review: Primal Pit Paste deodorant


I’ve been using Chagrin Valley coconut cream deodorant for a long time, in the nearest they have to an unscented version: “natural” aka coconut scent. It’s lovely stuff. Discussed variously previously on here.

There are some problems with it.

  1. postage to Canada started out pricey and is now exorbitant
  2. so when I order, I order an absolute ton of stuff, to last me for at least 6 months
  3. but then my order gets opened by the nice people on the border; if I’m lucky, all that happens is that my package gets delayed; if I’m unlucky, it get delayed for months; parts of the order get lost / disappear; and the delay is so long that some parts of the order may have gone off (this hasn’t happened with Chagrin Valley but has with others, and more sensitive products)
  4. and, this one more of an actual problem: the last batch I had (tins and tins of the stuff…) was different. Smoother and creamier, which seemed nice. But: wetter, less dry on armpits, less starchy powder in the mix, and judging by the start of whiff exuding from armpits at the end of the day there was also less bicarbonate of soda.
    Not that I go around sniffing my own armpits all the time. That would be weird. I stretched up to put a book on a high shelf, thus placing my armpit near my nose, and then I inhaled; as you do when in mid-stretch, getting more oxygen into you the better to stretch more and further. I also got SO to check that is was me and not, say, hime. Or a book. Or a stray loose fart that had been trapped between books and released.
    Not that I treat putting books on shelves and other normal everyday activities as serious exercise to be analyzed studiously.
    That would be really weird. 


So I was looking for an alternative. As you know, there are about eleventy billion variations on the deodorant theme of

  • coconut oil
  • a starchy powder
  • bicarbonate of soda

Both as finished products and as recipes. See for example: “DIY deodorant” (2013-12-08).

Now, I have neither the time nor the inclination to do my own right now, and find the right quantities and so on. I am not a professional formulator with a lab and resources (including time); nor an amateur freelancing or otherwise with a certain amount of time per week to devote to non-paid-work activities; nor am I a DIY-loving handy-woman SAHM (they are, IMHO, really the role model here for heroic and brilliant DIYing). I have a job, which takes up 60+ hours per week, and when I get home, I want to do some combination of:

  • forage, hunt, and gather for food
  • assist SO in making dinner (i.e. watch and hand stuff and suchlike, or provide light entertainment by reading out bits of internet)
  • go for a walk
  • go for a run
  • think about going for a run, but find the thought alone to be all top much, and collapse on the sofa
  • on arrival, collapse immediately on sofa and stay there for some time, with or without a book / ebook / TV or movies on ipad / cushion over head while listening to music

And the weekend is for going out, doing stuff, laundry, trash, seeing friends, long walks in the woods and on the beach, and all manner of things that make Vancouver life marvellous… but not staying in messing around with deodorant.


Other people love doing that. I’m sorry, but I don’t. So instead of punishing myself, making a lot of mess, and not necessarily ending up with any actual deodorant at the end: instead of wasting my time, I am more than happy to pay someone else to do all that. More than happy. I mean, I’m showing my appreciation for someone else doing all that stuff and for the time they have spent; appreciating that someone else does this better than me; acknowledging their superiority in the field of DIY; showing respect for their skill, craftsmanship, expertise, experience, and talent.

So. All hail DIYers, may they live long and prosper. Support them. Show them you know they are good at what they do, give them your business, help them build their business. That’s how gynarchist community works, and also microeconomics to some extent.

Deodorants, then.

I tried a few. I’m not going to go into details on the epic fails: they either contained bugger all baking soda, or way too much. Usually the latter. Some claimed not to be scented but were. You may figure out some of the ones I tried by doing searches for some combination of the terms “coconut” + “deodorant” + “soda.”

But I found something positive. Here it is:

primal pit paste deodorant

INGREDIENTS: Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Aluminum Free Baking Soda.

2 oz, in a glass jar, which is heavier but easier to use than the CV tins (whose lids can be sticky)

$8.95 each and if you buy at least two of them the shipping to Canada already works out cheaper than Chagrin Valley. Here are all their shipping rates. They correspond pretty much to what shipping actually costs, but will give you some standard of comparison in case your current supplier of whatever-your-current-poison is ripping you off, including other overheads in their shipping cost (a classic wheeze, distracting your with artificially low product prices), or (to be fair to them) has to include costs for time, transport, and fuel for getting from the DIY HQ Homestead to the nearest purveyor of postage. That is a significant factor for people living in large swathes of the US, indeed for the geographical vast bulk of the country that’s anywhere other than the marginal slivers that are the west coast and the north-east…

primal pit shipping

vs. Chagrin Valley:

chagrin valley shipping


  • it’s a thicker consistency than CV, but still applicable
  • smells of shea butter; that odour disappears rapidly, dries down to an absence of any detectable scent (tested on bemused SO)
  • drier than CV
  • seems to work: no underarm odour by the end of the working day
  • no irritation, seems to be about the right quantity of baking soda for my particular pits: not too much, not too little


  • if things changes in either direction and I need more or less baking soda in the mix: Primal Pits offer “strong” and “light” versions
  • alliterative company name

There is also a light version, same price, with less baking soda; a strong version with more; and all three, in various of their scents (including all three versions in unscented), are also available in 0.25 oz trial sizes (should last 1-2 weeks, and certainly long enough to tell if it’s not working and not potent enough, or if it’s too strong and skin is reacting):

primal pit paste


And then there’s a stick version with a slightly different formula and a higher price:

primal pit paste deodorant

INGREDIENTS: Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Organic Beeswax, Aluminum Free Baking Soda, and Essential Oils.

2 oz for $10.95

Also various scents; and a (not unscented) Happy Pits Sensitive stick:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Mango Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Beeswax, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Magnesium, Kaolin Clay, Coriander & Sage Essential Oils, and Lavender and Vanilla Essential Oils.

2 oz again and this one’s $12.95.

More on my nice new deodorant here, and about the company overall here. They’re cruelty-free and use organic stuff; this particular deodorant is also vegan, but they use beeswax in the stick version.

TIP: if traveling with solid / cream deodorant, just transfer the quantity needed for the duration of your trip to one of those small screw-top plastic travel jars for face cream, found in drugstores and pharmacies and so on (plus travel and camping shops and my beloved MUJI). No need to bring a whole glass jar with you, or move to the more expensive stick…

I’ve also ordered the body powder, am looking forward to that for summer-time purposes:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Arrowroot, Aluminum Free Baking Soda, Kaolin Clay, Magnesium, Organic Cocoa Butter

4 oz / $12.95



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