In a tropical country like Vanuatu, it’s inevitable that you will sweat. Although a clean diet and lots of water can cut down body odor, it’s important to maintain hygiene the best way that you can. If you are unable to afford conventional deodorants or perhaps you don’t want any contact with the chemicals associated with them such as aluminum and parabens, here are some alternatives you can use at home.

Tamanu oil

Melanesian and Polynesian communities have been using Tamanu oil for years to treat a range of ailments including burns, cuts, sunburn, insect bites or dry skin. Tamanu oil could be an excellent alternative to use as a deodorant as it’s easily absorbed into the skin and is thought to reduce odor by preventing bacteria from producing due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


Do It Yourself

If you want to make your own deodorant, this concoction is perfect for sensitive skin, great for the environment as well as easy on the wallet. Simply mix baking soda and cornstarch in a bowl. Add coconut oil until it’s the consistency that you want. Then store in a glass jar. If you want fragrance, simply add a bit of essential oil. Voila!

Coconut Oil

This is an essential ingredient that every woman needs in her cupboard. It’s a multi purpose cosmetic that can be a hair mask, skin moisturizer, lip balm and natural deodorant. Used sparingly, it’s thought that coconut oil will protect against odor causing bacteria. So not only is it an antibacterial, you have the added bonus of smelling lovely! It is also very affordable – you can get coconut oil for as little as 300vt.


Baby Powder

This is another essential item that every woman should have, especially here in the tropics. Baby powder won’t stop you from perspiring, but it will keep you relatively dry if you apply it often. You can use it to prevent chafing between your legs too – it’s a great product to stay fresh.

Lemon Juice

This is not recommended for daily use, but if you really need a deodorant, it’s believed that the citric acid in lemons will kill odor-causing bacteria. Although you’ll still be sweating, at least you’ll smell relatively decent!

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel is quite expensive in Port Vila. It’s almost 2000vt in the pharmacies, but it’s considered to have many benefits including soothing sunburns, healing cuts, clearing zits and drying up oily skin. It’s ant inflammatory properties and natural astringent helps remove excess moisture and that’s why it’s a great natural deodorant.



Alcohol kills odour-causing bacteria. You can use it as a deodorant, but make sure you don’t use it after you shave or wax – it could burn your skin. Fill a spray bottle with alcohol, perhaps add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance and you have yourself an inexpensive deodorant. In emergency situations, you can also slap on some hand sanitizer to keep odours at bay.

Essential Oil

Essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, thyme and lemongrass have antibacterial properties in them. Although they will need to be reapplied during the day, they are a gentle and natural option for your skin that leaves you feeling dry and smelling wonderful. Essential oils are difficult to get in Vanuatu so you’re probably best to stick with Tamanu oil.

These remedies are for educational purposes and to share experiences from other people. These are not medically approved recommendations.