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While fall is technically right around the corner, the sweat under my armpits says otherwise. It’s still hot and sunny in many parts of the country right now, and when you spend much of the day outside working, sweaty armpits are just a fact of life. Smelly armpits, though? Deodorant will take care of that, and yes, you can make it yourself.

More and more people are turning to natural deodorant alternatives rather than the store-bought kind, which often contains antiperspirant. That’s because aluminum, the active ingredient in antiperspirant, has been linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s in certain studies. Though there’s no definitive proof on the matter, many folks would rather play it safe than sorry. Also, there’s something to be said for allowing your body to sweat normally, rather than clogging your sweat glands with antiperspirant.

But if you choose to use natural deodorant, you’ll run into another issue: Do any of them actually work?! Compared to commercial deodorant and antiperspirant, many natural deodorants are a lot milder. The good news is that, once you wean yourself off of antiperspirants, you’ll likely experience a natural reduction in sweat and odor as your body adjusts.

That’s where DIY deodorant comes in. DIY deodorant is an excellent way to naturally control body odor without clogging your sweat glands. The great thing about making your own deodorant is that you can tweak the recipe to suit your own unique needs. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so what effectively counteracts someone else’s natural funk may not work to squash yours. With DIY, you can be sure to figure out something that actually works – and it’s not as intimidating as you might think.

For deodorant, you’ll want to use ingredients that are anti-fungal and anti-microbial, as well as ingredients that absorb sweat and odor. Baking soda and cornstarch are two common ingredients, as are essential oils like tea tree oil or lavender oil. If you have sensitive skin, you can reduce the amount of baking soda.

And with that, here’s a basic deodorant recipe to get you started!

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons baking soda – you can adjust to 2 tablespoons if it’s too much, but then you should increase the arrowroot by one tablespoon
5 tablespoons arrowroot powder – you can substitute this with cornstarch if necessary
6 tablespoons shea butter
30-60 drops essential oil (tea tree or lavender)
1 empty deodorant container or 4 oz jar

First, mix the baking soda and arrowroot/cornstarch in a deep bowl. The whip in the shea butter until it resembles crumbly dough. Add the essential oil next. Whip using a hand mixer until smooth. Transfer to a jar. Apply to underarms as needed.

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