant adventure. It worked. No, like really, it actually works. Instead of spending money on purchasing deodorant I don’t even like that much, I’ve now been using the same batch I made a couple months ago that literally came from:

  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 tbsp. Arrow Root Powder

You’ll mix these measurements together, more or less, until you get a smooth paste. That’s pretty much it. I keep mine in a small plastic circular container in the fridge, and even cut it in half once it had cooled to make little half circles that swipe nicely under my arm. It’s also possible to fill and use an empty roll-on deodorant container if you’re looking for extra convenience. Essential oils are great options to add scent or if you’re worried about irritating your skin. I may drop some tea tree oil in my next batch since it’s my go-to antiseptic and skin soother (tea tree oil errythang!).

Here are some tips worth mentioning before you begin your own adventures in abandoning your over-priced, mystery ingredient list, store bought deodorant:

  • This is a deodorant, not an anti-perspirant. It’s not going to block your sweat glands (which is actually a good thing), but it will keep any sweat you do produce from forming bacteria and creating that lovely body odor smell.
  • If you store yours in the fridge and have to take it out or travel and it melts, don’t worry. Just put it back in the fridge and use it when it’s the right consistency for you. It won’t spoil.
  • You are using oil, so less is more when you apply it. We tend to load up on deodorant, but with this method it’s not wise and just a few quick swipes will do. If you use too much you will run the risk of leaving oil behind on your clothes.
  • I don’t have sensitive skin, aside from rubbing baking soda under my arms after shaving which was mostly just stupidity. For those of you who do, however, use more arrow root powder than baking soda to create the right consistency, since baking soda is the more irritating ingredient. And of course, adding a few drops of essential oil like rose, lavender, neroli or tea tree are great for soothing skin.

Now that I braved the possible horror of bad B.O. in the middle of summer in Egypt, I can only hope anyone considering making their own products can rest assured that there are definitely benefits to going against the norm, making your own deodorant and simplifying your life!