Homemade Deodorant, Aftershave, and Shaving Cream

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DIY Deodorant Recipes That Really Works —and More!

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Why use homemade deodorant, shaving cream, aftershave, and toner? They're simple to make, better for your skin than harsh chemicals, and accessible from your pantry in a pinch! See our simple recipes using natural pantry ingredients.

Most DIY body care articles seem to aim exclusively at women. But both men and women may have similar concerns about the products they use on their bodies, and like women, some men have taken to making their own.

Lose the flowery scents, add a spicier one (or not), and the homemade products work well for men, too. When made from a few readily available ingredients, the homemade products are generally much less expensive and you know that's inside them! 

Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirants

Sweat itself has no odor. Underarm odor is produced when sweat comes into contact with naturally occurring bacteria on the skin; the odor comes from the metabolic processes of the bacteria as they work to break down the fatty acids and other components of sweat.

Deodorants mask body odors, while antiperspirants plug sweat-producing ducts temporarily, so sweat can’t be released to the skin surface.

Do you even need “underarm protection”? For some folks, the answer is no, yet  like most Americans, they still follow cultural norms and apply it anyway.

There’s been a lot of concern about the aluminum compounds and certain other ingredients in commercial antiperspirants and deodorants. Although no conclusive scientific evidence has shown a definite link between these compounds and the subsequent development of breast or other cancers, research to date has offered conflicting results, which is why some folks prefer to stay away from commercial products.

Homemade Deodorant Recipe

Here’s a recipe for a deodorant that's simple, cost-effective, and does a decent job of suppressing underarm sweat:

NOTE: I recommend arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch as it's less abrasive, but not everyone is bothered by cornstarch.


  • 1 part baking soda
  • 1 part arrowroot powder or cornstarch (the thickening agent)
  • Enough unrefined coconut oil (available online or in health food stores) to make a thick paste. 
  • Optional: Essential oil to add scent (citrus, sandalwood, bergamot, lavender, tea tree.) 


  • Mix baking soda and baking soda (or arrowroot flour) in a small bowl.
  • Melt the oil (You could place the oil container in a cup of very warm water to warm it up.)
  • Slowly add the oil to the mix, mashing with a fork until you have make a thick, creamy paste. 
  • Add a few drops of essential oil if you want to leave a scent (citrus, sandalwood, bergamot, etc.) and mix again.
  • Put the mixture in a small sterilized container. Place in refrigerator for about an hour.
  • Then store in a cool, dry location. Shake once in a while. This should keep for 3 to 4 months.

Use fingers to spread thinly under arms.

Homemade Aftershave Recipe

A splash of cider vinegar (diluted half and half with water, or not) serves many a manly man and womanly woman as an aftershave lotion or astringent skin toner. Folks with dry skin could add a couple of tablespoons of coconut or other light oil to the vinegar and shake well. Unlike most perfumed products, the vinegar smell dissipates quickly, so you won’t go off reeking of salad dressing.

Here’s a recipe for a scented aftershave/toner. 

  • Pour two cups of ordinary drugstore witch hazel into a glass jar. (You could substitute 100-proof vodka for an equally effective, though pricier, astringent effect.)
  • Add a cinnamon stick, half a dozen whole cloves, and a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as rosemary, lavender, mint, basil, or a mixture.
  • Add a few drops of tincture of benzoin as a preservative.

Set the jar in a cool, dry place for a couple of weeks, then decant into a nice bottle. You could strain the herbs and spices or not. (They look cool in a bottle.)

For a citrusy scent, instead of the fresh herbs (and either with or without the spices) add strips of orange and/or lemon peel or a few drops of citrus essential oil and let the jar sit in a cool place until it smells the way you want it to.


Homemade Shaving Cream Recipe

Coconut oil makes a great shaving cream! Whip some of this luxurious whipped shaving cream up for yourself or a friend. It's silky on the skin and comes off nicely when saving, leaving the skin soft and smooth. It can double as moisturizer, too!

  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Shea Butter (find unrefined Shea Butter here)
  • Optional: Essential Oil (almond)

Melt the coconut oil and Shea butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until fully melted. Remove from heat, stir in almond oil and allow to cool. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Mix ingredients together in a stand up mixer until well combined and resembling whipped cream.  

Smelling good (or not)

A lot of us prefer our body care products fragrance-free, but adding a few drops of a favorite essential oil will impart a lasting scent to any product. Go easy!

Re-purpose or buy a few attractive glass bottles with caps or stoppers to store your products if you want them to look good on your bathroom shelves.

Interested in more low-cost recipes for toiletries? See recipes for homemade shampoo, soaps, and more!

About The Author

Margaret Boyles

Margaret Boyles is a longtime contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She wrote for UNH Cooperative Extension, managed NH Outside, and contributes to various media covering environmental and human health issues. Read More from Margaret Boyles

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