Changing habits, especially ones that involve underarm sweat and smell, can be quite a challenge.
At first you start by embracing natural beauty products, proudly tossing chemical filled body care products and replacing them with natural versions. You happily swap your harsh chemical laden creams for Trilogy Rosehip oil and swap out your make up for Dr Hauschka instead.
Then after a while of embracing natural beauty, you may realise 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.
In this blog I’d like to lay out some reasons why you should consider swapping to the natural side, tips on how to transition to natural deodorants and which brands we’d recommend.
The Trouble with Conventional Deodorants and Antiperspirants
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and a whopping 70% of what touches our skin can be easily absorbed into our bloodstream.
It takes something very un-natural to block the body’s natural ability to sweat.
Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants are quite the toxic brew, and 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, and much of it enters our blood stream.
It is of no surprise that side effects are certainly possible. Putting endocrine disruption 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 such as eczema, dermatitis or folliculitis from their current antiperspirant, making the switch to natural could be the right choice for you.
Tips for Switching to Natural Deodorant
Fortunately, as more information comes to light on these chemical ingredients, more companies are developing safer alternative and it’s becoming much easier to make the swap to natural underarm care.
One thing you should know about before your natural deodrant 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, which ultimately leaves us solemnly heading back to the chemical-laden stuff.
Many people give up on natural deodorants, claiming they don’t work, but 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.
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.
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.
3. Detoxify Your Underarms
One way to help speed up the detoxification process is by detoxing your underarms.
It may sound silly, but the use of chemical deodorants really does affect your internal system, and 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.
Simply start by washing your underarms daily with natural soap and water for 1-4 weeks 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.
Another optional add-on is to gently exfoliate under your arms twice a week. This helps tp replenish the skin.
It’s not to put you off, but you may struggle with a strong odour for a couple of weeks as your body expels the toxins from your body, 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 reapply your natural deodorant.
Eventually you will notice the strong odour disappearing and leaving you smelling fresh!
Another detox option is to seek out sweaty activities to get that flow moving, and/or try this underarm detox from Wellnessmama.
4. Stick with Natural Fibre Clothing
Try to wear natural fibres like cotton, hemp, bamboo or silk. They are much better at wicking away moisture than synthetic clothes, hold in less odour and wash out better than synthetics (which can start to stink after a while.)
These natural fibres help you to stay odour free, especially during your transition period. Fabrics like polyester and acrylic fibres trap moisture, which may cause mould to grow on clothing, causing a bad odour.
5. Wash with natural body wash (with natural antibacterial essential oils)
Think tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, sage, and lemongrass. These are all derived from plants and have wonderful antibacterial properties to give you the additional aid of odour prevention and reduced growth of sweat-digesting skin bacteria.
6. Eat a good diet and drink enough water
This can really help cut down on body odour, so think fruits, veggies, lemon water and herbal teas.
Note that some foods such as curry, garlic, cumin and sometimes cruciferous veggies can make odour worse.
7. Know that it’s ok to sweat!
Sweating is a natural bodily function that helps us maintain our body temperature.
Sweat itself does not in fact smell. The familiar smell of body odour actually comes from normal skin bacteria breaking down the sweat secretions released from the sweat glands.
Know that damp underarms doesn’t necessarily mean smelly; it’s just something we’re not used to.
So long as you have your handy natural deo with its antibacterial properties and odour minimising qualities you’re good to go!
8. Have patience
Your body needs time to adjust. Patience is key.
Give your body time to transition and don’t expect instant changes. Over time you’ll figure out a way to make natural deodorant work for you.
Choosing a Natural Deodorant
Everyone reacts differently to different products and ingredients, so in all honesty it’s worth trying out a few to find the right one for you.
Yes it may take time to find the product that works best for you, but the health benefits and your skins happiness certainly outweighs the small inconveniences.
To get you started, below is a list of just a few tried and tested natural deodorants that our customers and staff are very fond of:
My personal favourite, Salt of the Earth Classic is a natural crystal deodorant made from pure potassium alum. It works by leaving a microscopic layer of mineral salts on your skin. These mineral salts inhibit the growth of odour causing bacteria leaving you feeling fresh and scent free. Alum is fragrance free, colour free and does not block your skin’s pores.
Crystal deodorant stones contain a naturally occurring form of aluminum made up of molecules too large to be absorbed by the skin. This helps make these products effective at preventing bacteria-causing odour found in sweat from developing, rather than artificially clogging pores as antiperspirants do.
See more here.
Their deodorants are a combination of oils, butters and naturally sourced powders and are scented with essential oils.
The natural mineral salt in Urtekram deodorants minimises bacteria and bad odour. This organic deodorant is delicately scented with rose, and contains natural ingredients so it is gentle on the skin.
A natural and effective deodorant, gentle on the skin, with a soothing base that allows the skin to breathe naturally, without blocking the pores.
Combining the wonderful essential oils of skin purifying Tea Tree, invigorating Rosemary, refreshing Coriander and Light Lemon Eucalyptus, this product makes a fantastic deodorising product.
It’s quickly absorbed and non-sticky.
Dr. Hauschka Deodorant Sage Mint 50ml
This Sage Mint Deodorant contains sage and witch hazel essences, which are both naturally antimicrobial and astringent. The deodorising combination of an invigorating mint scent with a natural herbal bouquet of sage promises long lasting freshness.
Weleda’s Sage Deodorant works with your body, neutralising odour with natural essential oils of Sage, rosemary and thyme essential oils and allowing your body to breathe.
Please be aware that these products do not stop you from sweating. Sweating is naturally and necessary bodily process.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me via our Facebook!
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication