322 Responses to “New News and pH Balancing Your Old Homemade Deodorant Problems”


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  1. Helpful info. Lucky me I found your web site by chance, and
    I’m shocked why this coincidence didn’t came about earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

  2. Rebekah Miller

    I made your recipe for baking soda deodorant a few weeks ago and am loving it! I tweaked it a little by adding a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. This is the best natural deodorant I’ve ever tried! I think next time I make it I will use Shea butter or kokum butter to make it extra creamy rather than the evoo. I find that if I get to much on the evoo stains my shirts. It’s important to know that two swipes is plently. If I use the right amount it absorbs into my skin leaving no residue and I’m completely stink free all day! Thank you for your insightful blogs. I’ve learned a lot from your page :)

  3. Anne-Marie

    Wow! I thought I was imagining the darker skin in my armpits. I am super pale, tons of freckles, but very white otherwise. I’ve been making my own deodorant for a year and a half now and it’s only since this new batch that I’m seeing the darker skin. I’m using a different coconut oil this time and I think this batch had more baking soda in it. I’m going to give the acv a try (already have a spray bottle of that ratio water to ACV in the bathroom for my hair) We’ll see if that does the trick.

  4. kim

    usually darkened armpits is from PCOS. get that under control & armpits go back to normal.

    • Art

      What is POCOS?

    • Tiffany

      I have PCOS and I’ve never heard of dark arm pits as one of the symptoms. And trust me, you don’t just “get PCOS under control”, it’s a disease that you can lessen the symptoms and possibly put them into “remission” but you always have it.

      • Sofia

        I had PCOS myself for several years and a few years ago rid myself of all my ovarian cysts. My gyno first told me that I would never be able to cure my PCOS and it would be difficult to conceive but he would give me a pill if I ever wanted to get pregnant. I am proud to say I have been symptom free and cyst free since 2011. I no longer have high testosterone, irregular periods, crazy acne on my face, and have a much easier time maintaining my body weight; I did it all naturally and through trial and error on my own since I didn’t like my gyno’s take on PCOS and I couldn’t afford to see a naturopathic doctor regularly. With discipline & determination it it possible to reverse, I swear!

        • Tanja

          Hi there! I couldn’t help but to reply to this, especially since both of my teenage daughters have PCOS! I’d like to ask you how you healed yourself from it naturally. I’m trying to get my whole family on board to a more “green” lifestyle but some are just set in their ways! My oldest daughter is now pregnant (even with the PCOS) and oh my gosh, I’ve never seen someone get sick like this girl! The morning sickness is horrendous, to the point of a couple emergency room visits within a couple weeks! They said she’s so sick because of her hormone levels being so crazy high, and now even higher since she’s pregnant! I’d greatly appreciate ANY information that you’re willing to share because my girls need to heal from this horrible PCOS! Thank you for your time.

          Blessings and peace : )

  5. Art

    I mean what is PCOS?

  6. Art

    I just looked it up. Believe me–I don’t have PCOS. :)

  7. Crystal

    I get the darkening, but not just from my homemade deo. It started for me when using store bought ‘natural’ brands such as Toms and Jason. I had hoped that switching to homemade would help things but now I have darkening, rawness and peeling :( I have olive skin, I get pretty tan but I wouldn’t say that I have dark skin and interestingly enough, it’s always significantly worse on the left side. I am hoping for the best with my ph balancer adventures. No matter what, I’ll go the route of Peppy Le Pew before turning back to mainstream methods.

  8. Eric S

    These homemade baking soda deodorants don’t “throw your pH balance out of whack”. They simply irritate your skin because baking soda is too alkaline. This may sound like a quibble, but describing it like that masks the reality. The reality is you are applying a layer of mildly caustic stuff to your skin that may over time give you a mild chemical burn. When you apply vinegar on top of it, the vinegar is neutralizing the baking soda, so the layer of deodorant you’ve got on your skin is no longer caustic.

    This may well be a reasonable way to avoid wasting a batch of this stuff that you’ve made under the misunderstanding that baking soda is a reasonable thing to leave on your skin (as I did). But the real solution is to change your recipe to either not use baking soda or use only a very small amount. When you neutralize it with vinegar it is no longer baking soda anyway, so you are kind of defeating the function of the baking soda.

    The products of vinegar and baking soda are water, carbon dioxide, and sodium acetate. Sodium acetate itself can be a skin irritant, but the quantities here may be too small to have that effect. In any case I don’t think it’s what you are looking for in a deodorant ingredient.

  9. Claire

    I JUST started using baking soda based DIY deodorant, but did some reading up on it first before using. One blogger highly suggested “priming your pits” with alcohol or witch hazel first before apply the baking soda based deodorant. I’ve been using witch hazel, and so far no problem. I guess the witch hazel serves the same purpose as the apple cider vinegar, here, in balancing the pH as it is acidic, too.

    The combo of these two steps has been highly effective for me…so far.

  10. The Deodorant worked for me sooo great but then it start this itchiness, I think is also because baking soda was exfoliating my skin a lot.
    Every skin is different, my boyfriend found your recipe like a miracle because he’s not smelly anymore, he tried many products & nothing worked until I made your recipe for him.
    For me was the perfect deodorant as well, but my skin is more sensitive to the exfoliation, anyway still a great recipe & the most important… without chemicals !! pesticides & all that crap.
    Now I will try this with ACV & let’s see, thnks !!

  11. Great stuff! I also love Frugally Sustainable’s idea of adding probiotics to the recipe to help balance good bacteria and prevent odor.

  12. Stephanie

    I have been using variations of this recipe for almost 6 months. It started off amazing (no smell for 24 hours) then I got some irritation which I just pushed through because the results were worth it to me. I did use a bit of antibiotic ointment on the irritation just to make sure it would heal nicely. Tried using just the coconut oil and some essential oil but that was not as effective as having the baking soda in there. I eliminated the arrowroot and added some essential oil (peppermint and tea tree) and I am about 90% satisfied. My only issues now are:
    1. It may be slightly less effective than when I first started.
    2. I am starting to see some darkening of the skin (I exfoliate with a scrubby every time I shower).
    3. Strangely enough, the skin feels a little…hard. Initially my skin felt baby soft because of the coconut oil, but I noticed this change about 4 months in.
    Anybody else notice something similar?

    • Liz

      The reason why people are seeing the darkening of the skin is because of irritation. Your skin is creating a callous of sorts which of course is darker then your non irritated skin. I am assuming the baking soda is creating the irritation. Scrubbing the area does not work for people because exfoliating an irritated area makes the irritation worse and therefore the darkening of the area continuous. So DONT SCRUB THE AREA PLEASE. The reason why people see results with the ACV is because it is nuetralizing the baking soda/ “the skin irritant” in this case and so the body naturally sloathes off the darker skin and you are left with normal skin once again. This May or may not work for some people so removing the baking soda all together might be the solution. Good luck to everyone! I know how uncomfortable it is to have dark armpits is especially during the summer. My skin irritant turned out to be shaving. I now use an emulator and my dark skin is all gone :)

  13. Linda1

    I started using baking soda about two months ago. I just add a pinch of baking soda to the palm of my hand & drops of water, and rub on armpits. It has been the only thing that has helped control my BO. First few days it gave me a rash. I later learned that it was because i was not diljtinv the baking soda enough. Once i diluted it well, the rash went away. Sadly to say I am one of those unfortunate ones whose armpits turned dark. This makes me super sad :'(. I also have been feeling so much itchiness on my armpits these last couple of days. Does baking soda dry out the skin? I may have to find another home remedy because this itchiness is overwhelming. :-/

  14. jgunther

    The traditional Coconut Oil/Baking Soda/Essential Oil has worked the best for me, however, I do get bumps with the occasional pimple under the armpit. I have tried many different ingredients but they do not seem to keep away the odor. My husband, who has olive skin, experienced the brown “shadow” which began to grow raw. The ACV healed it well. A natural health adviser told me that it could be tobacco/toxins being released…??? Some of the other experimental deodorants (w/Bentonite Clay and one with Diatomaceous Earth) worked at first with my husband…but not for long. I am at a loss for him.

  15. bessie

    Did you know that all you need to do is rub a little coconut oil under your arms to substitute for deodorant…..I guarantee you, that you will never smell again. Just rub it under your arms after showering every day, no expensive aluminum based products needed ever again.

    • jgunther

      I have tried this. Unfortunately it does not work for me and my family. However, it is wonderful for just about everything else!

  16. I’m one of the ones who get the “shadow” but I’m pretty pale. It makes them pretty red but exfoliation does help. I’m going to try the pH balancer as well. Thanks!

  17. Thank you so much for this! I was using homemade deo for a about a week and was LOVING it till I reacted. Luckily I found this page and have been using ACV prior to my deo application for 3 weeks and everything works wonderfully. Also, my dark skin in the underarms has faded

  18. Marlyn

    I had an issue with skin darkening and I am very fair skinned. I found that using papaya soap on my underarms solved the issue.

  19. I LOVE my homemade deodorant (Coconut oil, melaleuca, lavender and baking soda) BUT it makes me break out into a red, itchy rash. I was so disappointed because regular store bought deodorant makes me smell bad and the natural deodorant is the first thing I’ve found that has worked! So I tried rubbing the acv on and it made the rash go away REALLY fast. BUT as soon as I started using the deodorant again I got the rash. :( I know it’s the baking soda, so unfortunately it will have to go. It doesn’t work quite as well without it, but I’m going to keep trying to figure out something that works! The melaleuca really helps a lot though.

  20. Rachelle

    I know for me i got the underarm shadow after a month and a half of using my baking soda recipe, and I am not dark in skin color at all. I realized that the outer layers of my skin were hardening instead of shedding and this was causing the darkening. I started putting a few drops of jojoba oil, because it helps shed sebum, on my underarms once a day before bed and really exfoliating during my shower and the darkening quickly went away but after a week of clear skin I started having a reaction to the baking soda. Yes I let it get to the raw stage cause I wasn’t sure if it was a detox or not. Now I’m definitely going to try this and see if it works. Here’s hoping!

  21. Vida

    Hello. I stopped using commercial deodorant about 3 weeks ago and started using a natural one. Within the first few days I developed a itchy rash so I stopped using the natural deodorant (after about 2-3 days of use) and decided to go au natural without any deodorant. I’ve been completely deodorant free for about 3 weeks now. I have a odd problem now. The itchy rash doesn’t go away. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s gotten worst. I’m not using any deodorant whatsoever so obviously it cannot be any baking soda or other ingredients. What gives? Do you have any idea what might be causing this rash?

    • jgunther

      My guess would be that the rash has not been able to heal (shaving and naturally perspiring). Try plain coconut oil, especially after you shave. It will soothe it and help with healing, being an antibacterial. Good luck.

    • Annie


      When I first started experimenting with homemade deodorant, I made a very simple baking soda and coconut oil recipe. My issue was that it was too thin, and I developed a chafing rash almost immediately. The baking soda only exacerbated this. I am on day 2 of a baking soda free recipe that uses beeswax and shea butter…so far, so good!

      My point, I guess, is that you may be experiencing chafing since you have no barrier to protect that sensitive area…similar to a runner whose legs sweat and they have no barrier between their legs.

  22. Kelly

    I found that making a solution of half aloe Vera juice and half rose water applied before I put on the deodorant solves the irritation problem without irritating my freshly shaved pits. I apply this same mixture before I go to bed. Smells lovely and protects my skin. I love the deodorant so much. It’s the best I’ve ever used in quality of effectiveness and in not poisoning my body and clogging my lymphs. Thanks for sharing this amazing deodorant recipe

  23. Mona

    I started using a recipe a little over a year ago that was 2-steps. First apply coconut oil, second dust with a combination of equal parts arrowroot and baking soda. I use a large foundation brush to lightly apply the powder. I have never had any problems. Essential oils can be added. I found this somewhere on the Internet but can’t remember where.

  24. Yes! Finally someone writes about regime sans residu sushi.

  25. Tereska

    Oh my! This is so on target. I made my 8 year old the natural deodorant recipe (coconut oil, arrowroot starch and baking soda) and it works like a charm. I would occasionally use the batch I made for myself (mine has a drop or two of peppermint and lemon essential oils. Well, I’ve used it exclusively for 3-4 days in a row and all hell has broken loose under one arm. I noticed it was a little raw and a little swollen and a growing more irritated each day. So much so that I decided to take a peek to find the skin very dark, a little scaly, and “burntish dry”. I would just hate to return to chemically based deodorant, so I will give it a day or so and try the ph resolution. I must say, I’ve been skipping the D and going mostly without and have the sweetest armpits ever. So, my recipe works! I hope to adjust and adapt accordingly!

  26. Thank you for this post. After using my homemade deodorant for 3 weeks, I developed some redness, rashes and hyper pigmentation on my axilla. I was so bummed because I finally found a deodorant recipe that actually works. I heard about your article on balancing your skin pH before using a deodorant with baking soda. I tried the apple cider but wasn’t too keen on the smell. So I tried lemon juice then progressed to using orange essential oil. I used a couple drops to rub it on my axilla twice a day. The oil really helped plus it made my skin softer and improved the darkness. Although I had to stop using the deodorant for a few days to heal the rashes. Orange oil did not only balance my skin pH, it also smells delicious and relieved my hyper pigmentation. I saw a thread of some skin cancer patients who said that orange oil helped improve their skin condition. I don’t have studies to prove this claim but think about how all these cosmetic companies are using Vitamin C to prevent spots and dark pigments on the skin. I’m just using the same principle. I hope this comment will help others like me. I’m planning on adding orange oil to my deodorant recipe and see if that will be a good pH balanced deodorant.

  27. nicole g

    What about Witch Hazel?
    Background: Tan skin complexion. Dry skin. Don’t have a sweating problem, just minor smell. The natural deo’s I’ve tried are better at fighting smell. Give it time!

    So… I was having some irritation problems with my natural deodorant as well (a deodorant bar, sodium bicarb). So I switched to a moisturizing Patchuli deo bar for a week: I would clean the armpit w/ hydrogen peroxide with a wet washcloth , then apply witch hazel with a cotton bar. My pits cleared up, and I’m still doing the same routine and using my old deo bar.

    The H.P. cleans the area, if you have to reapply during the day, I think that was my problem. Don’t reapply deo to an unclean area, it will affect the deo. That’s what I was initially doing. Also, the W.H. helps “minimize the pores” or something similar, and the deo doesn’t irritate as bad. It’s also good to use W.H. after waxing, soothes the area. That’s my two-cents/experience.

    It’s ingredients:

    Sodium Bicarbonate , Cream of Tartar (Tartaric acid) , Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca) , BlueWax (Specerit Blue C) , Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) , Magnesium Carbonate , Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum) , Juniperberry Oil (Juniperus communis) , Lemongrass Oil (Cymbopogan flexuosus) , Fresh Grape Juice (Vitis vinifera) , Blue Cornflower Petals (Centaurea cyanus) , *Citral , *Eugenol , *Geraniol , *Citronellol , *Limonene , *Linalool , Perfume

  28. nicole g

    *apply with cotton ball.

    Proofing is a good idea ;p

  29. Butterfield_Owl

    So I made my first homemade deodorant. Shea butter, coconut oil and baking soda. Lemon grass and citronella scented. So after first use the next morning I noticed skin irritation; red, puffy but oddly only around the area arm pit hair grows. Just the areas where my clothes rub, the crease area, especially the back crease. I used it again to see if it was just my shirt but nope. All day my arm pits felt like a sun burn other then where the actual hair grows. Why is this?

  30. Antiperspirants containing aluminum, exertion toward bring to an end totally perspiration as of happening. Deodorants do not hold aluminum. Deodorants permit perspiration. They effort to execute the germs so as to causes smell at what time we perspire. From a merely usual point of view, it makes additional intelligence for us to utilize deodorants, as it is obviously a additional usual procedure to permit our bodies to worry.

  31. Thank you!

    THANK YOU for this post! *Raises hand to reveal armit shadow* I’ve had darkening skin, irritation, etc but can’t give up on the baking soda because it’s the only thing that works. I’d never thought that my skin’s pH is way off — thanks for the insight! Have you tried adding vinegar to baking soda and testing until it’s close to balanced (maybe somewhere 6-8), then adding the whole thing to oils (you can emulsify it with a little vitamin E), then combining that liquid mixture with the dry powders (arrowroot/cornstarch)? That might turn this into a one-step deodorant. Definitely going to try it out! Thanks!

  32. Thank you!

    I’ve had skin darkening, and I have very fair skin…

  33. Superdonna

    Hi! I kicked antiperspirant to the curb for fear of developing breast cancer. I happily made and used baking soda and organic coconut oil for about 2-3 months. I have fair skin and blonde/light brown hair. At first it was great! Then I started to get stink. I increased the baking soda and even added a couple
    Of drops of eucalyptus oil to add a nice scent. To my HORROR my arm pits turned super dark, stinky, itchy and the skin started to come off! Now I am using nothing, I stink and the dark skin is slowly coming off and there is tender pink irritated skin. Help

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  35. Krista Cote

    I find homwmade deo “recipes” irritating to my skin, however- I have successfully used just straight baking sofa for a few years now. Two tips: I moisturize my whole body with coconut oil after I shower, including my armpits- this seems to help the powder “stay” when I apply it. I also CANNOT use arm&hammer brand, it is really large particles and rips up my skin. I use a no-name brand produced by Lawblaws, it is like a silky powder compared to the more expensive brands. No recipe required! Just apply a thin later with fingers or a blush brush! (And u used to have to look for the strongest sports type deo when I used conventional products!) so easy, so effective!

  36. THank you SO much for this post. I’d researched online today about why natural deos (both store-bought and the one I’ve been making) make one armpit (but not the other!) red and itchy. I’d read elsewhere that it was due to ph trouble, but the blogger didn’t offer any solution. I don’t want to give up my own deo though — thank you for this solution. I will begin implementing it immediately. I don’t think I’ve had the discoloration, but it’s hard to tell when the pit is red :)

  37. dafna

    Hi, THANKS YOU!!! I love my natural deodorant and i had very itchy armpit, since i started with the apple cider mix with water everything works smoothly.
    I was wondering, why not adding apple cider while making the deodorant? any idea how would that work?
    Again, many thanks

    • Annie

      Vinegar is acidic and baking soda is alkaline…when you mix them together it pretty much negates the effects you are looking for from the baking soda. You could do it, but the baking soda will have been neutralized and won’t work the way it’s intended (I took several years of chemistry in college, and neutralizing acids and bases was a common theme, LOL). If you use them separately, it kind of works similarly, but they aren’t being mixed so you’ll still get some of the effects…which is why putting lemon juice (acid) on your pits, letting it dry, then adding the baking soda deodorant (base) works for some people. I’m not willing to turn my pits black again, so I’m just not using baking soda for the time being. ;)

  38. Annie

    I used baking soda deodorant for over a week…never again unless I figure out how to balance it properly. I’m a fair/olive complexion, but it’s a very light olive. My armpits were almost black after a week of using the baking soda deodorant, if you don’t count the swollen red parts from all the irritation and itching. I got tired of it, and last night made a bentonite clay mixture of several recipes, and just omitted the baking soda. It does not work as well; however, I’m also getting sick (changes my smell), and my pits are completely normal looking by this morning. The itch has diminished, and whatever odor I accumulated taking care of my sick toddler was very easy to wash off (with a baby wipe, so not like I did a good job). What’s funny about it is that I smelled like very faint BO and ylang-ylang…so the fragrance I used didn’t go away, it just doesn’t work as well after a couple of sedentary hours. I feel I should also add I haven’t eaten a whole lot or drank any water today because I’ve been taking care of my flu-ridden toddler. I know that what you put in can affect what you put out, so I’m sure that may also have something to do with the funny odor today, and not necessarily reflective of the non-BS deodorant. I don’t know if it was this page or another one, but it talks about the MSDS warnings for baking soda, and all the symptoms we’ve expressed are side effects of over exposure to it. Perhaps if we only use maybe 1/8 tsp. of BS in deodorant instead of 2 tsp. it may help with that. Cookies don’t need much, our skin doesn’t, either. :)

  39. sable.reggae.chic

    I tried the baking soda, arrow root, coconut oil homemade deodorant mix. It works. I found a much easier recipe though. I squeeze half lemon into my hand and apply to my arm pits. It is the best deodorant ever. It is only one ingredient and very convenient.
    After using it for some time, I found that the dark spots I had under my arms have been vanishing. I love that it has served 2 purposes. :)

    I know what most people think; it’s sticky! Actually, once you let the lemon dry on your skin, you don’t even feel it.

  40. Selin

    I’ve been using the natural deodorant for about 1,5 months. To be able to get used to natural stuff, I started the process applying a clay detox, too, and I never had any problems like itching, burning, redness and whatnot. Also, I shaved a few times, applied the deo the next day or at least a few hours later, and never had problems again. However, about 10 days ago, a lot of abscess appeared on my underarms (real a lot -more than 15 on the left!). This occasion was only few days after my shaving and applying coconut oil right after shaving onto my armpits for the first time to make them smell nice and get moisturized. My doctor told that they were caused because of an infection, and I have been using a foul-smelling cream and antibiotics to heal them. I still have a few, though. I am not sure which one to blame, the deodorant or coconut oil right after shaving. What do you think about that? Also, the natural deodorant leaves white stains on my clothes, and as a girl wearing lots of dark colored clothes, this is a nightmare! Do you have any solution to this? Thanks a bunch!


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  3. […] Rather than trying to figure out exactly how to balance the PH in the deodorant recipe which I’ll leave up to chem majors – I know sodium hydroxide is sometimes used for this purpose, there are a few other quite simple options. Betty, author of Crunchy Betty’s Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin and the girl behind Crunchy Betty blog, recently wrote a blog article on how to balance the PH in your homemade deodorant. […]

  4. […] disconcerting slathering it on your body once or twice a day. When I saw this article on the blog Crunchy Betty on how to make your own natural deodorant, I thought, Hey, I’ll give it a try. What’s […]

  5. […] know this has happened if you get the crazy itchiness again. According to Crunchy Betty, swabbing with apple cider vinegar before applying the deodorant will correct the […]

  6. […] vis dėlto nori tęsti natūralaus dezodoranto naudojimą. Kad subalansuoti odos natūralų pH, Crunchy Betty išrado purškiklį, pagamintą iš distiliuoto/filtruoto vandens ir obuolių acto. Būtinai naudokit obuolių actą, […]

  7. […] If you are one of the few people that develop under arm acne from the above deodorant (very pretty image isn’t it?) then you might try dabbing your pits with a mixture of 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar and  1 cup filtered water (use a spray bottle or cotton ball, whatev) before applying the deodorant.  Baking soda can irritate the skin by throwing off our natural pH balance as it is very alkaline.  The ACV helps restore that balance.  Just let ‘er dry and slather on the homemade deodorant above.  If you want to read an entertaining article with lots more detail about the ACV fix check out Crunchy Betty. […]

  8. […] know this has happened if you get the crazy itchiness again. According to Crunchy Betty, swabbing with apple cider vinegar before applying the deodorant will correct the […]

  9. […] actually have been using this concoction (get the recipes and science from Crunchy Betty) since right after the holidays and wanted to test it out for a couple weeks to make sure it […]

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