How to shrink your deodorant to the size of a chapstick tube

I am incredibly excited about this. Far more so than I should be.

Deodorant sticks are some of the largest items you’ll find in a travel toiletry kit, and they can be kind of annoying. A single stick can last maybe six months, which is overkill for a quick trip of a week or two.

Even the travel-sized sample versions are inflated with unnecessary air space. Don’t believe me? Take a brand new one sometime and push it up all the way and see how much deodorant you’re getting for how big it is. They’re mostly air.

You can get around this by cutting half a stick of deodorant out of your favorite brand, and shoving it into one of those mini sample sticks. It’s not a bad idea for a trip of a couple months.

But what if you want to shrink things down even more? Like, a lot more?

Like…this much more?

Deodorant in a chapstick tube
I refuse to carry anything I don’t have to.

That’s a chapstick tube. And you can fill it up with your favorite deodorant in about two minutes.

Start by shaving a couple slices off the top of the regular deodorant, into a microwave-safe container. Hopefully one with a pour spout.

Cut the deodorant down to size
Make sure to make Wolverine snikt noises as you go.

Then microwave the deodorant shavings for about ten seconds. That should be plenty, depending on how much there is. Give it another five seconds at a time if it hasn’t liquified.

You should end up with something like this:

Melted deodorant
You can probably use the oven if you prefer, but keep a close eye on it. Even sunshine on a hot day might work.

Now all you have to do is pour it into an empty chapstick tube, and leave it to solidify once again. This should take just a few minutes, and you can speed things up by leaving it in the refrigerator.

You’ll end up with something like this:

Chapstick deodorant
Notice how this brand has an oval tube, so it won’t roll off a table. It even looks like a tiny deodorant stick.

Just don’t let anyone use it on their lips, because that would be weird.

I’m pretty happy with this. It’s not something that’ll work for an extended trip, but it’ll work just fine for a few weeks. You could probably use it at home too, leaving it in a purse or a backpack to freshen up after running around on a hot day.

This is also a great way to store tooth powder, by the way. Not that the regular bottles are all that big to begin with, but they can last for months, and it’s pretty effortless to fill up a chapstick tube instead. You might also be able to do the same thing with stick versions of sunscreen and bug repellant, or pretty much anything labelled “balm.” Probably not with soap, though. You need more surface area to come in contact with the soap to get good suds.

Well, that’s about it. Have fun out there.

About SnarkyNomad

Eytan is a pretentious English major whose rant-laden sarcastic tirades occasionally include budget travel tips and other international nonsense. You can follow his every narcissistic word on Facebook or Twitter.

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24 Comments on “How to shrink your deodorant to the size of a chapstick tube”

    1. Lotion works too. By the way, Dr. Bronner’s currently makes 4 different flavors of chapstick, all in different colors, so you can pick those up and you’d have a color-coded system.

    1. I actually ripped the crystal out of its packaging to make it smaller. I store it in a snack sized ziplock.
      The tube idea also works for makeup. I put part of my NARS multi-stick into an old lipstick container. My entire makeup kit fits in the palm of my hand.

    1. Very true. I just bought one and removed the lip balm. I kept the balm itself, just leaving it on a shelf, but that seems kind of like a silly thing to do. I just don’t like throwing stuff away. Lip balm is apparently unnecessary anyway, and certain companies have been accused of using ingredients that give you temporary relief, but then leave your lips in worse condition than before, so you have to keep using it over and over. I never use it, and it seems just fine.

      1. I never use shampoo, it is the same like lip balm. Have a look at the no poo movement. Once every 2 weeks a wash with baking soda, that is it.

        1. I’ve thought about giving this a try, but I never get up to the point where your hair is supposed to “reset” and stop overproducing the oils. Maybe I’ll try again, though…

  1. Okay, I had high hopes about this one only to have them dashed and my minimalist ultralight heart broken.

    I gave it a shot and either I’m an over-deodorizer or this is only really good for a touch-up or overnight solution. I dutifully emptied a lip balm container and filled it with Tom’s (same scent too in fact). I got 1.75 uses out of it. Ended up needing to grab the big stick to finish my left arm pit on the second day.

    The small size made it more tedious to use as well – lots of little swipes under my arms instead of a couple of wide swaths. I’m 5’9” and 175lbs so it’s not like I’ve got mammoth pits either.

    But this did inspire me to see if there were better options to a full stick. I’ve tried a couple of the small trial sized ones (.5oz) but not been a fan of the brands that are available. So now I’ve picked up a couple of those and am emptying & refilling those with my Tom’s. The size is better for pit wiping and they hold far more than the couple of day’s worth that the Chapstick tube held.

    1. Yeah, I recently discovered some .5oz deodorant sticks, and they make a lot more sense. They’re not the half-height trial sized deodorant sticks, though. They’re just miniaturized deodorant-shaped tubes, so they’re shaped properly, won’t roll off a table, and they’re still flat and small. If you look up “empty mini deodorant” on eBay, you’ll find some. Not like it makes that much of a difference which ones you use, but I just don’t enjoy the trial size shape, for some reason. But they do have the added bonus of being able to accommodate replacement deodorant without even having to melt it, if you find a regular deodorant and a trial deodorant of the same size and shape (except for height), in which case you can just remove half the stick from the large size and insert it right into the mini one.

      Certain chapstick or deodorant tubes are deliberately filled with air, and they just make them physically larger so they look useful, but they’re basically half empty. I’m not sure if that was the problem with the chapstick tube you used, but it’s something to watch out for. Very annoying.

  2. When I search for where to buy things like this in Europe and elsewhere all I get is “What to take with you on your trip” listings. Surely there are places overseas to buy similar products. Do you or others have places (I assume there are many) that sell all kinds of hygiene stuff in small amounts?

    1. The travel toiletries section of any major drug store seems to work well enough, at least in the US. There are also sites that sell these sorts of things, like Flight 001, and Amazon should have plenty of little things too.

  3. I read your post a year ago, finally tried it in the fall and liked it so much that I refilled my small tubes today. A friend makes bath & body products so I was able to get a couple of oval tubes that look about the size of that last photo of yours, labelled “booda butter”, and they are ideal. Filling the tubes is a bit of a hassle so I do them two at a time and if I was taking a longer trip I would likely take two or three along but one tube lasts 25 applications which means it’s plenty for a three or four week trip. They weigh nothing and take up no space at all. Thanks for the tip!

    1. No problem. And yup, Booda Butter is a good chapstick tube to use, since it’s oval shaped, and thus won’t roll away. I think it’s a good thing for a purse or a car, or a backpack, for a long day of work in hot weather, for example. But even a quick trip with moderate use might work too.

  4. I use good old fashion “Arid Xtra Dry” lotion deodorant. The container isn’t 100% efficient but it’s pretty good and the pancake shape packs easily.

  5. This is a great idea and I will be trying it out soon.

    In the past, I have shaved off pieces from a deodorant stick, mixed with just a few drops of water until a bit pasty, and then packed it into a small screw-top plastic jar. (You can buy these empty at a drug store or use an old one that once held ladies’ face cream.) Then I apply it with my finger tips. It works well. Many years ago (I’m old) there used to be a brand of deodorant called Tussy that came in jars. This was probably before stick deodorant was invented.

    This is also a way to use up ALL the deodorant that is in a stick. There is usually quite a bit at the very end that you can use because it is below the surface of the plastic rim and the pushing up mechanism is in the way. Use some sort of a stick to dig it out and proceed as I’ve said above.

    1. There’s also a weird problem with deodorant tubes not being recyclable; apparently one section is fine, but another section uses a different type of plastic that can’t be recycled. Ah well.

  6. I tried this today, and there are a few difficulties with the scheme, at least as it related to the use of solid-stick sunscreen containers (which seem to be the perfect size).

    First, the deodorant runs out the bottom when you pour it in. The sunscreen stick containers are not sealed at the bottom, apparently. I kind of solved that by quickly sticking the container in a small bowl of ice water, so that the deodorant solidifies quickly and (eventually) seals the hole. And what does run out coagulates in the ice water, where it can be retrieved and re-melted.

    The second problem is that it sticks to the sides of the container once it solidifies, and the plastic screw that is supposed to push the product out strips instead, so you have a nice stick of solid deodorant that you can’t get at. I think if you let it set up well and then methodically squeeze the sides of the container to loosen the grip of the deodorant that might work. I don’t know for certain because I’m currently waiting for round two to set up before I try it.

    The third problem, of course, is that at the end of this process your significant other and/or teenage children think you’ve lost it.

    1. I think you might have an especially sticky formulation of deodorant that sticks to the walls a little better. On a random note, Alba has a nicely sized travel deodorant stick. For some reason most travel-sized deodorants are mostly air inside, but this one is much smaller, and not as empty on the inside as the others. So you can get that one and not look like a weirdo trying to go with the chapstick tube.

      1. I found my problem. The “product”, e.g. the slug of deodorant, has a plastic foot that is what actually engages the plastic screw. I threw that away the first time. So, it was user error.

        On another note, this trick also works with shoe polish. Brilliant.

  7. A couple years back, I purchased some miniature deodorant containers from eBay and never got around to trying them. They can be found on eBay using the search term “empty deodorant containers 15mL”. I got clear ones, but don’t know the brand or seller name. They come in multi-packs. I think I got ten. These containers are wider than a chapstick tube, so it is easier and quicker to apply.

    On my last trip, I finally dug them out and used them. I melted a Mitchum solid stick and it filled five of the little containers. I was in Mexico for five days and used less than half a stick. I think each stick could last 10-14 days (based on my use).

    1. A few places sell sunscreen in mini deodorant-style sticks like the ones you’re talking about, but the clear ones are the best. Very handy.

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