Choosing a natural deodorant is a MUST if you’re going all natural with your skin care! After all, who wants to slather alcohols, dyes, parabens, antiperspirants, and aluminum products on their armpits, right?
However, attempting to switch, without really knowing what you’re in for, might leave you stinky, rashy, itchy, irritated and ultimately, well… Frustrated. The worst result would be if you actually went back to commercial deodorants! If you follow these simple steps, you should be able to switch rather easily. Silky smooth, non-stinky, natural armpits can be in your future!
We could write a whole page on each of these toxic substances and why they should be avoided. Many have been proven to play a role in causing cancers or other issues such as Alzheimer's. Most commercial deodorants have toxic ingredients in them including:
- Dyes (hello bright RED and neon BLUE!)
- Parabens (synthetic preservatives)
It’s important to note as well that many deodorants state that they are antiperspirants. Let’s clarify the terms:
De-odor-ant: a product that decreases odor.
Anti-perspir-ant: a product that prevents perspiration (sweat).
These are used to hide or mask body odor. While there are many “natural” deodorants on the market, they often have other toxic ingredients that you might want to avoid such as propylene glycol. Or, they just don’t have the right ingredients to help the body combat the bacteria or sweat. We tried a myriad of “natural deodorants” for years but always wound up stinky! Deodorants often work by:
- Killing bacteria that causes odor
- Creating an environment where bacteria do not thrive
- Absorbing sweat
- Balancing the body’s pH
Antiperspirants keep you from sweating. According to one site, “Antiperspirants work by clogging or closing pores with strong astringents such as aluminum salts to keep you from perspiring. Antiperspirants enter your body through the sweat pores and form a temporary plug that prevents the release of sweat. Without any sweat, bacteria have nothing to breakdown, so there is no odor.”
The use and safety of these antiperspirants and commercial deodorants have been the source of much research and concern. Many studies show the potential health risks associated with aluminum, such as Alzheimer’s. There are also concerns about breast cancers and other diseases from constant use of these ingredients.
“My armpits have NEVER been this smooth in my whole life!! I’ve used all sorts of deodorants and always had problems. Rashes and bumps were normal for me – especially after shaving. I’ve even had ingrown hairs! I first started with the Honey Grapefruit Natural Deodorant (because I LOVE this scent!!). It worked amazingly well and I have had NO STINK! Incredible for natural deodorant. However, after using it for about 2 weeks, I got a rash which significantly got worse when I sweat more. That's when I tried the baking soda free version. Amazing!! I just got back from traveling Europe for three weeks where it was hot and I sweat a lot. Bend Soap deodorant was all I used and I didn't stink! My body is still adjusting and detoxing but I am hoping to be able to use the regular baking soda deodorant soon as well. My armpits have never been happier! Bring on summer!!” - Rachel K
Step #2: Choose Your Natural Deodorant
After testing our own recipe for over two years, we’ve finally created a soothing and pH balancing natural deodorant formula that really works. It combats body odor and absorbs sweat without any of the harsh chemicals you'll find in most deodorants.
At Bend Soap Company, we don’t use corn or soybean oils, often disguised in products as “vegetable oils.” You can learn more about our commitment to using high-quality natural ingredients here.
Here are the ingredients we use at Bend Soap Company:
- Coconut and Red Palm Oil: chosen for their antibacterial properties, as well as high nutrient contents.
- Baking Soda: to help combat body odor and absorb sweat, balance pH. Please note: there is no such thing as non-aluminum baking soda. It’s aluminum baking POWDER that should be avoided. We also have baking soda free versions of our natural deodorant available for those who are sensitive to this ingredient.
- Arrowroot Powder: to help absorb sweat (we don’t use “cornstarch” here at Bend Soap as it's hard to find this ingredient in a non-GMO form).
- Beeswax: to help make a hard bar, for easy application, and also helps keep the bar from melting.
- Calendula and Chamomile Extract: these extracts are calming and soothing to the skin.
- Vitamin E: to nourish and feed the skin.
Honey: enriching and moisturizing (only in our Honey Grapefruit Natural Deodorant).
- Essential Oils: used as scent, but also having various antibacterial properties.
- Natural, organic scent: used to add additional scent variety.
We also have Baking Soda Free versions of our natural deodorant for those with extra sensitive skin. While this version is wonderful, it is slightly less powerful when it comes to deodorizing. You may need to apply it more than once throughout the day. However, many people find that if they are not sweating too much, once is still enough. Check out the recent review that Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs wrote about our natural deodorant. You can read her full review by clicking here.
Step #3: Prepare for an Adjustment Period
We're all different and our bodies will all respond differently when switching from regular deodorant to natural deodorant. Our body's chemistry -- across gender, race, diet, hormone ups and downs, health, and even medications –- is different on a person-by-person basis.
Deodorant is particularly interesting as:
- What works initially, might stop working after a while (and need extra “attention” to work)
- What doesn’t work right away, may work very well eventually
- What works for one person, might not work for another
If you are just switching to natural deodorant, your body may need 1-3 weeks to adjust. If you've been using antiperspirants your whole life, this might be a big change for your sweat glands. If you experience some irritation, don’t give up! Your body is simply going through the process of adjusting. Silky smooth, non-stinky, natural armpits can be in your future!
There are several reasons for this adjustment period:
- Your sweat glands are opening up and releasing toxins
- Your body pH hasn’t adjusted to the sweat
- You might develop an itch or rash from all the changes
- If you produce more sweat, it might take a bit longer to adjust
"I've been using the lavender scented deodorant for about 2 weeks now and I just love it. A tiny bit goes a long way, it doesn't stain my clothes, zero irritation and I've even gone 2 days without having to reapply and no stinky pits. Love this product! - Kim
Step #4: Changing It Up and Detox
Since adjusting is different for everyone, here are some ideas to help ensure that you have an arsenal at your disposal for dealing with things as they come up – whatever that might be.
Give these ideas a try:
- Wash regularly: When you first start using the deodorant, be extra diligent about hygiene by washing each day, particularly at the end of each day to remove sweat and bacteria.
- Rub salve, vinegar, or clay: If a rash or raw area develops, be sure to wash. Rubbing a soothing salve or oil in the armpit can help. Or, rubbing a small amount of vinegar (lowering the ph of the armpit) can also help. A recipe including vinegar and bentonite clay is also soothing and helps to extract the toxins.
- Dry off and wait: Avoid applying right after showering and shaving. Instead, give your skin the chance to close its pores and adjust to room temperature. Then apply.
- Go Baking soda free: Consider using a baking soda free deodorant every other day. While many people use baking soda deodorants without problems, some people are extra sensitive to baking soda, especially in that area. If a significant sensitivity exists long-term, try switching completely to a baking soda free version.
You may notice more irritation if you sweat more. Human sweat is slightly acidic with a pH of 4 to 6. This might cause a slight burning sensation when it mixes with alkaline baking soda. However, as the pH of your sweat changes, this will often disappear.
Looking for More?
Here are a few other ideas and options to consider:
Try using a salve underneath deodorant. You can simply apply a thin layer of the salve before applying your deodorant.
Try using one of our Baking Soda Free versions.
Do an armpit detox (see below).
Armpit Detox Recipe and Instructions:
An armpit detox can help speed up the adjustment period you experience when switching to a natural deodorant. It's a great way to help rid your underarms of the chemicals that they've been exposed to when using chemical-ridden deodorants.
Ingredients you'll need:
- IBentonite Clay
- Cider Vinegar
- Stainless steel bowl
- Combine all of the ingredients together in the bowl until they make a smooth paste.
- Gently wash your armpits and then apply the paste mixture at night.
- Wash off in the morning.