How to make a vegan 'nearly' Natural Deodorant without Bicarbonate of Soda

Natural is a word thrown around too freely in cosmetics.  When we refer to a natural product in terms of our formulas, we refer to the ingredients being majority non-synthetic. 

You cannot claim that your end product is natural when marketing, but you can state the percentage of natural ingredients used.  If you want this formula to be more natural, omit the C12-15 Alkyl Benzonate and increase the oil and shea butter in its place.  You would also use essential oils over synthetic fragrances.

Remember though, just because something is ‘natural’ does not mean it is necessarily safer than something ‘synthetic’.

Do your research, there are a lot of very beneficial and safe synthetic ingredients out there that will enhance your finished products.

This formula gives you the opportunity to get creative with essential oils, just check the recommended usage for each one and do not go above the 1% max for the recipe when combined.

If you want you can use a fragrance oil instead, but check the IFRA for the allowed usage level for a leave on deodorant.

Read the notes at the end of this formulation for substitutions and why we aren’t using a commonly used ingredient.

You can make the formula vegan by changing the wax as suggested below.

This is an anhyrdrous formula, meaning that you do not need a preservative.  We’d advise a shelf life of 6-12 months, but you can do your own testing.  This may change depending on oil choice.

Remember that you need to stability test and obtain a CPSR before gifting or selling your finished products.

You’ll need:

  • Scales
  • Heat proof beakers or bowl
  • Pan or bane marie or double boiler
  • Stirring rods
  • Small dishes or beakers for ingredients
  • Twist up deodorant containers
  • PPE – Gloves, mask, apron, hairnet

Formula:

Phase A

  • 25% Coconut Oil – A light oil that absorbs easily. It moisturizes and balances skin and has antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
  • 20% Shea Butter, refined – An emollient and occlusive that helps the skin to retain moisture by forming a barrier. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to soothe the skin.
  • 13% Carnauba Wax – A hardener that’s easily absorbed, keeps the product solid and improves the spreadability. We’ve used this to keep the product vegan, but you can also use beeswax.
  • 10% C12-15 Alkyl Benzonate – An emollient that enhances the texture of the final product and helps to deliver the scent of the product. It’s also a conditioning agent with antimicrobial properties. Lastly it creates a moisture barrier, so can help with the antiperspirant quality.

Phase B

  • 30% Arrowroot Powder – has great absorption power aiding in being slightly antiperspirant. It is anti-inflammatory and PH balanced, it also enhances the texture of the final product.
  • 1% essential oils of choice – for scent
  • 1% Vitamin e (Tocopherol 70%) – antioxidant helping to prevent cell damage.

 

Recipe:

For a 50g batch – for 2-3 sticks depending on size of container

  • 5g Coconut Oil
  • 10g Shea Butter
  • 5g Carnauba Wax
  • 5g C12-15 Alkyl Bezonate
  • 15g Arrowroot Powder
  • 5g essential oils of choice (I used 0.4g Sweet orange and 0.1% Black pepper)
  • 5g Vitamin e (Tocopherol 70%)

Method:

  • First adhere to GMP and clean down your workspace and equipment.
  • Weigh out all your ingredients ready in small dishes or beakers.
  • Mix your oil, wax and butter from phase A in a beaker and gently heat in a Bane Marie or double boiler until combined.
  • Allow to cool to 40 degrees C
  • Add your phase B arrowroot powder, essential oils blend and vitamin e oil and mix until combined.
  • Pour into your chosen containers.
  • Label and put lids on the containers.

To use:  Apply to underarms as a natural deodorant product.  Change up your fragrance oils to create a range of different scented products. 

Notes:

I replaced what would normally be beeswax with carnauba for this formula, and tested out various amounts.  This seemed to be the sweet spot for hardness and ability to melt well.  I may try half and half carnauba and candelilla next time as I think that may provide a slightly better consistency, but do your own experiments.

There are some substitutions and additions we can make to this recipe depending on your desired end result.

You can substitute the coconut oil for Grapeseed Oil, as it’s similarly light weight, easy to get hold of and is beneficial to the product.  You can also use Sweet Almond Oil, though the product will be slightly heavier.

We’ve added C12-15 Alkyl Benzonate due to the vast benefits we’ve listed in the formula list.  If you want a more ‘natural’ based product just omit it and up the oil and shea butter percentages.

We’ve used arrowroot powder because as it has great absorption power.  In this respect it can aid in being slightly antiperspirant. It’s anti-inflammatory and is PH balanced.  It also gives the final product a lovely texture.

The Ph balance comment brings me on the omitted commonly used ingredient – Bicarbonate of soda.  This was (and still is) commonly used in deodorant sticks, but after doing a lot of research on it, it appears that it’s better to leave it out.  This is because it’s PH is high and it’s mildly abrasive.  It’s PH is very alkaline at around a 9, whereas our skin is naturally quite acidic at around 5.5, so consistently exposing our skin (and lets hope we’re all using deodorant daily!) to a high PH ingredient such as this can cause issues.  Of course, you can add it and PH adjust, but PH adjusters contain water, and then we get into the realms of adding preservatives, and the whole ‘mostly natural’ tagline goes out of the window and we get a more complex product.  Which whilst we’re focusing on beginners formulas, is getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

Prolonged use of Bicarbonate of soda can cause skin irritation and damage.  So, leave that ingredient for the occasional use products likes bath bombs where it is required for fizz.  In my opinion, arrowroot outshines it in deodorant anyway, so it doesn’t feel like a compromise.

Lastly a note about essential oils.  You can use synthetic fragrance oil instead if you wish, but if mixing essential oils, please research levels and don’t go above the recipe amount in total.  You should also check ingredients for phototoxicity if they are for a leave on product such as this.  This is usually scents like lemon for example, but there are more, so check you chosen scents before adding.

Final thoughts:

I love this recipe, it’s simple and I can make it up quickly when I run out.  It’s fun changing the scents each time.  It feels lovely on.  How long the scent lasts will be dependant on the individual ;) and what scent you use.

You can buy the containers online, but if you have a container that you can reuse then bonus!

Disclaimer: These formulas and recipes are experiments created for the purpose of sharing on Patreon and YouTube. Revega does not make any claims as to their qualifications or the efficacy of the formulations which are listed here for entertainment purposes and accepts no responsibility for how you use these. We are self-taught and offer these videos from our years of knowledge and experience in making our own cosmetic products.

Remember that if you intend to use one of these formulations for your own product range, do your own research, experiments, adjustments and tests before using, gifting or selling.

 



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