How to Make the Swap to Natural Deodorant

I remember years ago, my dad started making his own deodorant with baking soda and cornstarch, and I honestly thought he was crazy. But he said conventional deodorants didn’t work well for him, and his DIY version worked much better.

Years later, when I learned about clean beauty, I saw how my dad was way ahead of the times. I was shocked to learn what was in my deodorant (and other products). As with anything that we put on our bodies, product ingredients absorb into our skin and over repeated use, they can have an impact on our health. Here are some of the sneaky ingredients in deodorant:

  1. Aluminum – Linked to Alzheimer’s disease and heavy metal toxicity

  2. Parabens – Endocrine/hormone disruptors, found in 99% of breast cancer tissue sampled in this study

  3. Propylene glycol – Classified as skin irritant by the EWG

  4. Phthalates – Endocrine disruptors linked to permanent birth defects

  5. Triclosan – Linked to liver toxicity and thyroid dysfunction

  6. Formaldehyde contaminated synthetics – carcinogenic

  7. Fragrance – Cocktail of chemicals creating skin sensitivities and irritations

Maybe you’ve tried a “natural” deodorant before and immediately went back to your old stuff. Making the switch to natural deodorant can seem like a daunting task – I mean no one wants to smell bad. But switching to natural deodorant doesn’t have to be scary – and I promise, the sweat will subside. As with any new skincare routine, it takes your body time to adjust. What I learned when I made the switch is that 1) there are good natural deodorants and there are really bad ones, and 2) when you’re starting out, you armpits have to go through a detox.

By detox, I mean more sweating and smell, but it’s all worth it in the end! By the end, you’ll sweat less, not be dependent on deodorant, your body will be more balanced, and you won’t have to put those harmful chemicals on your body.

What helped me through this process was learning how my body worked. I was also surprised to learn that sweat isn’t a bad thing — it’s a healthy, necessary function to detoxify and keep our body balanced. Instead of blocking pores to prevent sweating (like an antiperspirant) with harmful chemicals (like aluminum), natural deodorant allows skin to breathe, rids the body of toxic buildup + regulates its internal temperature. You will sweat more when you’re starting out, but it will get better with time. Since I made the switch two years ago, I sweat a lot less than I ever used to since my body has adjusted.

Body odor will be a problem at first, but it’s part of the detox. B.O. actually comes from a mixture of sweat, bacteria, and environmental dirt that accumulates on your skin. Don’t be tempted to go for that fragrant deodorant (avoid deodorants with fragrance on the label as they can contain harmful ingredients). Similar to the sweat situation, as your body rids itself of toxins from conventional deodorant, you may find yourself a bit more smelly than normal. After a week or two, this will minimize and disappear as your pits and sweat glands become more balanced.

So how do you tolerate those couple weeks of detoxing? Masking and adequately cleansing. These are even great hygiene tips for after the detox. An important thing to note, is that since you’re not applying a strong fragrance on your armpits to cover the smell, you need to make sure your armpits are clean before applying deodorant. Exfoliating with a dry brush and wiping clean have helped me.

  1. Pit Masking: Apply the No. 3 Balancing Mask to clean armpits and leave for 10 minutes then wash off. The activated charcoal will absorb toxins and bacteria. Do this 2-3 times a week as you detox.

  2. Pit Cleansing: Whenever you use a natural deodorant, the key to success is to have clean pits. My favorite product for cleansing is the Charcoal Cleansing Bar. Works wonders!

I should note that if you have sensitive skin, be aware that some natural deodorants may irritate your skin. When I first made the switch, I got a rash and had to stop using it. Since it’s a wonderful sweat blocker and detoxifier baking soda is in many natural deodorants, but it can be too harsh for sensitive skin. If this happens to you, look for a formula made without baking soda (I’ve made note of those below).

I hope this is helpful for anyone who wants to make the switch. Give it time! You’re body will adjust to this more natural way of living and feel better overall. I’ve even gone days without deodorant now! I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite safer options:

  1. Primally Pure (these do have baking soda, however less than other brands)

  2. Schmidts (my hubby’s personal favorite. They have sensitive skin formulas)

  3. Ursa Major (one with baking soda and one without)

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