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Everything You Need to Know About Natural Deodorant

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Maybe you’ve considered making the switch to natural deodorant. Or perhaps you’ve already tried to make the switch but found yourself smellier than ever or with irritated armpits.

Some non-toxic or low-tox lifestyle changes are simple and easy to make, while others require more trial and error. Unfortunately for most people, switching to natural deodorant falls into the latter category.

Fortunately, I have some experience with making the switch, and I can share some tips to help make the transition a little easier for you. Let’s start by defining deodorant.

Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant

Deodorant is the generally used term for all the items that we put under our arms to fight the funk. However, there is a difference between deodorant and antiperspirant.

Deodorants contain ingredients that kill the bacteria that feed on the sweat under your arms. Antiperspirants contain aluminum which blocks the sweat ducts in your armpit to prevent sweating altogether. Many antiperspirants contain deodorants as well.

For the sake of this post, I’m referring to natural deodorants as deodorants that don’t contain aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrances, or other compounds that can act as endocrine disruptors. Unfortunately, some natural deodorants still have some of these items. The term “natural” isn’t a regulated label. So, read labels or check the EWG’s website for more clarity on ingredients.

Concerns About Antiperspirants

You’ve probably heard or read something about a link between aluminum and breast cancer. Although this seems to be pretty widespread knowledge in the natural lifestyle community, there is no research linking breast cancer to the use of antiperspirants.

Another study suggested aluminum may be linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the credibility of this study has been called into question.

I do have some concerns about the use of antiperspirants from a health standpoint. My personal opinion is that there is no real reason to stop or hinder sweat.

Perspiration is an essential bodily function. It helps to regulate body temperature, and a tiny amount of toxins are released through sweat. It’s also a good idea to reduce toxin exposure whenever possible, especially if you’re dealing with conditions like fibroids or other hormone-related conditions.

Another interesting point is that people who use antiperspirants produce smellier bacteria under their arms. And people who don’t use antiperspirants have milder-smelling bacteria. Wouldn’t it be great to smell better naturally?

Deodorant Brands I like

These are some of the brands that I’ve either tried and found to be effective. They are aluminum-free, paraben, synthetic fragrance-free, and have a pretty solid rating on EWG’s database.

beauty counter refillable natural deodorant
This deodorant is also refillable!
Native now uses cardboard packaging.

Natural Deodorant Transition

Now that we’ve gotten all the technical information out of the way let’s talk about the process. Switching from an antiperspirant is a real journey. That’s one of the most important things to keep in mind. For most people, including myself, it’s not as easy as just buying a new deodorant and applying it.

3 Things You May Experience When Using Natural Deodorant:

  • Pit rash – It’s important to point out that just because a deodorant has natural ingredients doesn’t mean you won’t react to them. Some ingredients like baking soda may be irritants. This situation is tricky because you can develop pit rash whether you’re allergic to the ingredients or not, especially early on in your journey. If you develop pit rash, discontinue use of any products that you suspect may have been the culprit. I like to apply a little castor oil to soothe my underarms when this happens.
  • The deodorant doesn’t work – Remember earlier, I mentioned that people who wear antiperspirants have different bacteria on their armpits. This bacteria is likely the reason your natural deodorant isn’t working well. It doesn’t mean the deodorant isn’t effective. Your body may need time to adjust. I know this is a big nightmare for most people. I get it. You don’t want to be smelly. Just remember that once your body adjusts, you’ll probably smell better with or without applying deodorant.
  • Increase in perspiration – Usually, this is temporary for most people. I didn’t notice it myself, but it does happen. Remember that sweat is a good thing.

5 Ways to Make the Transition to Natural Deodorant Easier


  • Try an armpit detox. There are a couple of ready-made armpit detoxes out there, but it’s easy to make your own from Indian Healing Clay and ACV. My new favorite is this charcoal mask. Technically it’s for the face, but I find that it works really well under my arms, and it contains salicylic acid for exfoliation. In theory, this helps pull some of the toxins and kill the smellier bacteria on your armpits. The only caveat to this is that you may notice swollen lymph nodes in your armpit a day or two after. This reaction is normal but something you should watch if it persists.
  • Use a charcoal soap. Charcoal is known as a detoxification agent. Using charcoal soap on your pits daily may help you smell better in general and help you adjust to natural deodorant faster.
  • Consider going bare when you’re home. I know that the thought may give you instant anxiety, but pick a couple of days when you don’t have much to do and try not wearing any deodorant at all. Give your pits a break from it all. Nighttime is an excellent time to do this as well.
  • Let the hair grow. It may seem counterintuitive for most people because many of us have been taught that hair causes odor, but this is false. Allowing your body hair to grow can help reduce odor. There’s no judgment whether you chose to do this or not.
  • Don’t shave right before applying natural deodorant. I think this should apply to all deodorants but especially natural ones. Many of them contain baking soda or essential oils that may irritate freshly shaved pits.

When it comes to natural deodorant, there is a learning curve or transition phase. Keep in mind that it’s a journey and you may have to try several different brands before you find the right one for you. It’s totally worth the trouble to avoid the potentially harmful ingredients that contribute to our toxic load and hormonal imbalances.

Baking soda-free Natural Deodorant

Several of you asked about baking soda-free deodorant. I did some research and here are a couple of options:

I’ll try to keep this post updated as more options become available.

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  1. Good read. I recently switched and am experiencing some issues. Gonna give myself a little longer to adjust 🤞🏾

    1. Yes! It’s a process. You may have to switch deodorant a couple of times to figure out what works best.

  2. Thanks for this information. I have tried natural deodorant before and switched back because it didn’t work. I still have some in the house. I may give it another try with these tips ! Thanks !

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