Have you thought about switching to a natural deodorant, but you’re still a little hesitant?
Or have you been looking for a reliable non-chemical version but not yet found it?
Here are some facts and a little how-to paired with tried-and-true products.
Health benefits: Why you should consider switching to natural deodorant
- Everything you put on your skin – be it your face, your legs or your arm pits – sinks right in!
Saying this, common drugstore deodorants and antiperspirants are full of harmful and potentially carcinogenic chemicals which your body literally drinks up.
- The ingredients found in chemical deodorants and antiperspirants can cause or increase the risk for the following (just a few listed here):
⁃ breast cancer and Alzheimer’s (Aluminium/Aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY)
⁃ hormone disruption (C12-15 alkyl benzoate)
⁃ itchy skin, blistering and nervous system problems (Benzyl benzoate).
⁃ Super important to know about aluminium: This metal accumulates in the body over time, so if people tell you this “little” amount in the deodorant won’t affect your health, know that it stays in your body and that you take it in through many other ways in daily life as well
(through particles in the air, through chemical cosmetics, through kitchen wear, …). And note: “Antiperspirants are arguably the most important single contributor to the body burden of aluminium as their use involves applying about 2 g of aluminium to the skin every day.” [Christopher Exley, Human exposure to aluminium, https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/EM/C3EM00374D#!divAbstract]
- Synthetic fragrances in chemical deodorants may cause headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discolouration, violent coughing, vomiting and skin irritation.
- Sweating is a natural cooling process.
Using common chemical-laden antiperspirants clog your pores and inhibit this process.
The common ingredient for that: Aluminium. Other ingredients who inhibit this process too are: Cyclomethicone and dimethicone = silicone
oil. While the molecules are too large to absorb into the skin, silicone oil’s “staying power” holds undesirable chemicals longer into the skin. I remember using my antiperspirant: I was almost impossible to scrub it off in the shower! Does that sound familiar to you? [ Nadine’s article ]
- Getting a better feeling for your body & noticing what’s going on: You can only truly see what’s going on with yourself and your beautiful body when you can observe it in a pure, unmasked state, stripping off any layers that clog your pores or mimic a fresh and flowery scent.
Ditching your chemical deodorant is a step to becoming more aware in a greater perspective.
What to expect during transition aka the “detox” process
What happens when you stop using your chemical deodorant or antiperspirant:
- You will sweat more!
When you ditch the chemical stuff, your body starts sweating out like it’s supposed to – a mechanism that’s suppressed by a lot of the chemicals in common deodorants and especially antiperspirants.
- You will smell more!
At least for the first few weeks.
According to a study from 2016 it goes like this (and that’s how I explain it):
Antiperspirants change the microclimate under your arms and suppress the “smelly” bacteria. When you then don’t suppress these bacteria anymore it’s only natural that your body starts adjusting, getting back to normal and, hence, you may find yourself more stinky than usual. But remember: Your body is bringing itself back into balance and eventually you’ll find yourself in that sweet spot of smelling actually OK.
The effect of habitual and experimental antiperspirant and
deodorant product use on the armpit microbiome. PeerJ 4:e1605
Things that help making the transition easier
- Start switching in cooler months, not in the middle of summer.
In spring or autumn you naturally sweat less and this gives you an undeniable advantage.
- Wash your pits regularly: Be prepared and have either refreshing towels or a reusable
wash cloth at hand. You don’t always have to take a shower!
I love the refreshment a quick clean of my pits brings (not only in summer) and no shame in doing so!
- Wear natural fibres: Cotton, silk, wool or bamboo are great choices.
They don’t get smelly that fast. Avoid synthetic materials like polyester.
- Try dry-brushing!
This is a hack I came across a few times doing my little research for this article.
I never dry-brushed my pits, but it makes total sense to me. Dry brushing, well, brushes off unnecessary buildup on your skin (the waxy rests of antiperspirant in your pits) and boosts the lymph circulation, helping flush out toxins that have accumulated while you used your conventional product. [How to Detox Your Armpits]
- Use a good natural deodorant!
I’ve been there and I’ve made it the hard way running through a lot of lousy “natural” solutions from the drugstore. Here are my clear recommendations so you don’t have to go through the trial-and-error buying a dozen deos that work like s***. Stay cool by investing in one of these below. They cost a few euros more than their drugstore cousins, but they are worth it!
The natural deodorants I recommend
- Delizioso Skincare Botanical Vegan Deodorant, tested in Citrus Peel & Vanilla Sorbet
- Schmidt’s Deodorant Stick, tested in Geranium Flower (available elsewhere)
These two are by far the most reliable natural deos I’ve tried over the past years.
The first one in the hot city life in Berlin and Vienna and on my hourly runs, the second one even in the humid heat of Indonesia.
Both super good and passed the intensity test of high degrees as well as exercise. Plus they are both completely natural, flavoured only with essential oils.
Delizioso Skincare deodorants
The smell is generally a bit more intense (you could even skip the perfume and have a nice smell on your body by just wearing the deodorant),
so really choose the flavour you like best.
There are Citrus Peel (smells like Mamba and Maoam tasted — remember this fruit gum from the 80’s?), Vanilla, earthy Fire Wood, Coconut Lime and a couple more.
They are 100% natural, vegan, cruelty free and made with certified organic ingredients. Compared with conventional deo sticks you need less (since these ingredients are pure and naturally strong): two light strokes per armpit should do.
The only little downside I found with the Citrus Peel: It may stain your clothing a bit (yellow), however I was able to wash it out in the washing
For an even purer version: Go for the Poetic Pits from Living Libations.
They are purely essential oils and you need only a super small amount. They come in tiny 5ml roller bottles, perfect for traveling light or for your hand bag, plus they smell great!
However, I recommend these for people who’ve been on natural deodorant for a while already and/or “adjusted” their sweating since I don’t find them as strong or “effective” as the two mentioned above.
If you wanna check what’s in your deo, see this list in Nadine Artemis’ article [Sweat the Small Stuff]
Use these tricks to smell good in the long run: What helps smelling good naturally
What helps smelling good naturally
- Clean eating: eating whole, non-processed, non-refined and preferably organic food.
That’s actually one of the key things that I experienced: as I changed my food away from sugars and processed stuff, I automatically started smelling better and sweating less.
- Less coffee: Also, coffee can be a game-changer, since it naturally increases your heart rate and can make you sweat more than usual.
I can feel this effect most days when I have coffee: I start sweating. Try and observe how you react to coffee.
- Functioning detoxing organs: Make these organs work properly, because if they don’t this can affect the smell of your sweat, too!
The kidneys, liver and gut are designed to eliminate toxins and waste products from the body and if they can’t do that (because you
don’t drink enough water, for example) your body has to get rid of the toxins through your sweat — and toxin removal is always a smelly process!
- Hydration: Drink enough water to flush out body toxins the way it’s supposed to.
- Hormones: Also — and I’m citing Nadine Artemis again here –– unbalanced hormones
stemming from issues with the adrenal gland may increase sweat and body odour.
Interesting, huh? This means: Quitting birth control pills and limiting your exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals, like fluoride, are another way to reduce sweating.
- De-stress: Stress can make us sweat more and also in a less pleasant way.
I remember these business trip days a few years ago where I started sweating basically straight from that moment I put on my
pantsuit – oh, my… Fits this fact perfectly, paired with bad eating habits and lots of coffee to make up for a short night due to the early flight. Since I started embracing a more relaxed life, I naturally tend to sweat less and if I do, I pretty much know why.
And one word of final motivation: Nowadays I even have days I don’t use deodorant at all and I don’t smell!
Cool, isn’t it? These are the days I’m mentally and physically relaxed, without tight schedules, I eat healthy and don’t drink more than one coffee. It’s all doable.
Stay hydrated & let us know how you go!