Maybe the thought of ditching traditional for natural deodorant is a crazy one in the heat of summer. But now is as good a time as any, seeing as you're already sweating, right? But before you grab that nicely packaged natural deodorant off the shelf or drop it into your Amazon cart, there are a few things to know about making the switch.
What's so bad about traditional deodorant?
By now, most of us know that aluminum—a primary ingredient in most traditional deodorant brands—has been linked to Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, and infertility. But harmful chemicals absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream are only one reason traditional deodorants aren't the best choice.
Most traditional deodorants today also are antiperspirants, which work against what your body needs to do. Because they're intended to prevent sweating, antiperspirants actually close up the skin's pores. This is great for when you're giving a presentation in front of a full room of strangers, but not so great when you're exercising and need to literally sweat it out of your body.
Not only can this blockage cause skin rashes and irritation, but the sweat that builds up beneath the skin might actually cause more odor because it's mixing both the good and bad bacteria that live there. Plus, the aluminum in traditional deodorants is essentially what's causing those discolored armpit stains on your beloved t-shirts.
So why should you make the switch to natural deodorant?
Natural deodorant lets you sweat, which is a naturally occurring process in the body that rids it of toxins and regulates temperature. Natural deodorants don't block pores but also keep natural bacteria from mixing with the sweat on your skin, allowing you to sweat like you should.
Natural deodorant also neutralizes odor with naturally derived botanicals (think lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree). Many of these botanicals also have antibacterial properties, so they can minimize odor-causing bacteria.
Natural deodorant is also a solid choice if you want to make a positive impact on both your health and the environment. It is free from preservatives and artificial fragrances and is typically made with the above-mentioned botanicals as well as coconut oil, witch hazel, baking soda, cornstarch, arrowroot powder, and castor wax—all naturally conditioning, sustainable ingredients.
How can you make the switch to natural deodorant?
Making the switch to natural deodorant is a process that requires some patience. But it's well worth the wait! Here are some tips on making the switch effectively.
To start, go deodorant-free for a few days. You can use essential oils or witch hazel to combat odor during this time, or you can use charcoal soap or an underarm mask with bentonite clay. You can also try an armpit detox like I did. It includes my all-time favorite natural remedy, apple cider vinegar!
After a few days, you can start using natural deodorant. I recommend switching among a few different brands and scents, as I've found that using the same deodorant day after day doesn't work as well as mixing it up. It's also important to exfoliate your underarms and use witch hazel pads at least weekly to wipe away excess bacteria and deodorant.
And if the brand you're using isn't working, try another one! Just like everything else in life, we're all different and every natural deodorant works differently for every body—so keep at it, and you'll never look back.