I have been wearing some form of anti-perspirant/deodorant every single day since my mom bought me that first stick of Teen Spirit back in 1991. Seeing as how I work in extremely close proximity to people for a living, usually ten hours at a time, I am hyper-aware of how I smell.
Suffice it to say, I have become slightly obsessed with not offending my clients. In the past, I didn’t care what it took to stay bone dry and odor-free. I was happy to load on products described as “clinical strength” or “72 hour protection” without giving a second thought as to exactly what I may be putting under my arms.
But as I began to delve into learning about all of the ingredients in my beloved body care products, I became concerned about the effect they may be having on my health. When I found out the aluminum-containing anti-perspirants I was so insistent upon using might actually be linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, I decided to go the more natural route.
How to Make the Switch
Now, I am here to tell you this was not an easy transition for me. I was used to applying a generous amount of commercial antiperspirant every morning and even then, I would be smelling funky within 12 hours. Making the switch to a natural deodorant can take some time and adjustment.
During a weekend off about five years ago, I started my “armpit detox” by committing to not wearing anything under my arms from Friday night until Monday morning. Yes, I decided to just dive right into the deep end. I chose a time in which I wouldn’t be working and I could allow my body to just do it’s natural thing and sweat! I let my pits breathe. And let me tell you; I was sweatier and smellier that I had ever been.
Remember, if you have been plugging up your sweat glands with aluminum and disrupting your body’s balance of bacteria, then this is a perfectly normal reaction.
Making the switch to a natural deodorant can take some time and adjustment.
If I started feeling extra funky, then I simply washed my armpits with soap and water. I also love using a washcloth to exfoliate. I still do this every day when I bathe. Nothing works quite as well as a good old scrubbing to refresh.
Best Brands to Try
You also might like to try using an underarm mask to help speed things along. Try The Healthy Underarm Detox Mask from LAVANILA. Or if you prefer the DIY route, simply mix Aztec Healing Clay with water and apply to your armpits. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes and rinse. This will help absorb impurities and build up and “reset” your body’s natural chemistry.
After a few days of wearing nothing, I chose a natural deodorant to replace my Suave Clinical Strength Powder Fresh ProSolid. I was seriously addicted to this stuff. It was a staple in my Amazon Subscribe and Save. But it was time to say farewell. For my first foray into the clean deodorant realm, I picked LAVANILA The Healthy Deodorant in the Fresh Vanilla Lemon scent. It glides on smoothly and smells wonderful.
I still keep this in my rotation as it is cornstarch based and doesn’t cause me any irritation. If you are someone who notices a rash when you use all natural deodorants, you may have a sensitivity to baking soda. There are plenty of options made without it.
The next product I added to my arsenal was Piper Wai’s Activated Charcoal Deodorant. I found this company after I had had a very bad reaction to a baking soda-containing deodorant. Piper Wai was founded by women who wanted protection without irritation. This was my first time using a formula that comes in a jar and I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to like it. But lo and behold, I loved it! It’s wonderful for sensitive skin and the charcoal really works at absorbing wetness. I also enjoy the slightly minty scent. It comes in a stick formula as well.
For those of you who can handle baking soda, nothing beats Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream and Schmidt’s. I found both of these brands to be super long lasting and highly effective. They rub in easily, absorb quickly and are also available in formulations specifically created for sensitive skin.
Last but not least, Meow Meow Tweet deserves a spot in everyone’s medicine cabinet. Besides their impossibly cute, biodegradable packaging, they offer both stick and cream options containing magnesium and arrowroot powder that come in a variety of fragrances and different sizes perfect for travel or your purse.
Remember, making the transition to natural deodorants and antiperspirants can be tough, frustrating and smelly. It took my body a few months to completely adjust. But interestingly enough, I now find that I don’t get as wet as I did when I first switched and I don’t notice any odor until well after 24 hours.
The longer I stick with using clean products under my arms, the better my sweat glands seem to function on their own. The cumulative benefits of making the change to healthier options have definitely been worth it.
Have you made the switch?
Feature Image via Rick Bhatia