Considering making the switch to natural deodorant? Here's everything you need to know about what to expect, ingredients to avoid and the best natural deodorants.
Have you decided to make the switch to natural deodorant, but are a little nervous about where to start? Maybe you've heard horror stories. Maybe you're wondering if natural deodorant can really work for you. Maybe you just want to avoid wasting money on products that aren't effective. I'm here to help! Before you just pick up any old product off the shelf, here's what you need to know about making the switch to natural deodorant.
Why Choose Natural Deodorant?
For me, it was an easy choice. The main ingredient in typical antiperspirant deodorants is aluminum, which has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. While the evidence is inconsistent and lacking, the ability for aluminum to interfere with estrogen receptors has been demonstrated, which is enough cause for me to avoid it, given my genetic predisposition to breast cancer. When I decided to make the switch to natural products several years ago, deodorant was one of the first products I focused on, since I use it daily and in close proximity to susceptible breast tissue.
That said, it's a process finding the right natural deodorant. Not all of them are created equal, and they definitely don't work the same as traditional antiperspirant deodorants. Before you make the switch, there are a few things you should expect.
Here's What You Need To Know About Natural Deodorant
You'll Be Sweaty
The chemicals in traditional deodorant block your pores so that you don't sweat. So when switching to a nontoxic formula, you can expect to feel a lot more sweaty than usual. Sweating is not a bad thing. Your body uses sweat to excrete waste and regulate internal temperature. But in the beginning, you'll probably feel way more sweaty as your pits regulate. But don't worry, eventually, you will sweat a lot less!
It Will Take a Couple Weeks To Work
Many people try a natural deodorant for a couple days, feel stinky and sweaty, and swear it off for good. Don't do that. It will take your body a couple of weeks to get used to a new, nontoxic product. Some people call it a 'detox phase'. You have been blocking your pores for a while now, so they're trying to find their new normal. Ride it out and your sweat glands will balance out in a week or two. I've even noticed this when switching between formulas.
Ingredients Are Important
Just because the front of the label says 'organic' or 'no XYZ' doesn't mean it's safe. It's important to read the ingredients list to determine exactly what's in your deodorant. One big one is fragrance, which you want to avoid because it's also been linked with hormone disruption. I go for unscented versions or those scented with essential oils.
Ingredients in natural deodorants can also cause irritation if you aren't careful. Many are made with baking soda, which is a good odor fighter, but some people can be sensitive to it. Make sure to look for formulas with soothing ingredients (such as zinc oxide, beeswax, and vitamin E oil (tocopherol)), and don't apply directly after shaving.
Different Formulas Work For Different People
I have a few brands that I love, and some that I don't. But what works for me won't work for everyone. You may have to try a couple before you find the right one! Don't get discouraged if the first one you try (especially if you picked it up off the shelf at the health food store) doesn't work. Give it a couple of weeks and if you still don't love it, try something else. I've listed some products below that I've tried, but there are so many more out there, too!
My Favorite Natural Deodorants (And Some I Don't Love)
Here are my favorite nontoxic deodorants that are tried and true for me!
- Primally Pure Charcoal Deodorant I love Primally Pure deodorants because they're made with so few ingredients. The charcoal is my favorite because it works really well at minimizing odor. I also love their unscented version for sensitive skin.
- Cleo + Coco Natural Deodorant This is another favorite that works well for me. It's made with charcoal and a short, healthy ingredient list. I love the Great Expectations formula.
- Crystal Deodorant This natural deodorant is a little different than others. It's made from just one ingredient - mineral salts - which create a protective barrier against bacteria (which cause odor). This one worked surprisingly well for me.
And some I don't love:
- Tom's - This one is easy to find and inexpensive, but it just didn't work for me at all. Even after the washout phase, I felt like it made me more stinky.
- Corpus Naturals - An example of the same product not working for everyone! My sister loves this deodorant, but I didn't like it as much as my regulars.