Most people I know use conventional antiperspirants. After all, I feel like it’s one of those growing up rights of passage we all have as pre-teens. First we are taught to shave our legs and armpits. Then we are given deodorant making us feel like we are on the path towards adulthood. And now many years later and hundreds of antiperspirants tubes used, could this product that is meant to keep us feeling and smelling fresh be having an adverse effect on our health?
For those that don’t know, antiperspirants are full of the chemicals: parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, and aluminum. One of the most active ingredients is aluminum and depending on what you read and believe it can either be terrible for you or completely fine. The aluminum in antiperspirants is meant to prevent you from sweating. Some studies claim it’s safe and others say to avoid it at all costs. But that’s a determination you need to make for yourself after doing some research on the subject.
We all know that wet and sweaty pit stains on our clothing is not cute. Come summer time, the heat is causing our sweat glands to work overtime so we then pile on more layers of antiperspirants and unfortunately that means more layers of chemicals.
However, sweating is our bodies natural way of getting rid of toxins and cooling ourselves so then why would we want to prevent this?
As I got older and became more interested in green and natural beauty regimes, I read over and over about aluminum and some of the other chemicals in products like deodorants/antiperspirants which I used daily that were linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer, skin rashes, and more. (Check out this article from NIH regarding links between antiperspirants and cancer).
I decided to give this natural deodorant thing a try a few years ago and it did not go well. Meaning, the body-odor was strong and almost immediate. My initial thought was that this wasn’t for me. What I didn’t realize back then was that I needed to detox my armpits first in order for the natural deodorant to work as intended. After forgetting about this for a long time, a friend mentioned she was doing an armpit detox early last year. After listening to her experiences I decided I was going to give it another try and add it to the list of things I need to do.
Well, after a little bit of a breast cancer scare followed by surgery at the end of the last year, I decided to err on the side of caution and go ahead and make the switch to a natural deodorant. I’m happy to say that I’ve ditched the aluminum filled antiperspirants about four months ago and now I’m au naturelle.
But First, Detox that Pit
Antiperspirants contain chemicals which are meant to “plug” the sweat glands preventing you from sweating. In order to start using natural deodorant you need to unclog the chemicals in your sweat glands so your body can naturally sweat. The blocking of the sweat glands can change the bacteria makeup in our armpits which is where that body-odor smell comes from. So when you stop wearing an antiperspirant, the build-up of bacteria with the sweat can cause sometimes an even stronger odor. A simple detox will help remove the toxins and unclog these glands to help bring your armpits back into balance.
I decided I was going to tackle this detox head-on and decided to use an armpit mask along with detoxing deodorants. I used this combination of the mask and detox deodorants on my armpits on and off for about 30 days. I’ve read some ladies only doing the detox for two weeks but I figure it’s good to let my body and armpits adapt to the change and I really wanted to make sure this detox worked.
Armpit Detox Deodorants and Mask
Bentonite Clay & Apple Cider Vinegar: Both of these are used to create the detox mask that I used before showering. The recipe and more details are below.
Herbalix Restoratives Detox Deodorant: I used this at night and while it really helps to detox, the scent was overwhelming to me especially at night when I’m trying to sleep. Granted, I don’t sleep very well so the scent seemed very noticeable. It’s definitely a good alternative if you don’t want to use a detox mask. A lot less hassle.
Primal Pit Paste Charcoal Magnesium Daily Detox Deodorant: I used this during the day and still use it one or two times a week. I like to use to help maintain the detox. The charcoal naturally detoxifies and the magnesium helps with the odor. If I’m going out for the day and use the Primal Pit Paste, I’ll add the Jason Dry Spray Deodorant (more about this below) for extra odor control. Due to the charcoal in this deodorant it does leave a grayish tint on your skin so be cautious if you plan on going sleeveless. (See update below for discount)
Armpit Detox Mask
This is the recipe my friend used and sent to me for the armpit mask. I used this 2-3 days per week:
1 tablespoon bentonite clay
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons water
Mix these ingredients in a non-metallic bowl with a non-metallic utensil. Add water as needed to achieve the consistency of a paste.
Apply a layer to clean armpits and let it sit for fifteen minutes. As the paste dries it will be drawing out the toxins.
I recommend doing this prior to showering so you can easily wash the mask off. It’s so much easier that way then trying to wash it off over a sink as it gets everywhere. Trust me, I know.
If you want to borrow some bentonite clay just ask ;) because the jar I ordered is going to last me a year. Looks like I’m going to be making all kinds of masks. LOL.
Luckily, I didn’t have any issues with the detox. For the days that I didn’t need to go anywhere I didn’t use any deodorant. I wanted to see, or should I say, smell my progress. The body odor smell definitely tapered off as the detox continued. I will say the first time I felt the real sweat and wetness under my arm, it was weird and kind of gross. But I haven’t felt that amount of wetness since I stopped the detox unless I’m working out.
Along with the detox I also introduced a couple of natural deodorants. The point of the natural deodorant is to neutralize the smell of daily body odor.
Natural Deodorants I’m Using
These are three natural deodorants that I’ve been using since my detox. I was trying out a few that I’ve read good things about. And in the end it’s really a personal preference on formula, smell, and effectiveness with your own body.
Jason Dry Spray Deodorant: I’ve never really been a fan of spray deodorants but this one kept popping up in reviews. The smell is light (I use the Fresh Cucumber scent) and it seems to do a good job at keeping odor at bay.
Farmacy Freshen Up All Natural Deodorant: After using several other Farmacy products, I decided to give this one a try. I’ve only been using this one for the past month and I really really like it. The scent is subtle and has a little cooling feeling when applied.
Kopari Coconut Deodorant: This came highly recommended from a friend. The scent reminds me of being at the beach (which I love) and it seems to do a great job at controlling odor. This is one the reach for on a daily basis right now.
There are a slew of natural deodorants on the market so it shouldn’t be hard to find one that you like and works with your body chemistry. One that is on my list to try is from Lavinila. Mainly for the vanilla scent. Has anyone tried this one? Just remember that the point of switching to a natural deodorant is to eliminate adding chemicals to your body so read the labels and make sure you know what you are getting with the natural deodorant you have chosen.
Update 6/2019: After this post went live, Primal Pit Paste reached out and was kind enough to offer SMT readers 20% off their detox deodorants and kits. Thank You Primal Pit Paste for your support. To shop their detox deodorants and kits, you need to use this link to get the 20% off. I also just noticed that they have a Pit Detox Bundle. I haven’t tried this as I don’t think it was available when I started but the kit looks pretty decent.
My Final Thoughts
Do I still get body odor? Yes, but it typically occurs only after working out when I have really worked up a sweat or if I haven’t showered for a couple of days. Don’t judge me on the no showering, but let’s be real, I only shower when I have it to. On a daily basis though, there is rarely any body odor, which is great. I’ll be curious how my pits will fare come the true heat of summer. I know there is no avoiding the wet pits but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the odor will be minimal.
If you’ve attempted a switch to natural deodorants before and it didn’t work out, try doing the detox first. I think you’ll see that it will help tremendously in making the transition more bearable.