By now, most people have probably heard the claim that antiperspirants cause breast cancer. While scientific studies have yet to yield a definitive “yup, sure do!” there has been enough information gathered about the topic to scare me a teeny bit shitless.

See what I mean here and here.

The idea of smearing aluminum into my armpit pores makes me twitchy anyway. If I have another option, I’ll gladly take it.

So when my friend Meg mentioned she had a “recipe” for deodorant I was… well, okay, I was actually a little skeptical. If I’m being completely honest, I knew about the concern over the link between deodorant and breast cancer, but I also care a great deal – a great, great deal – about not smelling like a sweaty trucker with an affinity for garlic and onions.

So although I wanted to be supportive, my first reaction, which I did not state aloud (sorry Meg), was something to the effect of, “Girrrrrl, you stanky?”

But given what I know of Meg and her general proclivity for problem solving, I figured it wasn’t that big of a stretch for her to have mastered her own armpit. The woman knows stuff. So I asked for the recipe.

Over the weekend, I enlisted my kids to help me with my non-cancer-causing deodorant undertaking. The one ingredient we were missing was the essential oil, which Meg said was fine to do without. And okay, this is super embarrassing, but I did not know what “essential oils” were. I had to Google it. I swear the only reason I’m even half-way smart is because of the internet. Anyway, just FYI: Walmart is not the place to find essential oils. Try a hippie store or order it online or whatever.



We mixed together the ingredients and I was disproportionately excited when things started fizzing (“OMG I’M TOTALLY DOING CHEMISTRY!!!”), but… a little baffled by the end product:

deodorant pee
That… can’t be right.


I sent the image to Meg: “Is that what it’s supposed to look like?”


And then I laughed at myself for 10 minutes because what kind of idiot can’t make f*cking homemade deodorant??

It turns out I was not whisking vigorously enough. (Story of my life.)

After a minute or so of extremely vigorous whisking with my four-year-old’s tiny pretend whisker, I finally got it right:

deodorant got it right

I put my non-cancer-causing deodorant masterpiece in the fridge so it could firm up a bit before using it. <<< Okay, I’ve written that sentence three different ways and every time I end up thinking, That’s what she said. Sorry.

Because I am practically a scientist, I had the brilliant idea to go for a run in the hottest blister-hot-hot of the day (this is Florida we’re talking about) with a different deodorant under each pit. (I know, right? Gennnnnius!!!) However, I feel like I need to emphasize the sacrifice I made in the name of science, here: I am one who shrinks with revulsion at all things asymmetrical. Taking the humongous risk of having one pit markedly sweatier than the other while miles from home is nearly as repugnant as letting a spider crawl across my hand. But curiosity triumphed: I had to be able to do a direct comparison.

Before the run, I enlisted my children to sniff my pits. That’s right, we all suffered a little in the name of science. Don’t worry though, I handsomely rewarded my pit-sniffing lab rat children with extra Minecraft time. It really wasn’t that bad. Lucas and Mari agreed that the right pit (the recipe side) smelled nicer than the left. Lucas requested I tell you it smelled like lemon.

I was going to run for 30 minutes, but I got lost in the woods for ten minutes, so the whole thing took way longer than anticipated. Also, I learned that when you’re running this way and that over a soft bed of pine needles through brush that may or may not be poison ivy, every branch looks like a snake and every leaf looks like a toad. And the things that look like spider webs are actually spider webs. But I digress.

When I finally escaped the woods, I remembered I was supposed to be conducting an experiment. Tentative sniffs of each armpit didn’t reveal much, but I can honestly say my recipe pit felt dryer than my cancer pit. #Winning!!! But it was so hot out that after about 30 minutes of running, the only thing I could focus on was not passing out, and the only thought in my head was motherf@#%#@ing F@#%@#ING STUPIDASS SCIENCE F@#K YOU!!!

But I made it. Sweaty as f*ck, but I made it home. After drying off a little, I tried to sniff my armpits again to get a sense of whether one smelled worse than the other, but I think my sense of smell had been rendered useless by my body’s energy being focused on keeping my vital organs functioning during the run. My kids, however, were able to confirm that I was extremely stinky no matter which part of my body one sniffed. Not very scientific, but hey, I tried.

I’ve been wearing the recipe deodorant since my run yesterday, and, wait… hold on…


…yep, still smells like lemon. No stanky detected.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for: The recipe. Try it out and let me know how it works for you. But don’t forget: WHISK VIGOROUSLY.



  1. Well, if it holds up under that ridiculous amount of energy, I think it’ll work just fine while I sit on my ass and play candy crush. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I will have to try it. I use another homemade one.

    • Oh, girrrrrrrrrrrrrrl you have no idea. Why do you think I put in that bit about the trucker? Can’t lose anything by trying… 😉

  3. As funny as your writing is… vinegar and baking soda cause a chemical reaction, ummm in some hippie parts it’s called drain cleaner. There are many much better recipes for homemade deodorant than this one.

    • True. But: Once it’s done bubbling the abrasiveness of the chemical reaction is removed. I still have my armpit skin to prove it. 😉 xo

  4. While I’m certain I won’t try the recipe (because I’m a mushy person … not crunchy at all), I laughed through this entire post. So glad your kids were willing to be pit sniffers–in the name of science.

  5. Is it supposed to be green? Mine didn’t turn green. Yours looks green!

  6. About a year ago I had a reaction to deodorant and spent several miserable weeks surreptitiously scratching my armpits at work. I switched to a “hypoallergenic” formula, and it’s fine, but I might give this one a try, just because, you know, I kind of like my boobs where they are, in their current lumpless state. Thank you for your sacrifices in the name of science.

  7. Okay, I was going to make phomemade deodorant one time, because my 2yo always wants to put some on even I do mine and I don’t want those chemicals on her, and when I started looking for a recipe, I found all these people that had had some kind of reaction to the baking soda, that was almost like a burn. (Something about the pH of the baking soda or something.) While I don’t want cancer causing stuff, I also don’t want burned pits. I’m guessing you didn’t have anything crazy like that. I wonder if maybe the reaction with the vinegar balances that out, cause I’m fairly sure the one I looked at didn’t have vinegar.

    • Yes. It does. They bubble at first but once that reaction has finished, there is no more causticity. You wouldn’t want to apply it to your freshly-shaven pits while it was still bubbling, though! =)

  8. OK, I DIED reading this. Hilarious!!

    I, myself, am a Brown Belt Suburban Hippie, so of course I make my own deodorant. I’ve tried a few recipes, and have one that works well, but I’ve never seen vinegar in a deodorant recipe before… I wonder what that is all about! I may have to try it.

    Just a note – my homemade deodorant doesn’t stop me from sweating like a commercial deodorant does; it just stops me from stinking. And mine only lasts 24-hours, then I have to reapply or I smell like a burrito.

  9. I may have to try this. I have a friend who uses milk of magnesia under her pits. Swears it is the only thing that works for her.