I have found that deodorant is one of the harder switches when making your way over to natural skincare. In fact, it’s so near and dear to us that it can actually stop us from fully committing to the natural movement! I mean just think of all the cultural taboos and personal anxieties focused on your armpit, and it’s no wonder we have trouble trusting something foreign with this most essential part of our lives.
The current most trusted underarm product is the commercial antiperspirant. But these products work in one of two ways: either by shrinking sweat glands or by clogging the pores in your underarms.
Common sense might make us question whether or not altering our body’s natural processes is healthy, but we usually figure that if it’s sold on shelves in supermarkets then it cannot be too bad… right?
Well, the thing about the beauty industry is that it is wildly unregulated. There is no FDA or USDA-like agency in charge of evaluating the safety and effectiveness of beauty products.* Many outside studies have shown that not allowing sweat glands to release necessary toxins is indeed unhealthy for our bodies, even though it is an effective way to deal with our cultural distaste for sweat and body odor. Of course commercial antiperspirant companies don’t tell you that.
But there has to be another way, right? How can we avoid pit-stains and embarrassing smells without giving in to unhealthy methods of body control?
The answer is simple: natural deodorants!
Natural deodorants are antibacterial, meaning they work by preventing the odor from bacteria in your sweat from developing in the first place (rather than just closing the pores). They don’t contain any of the harmful aluminum compounds, parabens, or phthalates found in their synthetic competitors, opting for ingredients like baking soda, witch hazel, essential oils, mineral salts, and activated charcoal to both neutralize and prevent odors as well as absorb sweat. Not only are you letting your body do its thang, you’re also reducing your chances of suffering from the diseases caused by the toxic chemicals present in antiperspirants.
I know, even if you’re all for all of these benefits, it’s hard to trust that a natural product can actually work. But I’m here to assure you there are plenty of completely functional and delightful natural deodorants out there! I have tested three and will be reviewing those for you soon (subscribe to stay updated!).
In the mean time, lets talk about the practicalities of making the switch.
When you go from using commercial antiperspirant to natural deodorants, your glands and pores will start to unclog, open up, and function properly (actually allowing your body to do what it was made to do). It’s important to know that at this time, you may notice an increase in body sweat and odor. What’s happening is basically a detox: toxins and fluid buildup are being released as your body cleanses itself of the ickies it’s had to keep cooped up. Because of this release, it’s normal for some people to experience stronger odors, rashes, discoloration, or spots of discomfort/itchiness.
Now this isn’t exactly what I want to have to tell you when trying to sell you on natural deodorants.
If I’m being honest, I have really sensitive skin and did not react well when I initially made the switch. My underarms flared up with a hot rash, and I was sweating so much I had to reapply deodorant a few times a day. I was so close to just giving up on the whole natural idea!
But I promise you, it gets better! Hang in there! I stuck with my new deodorant and no longer have any odor or irritation like I did during the detox phase. It’s so important to give your body a few weeks to adjust to the new product before you decide if it’s a good fit for you or not— after all, this may be the first time your underarms have had a chance to breathe in YEARS. Most of us have been suppressing our normal body functions with antiperspirants since before puberty.
To speed up the detoxifying process, you can exfoliate the skin under your arms twice a week (this will help remove the ickies trapped in your dead skin) and wear natural fiber clothing (like cotton and silk) that won’t trap in moisture and odor.
Once you make it through this transitory detox phase, you will start to notice that your underarms smell naturally fresh, even without deodorant! This is thanks to the antibacterial properties of the natural ingredients.
Imagine… going from constantly trying to unnaturally hide and control your body’s scents and sweaty habits with dangerous products, to being completely odor free on your own. Yes, your body is capable, and yes, natural deodorants are the only way.
So ditch that antiperspirant and get on your way!
Lost on what product to try or too nervous to make a decision for yourself? Keep your eye out for my natural deodorant review, coming soon!
*I know I’ve just told you that the beauty industry is wildly unregulated, and that may come as a shock to you. However, I want to point out that this is not an inherently bad thing… While large companies can get away with using potentially dangerous ingredients and marketing ineffective products, a lack of regulation also means that really good products are able to be sold in this industry. You know, the handmade soaps and farm-to-bottle face masks from small shops and individual entrepreneurs. The lack of regulation allows herbalists and at-home makers to legally sell their natural goodies without going through expensive and time consuming procedures to become a recognized product (such is the case in the food industry, where barely any proposed new products make it to market). This all just means that as consumers, we need to screen the safety of beauty products for ourselves, since there is no outside agency doing it for us.