Friday, June 21, 2013

Making deodorants - links and a few thoughts

It's funny that this really hasn't come up much in the last few years, but there seems to be an interest in making our own deodorants again.

Deodorants: An aside (the introduction and definition post)
Deodorants: A recipe with alcohol and propylene glycol
Tinosan SCD: Deodorant and preservative
Deodorants: A recipe with glycerin and water
Deodorants: A recipe with dipropylene glycol and witch hazel
Deodorants: A few thoughts on additions
Deodorants: If you want to make a lotion bar deodorant...
Duplicating products: The Healthy Deodorant

A few thoughts...
  • Baking soda is alkaline and can really irritate your arm pits. I know it's natural, but that doesn't mean your skin will love it. Some people can use it, some can't. I encourage you to try this only when you might have a chance to wash it off because you don't want to be irritated all day! 
  • Consider using something other than an essential oil as your fragrance. Again, people think that natural = safe, but there are properties these oils have that aren't great in high doses or must be avoided by pregnant or nursing women. Check out every essential oil before you use it! Peppermint at 1% feels awesome, but it's not so great on your face or at 5%. (Tea tree oil might be a good choice.)
  • I buy my containers at Voyageur Soap & Candle, where they are called oval stick containers, but you should be able to find them easily in suppliers near you. I buy the little ones for my tester sizes, but I've come to love them for lotion bars as well. I really don't need huge quantities of things, and these little deodorant tubes are perfect for throwing into a purse or gym bag. I also like the 75 gram containers from Aquarius Aroma & Soap. You can use lip balm containers for testers, but they might be too small for actual deodorants. 
  • If you're planning to use Tinosan, make sure you are using opaque containers. It doesn't like light. And you can't use baking soda with it as it likes to be at a pH of 7. 
  • I have a hard time finding sodium stearate these days. You can't use magnesium stearate or glycol distearate or anything else called stearate in its place. They aren't necessarily the same thing just because it says "stearate" in the name. Soapgoods in Georgia, USA, seem to have it, but I've heard they won't ship out of country, plus I've never used them, so I don't feel comfortable recommending them. If you have a suggestion, please provide a link in the comments so others might visit that site! 
Can I be completely honest? I don't use a homemade deodorant because I'm an anti-perspirant girl. I like the not sweating thing, and I find that merely covering up odours doesn't work for me. I found lotion bar deodorants were very greasy and slippery, a feeling not enhanced by sweating, and the glycerin version was sticky. I had good results with the propylene glycol version, but I loved my modified version with esters you can find on the dipropylene glycol and witch hazel version page. The Tinosan worked well to help reduce smelliness...but in the end, I really like not sweating, which is too bad because I really liked smelling of cupcakes all day long! (This is only my opinion! Lots of people like lotion type deodorant bars! As with anything, start with a small batch so you can tweak to find the skin feel you like!)

As an aside, if you are looking for an anti-perspirant, may I suggest Secret's cocoa butter one? It goes on dry and it smells absolutely like cocoa butter, a scent that seems to get stronger the more I work out! I haven't been asked or paid to say this - it really does smell lovely! 


LSG said...

I have to say that I have used your recipe for clear deodorant with good results. I sprinkle a little body powder under my arms after appying the deodorant and it lasts all day. Keep posting those great formulas.

David B. Powers said...

Susan, it's been two months since I uploaded the file of all Point of Interest! posts to Dropbox. I have emailed you from Dropbox and my email account but heard nothing back. Did you download the file yet?


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan...

I recently have had to change from anti-perspirants to something else. I offer my experience and story for those interested and/or those ladies with sensitive skin, plus some formulations I have tried with some success over the past 6 months. Of course with a deodorant - we are in a different territory than lotions per se.

It is in no way perfected. Feedback welcome. Either way something is working here (ingredients) and I am pretty picky.

Because it is a very long post (story and recipes), I offer it to you in a link:

Thank you for all your time, information and help you have given me to make products! All the best Seeta

Anonymous said...

Sorry - I can't see to link to the the page I posted by replying. Therefore copy and paste the link address if you wish to read.

Yvonne said...

Hi Susan,

Thanks so much for the tip about Secret cocoa butter deodorant. I am going to go get it sounds great.


Simone said...

Thanks Susan for the info on Secret Coco butter deodorant.
Hi Seeta,
I cannot open your link when I pasted it I get a message saying that there isn't a match.


Simone said...

Hi Susan,
My apologies for the spelling errors in my post.
Secret's Cocoa Butter.

Anonymous said...

Hi Simone

I tried the link and it works - here it is again

If you have problems - email me at and I will send you the text. It's just too long to post here. Do you have sensitive skin?

Cheers Seeta

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi David! I thought I had, but I can't find the file or your e-mail about it. Can you send it again? I'm getting so absent minded these days with all the stuff I have to do! I'm sorry I wasn't more on top of this - it's so kind of you to offer this to me!

Anonymous said...

I, too, have read the comments about baking soda usage in deodorants, so have avoided trying those.

I tend to make a stick deoderant, with coconut oil, beeswax, kaolin and so on. No irritation, and for me, it works as well as an AP.

Claire said...

I have tried many natural deodorants , they are fine to me but costly, so I tried homemade deodorants, they are great but with less fragrance.

Nancy's Soaparie said...

Kaolin clay makes an antiperspirant as it is naturally produced by the chemical weathering of aluminium silicate minerals. I've always been an antiperspirant girl and stumbled on a recipe when I made a lotion bar that felt better suited as a antiperspirant. I added Kaolin a little extra humectant and orange EO which I loved. Now I'm in the middle of testing a deodorant base with the glycol and sodium stearate as my husband is stuck on the gel feel that sodium stearate brings to the table. He is highly reactive to alcohol which is in most mens sticks so he has little options aside from department store lines charging $50-$85. We are in Falkland, BC and there was no supply of Sodium Stearate so I ended up making my own. What magic to see it set up so beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan. We have a couple of "natural" deodorant companies here locally. Very expensive, but the do work. My husband loves them. One company has been pretty successful, and the another never quite got off the ground (I happened to be around when they were doing a trial run at a farmers market, and so bought one - and advised them on making their label more FDA compliant, lol). BOTH of these deodorants were essentially, from what I can tell, really just solid lotions (ie water soluble ingredients, oils and an emulsifier) and both contained "saponified coconut oil", which I think they are using in place of the sodium stearate that you talk about. Both were opaque, not a gel. I'd like to make my own version of this type of deodorant for personal use, but am struggling with percentages. I assume on the sodium cocoate, to start at around 25% (I'm a soap maker, so this is an easy thing for me to do). That soap is also going to have some natural glycerin in it - and a bit of unsaponified oils - so I may need to play with percentages here a bit to account for just the soap salt %. Their labels aren't INCI compliant, so there is some guesswork happening here, but I have bees wax and E-wax and BTMS-25 on hand, along with a myriad of butters and oils. What do you think? If you were gonna take a stab at this, treating it like am emulsified lotion, what % of each ingredient would you start with? (I'd also like to incorporate some Saccharomyces Ferment. By the way, I've done the solid lotion bar deo minus the baking soda and they just weren't odor controlling enough for us.
Here's a list of the ingredients in question. Not sure what the dead sea salts are bringing to the table, other than label appeal.
Precipitated Dead Sea Salts In Distilled Water, Saponified Organic Coconut Oil, Candelilla Wax, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Grapeseed Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Witch Hazel, Carnauba Wax,

Colleen said...

Hi Susan! I wanted to give you a link about Tinosan that I found regarding the question of using it with a ph above 7 and with temps above 122 degrees F. Basically it states that it is preferable to avoid discoloration or precipitate in your formulation but that it does not affect the performance or effectiveness of the preservative/antimicrobial activity. Just a quick FYI for those that would still like to use this with a baking soda deodorant recipe as well as the temperature question.