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What’s in a deodorant?

The freshest start to the day: Face the Day Cream

We rely on our deodorant to keep us fresh and smelling good morning to night. So we gravitate towards the tried-and-tested formulas available in sticks and bottles on the shelf. We want something we can trust.

These bottles that have been around for decades are getting a rethink. We’re now not so sure we can trust them after all …

Yes, they keep us smelling fresh and sweat free for quite remarkable periods of time. But are they the best solution for our bodies?

Take a look at this blog for more about the new natural deodorants.

Think about it …

Re-thinking deodorants

As we begin to question more the things we apply to our skin, deodorants are coming in for a re-think.

It’s time to take a look at the ingredients list on the back to make an informed decision about what’s right for you.

What is it doing for you?

Every ingredient in a product will be there for a reason. An ingredient is either providing a necessary function for the efficacy of the product; or a necessary function for the stability, longevity and appearance of the product.

What makes an effective deodorant? Importantly it needs to:

  • keep the skin dry, absorb sweat
  • help reduce or mask any odours

some deodorants also help by:

  • creating a cooling or refreshing effect on the skin
  • protecting and soothing skin

Look for ingredients in your deodorant that help with these tasks.

Know your ingredients

The best way to really get to know the ingredients in your skincare is to Blend-it-Yourself.

When you blend-it-yourself you can create the ideal product, entirely suited to your needs and you can adjust each batch through the seasons as the temperature goes up and down and your lifestyle is more or less active.

The best formulas start on paper, plan what your product will be like …

Start with pen and paper

Understand function

A good formulation starts with: what do we want this product to achieve?

Take a bit of time to dream about your perfect deodorant. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t yet exist. You can create it.

Blend it Yourself

When you blend-it-yourself, there are a host of ingredients that you can bring together to create your perfect blend. If you make in small batches, using your product fresh, you can avoid adding many of the additional ingredients that are required simply to provide stability and longevity to a product.

Suggestions of ingredients to try:

To keep skin dry and absorb sweat

Clays and powdered ingredients are great for detoxing and absorbing moisture. A formula could include kaolin or bentonite clay, as well as arrowroot, cream of tartar or icing sugar.

Antibacterial ingredients can help minimise the bacterias that react with sweat to create the unpleasant smells. These may include salt and witch hazel as well as various herbs such as lavender, dittany and marshmallow.

Witch hazel is also great for its astringency and soothing properties. Clary sage essential oil is another good astringent ingredient to add, helping you stay dry.

To help reduce or mask odours

Many blend-it-yourself deodorants include bicarbonate of soda to help neutralise pH and thereby control odours. Some people find this irritating on the skin, it’s something to try and see how you get on with.

Some herbs have a natural deodorising and cleansing effect. Examples include: parsley, loveage, thyme and various mints.

Citrus can also be included the form of essential oils, dried peel from lemons, grapefruit or orange or a squeeze of lemon juice (which is also helpful to keep any oils and powders mixed together).

To cool and refresh skin

Aloe vera gel, or the juice from houseleek leaves, can provide cooling and soothing.

There are refreshing herbs that can be incorporated including chamomile, lemon verbena and horsetail.

To protect and soothe skin

A cream base for the deodorant is easy to apply with the fingertips and can be soothing. Plant-based butters and plant seed oils form the basis for this along with soothing and protective beeswax.

Glycerine is a good ingredient to soothe the skin, as an humectant it will draw moisture in to soften skin.

Herbs that help soothe skin include: calendula, sage, rose and lemon balm. These can be included by macerating them in oils or by using their essential oil.

Ingredients for Blend it Yourself deodorant, from a recipe the book Vital Skincare.
Ingredients for Blend it Yourself deodorant, from a recipe the book Vital Skincare.

Make it easy

Once you’ve decided on the ideal herbal combination for your skin, you can make it easier on yourself by creating a large batch of macerated oil, incorporating your favoured herbs.

With this ready and waiting in a cool dark place, creating each pot of fresh deodorant simply means assembling the dry ingredients together and blending with some of your prepared herbal oil – simple and fresh.

Want to blend your own deodorant?

There’s further guidance and a great recipe you can use directly or customise in the book Vital Skincare.

Along with recipes for cream and spray deodorants you’ll find a hundred other ways to use the herbs that grow around us to benefit your skin.


For more about Blend-it-Yourself and how to use herbs for your skin, sign up to the Field Fresh Skincare newsletter. You’ll get a monthly dose of tips, ideas and inspiration to help you enjoy the best of the seasons and make the most of what nature offers for your skin.

5 thoughts on “What’s in a deodorant?

  1. […] Here’s a guide to the best ingredients to include in a natural deodorant, and why. […]

  2. I prefer the light scent with some refreshing effect, though I never actually try any herbal option, if so what are the option pre-made herbal options available?

    1. There are a lot of products coming to market right now. It’s quite easy to blend your own too, then you can vary the ingredients to suit yourself. For a natural product you can buy, take a look at Zindeo, as an example.

      1. I take your words next in the list is Zindeo, I curious how one can blend his own you meant made my own at home?

        1. Yes, it can be easy to make your own skincare products. Blending your own fresh products is equivalent to preparing your own fresh food.

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