Quick Tips for Natural Deodorant Success (and what to avoid)
If you've followed us for awhile you know that we are big advocates for making the switch to natural deodorant. We know the transition can be daunting, and even if you've been at it for awhile your body hormones can change over time and require some pit adjustments. So whether you're new to the world of natural deodorants or an old pro - this post is for you!
Here are some quick tips for getting the most success out of your natural deodorant journey.
It doesn't take more than a quick search to discover all of the potentially toxic ingredients lurking in tradition deodorants that are regularly absorbed by the delicate skin in your pits. Common ingredients to avoid include:
- phthalates (makes products pliable so that they stick to skin)
- aluminum (found in antiperspirants)
- "fragrance" (often found even in "natural" versions)
- Triclosan (antibacterial and preservative)
Ingredients like these (among others) have been linked to endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, skin allergies/irritation, and more. We always encourage you to research the ingredients/products that they put ON and IN your body (consulting the EWG is a great place to start), so that you can make your own informed choices.
TIP: Look for natural ingredients that help absorb wetness and neutralize funk, such as magnesium hydroxide, kaolin clay, and arrowroot powder. Always look at the labels!
Sweat happens - but it doesn't have to stink!
Traditional antiperspirants work by "plugging" the pores in your armpit and preventing them from sweating. Nice mental image, right? Natural deodorants are not anti-sweat, but they should help to absorb moisture and neutralize the bacteria that causes the funk in the first place. Just like anywhere else on your body, the skin under your arms needs to breathe. When you first transition to natural deodorant, you may find yourself feeling extra sweaty. That's a normal part of the process and your skin WILL normalize!
TIP: Reapply your deodorant as needed throughout the day, especially if you're transitioning or doing extra sweating (like before/after a workout or during hot summer months).
New to natural deodorant? DETOX!
If you've never used natural deodorants before you WILL need to detox your pits when you first start, and occasionally over time while you’re using the deodorant. We promise it's super easy!
One key ingredient that you might not have on hand is bentonite clay. It is a natural mineral clay that is highly absorbent and pulls away dirt and toxins from your skin. It is also considered antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so it's a great way to get a nice clean foundation for your pits. You can find it on Amazon, a health food store, or add it on to a deodorant order from our site. Once you've got bentonite clay in hand, it's just 2 simple steps to start the detox process:
- In the palm of your hand or a small bowl, mix together a small amount of bentonite clay and just enough water to make a spreadable paste. You can add a small splash of apple cider vinegar to the mix for extra detox action.
- Spread the paste onto your pits and let it sit for up to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
TIP: When you're just starting out, repeat the detox process a couple times a week until your body adjusts to it’s chemical-free state (you’ll notice less sweat and less smell). This can take 1-4 weeks depending on your body chemistry. If you've already transitioned but occasionally find yourself with a little extra "funk", you can repeat the detox process whenever you need to.
But what about.....
Natural deodorants have been around long enough that you've probably heard of someone who's tried it and "it didn't work" (or they got a rash, or their clothes got stained, or they were stinky....and the list goes on).
Ok. Here's the deal.
Yes, the transition can take time if you're just starting out. Every body is unique and balanced differently, which is why everyone will have their own unique experience.
Here are some final quick pointers if you run into any challenges:
- Be mindful of baking soda. It's a natural and helpful ingredient, but some brands use a higher percentage of it which can lead to underarm irritation over time. If you discover that you've got a skin sensitivity to it, look for brands that are baking soda-free.
- Try charcoal deodorants. If you find that you need an extra boost of detoxing, deodorants with activated charcoal are naturally detoxing and can help neutralize any extra funk you might be experiencing.
Make sure you're not using too much deodorant. A little goes a looong way with natural varieties, so don't use more then 1-2 swipes at a time (unless you want oily pits and stained clothes!). Less is more when it comes to natural deodorant :)
Patience is a virtue, and Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes time, folks. More than any other pit-fall (see what I did there?), this is the one that gets most people that we talk to. They get excited and try it for a week or two, it "doesn't work", and they give up. Be persistent, repeat the detox process whenever you need to, and give your body time to breathe and adjust.
The transition to natural deodorant is a cumulative process - the longer you use it, the better it works. Don't give up - it's worth it (and yes, even YOU can do it).