If people are avoiding you and it seems like there’s a bad smell following you around and came to the unfortunate realization that it’s emanating from your underarms, you are not alone.
Everyone struggles with bad body odor from time to time. It’s usually because of bacteria under your arms or other areas where you sweat a lot. Sweat, as long as it’s caused by heat or exercise, is actually odorless until it comes into contact with bacteria.
If you are stressed out, angry, scared, or nervous, you may notice a smell too. This is because the type of sweat released during these moments is usually filled with protein and fat as opposed to the usual type of sweat which only contains water and electrolytes.
Some deodorants only mask smells, and antiperspirants are full of aluminum which has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimers, and although further tests need to be done, it’s best to stay safe (1, 2). They also prevent the body from sweating which serves many functions including getting rid of toxins.
Toxin build-up is also a major cause of body odor, those toxins include heavy metals like aluminum. Using essential oils for body odor is an effective option and is much safer and will help to minimize the amount of toxins that you are exposed to.
How Does Using Essential Oils for Underarm Odor Help?
Some essential oils are antibacterial.
Essential oils smell really good.
Essential oils have benefits beyond being antibacterial, some are anti-inflammatory and some are effective at reducing stress and anxiety which are another cause of body odor (3).
The Best Essential Oils for Body Odor
How to Use Essential Oils for Armpit Odor
1. Essential Oil in Carrier Oils
Using oil as a deodorant can seem strange, but you only apply a very thin layer and then wait a bit before putting on your clothing. Coconut oil makes a great carrier oil because it has antibacterial properties due to its lauric acid content. Coconut oil is solid at cold temperatures so putting this mixture in a deodorant tube works well. In warmer months you can store it in the refrigerator.
Combine 2 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil.
Stir to mix it.
You can also use a combination of essential oils to create a fragrance that you enjoy. It’s best to first mix a few drops of each essential oil, then leave it overnight and smell them to see how the fragrance turns out. This will prevent you from creating a batch of something you won’t like. See the DIY perfume section for combinations that go well together.
Other carrier oils you can use include:
These are lighter and leave behind less residue than heavier oils like olive or almond oil.
2. Essential Oil Body Water Body Spray
If you want to make your own body spray, you can use water instead of a carrier oil. Distilled or filtered water should be used to minimize chemicals. It will also help you to keep your body spray from going off too quickly.
Add 20 drops of essential oil for every 4 oz. of water (4).
You can put the ingredients straight into a spray bottle.
You’ll need to shake it before use each time.
It can be stored for about a month when stored in the refrigerator.
3. Essential Oil and Witch Hazel Spray
Witch hazel has antioxidant and astringent properties and has been used for its antibacterial properties for many years (5). It’s usually distilled in water or alcohol, and you can also find it as an oil. All forms can be used as a deodorant. It’s great for sensitive skin too.
4 oz. Witch hazel.
20-30 drops of essential oil.
Add it to a spray bottle.
If you find the alcohol or oil too drying, you can switch to the oil preparation or add some vitamin E oil.
Shake it before each use.
4. Essential Oil Antiperspirant Powder
If you sweat excessively or want to avoid sweat patches on hot days you can use the following recipe:
4 Tablespoons of baking soda.
4 Tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
Use the carrier oil recipe, undiluted essential oils can irritate your skin, and add 10 drops of it to the powder ingredients and mix.
You should have the consistency of a powder. You can also add more or less of the baking soda or the cornstarch or arrowroot powder depending on the texture you like.
You can use your hand or a makeup brush to apply some to your underarms or other sweaty areas.
Baking soda helps to create an inhospitable pH for the bacteria and it also helps to soak up sweat. The cornstarch or arrowroot powder helps to keep you dry and prevent chafing.
5. Essential Oil Antiperspirant Cream
This recipe requires some heat but is simple enough to make:
Add together 3 teaspoons of coconut oil and a teaspoon of bee wax pellets to a double boiler or a bowl placed in a pot of water and heat them until they melt. Stir continuously so that it stays smooth as it melts.
Add 2-4 teaspoons of cornstarch or arrowroot depending on the texture you like.
You can also add 1-4 teaspoons of baking soda if you’d like.
Then add 10-20 drops of essential oil.
Mix it together and put it into a jar. If you are using a plastic jar let the mixture cool before putting it into the jar.
To use it, spread some onto your skin and let it dry a bit before putting your clothes on.
6. DIY Perfume
You can use this as a body spray too as the essential oils and alcohol will kill bacteria, but considering how long it takes to make, it’s up to you whether you want to use it for special occasions or every day.
Do a test run using very small amounts first. Perfume can take up to a month to get to its final state. You will find that your perfume smells different as the weeks progress.You can use this recipe to test your perfume and then just make a bigger amount once you are happy with your perfume.
You’ll need some alcohol like vodka or rum. A teaspoon amount or so should work.
Add essential oils in a 3-5-2 ratio. (3 drops for your top note which is the most noticeable, 5 for your middle note which lasts a little longer than the top note, and 2 drops for your base notes which will last the longest).
Add them together and make sure that they mix well.
You can test them using a cotton ball or a perfume test strip. You can do this immediately and then come back after a few hours and test it again. You’ll also be able to tell how strong or weak the smell is and how long it will potentially last when you do this.
All in all, in your final batch you should have about 58 drops or so of essential oil per 8 oz. of alcohol. You can use it immediately, but waiting for a while, up to a month is best, as the perfume will be at its best then.
You can use this way of predicting which scents will go together the best:
Minty (e.g. peppermint, spearmint): Citrus (e.g. orange, lemon, bergamot), woody (e.g. sandalwood, juniper, cypress), herbal (e.g. tea tree, eucalyptus, sage)
Herbal: Citrus, minty, woody
Woody: Floral (rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang), citrus, herbal
Spicy (e.g. clove, cinnamon): Citrus, floral
Floral: Woody, spicy, citrus
You can also use your carrier oil to create a perfume, this will take less time than the alcohol method.
You can find a list of what works well as top, middle, and base notes here.
Tips and Precautions
Speak to your doctor if you are on any medication, have a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding before using essential oils and do a patch test first (6).
Research the type of essential oils you want to use thoroughly to make sure they are safe for you, your kids, and your pets. For example, citrus oils can cause sunburn during the day (7). You want to make sure that your chosen essential oils for your armpits or otherwise benefit you instead of causing a bigger problem.
Shower or bath daily and shave your armpits regularly.
Wear a new shirt every day.
Avoid spicy foods.
If you find that nothing works after a while, see your doctor.
For more body odor remedies, you can read this article. Please let us know which method worked best for you and what your favorite combination of essential oils are.
Jane Scott grew up on a farm in California and is a crossover between a country girl and an evangelist for healthier living. She’s a nutritionist who preaches that healthy living need not be complicated.
She believes that by exercising regularly, eating mostly non-processed foods (with plenty of vegetables), and using home remedies for the small things and doctor’s advice for the big things, almost anybody can feel great and live a happier and healthier life. She’s excited to share her knowledge of natural remedies and healthier living on HRFL.
In her spare time, Jane enjoys cooking and watching bad rom-coms. She also loves nuts, and is a bit of a nut herself when it comes to Yoga, which she’s a little too obsessed with in the opinion of her friends and family.