Before we jump into natural deodorant options, I want to talk about how you can make the switch from conventional anti-perspirant to natural deodorant as smooth as possible. Your armpits are one of the most absorbent areas of your body, second only to your genitalia. We start applying antiperspirant when we hit puberty, leaving us with decades of clogged underarm pores. All those nasty toxins that conventional deodorants contain like parabens, heavy metals, phthalates take time to detox out of your system. Transitioning to natural deodorant from antiperspirant and all its sweat-stopping aluminum can be a real stopgap for people, myself included.
This was a tough acclimation period for me. I'm talking struggle bus from coast to coast. I suffered from hyperhidrosis as a teenager, meaning I was sweating all the time, even just sitting at my desk at school. Pit stains on the daily. I used such high-level aluminum antiperspirant it had to be prescribed by a doctor. The roll-on liquid stung and gave my underarms a painful rash and it didn't even work. For years I struggled with hyperhidrosis. After college, I finally threw up my arms and stopped using antiperspirant altogether. I had a come-to-Jesus moment while on a long run, my underarms red and chapped, and realized sweating is NORMAL. It's our body's way of excreting toxins. Why was I working so hard to stop this? What would happen if I just let my body do what it kept telling me it needed to do?
Enter the underarm acclimation period! You have to detox and unclog those pores to let your skin breath and your body acclimate to life without antiperspirant. Let's go over my top tips for the underarm acclimation period.
Do An Armpit Detox
This recipe has magical Bentonite Clay, which is major detoxifier for the skin. It draws up and adsorbs all kinds of nasty stuff from your pores. Adsorbing means that action of the material in question carries a strong negative charge and bonds with the positive charge of many different toxins. Pretty dang cool huh?!
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp Bentonite Clay Powder
5 drops tea tree (melaleuca) essential oil
Mix all ingredients together and apply generously to the armpits. Let dry for 10 minutes with arms overhead. It works easiest if you lay on your back with a timer going. When 10 minutes is up, use a warm wet washcloth to wipe the armpit mask away.
Moisturize Your Pitties
Your underarms deserve to be pampered as much as your face. Dryness, rashes, and pain can make the transition nearly unbearable. Try this soothing mix to tame your epidermis.
1 tsp melted coconut oil
1 tsp shea butter
*optional 4 drops calendula oil (helps sooth chapped and irritated skin)
Melt oils in a double boiler (place a pot filled with 1" of water on the stove, place a metal colander over it, and finally a glass bowl on top -voila! A doubler boiler!). Once melted, add 4 drops of calendula oil and mix. Pour into a 1/2 pint mason jar.
For The Ladies, Shave Less Often
Shaving can be a real skin irritant, especially when you are going from antiperspirant to deodorant. Everything feels extra sensitive and dragging a razor across your tender skin feels like torture. So don't do it! Shave once a week and see if it helps with your transition. I know it sounds scary, but it's easy not to feel self-conscious if you stick to wearing t-shirts or long sleeves.
Grab The Primal Pit Detox Kit
If you’d prefer to sit out the DIY recipes above, this great little kit is curated to get you off on the right foot with your underarm detox and acclimation period. It comes with a charcoal-based mask for your pitties, a skin soothing serum to put on following your armpit mask, and an unscented, gentle deodorant to get you started.
Skip Alcohol, Onions, And Garlic While You Transition
Body odor can intensify as you make the jump from antiperspirant. Alcohol, onions, and garlic exacerbate those smells and make them worse. The sulfuric acid in these consumables mixes with the fatty acids in your apocrine glands and is released through, well, terrible BO. Skip them during your transition to make things easier on yourself - and others!
It took me five months of excessive sweating, one month of a red rash, a half month of god-awful BO to realize I needed back up. I started employing all the methods I listed above and it was like night and day. Two weeks of armpit facials and my sweating slowed way down. One week of the soothing moisturizer and my rash disappeared. Then I cut onions and garlic from my diet indefinitely, and I immediately stopped smelling like five-day-old garbage. Cutting out alcohol for just a week was like the cherry on top. Suddenly, using my DIY deodorant was like heaven - barely any sweat and absolutely no BO. The pain in transitioning deodorant shows you how much crap has accumulated in your body over time. Let your body do its thing. I promise you'll get through it.
In my next post, we'll talk about my DIY deodorant recipe and the top natural deodorants I've tried. Stay tuned!
Thanks for stopping by Green Willow Homestead! From chicken rearing to orchard planting, we've got our hands full and we love sharing what we've learned along the way. Follow along as we strive to live sustainably and turn these five acres from just property to a fully functioning small-scale homestead.
1. Joe Salatin
2. Rachel Carson
3. Wendell Berry
4. Temple Grandin
5. Sustainable Dish
6. Zero Waste Home
7. Allan Savory
Favorite Books of 2018
2. Bringing it to the Table
3. Holistic Management
4. The Small Scale Poultry Flock
5. In The Company of Women