DIY · zero waste


One of my sustainability goals for 2018 was to start making my own zero-waste bathroom/beauty products, and about a month ago I made my first move towards doing just that. I’ve been trialling a homemade zero-waste deodorant for this past month and I’m pleased to say that I have had excellent results! The recipe I used was not of my own creation but one from Anne Marie over at The Zero-Waste Chef. You can find the recipe here, but in a nutshell it’s made of bicarb soda, coconut oil, cornstarch and essential oil. Here’s a little run-down of my experience with this recipe in terms of effectiveness, environmental impact and cost:


I would describe myself as a fairly sweaty person, as unfortunately, I’m rather prone to nervous sweats (but less so lately 🙂). Combine that with the fact that I live in a part of the world where it’s hot – or at the very least warm – most of the year, and you’ve got yourself a serious need for an effective deodorant. I am very pleased to say that Anne Marie’s recipe really did not disappoint on this front! While it is aluminium-free so obviously not an anti-perspirant, I find myself to be completely odour-free for the entire day with no need for reapplication. As a side note I’ll also add that I find I smell a lot less when I avoid polyester clothing, so this deodorant used with 100% cotton garments is an excellent combination for me.

Environmental Impact

I was previously going through one 80ml plastic bottle of commercially-produced deodorant per month, so am very excited to be eliminating these bottles from my plastic footprint. Fortunately, I’m also in a position where I can purchase the ingredients in a low-impact way. The bicarb soda, cornstarch and coconut oil I can all buy in bulk in my own containers, and the essential oils I have come in glass bottles.


I’m not sure exactly how much it cost me to make one batch of this, but I’m guessing about $1. I’ve used up about half of the mixture in one month, so it should last about two months in total. In comparison, I used to spend about $7 a month on deodorant. So not only is this deodorant effective and environmentally-friendly, it’s extremely thrifty too!

My tips for making and using the deodorant:

  • I used lemongrass essential oil when I made the recipe. I love the fresh scent of lemongrass but am also eager to experiment with different oils in future. I’m thinking of doing a lavender/rose geranium combination next time.
  • Stir the mixture every few days with a metal teaspoon to avoid separation of the coconut oil and solid ingredients. When I stir the mixture, I make sure I leave bits of it smeared up the sides of the jar – as you can see in the first photo below – so that I always have some ready to apply, even if the bulk of it at the bottom of the jar has separated.
  • I find I need to use a bit of water to spread over my armpits, otherwise I can see a very thin layer of dried bicarb on the surface. I suggest applying the deodorant, then wetting your fingertips and rubbing them over your armpits, then waiting a few minutes for it to dry before putting on your clothes.
  • If you’re worried about your clothes getting greasy from the coconut oil component, don’t be. This was one of my initial concerns, but I find that the small amount of coconut oil in each application is readily absorbed into the skin and does not linger on the surface, especially if you use a bit of water afterwards as suggested above. I find that the feeling after application is one of dryness rather than greasiness.

A huge thank you to Anne Marie for sharing her great zero-waste deodorant recipe! After only one month of use, I can say with confidence that this is something I’ll be making indefinitely. If you try it out too, I’d be curious to know what you think.





  1. This is such a comprehensive breakdown – I love it! Is it weird that I’m excited to get through my current stockpile of conventional deorderant so I can try making my own? Because I am so excited. I’m planning on using a combo of bicarb, arrowroot powder, coconut oil and maybe some Shea butter thrown in. We’ll see. I’m so glad you found a recipe that works for you- that’s always half the battle!


    1. Thanks Britt – glad you loved the breakdown! I can totally relate to that because I’m doing the same with a lot of personal care products at the moment! I have had a proper look through my bathroom cupboard over the past few weeks and found all sorts of conventional products that I want to use up and not replace. I think it’s important to use them rather than just throw them away, so I’m working my way through all sorts of creams and sprays. I’ll be glad to see them gone, that’s for sure. Hope your DIY deodorant trial goes well and that you find something that works for you! 😀


  2. Congrats on the success!

    I switched to this same home made Deo a few weeks ago and am also really surprised at the success. I never smell, though I do notice that I’m a bit sweaty in the evenings. The only thing I don’t like is the essential oils I used. I thought adding a bit of spearmint oil to some tea tree oil would make it smell a bit sweeter, but it just makes me smell like an old lady’s purse 😉


  3. Wow Lisa, that’s amazing. I thought it would be way more complicated than that. And lemongrass oil sounds like it would smell lovely, far nicer than the commercially produced ones, Lxxx


    1. Thanks Lorraine! It really is surprisingly simple and takes all of two minutes to whip up, which I love 🙂 The lemongrass scent has become one of the highlights of my morning routine!


  4. This is amazing Lisa! Thank you for trying out all things so we can benefit from it! I never thought of how much plastic waste single use deodorants produce, but now that I am I’d like to stop! I also have heard crazy things about bad chemicals in the deodorants, and I don’t want to chance that it could harm me down the road. I’m going to start looking for these ingredients and make a go of it myself.


    1. Thank you Steph! It’s really my pleasure to do all the testing – I love the challenge of it! That’s great that you are interested in trying this out. Knowing how many nasties are put in commercial deodorants was definitely a big motivator for me, too. It’s comforting to know exactly what I’m putting on my underarms each morning, that’s for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I switched to natural deo 2 years ago. Before I was sweating pretty a lot but now my body got used to it and I almost don’t sweat. At all! Plus more pores are not getting clogged, armpits smooth as baby’s butt. Now I’m using salt stick or salt spray. Amazing! Salt stick can lasts for half a year at least! I bought it in promo 1+1 for around 6€. I think it was a good deal. Less waste, less money spend.


    1. Wow, that’s an interesting change after two years with a natural deodorant. I’m curious to see how my skin reacts to this one in the long run! Thanks so much for commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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