How to Switch to Natural Deodorant
Choosing a natural deodorant is a must if you’re going all-natural with your skincare! After all, who wants to slather alcohols, dyes, parabens, antiperspirants, and aluminum ingredients 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. In reality, the worst result would be if you actually went back to commercial deodorants! If you follow these simple tips below, you should be able to switch rather easily, and silky smooth, non-stinky, natural armpits can be in your future!
Step #1: Avoiding Toxins
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:
- Synthetic and artificial Dyes (hello bright red and neon blue colors!)
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 cause 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 break down, 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.
Step #2: Choose Your Natural Deodorant
After testing our own recipe for over two years, we 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: Added 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: Used to help absorb sweat. We don’t use “cornstarch” here at Bend Soap Company 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 natural extracts are derived from plants and have been known to have a calming and soothing effect on the skin.
Honey: An enriching and moisturizing ingredient you'll find in our Honey Grapefruit Natural Deodorant.
- Essential Oils and Natural Scent: Added to a some of our natural deodorants (except our Unscented Natural Deodorant) for additional scent. The natural scent we use is organic and made from a combination of high-grade, 100% all-natural oils. We never use artificial or synthetic fragrances here at Bend Soap Company!
That’s it! We also have Baking Soda Free versions of our natural deodorant for those with extra sensitive skin looking for a scent-free natural deodorant option. 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.
Don’t take our word for it! Check out the review that Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs wrote about our natural deodorant 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.
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.
Cleaning Tips for Oil Residue on Clothing
As this is an oil-based product, residue on clothing can happen. Here are a few cleaning tips from Marilee:
Certain Fabrics Are Worse than Others: Not all clothing materials are affected by the ingredients in natural deodorant. For example, rayon and polyester tend to hold oil onto clothing more than other fabrics. Cotton seemed to come clean by itself and not hold the oils in.
- Try Not to Over Apply Your Natural Deodorant: Residue varies with the amount of sweat, temperature, and amount of product used. We recommend applying only a small amount of natural deodorant to your underarms to prevent and avoid excess oils saturating the underarm area of your shirts.
- Most Spots Come Out in the Wash on Their Own: Most detergents will remove oils during the wash without any problem. I just use a high-quality laundry soap and I've hardly had any troubles. Spraying the armpit area of the shirt or blouse before washing works great with a spot cleaner. When needed, I use Super 10 from Golden as well.
"If keeping your body healthy and free from toxins and chemicals means a little extra cleaning every now and then, then it’s worth it!"
Make Your Own Laundry Detergent! If you’re a fan of DIY projects, why not make your own DIY all-natural laundry detergent? For full instructions, read our “Mama Marilee's Goat Milk Laundry Detergent” blog post.
Use Goat Milk Soap to Remove Stains Quickly: For oils that do not come out during normal wash or are already set in (AKA after putting them in the dryer!), I spot the stains with our Tea Tree Goat Milk Soap or Tea Tree Milk Bath. Other great scents that work great for this purpose include Lemongrass, Lavender, and All Shield.
Simply take the item to the sink and wet the area with warm water. Add some milk bath shreds or rub the bar soap (our travel size bars of goat milk soap work great!) on the area and gently rub together in your hands. I'm sort of lazy when it comes to scrubbing, but I was surprised that I hardly had to scrub at all to get the stains out! Next, add some extra water to foam up and dissolve the stain. Repeat if necessary. Then just rinse away and let air dry. Voila! Stains are long gone. For more information on this, refer to our “Blood? Sap? Paint? Mud? Stain Removal is No Big Deal with Goat Milk Soap” blog post.
Remember: using a high-quality natural deodorant made with a limited number of ingredients means that you’re investing in your overall health and wellbeing by avoiding the junk found in big-name brand deodorants that are linked to cancer and other diseases. If keeping your body healthy and free from toxins and chemicals means a little extra cleaning every now and then, then it’s worth it. As one of our customers said, “I choose life!”
Armpit Detox Recipe & 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. Read our “How to Detox Your Armpits and Prepare for Natural Deodorant” blog here for more details.
Ingredients you'll need:
- 1 Tablespoon of bentonite clay
- 1 Teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 Teaspoons of water
- And a bowl for mixing
- Combine all of the ingredients together in the mixing bowl until they make a smooth paste. Set the mixture aside.
Gently wash your underarms using a mild, all-natural soap and then dry the skin using a clean towel.
Using your fingers, apply an even layer of the paste mixture to your underarms and let sit for 5-20 minutes. Note that for some folks with really sensitive skin, you may experience temporary redness around your underarms as this will increase blood flow to the area.
After 5-20 minutes, wash off the mixture at the sink or in the shower using a warm, wet washcloth.
- Repeat daily or as needed until underarm odor goes away and applying the natural deodorant isn’t irritating to the skin.