Deodorant is the one toiletry most of us would never go without. I mean, there are occasions when I’m sure I could make do. Say, for example, I was on holiday hiking in a South American rain forest and was kidnapped by rebels. I wouldn’t poke the rebel leader on the shoulder and tell him I needed to stop at a convenience store for some pit stick.

Sweaty rebellious jungle hypotheticals aside, deodorant is just plain necessary! Nobody likes body odor, even in a rain forest.

These days, commercial deodorant brands work well to stop odor and sweat. But they also contain aluminum and parabens. Now, there is no scientific link between deodorant use and disease. But I like to stay on the safe side of things and out of the jungle. Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. Parabens mimic the hormone estrogen and have been implicated in certain cancers.

All-natural deodorants, like Tom’s of Maine, are free of aluminum and parabens. Still, don’t confuse that “free” with inexpensive. At Target, that brand runs $5 or $6.  Or you could pick up a 2.5 oz. stick on for just under $5.00. That’s still $2.14 an oz. I learned to stay natural and cheap by making my own deodorant at home. Trust me, it is a lot less daunting then running into FARC rebels in the Colombian backcountry.

You need:

  • Beeswax: Maintains the deodorant in solid form and prevents it from melting. A 1 pound bag of beeswax pellets is $13.70 on That’s $0.86 cents per oz.
  • Coconut oil: A binding and anti-bacterial agent. A large 54-oz. jar of coconut oil is $21 on Amazon, which works out to $0.39 cents per oz.
  • Corn starch: Acts as an antiperspirant. Pick up a 16 oz. box for $0.88 cents at Walmart. That’s just $0.05 cents an oz.
  • Baking soda: Fights odor. A 1 pound box of Arm & Hammer is just $0.68 cents at Walmart. That’s $0.04 cents an oz.
  • Tea tree oil: An antibacterial agent that adds a pleasant smell to the deodorant. You can purchase tea tree oil for as little as $3.25 per ounce.
  • Essential oil (optional): Prices range from $1 – $20 per oz.
  • A one-quart saucepan.
  • Mixing spoon or whisk.
  • Two empty deodorant containers (re-use commercial containers. Wash and turn dials down.)

The Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons beeswax ($0.88 cents)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil ($0.80 cents)
  • 6-7 tablespoons cornstarch ($0.15 cents)
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda ($0.10 cents)
  • 30 drops tea tree oil (roughly 1/4 teaspoon or $0.14 cents)
  • 15 drops essential oil (roughly 1/8 teaspoon or $0.21 cents on average)

The Steps

  1. Melt the beeswax in the saucepan over low heat. Add the coconut oil and mix together until the liquid is uniform.
  2. Turn the heat off and add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. Mix with a spoon or whisk until completely dissolved. You should have a very thick syrup by the end.
  3. Keep whisking the "syrup" so it doesn't harden in the saucepan.
  4. Pour the "syrup" into the empty deodorant containers until their top levels are filled. Let the deodorants cool either on the counter or in the refrigerator.

This recipe makes two deodorant sticks at a per stick cost of $1.14 or $.51 cents per oz.

Your body will need about a week to adjust to homemade deodorant. Initially, you may feel "sticky" after using all-natural deodorant. That will ease over time.

If you prefer a "harder" deodorant, try replacing half the coconut oil with Shea butter, available for about $9 a pound ($.055 an ounce) on

Have you made your own deodorant or been kidnapped by rain forest rebels? Are you ready to try this recipe out and share a review? Tell us about it in the comments!

 This has been a guest post by Halina from Madison, WI
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Smell the Savings: DIY Deodorant