Posted on 40 Comments

Body Powder Gift Set


Over the course of this past autumn, I swore off shampoo, deodorant, and moisturizer.  I know. Either you’ve done this before yourself and are thinking “good for you” or you’ve never done it and are thinking I’m crazy (not to mention stinky).

Well, maybe I am a little bit crazy, but I smell just fine.  Plus, my hair is clean, and my skin has not felt this smooth in ages.

At some point, I do want to talk a little bit about what I’m doing with my hair (baking soda followed by vinegar, similar to Simple Mom), and my face (currently almond coconut milk soap followed by straight-up coconut oil), but for this post, I thought I’d focus on the deodorant issue.  Why?  Mainly because I made my deodorant look pretty this weekend, but I still don’t have a nice bottle for my “shampoo.”

You do know it’s all about the photo shoot, right?  😀

I’m not sure what made me try this powder.  I suppose it was the fact that the ingredients were simple, on-hand, and cheap.  And if it didn’t work, I’d have lost very little in the trying.  And trust me, I was a huge skeptic.  I’ve spent the last few years depending on stronger and stronger antiperpirants, right up until I was left the only option that didn’t disappoint me: the clinical strength stuff.  I could not imagine that a puff of powder from my kitchen would be even a little bit effective.

You can probably guess where I’m going with this… it worked!  I have used it every day for six months, and I have not been disappointed. Admittedly, I have not gone through a hot summer yet, and maybe I’ll change my tune a bit when I’m perspiring more regularly, but the sweaty situations I have experienced so far have been just fine. [I’ll update here, if I discover otherwise once the hot weather arrives.]


To make the powder

Combine 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup corn starch in a glass container.  Add five or so drops of lavender essential oil, close the lid, and shake up the powder to thoroughly mix all of the ingredients.  Cinnamon, rose, and birch are also good options to try for their antibacterial properties and may be substituted for the lavender.

For my second batch, I used the last few drops of a honesuckle fragrance oil I’ve been hording since 1995.  I realize that cuts down on the all-naturalness of it, but the scent makes me happy, and I can live with that.

Powder puff, sorta

To apply the powder

Since my first batch was a test, I just used what I had handy: cotton balls.  I shook up the powder a bit, dipped the cotton ball into it, and patted it under my arm.  You can do the same with a powder puff, or if you’re kind of a nut, you can make your own applicator to match your bathroom.

I (being kind of a nut) eventually made an applicator.  I used a flower loom, but you can also use size 13 dpns in the round:

  1. Cast on 12 stitches with a double-strand of cotton yarn, and knit 20 rounds.
  2. Knit the next round of live stitches into the original cast-on stitches, rather than into the working yarn.  This will give you a folded-up double thickness of fabric, making your puff resemble a doughnut.  If you’re confused, think of it as making a hem. For a more detailed explanation, see these instructions for a tuck stripe (if using needles) or these directions for knitting a brim (if using a loom).
  3. Bind off using the gather method.

You can use the gathered end as a handle, and dip the flared-out end into the powder.  If you make two, you can swap them out every now and then and toss them in the laundry.

Things to think about

If you’ve been using antiperspirants, you have to get used to the feel of sweat under your arms.  Deodorant (powder or otherwise) doesn’t stop you from sweating like an antiperspirant does.  Instead, it allows you to sweat, and then goes to work to neutralize any odor.  There were a few times in the beginning, when I would feel moisture under my arms and be sure that I must be rather “ripe,” but I wasn’t.  Just a little damp.

Depending on how much you sweat, you might have to re-apply the powder later in the day.  When I was using the clinical strength stuff, I could skip a day if I wanted to, and it would still be working.  That’s not the case with the deodorant powder, but it’s not really a big deal.  Put it on once in the morning, and once again in the evening, if necessary.  For me, a second application has only been necessary on rare days.

Homemade body powder with loom-knit applicator


A jar of powder, an applicator, a washcloth, and a bar of natural soap would make a nice gift for someone.  You can make everything yourself, or buy some of it from other crafty types.  Here are a few resources:

  • The book Better Basics for the Home has a few chapters and skin/body care and includes this deodorant powder recipe as well as a coconut-oil-based moisturizing cream I’ve been wanting to try.
  • This ballband dishcloth pattern makes a nice washcloth.  The pattern is also in Mason-Dixon Knitting.
  • If you would rather buy a wash cloth, Carrie of Wash my Cloth crochets some nice ones, and often includes the soap and a soap dish as part of a set.
  • If you plan on giving a lot of these, you can get a dozen glass jars at The Jar Store.
  • There are a lot of handmade natural soaps on Etsy, but I’ve been experiencing unusually silky-smooth results under the influence of Rochelle Rose Almond Coconut Milk lately.

And just one little thing you might want to keep in mind – if you are giving a jar of deodorant powder as a gift, you might want to avoid calling it “Deodorant Powder.”  You wouldn’t want your giftee to read it as “you smell bad, please apply this as soon as possible.”  Just label it “Lavender Body Powder” and put “also effective as a deodorant” somewhere inconspicuous on the back of the tag…


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Posted on 40 Comments

40 thoughts on “Body Powder Gift Set

  1. Lisa, you continually amaze me. When you start making this for others, I’ll be first in line to try it. Maybe I’ll get some free time to do this one of these days. I don’t sweat much, so this would be great for me….if I had the time…

    1. Karyn, you could totally do this! Leave out the essential oil, if you don’t have any. Throw equal parts baking soda and corn starch in an old tupperware container, and you’re done.

      A minute and a half, tops 🙂

  2. That’s a great idea. Over the last year-ish I’ve been using the crystal for deodorant. I too had the same issue with regular deodorants not really working for me. The crystal is literally a type of salt and it neutralizes the bacteria. I think of it as making the area inhospitable for growth. 🙂

    I’ll have to try your method as well.
    .-= See Ellen’s latest blog post: They say it’s your birthday! =-.

    1. That sounds like an interesting method, too. I have been loving discovering all of these natural skin care options lately!

  3. thank you for testing this simple and cheap formula! there are so many women with breast cancer around me that i even considered to start a blog about that issue. i am afraid that those strong antiperspirants are co-culprits as we clog an area which is meant to eliminate unwanted stuff from our body and we let artificial molecules, some of them quite harmful (i.e. musk fragrances) into a very delicate tissue. of women used more soap, water and your deodorant their bodies could better cope with cancerous cells (which all of us have one time or another in our bodies). this is my humble aromatherapist’s view. by the way: essential oil from cinnamon might be too strong for most people’s axils, try geranium, petit grain (the leaves of citrus trees) or thyme ct. linalool instead. thank you for this precious post! eliane from ireland

    1. I’ve always been a little skeptical of the antiperspirant-breast cancer link as an urban legend, but at the same time, it does make some sense. Why take the chance?
      Thanks for the info re: other essential oils. I really know very little about the subject, and the recommendations I gave were the ones that were in the book. I think I would like geranium for my next batch. My laundry detergent uses geranium oil and it smells pretty.

  4. I’ve been using a very similar recipe for like 6 months, and love it! It works so well – WAY BETTER than any other “natural” deodorant I’ve tried, and as good as the creepy unnatural stuff I used to use. I even turned my sister onto it, and she’s hooked.

    A tip, if you prefer a more solid, “traditional” application: add some coconut oil to the mixture, until it’s a clay-ish consistency. Then shmoosh it into a cleaned-out deodorant container. It’s a bit crumblier than the store-bought stuff, but applied gently, it works really well! (It’s just not as pretty as the above 😉

    1. I love that idea, thanks! So far the powder is just fine for me, but I might be able to sell my husband on it, if I make him a more solid version. He’s not big on the powder idea.

      1. Funny – I just made some for my husband yesterday! I put it in a very manly black recycled deodorant container. 😉
        He is pretty skeptical about most of my crunchy DIY stuff, but he actually said he’d try the deodorant (I was floored)! So here’s hoping he likes it, and can stop using the chemical-y T-shirt staining stuff!

        1. Haha, I can totally relate to having a husband who is skeptical about “crunchy DIY stuff.” I just keep on buying him the chemical-y stuff and hope that someday I will rub off on him 😀 I hope yours likes the deodorant you made!

          1. I have been using a solid version of this and love it! My husband is in no way interested in anything crunchy and thinks that I have completely lost it! But I won’t buy him any chemical stuff he has to buy it himself! I refuse to be apart of it!

          2. Ha! I’ve been resistant to buying my husband the chemical stuff, too. He manages just fine without me, though, and tends to get what he needs when he picks up his monthly thyroid prescription. He won’t even *try* my powder, or the baking soda “shampoo.”

  5. New tutorial: Body Powder Gift Set

  6. Thanks for posting this! I’ve been using the baking soda/cornstarch and mixing it with coconut oil to make it more like commercial deodorant. Unfortunately, coconut oil melts as soon as it touches the skin, and it takes forever to dry. I’m going to try it without the oil next time!
    .-= See Addie’s latest blog post: Ava’s Cardigan =-.

    1. Glad I could help 🙂 Also maybe you just need less coconut oil, like Kitter suggested above.

  7. Wow, that was super informative. I think I may be trying your recipe. I’m super curious about it! Thanks so much.

    1. It’s really easy to make a “trial size” batch. As long as you use equal portions of baking soda and corn starch, you could make a very small mixture to try it out. Enjoy!

  8. So cute your own hand made powder applicator! I would use this deodorant just to be able to hold that little soft powder puff! I’ll have to think a bit more about the Natural deodorants…..;)
    .-= See Barbara’s latest blog post: Snow Buds =-.

    1. Actually, the puff isn’t all that soft. But it really grabs the powder nicely!

  9. This is a cute set! I’m sorry I can’t really get into the holistic natural stuff (you must go through costco sized containers of Baking Soda!!!) and the idea of a head full of baking soda then doused with vinegar…..I have visions of 6th grade science class….hahahaha I’m glad it all works for you though!!! I have a question though, could this little set be changed to be used as a “baby powder” set? My sister-in-law is having another baby this July and I don’t know SQUAT about babies but I figured they use some kinda powder or something on them……anyway, let me know what you think about changing the set for infant use!

    1. Actually, it takes a long time to go through this stuff, so I really haven’t needed to buy *that* much.

      I’m no expert, but I think this would be just fine for babies. Many kinds of baby powder use corn starch as a base. I would just be careful with the essential oils, as sometimes they warn to use oils sparingly with children. Maybe use less, or leave it out altogether.

      A whole lot of stuff came up when I googled “homemade baby powder” so you could probably get some good ideas that way.

    2. P.S. With my hair, I wash the baking soda out thoroughly before rinsing with vinegar, so no fizzy chemical reaction. 🙂

  10. I love this idea!!! I am also wondering if you used the looms to make the washcloth shown or if you used needles?

    1. I used needles, but I’m sure it can also be done on a loom. If you have one of the finer gauges, you could make a cloth very close to these. You could also make a larger version on a Knifty Knitter using bulky yarn or a double-strand of worsted, I would bet. I may give that a try, actually…

  11. great stuff! I have been thinking about this…the perfumes don’t combine nicely with my own scent. haha. so i have to be picky. I already use homemade powdered laundry soap and toothpaste- love them both.
    .-= See becky’s latest blog post: Interview- Konda from Moose Quilts =-.

    1. I have the ingredients for laundry soap but I have yet to actually get around to making a batch. One of these days… I’ve been hesitant to try homemade toothpaste. I expect I won’t like the feel of it. What’s your recipe like? Is it a powder?

  12. Awesome I will definitely have to try this out I like to make stuff or have stuff that makes you smell good.

  13. Thank you for this post! I’m the type of gal who relied heavily on her anti-persirant, despite years of searching for an alternative. Now, after two weeks, six workouts, four overheated bus rides and zero embarrassing hygiene moments, I am sold. I still can’t believe how well this works.

    1. Now that’s what I call an endorsement 🙂
      I haven’t gotten to put it to such a rigorous test yet, but I’m so glad it’s worked out for you!

  14. […] perusing through her site, I came across a recipe for deodorant powder.  Now, I’ve never found a deodorant/antiperspirant that I can say I really like.  It was […]

  15. […] , sorta Peak year Clarke lisa Bulk powder applicator, knitting &#959n a loom flowers. N&#959t really sweet, b&#965t surprisingly effective. here . […]

  16. […] body powder with loom-knit applicator How-to here. by […]

  17. I’ve been using this deodorant powder myself for the last few years, except I use tea tree oil in it. Lavender is good too, and it may be what I put in my next batch, since the tea tree bottle is empty! Anyway, I love this powder. I just sprinkle a little on my hand and rub it on to my underarm. But I like the applicator idea!! I’ll have to make one. Using this deodorant has also gotten rid of the nasty yellow underarm stains on my clothes. I couldn’t figure out how they got there, I’m not a ditch digger! I sew and knit. Now…no more! 🙂 Good stuff!

    1. Since writing this, I’ve made a new applicator for myself. I used the same yarn, but crocheted kind of a double-layer circular motif. It holds the powder nicely. I used peppermint oil in my most recent batch. Yummy. I should try tea tree next. I’m not a huge fan of the smell of that, but it’s not like the smell really lasts, and doesn’t tea tree have some properties that are good for this?

      1. Hi, I don’t know how to knit, but I am a beginner at crochet. Would you mind providing crochet instructions for making the applicator? I really love this idea.

        1. Hi, Judy. Have you ever crocheted a flower motif? I would suggest crocheting the center of a flower, just until it feels big enough to you (2 -3 rounds). Chain a bunch of stitches and connect the chain from one side of the motif to the other (across the back) and use the chain as a handle of sorts.

          I hope that made some sense. I actually stopped using the loom-knit applicator I had once I learned how to crochet, and I crocheted myself a better one. If I get a chance, I will examine that and try to remember how I made it. I think it’s similar to what I said above, but I may have made it a double-layer motif, to help hold the powder better.

  18. I’m new to your blog but enjoying it very much. Will try this deodorant. Very similar to what I use instead of air freshener (baking soda and lavender oil in a little pot) so I can see how this would work.

    By the way… a few years ago I became allergic to a lot of soaps and face washes. Since then I have used nothing but a generous splash of warm water to wash my face (unless I’ve had make up on, which isn’t very often). I can happily report that my face is perfectly clean, I don’t get spots and I no longer need to use moisturiser either. And I live in London so it’s not like it’s because of the lovely fresh air!

    1. Thanks for sharing. I do use soap on my face, but it’s a homemade concoction, and I only do it when I’m in the shower (every other day or so). On a daily basis, I just splash warm water on it, like you say. Works for me! It’s so neat how the body adapts to keep itself fairly clean once you take away the harsh chemicals, isn’t it?

  19. […] Homemade body powder with loom-knit applicator Image by lisaclarke How-to here. […]

  20. […] more deodorant powder. I love this stuff. On really hot days I may need a second application, but for the most part, it […]

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