What You Need to Know About Switching to Natural Deodorant


Changing habits, especially ones that involve underarm sweat and smell, can be quite a challenge. And that’s exactly why I’ve chosen to write this 2 part blog post series on What You Need to Know About Switching to Natural Deodorant.
I love talking about it so much I had to split it into two parts!

Within these blog posts, we’ll be covering some tips and tricks on how to make your transition towards natural deodorant easier and less… scented 😉 These include:

  • What the trouble is with conventional deodorants and antiperspirants
  • How to transition and use them
  • What natural options are available
  • Plus some general hygiene tips you may not know about!
natural deodorant

Making Our Way Towards Natural Deodorants

If you’ve been on your natural beauty transition for a while, you may already have embraced natural beauty products. You’ve proudly tossed chemical filled body care products and replaced them with natural versions. You’ve happily swapped your harsh chemical-laden creams for Trilogy Rosehip oil and swapped out your make up for Dr Hauschka instead.

Then after a while of embracing natural beauty, you may have realised that natural beauty goes beyond creams, moisturizers, lotions and makeup. In fact, true beauty and health encompasses anything we put in and on our bodies. And this includes deodorants and antiperspirants.

Although we may be satisfied to have tossed out all those nasty body-care products made with harsh ingredients, few of us are willing to compromise on the topic of body odour.
When it comes to natural deodorants, many people shy away from them for the fear of sweaty armpits and terrible B.O.

Tips for transitioning to Natural deodorant

The Trouble with Conventional Deodorants and Antiperspirants

The skin is the body’s largest organ, and roughly a whopping 70% of what touches our skin can be easily absorbed into our bloodstream.

It takes something very unnatural to block the body’s natural ability to sweat.

Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants are quite the toxic brew. You only need to see the chemical list in some conventional deodorants to see where the problems begin.
The most hotly talked about substance in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants is aluminium.
Aluminium is the active ingredient antiperspirants rely on to keep our underarms fresh and sweat-free. 
They work by closing or clogging the pores to prevent the release of perspiration. When sweat builds up behind blocked ducts, it becomes trapped beneath the skin.

This understandably can cause unpleasant side effects such as bumpy, irritated and/or painful inflammation. Not to mention a rather large build-up of sweat-digesting bacteria, which ironically causes bad odour.

If you dig a little deeper into the side effects of aluminium, you will come across many studies linked to aluminium and the increased risk of cancer (in particular breast cancer), Alzheimer’s and even infertility.

Every day we slather these products under our arms, an area where many lymph nodes lie close to the surface of the skin. Worryingly, much of it enters our bloodstream.

It is of no surprise that side effects are certainly possible. Putting endocrine disruptive chemicals directly on top of those lymph nodes could be a sure-fire way to skew up our hormones and cause a bit of havoc on the inside. Although studies about such health risks are not yet definitive, it makes sense to want to investigate safer and natural alternatives.

And for anyone who has sensitive skin or for those who find they get a lot of irritation from their current antiperspirant, such as:

  • eczema
  • dermatitis
  • folliculitis

Then making the switch to natural could be the right choice for you.

the transition phase of using natural deodorant

Fortunately, as more information comes to light on these chemical ingredients, more companies are developing a safer alternative. As a result, it’s becoming much easier to make the swap to natural underarm care.

The Transition Phase

One thing you should know about before your natural deodorant journey begins is the transitional phase.
Many of us have had the unpleasant experience of gleefully purchasing natural deodorant and using it enthusiastically, only to discover that it does not work as well as the antiperspirant we’re used to.
Enthusiasm often comes to a screeching halt after we end up with embarrassingly smelly armpits and excessive dampness. Ultimately, this may leave us solemnly heading back to the chemical-laden stuff.

Many people give up on natural deodorants, claiming they don’t work. The fact is, natural deodorant is an entirely different beast in comparison to conventional deodorant and antiperspirant. They require a different mindset and some patience.

You’ve just got to learn how to use natural deodorant in order for it to be effective. It’s not the same as rolling on antiperspirant and forgetting about it for the rest of the day. It does require a bit more attention, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

But don’t sweat it (ahh couldn’t resist!), as a fellow transitioner to natural deodorant, here are my tips for switching over.

Tips for Switching to Natural Deodorant

pit putty natural deodorant

No.1 – Buy a Good Product

Not all natural deodorants are created equally so you must do your research. Read those ingredients! If it has a list as long as your arm, it’s probably not so natural.

Experimentation is also key. Maybe one works amazingly well for your friend but not for you. The same often goes for conventional as well don’t forget.
And try not to give up too quickly. Give your product a good 2-4 weeks trial before throwing in the towel. Your body is transitioning so give it time.

Some people love roll-ons, others like sprays. Equally, scents and consistency make or break it for people.

No. 2 – Apply More Than Once

With natural deodorant, you can’t just apply it in the morning and forget all about it. If you’re going out for the day, remember to take your deodorant along and reapply a couple times throughout the day.
At the beginning, you may find you apply more often, but over time you may only need to use it twice a day.

bentonite clay

No. 3 – Detoxify Your Underarms

Okay, bear with me here! I know this sounds like a weird one.
In actual fact, one way to help speed up the detoxification process from conventional products is by detoxing your underarms.
It may sound silly, but the use of chemical deodorants really does affect your internal system. You could very well smell pretty unfortunate for a while, so detoxing your underarms is a real thing!

If your armpit pores have been blocked daily for years, there will be a lot of build-up that needs to get flushed out before your pores can start working and sweating normally again. Here’s my 3 part detox plan:

Part 1

Simply start by washing your underarms daily with natural soap and water for 1-4 weeks. Do this each morning, afternoon and evening whilst your body expels the toxins. Really lather up good to thoroughly ensure all traces of sweat, old deodorant and bacteria are gone by the time you apply your deo.

Part 2

Another optional add-on is to gently exfoliate under your arms twice a week. This helps to replenish the skin.

Part 3

Using clay as a natural detoxifier is a great way to help draw out any unwanted nasties. Plus, it also helps to:

  • soften skin
  • reduce odour
  • reduce the amount of sweat
  • help clear up rashes that can sometimes come from natural deodorants or hair removal

I’m sure you’ve heard of clay masks for your face, well. This is one for your armpits! Your self-care routine just improved 🙂

How to Make a Detox Armpit Mask

  • mix 2 TBSP of bentonite clay with roughly 3tbsp water (adjust this to get a thick, mask-like consistency) in a small bowl or dish. I use a ceramic teabag dish.
  • apply gently to your armpits and leave for roughly 10 minutes.
  • wash off in the shower or with a wet washcloth
  • repeat this self-care routine daily at the beginning and then reduce to once a week or as needed until your underarm odour goes away!

Another detox option is to seek out sweaty activities to get that flow moving.

Why bother?

These tips are not to put you off the change to natural deodorant. On the contrary, they’re here to give you an extra helping hand. You may struggle with a strong odour for a couple of weeks as your body expels the toxins from your body. Equally the bacteria on your armpits will go through a change. But please – don’t give up!

If you do detect an odour during the day, wash with soap and water, or give your pits a quick wipe-down with some apple cider vinegar. Then, simply reapply your natural deodorant.
Eventually you will notice the strong odour disappearing and you’ll be smelling fresh once again!

To continue learning about natural deodorants and which ones we recommend, head over to part two of this blog here.

Emily Nöth

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