Learn how to make an effective natural deodorant using magnesium hydroxide powder and flower-infused coconut oil.
If you check out the label of your favorite natural deodorant, you’ll most likely notice magnesium hydroxide in the ingredients list.
Magnesium hydroxide is a mineral used in natural deodorants to neutralize body odor and is the star of this recipe. You may also see it in antacids or laxatives, called milk of magnesia.
(Related: Applying magnesium hydroxide externally will not act the same way as taking it internally!)
If you don’t have or want to use magnesium hydroxide, there’s no good one-to-one substitute for it. Instead, I recommend trying out a different deodorant recipe such as:
in which you can easily switch up the types of herbs used to include elderflower if you’d like.
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This recipe has two different types of coconut oil in it:
The infused coconut oil is made with regular coconut oil that’s solid at cooler temperatures, but melts to a liquid above 76 degrees F. It’s popular to use in deodorants because of its natural mild antimicrobial properties.
Fractionated coconut oil is liquid even at colder temperatures and absorbs into your skin super fast – it’s used to give the deodorant a lighter less greasy feel. If you don’t have fractionated coconut oil, try another non-greasy oil that absorbs in super fast, like grapeseed or jojoba.
Before making this recipe, you’ll need to make an herbal infused coconut oil. I’m using dried elderflowers in this recipe, but you could use chamomile, calendula, plantain, etc.
If you’re allergic to coconut, babassu oil is the closest substitute. You could use a liquid oil in its place, but you may need to adjust the butter or beeswax amount a little bit to make up for it.
To make the infused coconut oil:
- 1/4 cup dried elderflowers
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
Coconut oil is solid at cooler room temperatures (under 76 degrees F), so this will be a warm infusion.
Put the flowers and coconut oil in a heat proof glass canning jar. Set this jar down into a saucepan that contains a few inches of water in the bottom, to create a make-shift double boiler of sorts.
Set the pan over a medium-low burner for about two hours. This indirect heat keeps the coconut oil liquid so the flower’s skin soothing benefits can infuse into it. Keep a close eye on everything to make sure the water doesn’t all evaporate out.
After a few hours, remove from heat and strain the coconut oil. Store the oil in a glass jar at room temperature. Shelf life is around a year.
Now that you have the infused oil, you’re ready to make the deodorant!
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Elderflower Magnesium Deodorant Recipe
I use a scale to weigh ingredients, but also provided the rough volume equivalents in case one isn’t handy. This recipe makes roughly 2 1/2-ish ounces.
- 0.5 oz (14 g) infused coconut oil (abt. 1 tbsp + 1 tsp)
- 0.25 oz (7 g) fractionated coconut oil (about 1/2 tbsp)
- 0.5 oz (14 g) mango or shea butter (a heaping 1 tbsp)
- 0.35 oz (10 g) beeswax pastilles (1 tbsp + 1 tsp pastilles, not packed)
- 0.5 oz (14 g) magnesium hydroxide (abt. 1 1/2 tbsp)
- 0.25 oz (7 g) arrowroot powder (abt. 2 1/2 tsp)
- 12 drops essential oil (try lavender, sweet orange, cedarwood, and/or peppermint)
Combine the infused coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil, mango butter, and beeswax together in a heatproof jar or container.
Place the jar down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, and heat the pan over a medium low burner until everything is melted together.
Remove from heat and stir in the magnesium hydroxide powder and arrowroot powder. Stir in the essential oil, if using.
Stir for a couple of minutes – you’ll notice the mixture will start thickening as it cools while you stir.
Spoon into a glass jar. Alternatively, you can scoop this into a pushup deodorant tube/container.
Tip: If you spoon into a deodorant tube, bang the bottom of the tube against a hard surface several times as you fill, then afterwards, to help it settle in better, and to eliminate any big air bubbles/gaps.