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In my never-ending quest to buy cruelty-free and natural products, I've tried to switch to natural deodorants many times and was left with the belief that they don't work. Recently, I figured out why they don't work and what to do about it.
Conventional Deodorants are Terrible!
I blame my dogs for every change I make in my life. Every time I learn something new about my dogs, I eventually make a connection to what I do for myself and realize that I need to stop using a product. The same happened with shampoo and deodorant. I switched grooming products for my dogs to mostly natural companies and DIY.
The reason I don't like conventional deodorants is that once you look into the ingredients, you realize that they're crap! And according to Healthy AndNaturalWorld.com, the ingredients are negatively impacting our health.
- Aluminum – has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Parabens – disrupt hormones; traces have been found in breast cancer tissue.
- Formaldehyde – acts as a carcinogenic substance.
- Phthalates – another hormone disruptor that is also found in plastic; linked to infertility.
- Antibacterial substances – have an adverse effect on immune system function and affect hormonal balance.
- Propylene glycol – an antifreeze agent that the Environmental Working Group reports that this ingredient increases the risk of allergies.
Natural Deodorant Brands I Trust
When the beauty industry catches on to the growing demand for cruelty-free and natural products, we're going to see a lot of copy-cat products hitting the market and they may not work for my pits. Which is why I'm sharing the products that do work.
- Tom's of Maine long-lasting deodorant – lavender
- Pacific Underarm Deodorant Wipes (they have several scents)
Your Pits Need to Detox
The reason natural deodorant never worked for me is that I did two things wrong:
- On days when I thought I'd really need protection, I'd return to the popular commercial brands.
- Which meant that I never gave my pits long enough to detox so that the natural deodorant could work.
Yeah, our pits have to detox before natural deodorant will really work. I've had decades of antiperspirant clogging my pores and I needed to give my pits a break. The problem is that while this is happening, someone recently told me that it takes two weeks, we're dealing with some odor.
I have a solution.
Pacifica, a cruelty-free brand I was introduced to at Ulta, creates an armpit detox product made with coconut oil and charcoal:
I used a small amount of the Pacifica underarm detox scrub every two to three days, massaging it into my pits and rinsing out in the shower. I followed up with the Pacific deodorant wipes, which are also great to use to freshen up during the day (or at the end of the day).
It took about two weeks for me to feel comfortable using natural deodorant and, contrary to what I thought, my underarms are smooth and soft – not dry and itchy as they were with the deodorants that contained aluminum chloride and other harsh ingredients.
The detox scrub also helps to rebalance the bacteria in your underarm area. The point of this is to reduce underarm odor when you switch to natural deodorant. Whether this is true or not, I'm not sure, but for me, it's working.
DIY Underarm Detox Scrub
Most underarm detox recipe call for bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar. You can add water to offset the harshness of the apple cider vinegar, which can cause discomfort when applied to this sensitive area of the body. Or you can use coconut oil instead of the apple cider vinegar for something more gentle.
You mix equal parts of the ingredients you're using and apply the mask to your armpits and allow the mask to remain and dry for 5 to 20 minutes. Once the mask dries, rinse it off in the shower or with a wet cloth.
Beware the Armpit Rash
One of the downsides to the detox process and to using natural deodorants is the armpit rash and I experienced this too and it sucks, it hurts, and then it's gone. The reason some people get a rash is that there is more moisture in our underarm area. Regular deodorants clogged our pores to prevent excess perspiration. Natural deodorants are like “let it flow, baby, let it flow.” For people who sweat more than others, you might end up with a diaper rash in your armpit area.
You can prevent this by using powder in the area to soak up excess moisture. What worked for me was to massage my pits with coconut oil after gently cleaning my underarm areas. I prefer CocoTherapy, which I buy for my dogs because it's the best on the market. The coconut oil calmed the irritation and helped the area heal faster. Practically overnight.
And whenever I feel itchy in my underarm area, I do the same.
Deodorant Ingredients that Irritate the Skin
Another reason for underarm rashes is an ingredient in some natural deodorants. Baking soda is an irritant. Essential oils, as much as I love them, can be irritants as well. When shopping, avoid natural deodorants that show baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) as one of the first few ingredients.
On Month of Using Natural Deodorant
I've been using natural deodorant for a month and the only downsides are I still worry that I might have odor – I don't, but I still worry about it. And I perspire so my love of wearing black has come in handy. I carry around one of my favorite essential oil rollers that I use to freshen my pits during the day – these are mild and don't irritate my skin.