Making my own deodorant has been a long and winding road. I grew up using a certain well known antiperspirant…baby powder fresh. No matter what any natural guru will tell you, I found moving from antiperspirant to store bought deodorant a hard change. It took some time for my body to re-balance from wearing something that stopped my armpits from sweating to something that allowed me to sweat (side bar: sweat is how the body naturally detoxes, so holding in sweat really wasn’t such a bright idea on my part).
To date I’ve tried several organic, high priced, non-toxic deodorants and all of them have worked, eh, okay… but not fantastic. Not only did I usually have to reapply them mid-day, these products also set me back about 7 dollars each and honestly even the organic varieties have ingredients that I can’t pronounce. I don’t like eating anything I can’t pronounce and I prefer not to put anything ON my body I can’t pronounce either.
So after reading my friend Kara’s easy DIY deodorant, I decided to make one of my own. I made a few versions that worked just as well as the store bought varieties (read: just okay) and then I found my SECRET FABULOUS STINK-KILLING INGREDIENT (seriously).
Two words: Magnesium oil.
There are theories that low magnesium levels in the body lead to more stinky sweat and I’ve read a few homemade deodorant recipes that call for spraying straight magnesium oil on your armpits. Well I tried it and let me tell you it is not comfortable. Magnesium oil stings slightly when it enters the body and on a sensitive area like the armpits, it’s not enjoyable..so straight magnesium oil was not an option for me. Instead I added 1 tablespoon of magnesium oil to my homemade deodorant recipe of witch hazel plus essential oils and guess what? Magnesium oil is a deodorizing MIRACLE and 1 tablespoon does not sting my armpits at all. This recipe works 10X better than anything I have ever bought at the store. EVER. And it’s non-toxic so you will free your armpits from all the cancer-causing, hormone- altering, nervous system-destroying chemicals in conventional antiperspirants. Amazing, right?
About the ingredients…
I use some essential oils in this recipe known to be tough on odors. These same oils may also offer some health supporting benefits too. So instead of worrying about the fragrance in your deodorant, you can spray liberally because these oils are all natural! In my deodorant I use a combination of the following (feel free to come up with a combination you like too!):
Magnesium oil: Low magnesium levels in the body have been associated with body odor. It is estimated that over 80% of us are deficient in this mineral. Magnesium oil in this deodorant recipe absolutely decreases armpit odor no matter how much you sweat.
Witch Hazel: I use this as my deodorant base because it naturally soothes and cleans the skin without upsetting your natural moisture balance. It doesn’t irritate my skin (in fact it feels great) or dry it out. I use this brand.
Sea Salt: Essential oils won’t mix with liquid alone so I add a pinch of sea salt to allow the essential oils to bind and mix well in the recipe. Use a real salt like this to add some trace minerals to your deodorant.
Glass bottle: Essential oils should not be used in plastic bottles, so use glass instead and save yourself from all the nasty chemicals in plastic. Whatever you spray ON your body ends up IN your body so let’s keep it clean and green!
I hope you enjoy this super simple DIY spray deodorant with magnesium! Here’s another great homemade deodorant recipe using coconut oil and here’s one for sensitive skin, too.
- 2 oz glass spray bottle
- Witch hazel
- 1 tablespoon magnesium oil
- Pinch sea salt
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops frankincense essential oil
In a small spoon combine the pinch of salt and the essential oils. Place salt/oil mixture in your glass spray bottle, add the magnesium oil and fill the rest of the bottle with witch hazel. Shake and spray. This deodorant has a shelf life of about 6 months.
Good post, Heather! I need a good recipe for my sensitive skin, and this is what I was looking for. I will just have to buy a spray bottle, and give it a go!
Where do you find magnesium oil?
Ohhh, I can’t wait to hear if you like it better than glycerin Loren!
Amy just click on magnesium oil in the post and it will take you directly to the product! I hope you try it!
Well, thank you! I did not see that link. Even though I don’t always pay attention, clearly, it is so helpful that you provide all the links you can. I love a recipe that doesn’t require me to do homework in the form of searching out each ingredient.
Just like you, I’ve found that clean (and $$$) deodorants work “ok”. I cannot wait to give this one a try.
I found it at my local health food store. It was $10 for 8oz.
Thanks so much for a great post! I have been making my deodorant for a while now, but was using glycerin to bind the oils and witch hazel… I am so looking forward to trying your ‘recipe’ with magnesium and sea salt instead! Thank you! 🙂
AND PS–love your blog!!!
I made it. It works. Bless you, bless you, bless you! I love it.
This is a great tip, Heather! Now I want to try it out, to see how it works on my sensitive skin. Good post!
Thank you so much! I will be making this ASAP for my 11 year old that needs to start wearing deodorant. I am so happy with the natural ingredients and will feel comfortable having this on my child!
Great! let me know how you like it!
I’ve read that magnesium can cause yellowing of clothing. Have you noticed this at all with this deodorant?
Hi Becky! Interesting! I’ve not experience that and I’ve been using this for several months now, however I used to get yellow clothing from my anti-perspirant a few decades ago when I used it. I remember having to get rid of my white t-shirts!
Have you noticed any issues with the oils staining clothing at all?
I have not had any staining and have been using it for about 6 months. I did have lots of staining 20 years ago when I use antiperspirant though!
I love it. There is no mess around. Thank you for sharing!!
Do you think this recipe could be made into a solid? I’d love to have something I can swipe instead of spray. Add some beeswax and maybe some Shea? Or would they not mix well?
Love your site!
I’m going green and taking my family with me! lol…
Can’t wait to try this, I’ll let you know how it goes….
HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!!
How many oz.’s does this recipe make?
Can’t wait to try this out. Does this last you longer than the average bar deodorant?
I usually use up the 2oz in about 4 months or so. The shelf life should be no longer than 6 months to keep the essential oils fresh.
Hi, I will be trying this recipe. However, one question? I noticed you use witch hazel as a base with a hint of salt. How does this affect sensitive skin under the arms after shaving? I am worried it will irritate ? Have you noticed anything after shaving? Thanks!
Good question, after shaving sometimes my skin would get sensitive with the deodorant for a day, but after using this spray for over 6 months now I don’t notice it at all.
OMG I used this a few hrs after shaving and my armpits were on fire and I broke out in a rash instantly 🙁 I had to wipe it off and use some aloe ….
Ah! I wouldn’t use this after shaving when you’re really sensitive. You likely reacted the magnesium oil so I’d cut that down.
Hi there! I’d love to try this! Thank you for sharing. So I’ve read that using essential oils, especially directly to the skin, can be harmful to people when it’s not properly diluted. Do you know if you can dilute this recipe at all? I definitely want to use something like this over any store bought deodorant. Thank you 🙂
The essential oils are definitely diluted in this recipe with the witch hazel 🙂
Thank you, thank you, thank you…. Finding your post came right in time for me, for I had exact the same problem. I don’t like the coconut deo’s diy, wanted a spray. You made my day, month, year? Just made it and already in love. Did a small moderating, because I don’t have a clue what witch hazel is (I live in the netherlands) and this is my mix: 4 tablespoons magnesium oil, salt, 30 drops lily of the valley essential oil, 2 tablespoons of aloe vera skin gel and filled my (bigger container) with ….. rose water.
So, you made a dutch painterlivinginthecountrymumwifedoglover extremely happy!
So awesome! Thanks for sharing Marijke…
Forgot to rate it. To shame that I can’t rate it with hundred stars 🙂
Hi, I’m Silvia from Florence Italy, sorry for my english, I Want to try this recepy, I belive it’s fantastic, but a question, you think that I can mix this also with baking soda, maybe whithout salt? thank you bye
Sorry, I would say, do you think that I can mix your recepy with bakikg soda…
Baking soda in place of salt? Perhaps, I haven’t tried it!
where would I find a glass spray bottle ths small?
Hey Heather, we featured your deodorant article here: http://www.naturalandhealthyliving.com/top-10-homemade-diy-natural-deodorants/ and sent you an email too!
I have used almost every natural deodorant I could make and buy. This is by far the best!!! I put a little too much magnesium oil in it and it does cause slight irritation for a few minutes, but at the end of day there is no odor. I have only reapplied on a couple of occasions and that was for preventative measure not necessity.
That’s awesome! Thanks so much for commenting. I love it too!
And if you get irritation you can cut back on the magnesium oil a little to see if that makes a difference too 🙂
how much witch hazel is used as it’s not specified. thanks
Use what you need to fill the bottle after you’ve added the magnesium oil and the essential oils.
How many sprays do you use under each arm? I’m a bigger girl with more surface area who is also dealing with the postpartum hormonal “stink”.
Hey Carmen, I use about 2 sprays per pit 🙂 You can use as many as you want though. Some days I use 4-5 if I’m feeling not so fresh!
milk of magnesia works well also
Milk of magnesia or just cornstarch on clean pits would get you though a day when you don’t want to spray (you just shaved for example) It’s not bullet proof – but it’s not nothing either and you’ll save yourself some discomfort.
Hi, I’m Gabi, writing from Germany! Thanks for sharing. I used a long time a diy deodorant with baking soda. It works great, but my pits are so scratchy and it burns all the time… I was so sad.
Then I found this – what a simply idea! I have no witch hazel, I take hamamelis water, 5 drops of tea tree fluid, magnesium oil, and the rest of your ingredients.
It works! I’m so happy! No itchy scratchy pits, no feeling like sand under the armpits!
Thank you soooo much!!!!
Hi Gabi! So great to hear, thanks for sharing!
So I’m going to try making some liquid deodorant. I want to try using Ylang Ylang and grapefruit or lavender and instead of purchasing magnesium oil, I’m going to use some of my bioplasma bile salts. It contains 12 essential mineral cell salts. I believe that will work as a substitute (and I already have it, so less investment). Just thought of it, and maybe some of your readers will already have the bioplasma bile salts on hand. Be well!
Can I use any salt? I have everything but sea salt, I have kosher salt instead
Why not just use Epsom salts (these are magnesium salts and will dissolve in water). The store brand of spray on deodorant I was buying listed sodium and magnesium as ingredients so I recreated it with sea salt and epsom salts in water with some essential oil. Worked fine.
I need some advice, my 5 year old has sweaty pits just noticed this morning a very strong BO smell. We are living clean with body product and use very minimal store bought products – coconut oil, lavender oil, tea tree, Shea butter and apple cider vinegar get us through! What can I use for her? Is this mix too much for a child? I use a mix of a lush product and salt of the earth but would prefer a homemade mix for my baby
This isn’t DIY – but when my son got stinky young, I bought him Tom’s Natural Unscented and it did the trick. You could try looking to see what it’s made of and see if there is anything easy to switch out for a DIY.
My 4yo had/has this too, we tried Mag oil on her but it was just too itchy. I bought crystal deo spray(salt crystal) and it works great and is easy. We only apply after bath and it usually lasts a few days until next bath. In the summer, stink will appear sooner, but we also bathe more in the summer. Not DIY, but simple and few ingredients, and a spray bottle lasts forever!
Can the lavender oil be substituted? If so, what do you recommend? Thanks!
Sure, you can use whatever oils you like! I use Young Living essential oils: https://kulamama.com/essential-oils/
thank you so much for sharing this! i’m using it for few months now and i’m amazed that it really works and all day long!!! even under 40C which is typical temperature of my country in summer, amazing! i’ve tried several other combinations of oils and my favourite are: frankincense + pomegranate (very sweet, makes me want to smell my armpits all the time ;P) & frankincense + Four thieves blend + May Chang. i’ve tried all the DIY deodorant shared online, bought organic and all natural, this is the best i came across until now! finally i found it, once more thank you x infinity, no more experimenting, smelling, or irritated skin
Four thieves blend or a similar blend is a great choice because of it’s anti microbial properties – be careful though, I’d use less of this and more of something soothing (like lavender) The recommended maximum of this type of blend in anything you use topically is 3%. But – 3% is really a LOT so you’ll have plenty.
If you use a magnesium oil spray, do you need to use a different amount than if it’s just straight oil?
I have been using home made magnesium oil ONLY as a deodorant it works perfectly well.,…where other natural deodorants fail
I know this is a way-old post, but I wanted to share a gigantic THANK YOU for this recipe. For 5+ years since I started converting to simple, safe products, I’ve looked for a natural deodorant. I’ve not found a single one that actually worked for me–and my husband kept trying to convince me to give up because I smelled, haha. The coconut oil and baking soda versions did nothing, and stained my clothes. I made a batch of this a few months ago and it WORKS! Now I know that for my body chemistry, magnesium oil is the magic ingredient. I was just returning to beck the recipe again to make a second batch since I just ran out.
Hi Kula Mama
I have tried your recipe, dutifully getting all the necessary ingredients, although the brand of magnesium oil is different. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked well for me. Am v disappointed as was hoping not to go back to aluminium deodorants but equally very self-concious in the office! Any advice would be gratefully received. Also didn’t put frankincense in.
Hi Clare! I’m so sorry to hear it hasn’t worked. First, I would add in more essential oils and see if that helps. Second I would look at your diet if odor is a problem. You could be eating foods you’re sensitive to and that can impact body odor. If you’re more concerned about sweat, it will take awhile for your body to re-balance once you’ve gone off of antiperspirants so give it a little time. Best of luck to you!
What type spray bottle are you using? I bought glass fine mist prayers, but the prayers keep messing up. I’m thinking the salt could be clogging them? I don’t have a problem with the ACV +EO mix I use for detoxing so I don’t think it’s the bottles. Any thoughts?