Plastic-Free Natural Deodorant

By Kathryn Nelson

Concerned about chemicals? Then one area that you should consider is what you're putting on your pits!

Plastic free mermaid with chemical free deodorant ready for a swim

What’s the problem with regular deodorant?

Our skin is our largest organ and our armpits are full of sensitive nerves and lymph nodes. These lymph nodes naturally absorb all of these fancy chemicals from your store-bought deodorant stick, straight into the capillaries to circulate through the body in either the blood or lymph system.

At least when you eat something toxic, it is broken down by your liver and digestive system but when you put heavy chemicals onto your skin, it will enter the bloodstream un-metabolised. This means your body will actually have to use the immune system to fight the chemicals and expel them out as waste, often out of the sweat glands of your armpits where the bloody chemicals snuck in!

Blood tests conducted at the North Carolina State University indicated common deodorant ingredients can get past the epidermis straight into the body. Scientists worry that certain compounds in antiperspirants and deodorants could contribute to developmental or reproductive issues and even cancer.

Some of the most common ingredients used in deodorants:

  • Aluminum – A metal that is the main ingredient in most store-bought deodorants! Linked to breast cancer in women and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Parabens – A synthetic preservative made of chemicals suspected to disrupt our delicate hormonal balance. Paraben exposure is linked to birth defects and organ toxicity.

  • Propylene glycol – A petroleum-based material when used in large quantities, is linked to causing damage to the central nervous system, liver, and heart.

  • Phthalates – Another class of chemicals that have been linked to a variety of health issues including birth defects.

  • Triclosan – This chemical is actually classified as a pesticide by the FDA and a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.

So, I choose to explore other natural options! Not only does brewing your own homemade recipe mean you can control what goes into your daily deodorant but you can avoid all the plastic packaging and limit your reliance on regular provisioning missions.

This is my simple DIY Plastic-Free Natural Deodorant Recipe

DIY beauty products natural Deodorant


3 parts organic cold-pressed coconut oil

2 parts organic arrowroot

1 part organic baking soda/bicarb soda

1-2 drops essential oil (like geranium or lotus flower)

For those sailing the warmer Equatorial regions, EITHER use 1/2 the amount of coconut oil- as your jar contents will melt & need a stir- or store in a cool, dark place.


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. If you are making your deodorant in a cooler climate you may need to warm your coconut oil slightly so it is liquid and easily combined with the other ingredients.

  2. Pour the mixture into a clean repurposed glass jar with an airtight lid.

  3. To use either use a small teaspoon or your fingers to scoop a small (1/2 teaspoon) amount out onto your fingers, gently rub between your fingertips on both hands to warm, and then apply to your pits.* It dries clear, is not sticky, and doesn’t tend to leave white marks on clothes.

* If it feels a little too abrasive, add more coconut oil and a little less bicarb soda.

In my humble opinion, sweating is a fabulous bodily function that actually REMOVES toxins from the body. Why work against this handy built-in cleanse? Instead, let's use natural ingredients that we find in our galley that complement and enhance our body's natural functions.

Bicarb soda or baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.

Coconut Oil is composed of Vitamin E, moisture, and about 11 Fatty Acids.

Arrowroot (also sometimes called Tapioca flour) is a powdery starch from the rhizomes of the Maranta Arundinacea plant.

All of these simple galley essentials make the perfect blend for even the stinkiest of grotty yachties!

Kathryn Nelson

Water woman, magical mermaid, yogi goddess, and disposable plastic-free for over ten years. Kate radiates her positive message about conserving and protecting our oceans through her strong social media presence, recent book release, and her lobbying campaigns against governments and large corporate companies.

She has always been drawn to the sea and one day hopes to live aboard her own sailing vessel sharing her sustainable message.

Visit the links below to find out more about Kate



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