I love making homemade deodorant, and this clay, cocoa, and shea natural vegan deodorant is no exception. Maybe it’s because it’s one of those products that gets most tied up in notions of body insecurities and general marketing induced ridiculousness. Maybe it’s because the store bought stuff is generally loaded with stuff you don’t want anywhere near your body, and then sold at a shocking markup. Maybe it’s an unconscious bid at becoming the female equivalent of the Old Spice man? Or maybe I just like to make stuff.
I generally end up making deodorant once every 10–12 months as the natural stuff tends to lose its kick after a while. That ends up being a good time span between batches as I learn quite a lot in 10 or 12 months, meaning each subsequent batch of my homemade pit paste benefits from new knowledge. This batch incorporates two new things.
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First off, clay. I luuuurve clay. Way back in 2013 Sarah suggested I try it in deodorant, and now I finally have, and it is good. Clay is great for managing moisture, which explains why you see it in so many natural deodorant recipes. I went with zeolite ultrafine clay, which is exactly my skin tone. Now, I know you must be looking at those pictures and thinking “Marie, I have seen pictures of you, and you are only that dark in your worst Jersey Shore nightmares”. True. The clay matches my skin when it is spread out and dried. Feel free to use something else skin toned (keeping in mind that it will darken quite a lot when mixed with the oils), or just go with white kaolin if you are as pale (or paler) than I am. Or if you simply can’t be bothered to add another tub of clay to your collection for the tablespoon or so you’ll need for this recipe.
Next up, this recipe is beeswax free. Wax free, even. So it’s vegan, which is always a bonus (for the vegans, obviously), but without the wax it absorbs into your skin faster. It’s still plenty hard thanks to the cocoa butter (though it takes about 12 hours to fully solidify, so don’t judge it until then). I chose a tin for mine, but if you have a push-tube, that would work really well, too—in fact, I’d recommend it as the tin becomes annoying after a few days of dirty fingers in the morning. I’m not sure about a typical twisty deodorant tube, but it should work.
In this round I swapped out the cornstarch for arrowroot starch, but you’re welcome to use whichever starch you have on hand. The essential oils I’ve used are lavender, bergamot, peppermint, and dark patchouli. As always, I used raw/virgin cocoa, shea, and coconut oil. Without the essential oils it smells like slightly smokey chocolate, so if you’re into that, this recipe can easily be left unscented. Now, I should warn you that once you add the essential oils and the mixture is still warm, it will smell alarmingly awful. But then it cools, and it smells wonderful. So relax, and resist the temptation to dump all your essential oils into the pot, or to dump the entire thing into the trash.
The resulting deodorant will keep you smelling fresh all day long. If you’re sensitive to baking soda (or become sensitive to baking soda powered deodorants over time), Crunchy Betty has written up a nice little guide on re-balancing the pH of your pits so you can keep on riding the natural deodorant train.
I no longer recommend putting baking soda on your skin; read this for more information.
Clay, Cocoa, & Shea Natural Vegan Deodorant
Weigh the cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil into a small heat resistant glass measuring cup. Place that measuring cup in a small saucepan that contains about 2.5cm/1″ of water that’s hot and steaming, but not bubbling (medium-low heat is usually a good heat level to achieve this). Leave the measuring cup over the heat for about twenty minutes to melt everything through.
Once everything has melted, remove the measuring cup from the heat and let cool until it has thickened a bit to a liquid with the consistency of unwhipped heavy cream. This will take a while, so feel free to leave it alone for twenty minutes or so at a time and go off to do other things.
Optional (good if you have extra sensitive skin): While the oils are solidifying, blend the clay, baking soda, and starch together in a coffee grinder to get the finest powder possible. Be sure to leave the grinder shut for at least 5 minutes after grinding to let the powder settle so you don’t inhale a bunch of it (or wear a good dust mask).
Once the oils are the consistency of unwhipped heavy cream, blend in the powders and the essential oils thoroughly using a flexible silicone spatula. Decant to a tin or tube (this will take lots of stuffing and tapping to get it to fall down the tube) and let set up.
To use, rub a small amount of the deodorant under your arms.