Natural Deodorant Alternatives
Posted on April 11 2018
I recently added some natural deodorant to my shop (baking soda free and vegan, holla) and it got me thinking about the differences between "natural" deodorant and your typical, toxic chemical laden deodorants/antiperspirants. First, let's discuss the differences between deodorants and antiperspirants.
How do deodorants work?
Deodorants work by changing your underarm chemistry to keep the yucky, smell producing bacteria from clinging or staying on your underarms. A lot of times, deodorants will contain fragrances (synthetic or natural) and other ingredients that will mask the odor that is there too.
How do antiperspirants work?
Antiperspirants, on the other hand, will use some ingredient, usually a form of aluminum, to block the sweat gland. To back up a bit, when we sweat, under our arms, specifically, we secrete fats and proteins. It's the secretion of these fats and proteins, and them sitting on the surface of the underarm area, that cause odor and sweat. Using aluminum in the antiperspirant causes the cells in the sweat gland to swell and block the sweat gland doing its job and secreting the fats and proteins; thus it prevents both the sweat and resulting odor.
What about natural deodorants?
Now how does all of this apply to natural deodorants? First off, you will never find a natural antiperspirant. Since antiperspirants use a chemical to block the sweat gland, it is not considered a natural product. Sweating is a normal bodily function and actually helps rid the body of toxins. In fact, there is nothing bad about it and it is an important part of what keeps us healthy. However, modern society frowns upon sweating, so antiperspirants were invented to help prevent it from happening. If you find one that is labeled as "natural," it is most likely not as natural as they make themselves out to be (we'll talk about that concept, known as "greenwashing" in another blog post on another day).
Most natural deodorants contain baking soda, i.e. sodium bicarbonate, to help absorb the odor and sweat. However, a lot of people end up getting a rash or red, irritated underarms when using a product with baking soda in it. This is where a lot of makers of natural deodorants run into problems. What can be used in place of baking soda that will work just as well? Well, it took me almost a year of testing and trials to finally find a formula that works and as such is part of my super secret ingredient combination ;-).
Now keep in mind that natural deodorants will not perform the same as toxic chemical-filled deodorants; so don't use one expecting it to perform the exact same. However, natural ingredients do work and they can work well, they just won't compare with what is created in a lab performance wise. Just remember that what you gain in the long run by not being exposed to those chemicals (some have been linked to causing breast cancer and other issues) is well worth having to reapply mid-day or having to deal with a small amount of sweat.
What if I switch?
One last thing to keep in mind if you are switching from a more lab created chemical deodorant to one that has natural ingredients, is that some people report a detoxing process. That is to say that in the first few weeks of using the natural one, they notice more sweating and odor because the body is actually working out/secreting the toxic chemicals while trying to rebalance itself. So if you are switching to a more natural one, give your body a few weeks to adjust.
If you are looking for one, I suggest you check out and try one of the natural deodorants I make. I offer free shipping on every order over $15 within the USA in my webstore and I hand craft everything in small batches.