I hate to break it to you, but the deodorant you are using is probably not that great for you. 😷 In fact, I truly believe that deodorant is one of the first things you should swap when switching cleaner products. Let’s start by taking a look at a popular brand of conventional deodorant and the ingredients.
Ingredients: Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex Gly, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Petrolatum, Phenyl Trimethicone, Talc, Cyclodextrin, Fragrance, Mineral Oil, Behenyl Alcohol
There is essentially nothing natural about these ingredients (can you even pronounce some of those?). Think Dirty gave this deodorant a 9 rating. This product has many ingredients that I suggest avoiding because they are either considered carcinogenic, endocrine disruptors, or have been found harmful for our bodies. Guys, you aren’t off the hook either. Many deodorants for men are made with similar ingredients! 🏃
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Avoid Aluminum and Antiperspirants in Your Deodorant
I’m going to focus on the first ingredient in most deodorants: ALUMINUM. The majority of antiperspirants contain aluminum, which is used to “block” the sweat glands and prevent sweat from coming to the skin’s surface. But aluminum is a classified neurotoxin and has been linked with many types of cancers and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
And even worse, when you shave your armpits, it leaves tiny cuts in your skin, which gives more openings for these harmful ingredients to soak into.
Our bodies are designed to sweat. It’s not natural to totally block it – those toxins gotta get out somehow and your armpits are one of the major areas that they come out. If you are constantly blocking toxins, where do they go? They stay in your body. Continued use of antiperspirants and aluminum can cause a build-up of toxins in your body. And the closest areas to your armpits – your lymph nodes and breast tissue – are where those toxins will go first.
Continued use of antiperspirants and aluminum can cause a build-up of these ingredients in your body.
In addition, aluminum can have an estrogenic effect and increase the levels of that hormone in your body, which leads to the growth of breast cancer cells. A 2017 study showed that women who used antiperspirants and deodorants were at higher risk for breast cancer and had higher aluminum concentrations in their breasts. I have even heard that when you are diagnosed with breast cancer you are told to switch to deodorant that doesn’t contain aluminum.
Myth: Natural Deodorant Doesn’t Work
I know what you’re thinking, there is nooooooo way natural deodorant works. Well, I am here to tell you that, yes, it does! 💪
But the key is to be patient. Just think, all that time you’ve been using antiperspirants, your body has been holding in those toxins. You need to allow those toxins to come out naturally. So the first day you use a natural deodorant and you’re stinky or sweaty, don’t give up. It will get better after your body detoxes and things adjust back to normal.
You may have to apply natural deodorant mid-day, but is that really a big deal? (I can usually go a full day without reapplying, but everyone sweats differently.) I would much rather take two seconds to reapply deodorant than to compromise my health.
How to Detox Your Armpits & Tips for Switching to Natural Deodorant
So hopefully I didn’t scare you too much so far! But now let’s talk about what people usually experience as they switch to natural deodorant. Yes, there is a detox period. Your body has to adjust and get rid of everything that has been trapped from conventional deodorant. A lot of people give up because they think that natural deodorant isn’t working. Trust me, if you can make it through 2-4 weeks of detox then it is all SO worth it! I promise.
Typical Stages of Armpit Detox:
Week 1: Usually no problems at all. Yay!
Week 2: You’ll likely start to experience some smell (your body is starting to detox)
Week 3: You might be sweating more than normal (still detoxing)
Week 4: Detox should be complete – no more odor or excessive sweating!
Again, this might look different for everyone. Some people experience no problems at all, while others might take a little longer to detox. It all depends on your body. It’s also pretty common for some people to experience irritation or rashes, which we’ll address below.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do while detoxing to lessen the symptoms:
- You are what you eat. If you’re eating things like processed foods, lots of sugar, or greasy fast food, that’s only going to make the stink worse! Other foods like alcohol, garlic, and onions also exacerbate the smells and make them worse (the sulfuric acid in these mix with the fatty acids in your glands…hence, B.O.!). Essentially, body odor is a sign of an imbalance. Try to eat clean, natural, organic foods while detoxing.
- Sweat it out. Move your body, go to the gym, do some cardio…it’ll help keep things flowing and sweat the toxins out of your body.
- Drink lots of water! 💦
- If you get a rash, nix the baking soda. While baking soda is totally natural, many people (especially those with sensitive skin) experience irritation when they use natural deodorants that contain baking soda. This might present itself as itching and/or a rash. This all has to do with the pH of your skin and how it reacts with the baking soda. Keep reading for baking soda-free deodorant recommendations!
- Do an armpit mask or detox spray. It sounds crazy, but it helps! Just go on Pinterest and you’ll find dozens of DIY recipes for detoxing clay masks or sprays you can make at home. The masks will help draw out impurities. And I like using sprays with apple cider vinegar for a little probiotic boost, to help balance pH, and give your pits some beneficial bacteria. Or, use a bar of soap on your armpits that contains activated charcoal, which absorbs up to 1,000x its weight and binds to odors!
- Go deodorant-free at night. There’s no reason to wear deodorant while you sleep! Think of it as a chance to let things breathe and balance themselves out.
- Wait a bit before applying deodorant after you shave. Shaving your armpits might cause irritation or small cuts. I like to shave at night, then let my armpits breathe overnight, and apply my deodorant in the morning.
- Switch between two deodorants. This isn’t the most practical or budget-friendly, but it might help to have two different deodorants that you switch between. Often times people use a natural deodorant and find that it becomes less effective over time. This keeps your body guessing and less likely to get irritation!
- Less is more. If you’re experiencing wetness, your instinct will probably be to keep applying more and more deodorant. Resist the urge to do so because it might not do you any favors aside from making your deodorant clump up!
My Favorite Natural Deodorants (Yes, they work!)
Routine Cream Natural Deodorants • $24-25
These are my favorite! They make dozens of fun scents and formulas so you are sure to find one that works for you. My personal fave is Superstar which has vetiver, vanilla bourbon, cardamom, black pepper, and tonka bean. This formula keeps me dry and smelling great all day!
These are available as a cream in a jar that you apply with your fingers, or a twist-up cream that you can swipe on. I find that the jars last longer for me!
Also available here on Amazon.
Cleo + Coco Natural Deodorants • $18-20
They have so many options for scents and you can either use their traditional twist-up stick or they also offer a zero waste bar with a wax mold that peels off. Both have bentonite clay and activated coconut charcoal which is always helpful with odor control and keeping pits fresh. I like that the formula glides on easily; it’s not too stiff and not too oily or wet. Some of them have baking soda but they also have sensitive baking soda-free options. I recommend the True Blue Tansy bar!
Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Creme • $14
Meow Meow Tweet is super creamy and is made without baking soda, so perfect for those who have a sensitivity to it. The grapefruit smell is amazing! I found that this one does a great job of keeping me dry and smelling good throughout the day. Love the sustainable packaging, too. They also have a push-up version in paperboard packaging if you don’t want to apply with your fingers.
Madame Lemy Powder Deodorant • $35 ($26 for refill)
How classy and retro is this?! I was very skeptical of a powder deodorant, but it truly works! If you’re really sensitive to strong smells, this might be powerful for you because the rose one is quite strong. It’s still naturally scented, though. And they do have a few scent options. It really keeps pits dry though. The main ingredient is Himalayan salt which naturally keeps odor and bacteria at bay. And you just feel fancy applying it! 💁♀️ Code ORGANICALLYBECCA works for a discount.
Note: I probably wouldn’t suggest this one if it’s your first time switching to natural deodorant. But it’s great if you’ve already detoxed!
Green Tidings Deodorant Sticks • $8-14
A budget-friendly option! My dad really likes these too. They have a couple of different scents, unscented, and a formula for sensitive skin. Code ORGANICALLYBECCA works for a discount! Or you can buy it on Amazon too.
If you still need some help detoxing your pits, this charcoal booster bar is a helpful aid. You can wash with it in the shower or I even like to use it for shaving armpits because it makes a nice lather.
Make the Switch to Natural Deodorant Today!
You use deodorant every day, if not multiple times a day. So think twice about what you’re putting on your pits. There are tons of options out there that do work! Don’t give up right away if one doesn’t work for you, try another one. I challenge you to swap your deodorant for something safer 😎