We all sweat. It’s a fact of life. Some of us more than others. Often, where sweat collects (i.e. our armpits), body odor follows. This tends to give sweat the bad reputation of making us stinky. However, it’s not sweat that makes us stinky, but the bacteria that grows naturally on our skin. When we sweat, bacteria metabolizes the sweat and gives off some unpleasant smelling byproducts as a result. Hence, deodorant and antiperspirant. Deodorants mask the body odor while antiperspirant stops the sweating entirely.
The problem with many of the deodorants and antiperspirants on the market is the ingredients in the product that make them effective. The problematic ingredients found in most run of the mill deodorants and antiperspirants are: aluminum (and all of its aluminum relatives), propylene glycol, parabens, triclosan, and fragrance. I covered a lot of these ingredients in that little post I wrote about knowing what the ingredients are in your beauty products. As stated in that particular post, your skin is the largest organ of your body. Anything applied to the skin is absorbed into the bloodstream and by extension, the rest of your body. Therefore, all of those chemicals in your unnatural deodorant/antiperspirant is absorbed into your bloodstream every single time you slather it onto your underarms.
Here are some common questions/misconceptions I’ve heard when discussing natural deodorant:
I tried to switch, but natural deodorant makes me stink.
Actually, it’s probably not the deodorant that makes you stink. It’s probably you. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The reason for this is that the aluminum in antiperspirant creates a “plug” to constrict your pores in order to prevent you from sweating. When you stop using your aluminum-based antiperspirant, there is an increase in the odor-causing bacteria in your armpits. There will also likely be an increase in sweating as the body tries to purge itself of toxins. Yikes. The good news is that it’s totally temporary. You just need to stick it out.
People who used deodorants prior to switching tend to not experience as much of an increase in odor-causing bacteria as those that used antiperspirant. So, if natural deodorant is truly freaking you out, perhaps at least consider opting for a 0% aluminum product like Dove.
How long does it take for the body to adjust to natural deodorant?
It takes your body approximately 30 days to “reset itself” and purge the aluminum. For some people, the time will be shorter. It really depends on your body chemistry.
I sweat when I use natural deodorant! Ugh!
That is true. The natural ingredients are not as effective as preventing sweating as say, aluminum. However, sweating isn’t such a bad thing. The purpose of sweat is to act as the body’s natural cooling system. It prevents you from overheating. Maybe it’s not such a great idea to constantly suppress your body’s internal air conditioning unit with aluminum.
What are some natural brands that are actually effective?
Personally, I’m a big fan of Native and I use the coconut vanilla scent because I don’t like overpowering scents. This scent is subtle, but effective enough to block embarrassing body odor. I also like that it doesn’t contain essential oils. I have nothing against essential oils, but in my search for the ideal natural deodorant, I discovered that essential oils and my armpits do not play well together in the sandbox. The ingredient always caused severe rashes that spread from my armpits and as far down as my lats. Not everyone has a reaction like I do, so you may not have anything to fear. A few other things that I really love about Native on a personal level is that they are founded and based in the United States, vegan and cruelty free, and are in the process of launching a plastic-free deodorant line.
Two charcoal-based deodorants that I felt were terrific at stemming the sweat tide and preventing embarrassing underarm sweat stains are PiperWai and Schmidt’s Charcoal and Magnesium. In fact, both were better at absorbing sweat than Native. Unfortunately, I had a reaction to both of these brands due to essential oils (Schmidt’s lists “natural fragrance” in their ingredients, but I’m guessing that it’s an essential oil based on the reaction I had). Again, that might not be something you have to worry about. PiperWai is a little harder to find in store, but Native and Schmidt’s can be found in most stores that sell personal care products – CVS, Rite Aid, Target, etc.
It’s important to note that I am in no way, shape, or form associated with these companies. This is simply my opinion based on my experience with these brands. I tried a lot of brands when I converted to natural and some smelled great, but didn’t cut it with sweat absorption. Some were great with sweat, but god awful on scent. Some smelled great in the container, but when combined with my body, smelled like wet dog. Others were just bad. From my experience, I landed on these three brands in particular.