Armpit sweat: It’s not glamorous, but it’s totally normal! We shouldn’t feel ashamed to admit that we sweat because everybody does. Sweating is an opportunity for your body to cool down and expel toxins.
Natural deodorant is a tool for allowing your body to complete its natural processes while regulating the BO that makes you self-conscious at the end of the day. While “natural” deodorants can be bought at the grocery store, you’ll often still find a long list of unpronounceable ingredients, and the product will likely come in a plastic tube. Here, we’ll only talk about deodorants that are good for you and the earth.
What is "Natural" Deodorant?
Natural deodorants are different from the typical formulas because they manage bacteria in the armpits using whole ingredients. It’s important to understand the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant: The former is for eliminating odor through antibacterial ingredients, and the latter is for stopping sweat entirely by blocking sweat glands.
Natural deodorant, on the other hand, stops stenches by controlling the bacteria in your underarm that make sweat smell bad. It also doesn't contain the aluminum found in many antiperspirants. Natural deodorants also come in more sophisticated scents like earl grey or desert rose.
Why Natural Deodorant is Better
Natural deodorant is better because it allows your body to sweat out toxins while regulating underarm odor. Natural ingredients are far more effective at managing bacteria than the factory chemicals in store-bought brands.
The hygiene aisle is typically lined with alcohol-based deodorants, which control bacteria by acidizing your skin, thus preventing bacterial growth. Antiperspirants stop sweat entirely by blocking sweat glands. We recommend against antiperspirants because they prevent the natural process of sweating.
These types of products can actually make you smell worse because they irritate your skin, causing a disruption in bacterial regulation. Having dry, red, itchy, or bumpy underarms is a sign of irritated skin. This quickly results in extra stinky pits!
The Mystery of "Fragrance"
One of the reasons standard deodorants don’t win the race against natural options is that the standard stuff most often contains a concerning ingredient called “Fragrance.” Turn over any skin or hair care product you own and look for this word in the ingredients list-- it's in almost everything we put on our skin.
The scary truth about this mystery ingredient is that it’s a stand-in phrase for a long list of different chemicals, meaning brands can tuck mysterious ingredients under the title of “Fragrance.” Typical deodorants use synthetic fragrances to add scents in their products, which can cause dryness and irritation.
Keep in mind that the words “synthetic” and “chemical” don’t always mean that something is harmful. Some essential oils are produced synthetically to reduce carbon emissions that can come from creating them. Essential oils themselves are actually listed as “Fragrance” in many products. Many natural deodorants contain essential oils to add scent to the formula, such as Granola Girl All-Natural Deodorant.
The right brands will be transparent about what they use in their products. The key here isn’t avoiding the word “Fragrance” all together, but simply looking into what it means before you try a product.
If you’re unsure about how your skin might react to a natural deodorant scented with essential oils, you can opt for a fragrance-free deodorant like this one.
Are There Risks to Using Natural Deodorant?
Any product you apply to your skin has the potential to cause irritation. A small percentage of new users of natural deodorant have reported developing mild irritation in their armpits. We'll explain why that happens and help you avoid any skin irritation when you make the switch.
One reason irritation occurs in a small handful of people is that individuals can be sensitive to particular essential oils, which are sometimes used to scent natural deodorants and other products. The other reason some people experience irritation is the residue from their last deodorant mixes with the new deodorant. This can cause irritation if your last deodorant was particularly harsh and left chemicals that interacted poorly with the new product.
This isn’t the case with the vast majority of people so you’re unlikely to develop a rash from this, but everyone’s armpits still do need a detoxifying transition when switching deodorants. If you’d like to speed up the process or if you have extra sensitive skin and want to avoid any risk of irritation, mind the gap with a charcoal underarm detox bar.