Developing Deodorant for Dudes

Here's a peek at a custom deodorant in progress. This was for a lovely gent with sensitive pits. (yes, guys get those too).

Although this client didn't present as many specific requirements as one might expect for a custom product, he did give a very clear guideline as to what he was looking for.

His initial brief:
"I tried one of those natural deodorants you can get online, but after a couple of days it was like my pits were on fire. I want it to be safe to use. Just make it work so I don't stink or get a rash – and just use safe stuff."

Fair enough.

The 'All-Natural' Cause 

I asked if he would tell me the name of the product he had tried.

He did, and supplied a link.

Closer inspection revealed an ingredients list with baking soda among the first listed.

Yet another victim of baking soda burn.


Now, at this particular point in time, I could go on (yet another) rant about uninformed people/companies who make and sell unsafe products under the 'natural' banner.

But I'm not going to do that today.

Today, I'll just add links to some previous posts I have written on this subject at the bottom.

Back to the Dude

When developing a custom cosmetic of any kind, I always ask a lot of questions. It's not to be nosy, but so I can glean what kind of texture, feel, performance, and scent the client prefers. Their answers help me create a product they will feel comfortable and 'right at home' with.

While most ladies are happy to share personal preferences and other such 'touchy feely information', it is the rarest of occasions I get the same enthusiastic feedback from gents.

Coaxing is often in order.

Luckily, I've had lots of practice.

It took years to get my husband to realize his every impression of my products – both good and bad, big and small – was actually useful information to me. He's great at it now, but he's had lots of practice too.

Meantime, I learned how to ask the right questions.

It didn't take too long to learn that this gent was a fan of

  • citrussy / grassy / woody scents 
  • not too much scent
  • Non-sticky feel 
  • Stick - not roll-on

And he and his pits are happy with his custom deodorant.

I know, because he's already reordered.

Do Tell

Do you develop products for men? Do you have trouble getting their feedback?

Links About Deodorants and Baking Soda Burn on this Blog

Why Your baking soda deodorant is causing a skin reaction
About baking soda and deodorant
An 'almost poll' on baking soda deodorant rash
Aluminum and antiperspirants
How to treat baking soda burn
Potassium Alum - aluminum or not
Deodorant FAQ


Ieva said…
Thank You for Your wonderful blog and another enjoyable article :)
I got luckier than most when I was thoughtless enough to use baking soda (about a year without trouble). Now I don't want to be so brutal to my skin anymore (thanks to Your blog in a large part).
Experiments with potassium alum have been disappointing so far.
Your article about sage infusion cooling mist was very intriguing. A commercial sage extract deodorant (Weleda) wasn't working for me at all, but a home made combination of sage infused coconut oil + baking soda + orange EO was wonderfully efficient. If just could leave out the baking soda :/ I guess I have to get a notebook and all my reserves of patience and start experimenting.
Farnesol? Zinc ricinoleate? Triethyl citrate? Are any of these likely to make a deodorant last longer than 4 hours without potassium alum?
On another note - have You ever made aftershaves for men? What were the most interesting/challenging aspects of that?
LisaLise said…
Hi Leva - Thank you for your lovely comment! If you are working on deodorant, you are not far off in considering triethyl citrate, farnesol and zinc. Potassium alum will function for longer than 4 hours, but you can also combine with other deodorising actives as well. You are correct about experimenting – that is the best way to find the ideal combination for YOU.

As for aftershaves, I have done aftershave, but it has admittedly been quite some time since I have had requests for this type of product, so I would have to dig out some old notes before being able to answer you about the particular challenges.
Ieva said…
Oh, I wasn't after technical information about aftershaves this time. More thinking how difficult (to the point of funny) it can be to get the residing male to admit what he likes/doesn't like about a product or idea and how to combine that info with what I'd enjoy making.
Potassium alum seems to work just fine for a lot of people but it makes me smell worse than just sweat. Boyfriend who gets to enjoy/suffer from whatever I'm testing out at that moment described it as "rotting vegetables" :D
LisaLise said…
Oh Leva your boyfriends rotting vegetables description has me giggling! :)
Unknown said…
Hi Lisa,
On my case i'm pretty new doing my creams, deodorants etc
And yes my first pit paste was with baking soda but i didn't have any problem, actually it help me to light my armpits but since i love making products i had to try something else, and i try your recipe with Kaolin clay, at the beginning i had some reaction but i noticed it was like a line of 'pimples" so i thought it was because there was a lot of products going just there, so, i started to apply a bit less and spread it well with my fingers and it worked no more pimples, next time i will probably use more essential oils because it doesn't last a los of time i have to apply it twice a day.
For my husband that is the only thing i don"t feel comfortable to make him try, but he is very helpful when i make him test products.
He is my Fan lol
LisaLise said…
HI Janet - I know what you mean about having a hubby as a tester - not always the easiest thing to deal with, but they do seem to get used to it after a while.

Glad to hear the deodorant you made with kaolin worked out. Sometimes it helps to tweak a bit - especially if you are trying to create the perfect combination for YOU. Best of luck with it! :)