Natural VEGAN deodorant

My natural deodorant is one of my most popular tutorials, but there was one issue with it: the colour! I had so many requests for a white deodorant, that I decided to re-visit the formulation and see if I could not only make it into a white, guaranteed non-staining deodorant, but also improve it and make it vegan at the same time.

100% natural & eco-friendly!
No aluminium!
No harsh ingredients!
No baking soda!
Palm-free!
VEGAN!

Like the original solid deodorant, this one is completely natural, including the environmental friendly cardboard tube it comes in. It contains no aluminium or other synthetic ingredients. Likewise, it contains no baking soda, which can be irritating to some skins (like mine) and other harsh ingredients. Instead, I focussed on using only natural ingredients that are effective, yet mild on the skin.

This deodorant relies on the absorption powers of bamboo extract and tapioca starch, while a special essential oil blend of lime, lemongrass and peppermint combats odour-causing bacteria, keeping your armpits feeling and smelling fresh and clean!

Shea butter, sweet almond and jojoba oils are all easily absorbed into the skin, and don’t leave a greasy feel. Jojoba esters are added to help with the glide of the deodorant. And instead of using beeswax, this deodorant uses a sunflower wax. If you can’t find sunflower wax, you can use rice bran wax as a substitute, or alternatively a 50/50 blend of candelilla and carnauba.

All the ingredients I used to make this natural vegan deodorant are available from Pure Nature.
I used the large sized cardboard push up tubes from Go Native, but you can also use the smaller ones from Pure Nature.

Ingredients:

  • sweet almond oil
  • jojoba oil
  • shea butter
  • sunflower wax
  • jojoba esters
  • tapioca starch
  • bamboo extract
  • lime essential oil
  • lemongrass essential oil
  • peppermint essential oil

So let’s talk quickly about the ingredients and why I used each particular ingredient, and possible substitutions.


Sweet almond oil: One of the best oils to use in skin care because it is lightweight, easily absorbed, well-tolerated and suitable for all skin types, non-greasy, and doesn’t have a strong scent or colour.

Jojoba oil: Actually a liquid wax with properties very similar to our own sebum, which is the reason I’m using it. It is easily absorbed into the skin and doesn’t leave a greasy after-feel. If you don’t have jojoba, you can use more sweet almond oil instead.

Shea butter: I have to admit, shea butter is one of my favourite butters, though it is a sticky mess to work with. Shea butter is one of the most nourishing butters available, and I’ve added it for its nutrients and antioxidants, keeping your skin healthy, which is important – even in your armpits! It’s not as quickly absorbed as the oils, but leaves your skin feeling nice and soft. You could substitute with cocoa butter, but the cocoa scent will clash with the essential oils and it will make for a slightly harder deodorant.

Sunflower wax: This is a vegan option to beeswax, but it is also a much harder wax than beeswax with a higher melt point. I find it also makes the deodorant less sticky, than if you use beeswax (stickiness is the reason beeswax wraps work so well!). An alternative is rice bran wax, or you can use a combination of candelilla and carnauba wax.

Jojoba esters 70 – These provide structure and improve glide to the deodorant. Jojoba esters are made through hydrogenation of jojoba. If you can’t find jojoba esters 70, just leave it out.

Tapioca starch: Tapioca starch has excellent absorption properties. It is obtained from the cassava root. You will find many ‘arrowroot’ products are actually tapioca starch. The real arrowroot starch comes from the Maranta arundinacea plant. Both can be used.

Bamboo extract: This is a silica powder derived from bamboo and is highly absorbent. It will absorb sweat and mattify your skin. If you can’t find bamboo extract (or sometimes sold as bamboo exfoliant or bamboo powder) replace it with kaolin clay or add more tapioca starch.

Lime essential oil: Lime essential oil is antibacterial and refreshing and has deodorising properties.

Lemongrass essential oil: Lemongrass essential is effective against bacteria and is astringent, tightening the pores and keeping your skin dry.

Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint essential oil cools and soothes, and is great for irritated skin (razor rash!)

So now you know what each ingredient does, let’s get to making it.

Three steps to making the deodorant

Step ONE:

Melt your oils, wax and jojoba esters either in a water bath setup, on the stove on the lowest setting, or in the microwave in short bursts.

Step TWO:

Add the tapioca starch and bamboo extract and mix.

Remove from water bath (if using) and keep stirring until the balm mixture has cooled somewhat and then add the essential oils.

Step THREE:

If the mixture has started to set, place back in water bath, microwave or stove, to melt it again. It has to be completely fluid to pour, or else you won’t get a nice solid balm.

Leave to harden completely before placing the lid on.


I’ve mentioned three options on how to heat and melt the oils and wax. The water bath setup is the most gentlest of methods and the most preferable, however it does take the longest and from what I’ve noticed with my students, it’s the least favourable option (“too fiddly”, “too much hassle”). So I’m happy to give you two alternative options, though you really need to take care that you don’t overheat your ingredients using the stove top or the microwave. Some ingredients can be ruined at too high temperatures, and oils in particular, can smell ‘cooked’ when overheated- and no one wants to smell like a fry shop! So if you do use the alternative methods, keep a close eye on it! For the microwave, use it in smaller bursts. And on the stove top, use the very lowest setting, which is usually enough.

Formulation

Makes 230 g. You will also need 2 large push up tubes (dimensions 95 x 43 mm with cap off).

StageIngredient Category%g
ASweet almond oilFoundation2660
AJojobaFoundation1534.5
AShea butterFoundation1534.5
ASunflower waxFoundation1330
AJojoba esters 70Functional49
BTapioca starchFunctional1739
BBamboo extractFunctional818.5
CLime essential oilAromaceutical12.3
CLemongrass essential oilAromaceutical0.751.7
CPeppermint essential oilAromaceutical0.250.5
Please note I’ve rounded the amounts in gram for ease of use.

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients from stage A together and heat either:
    • in the microwave, or
    • in a small pot on the stove on the lowest setting, or
    • in water bath setup,
      until completely melted and fluid.
  2. Add ingredients from stage B, and stir until well mixed.
  3. Remove from water bath, and stir until cooled down somewhat but still completely fluid.
  4. Add the essential oils and mix well. If it starts thickening, place back into water bath until fluid again.
  5. Pour in tube and let set and harden completely before placing the lid on.

Keep the deodorant out of direct sunlight and don’t leave it in a hot car. It will melt at high temperatures. I haven’t done any stability testing, but I’m guessing it will keep for about 12-24 months. You can prolong the shelf life by adding 0.5% vitamin E or 0.1% rosemary extract, which will slow down the oxidation of the oils.


If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating a coffee, or a flat white as we call it here in New Zealand! This website is only possible due to my coffee consumption and early morning starts.

2 Comments

  1. Really like the “old” version and have been using it for quite some time. My only issue is the “slip” feel of the old version. Does this have a better slip?

    • I think it does. I feel it could the beeswax making it draggy. You could possible substitute with sunflower or rice bran wax, but then reduce the amount to about 2/3. Also the jojoba esters will make a difference.

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