Probably one of the biggest adjustments for me, in trying to live with fewer toxins, is something very personal—what I apply to my armpits every day. Natural cleaning and laundry products? No big deal. Beeswax paper to cut down on plastic dependency? A little training time, but again—doable. The quest for an effective, natural deodorant has proven to be a more elusive issue. As of this writing, I still haven’t settled on “the one”, so I’ll be glad to hear from anyone who has a great recommendation that I might not have already tried. Why is this so hard?
Basically, when you decide to use a natural deodorant instead of a big-brand antiperspirant, you’re undergoing a form of detox. Your body has grown accustomed to artificial results (reduced wetness and smell) produced by using artificial ingredients. But using potential toxins day after day in one of the most sensitive areas of our bodies can potentially lead to some pretty scary health problems. Removing those ingredients, on the other hand, might lead to some other side effects that we find a little undesirable. Truth is, though, with a little time and patience those side effects will subside. What can you expect to happen?
When you switch to a natural deodorant, you might find that you initially perspire more than usual. Why? Because the chemicals in conventional products might have your system out of balance. I know, it doesn’t help that culturally we (especially women) are encouraged to cover up normal biological processes, but contrary to that, we are absolutely supposed to sweat. Once your system’s balance is restored, you might actually find yourself less sweaty than before.
What if I stink? Well, just like the chemicals in conventional antiperspirants mask our sweat, they also mask the smell. If you have gotten used to the scent of artificial, synthetic fragrances, then you might feel a little stinky during the transition. I am definitely not down with being super stinky, but I can attest that this resolved pretty quickly for me. No matter what, you should always avoid deodorants that have “fragrance” on the label – this is usually a code word for lots of chemicals.
I have not experienced irritation from any of the natural deodorants I have tried, but I know it can happen. Many natural deodorants contain baking soda, which can cause underarms to become red, itchy, and bumpy, kind of like a razor burn. Irritation could also happen if you are using too much of a product or applying it right after shaving while your skin is most sensitive.
If you’re considering making the switch from conventional drugstore antiperspirant to natural deodorant, I say go for it, because I truly believe it’s healthier for you. If you haven’t because you’re afraid you’re going to be a hot stinky mess, I promise in reality the detox isn’t that bad and only lasts for a week or two at most. I’m including here a list of ingredients you should look for on whatever product you’re using or considering, and I urge you to think carefully about your choices as they could seriously affect your health.
Let me hear from you if you have a product recommendation. And here’s to your happy, healthy, non-stinky armpits!