Does Natural Deodorant Really Work?

It took me months to finally take the leap and throw my much loved antiperspirant in the bin and start using a natural deodorant instead.  I’d been looking into the ingredients of deodorant for some time and I knew of the controversy surrounding them and the possible dangers they posed to my health.  Every day when I was putting on my antiperspirant I was reminded of this but I didn’t want to turn into a sweaty, stinky mess. 

I had heard embarrassing tales from friends about their failed attempts at trying natural deodorant and I didn’t want to be the smelly co-worker trying to hide out in a corner, hoping no one would come near me until I could get to a shower. But eventually I decided I had to at least give it a try and so I took the plunge and made the switch, and to my surprise it was not what I expected it to be at all.


Firstly, why should you make the switch?

Some of the common ingredients in deodorants include aluminium, parabens, phthalates, tricolsan and more, which, over time and with consistent use could be harmful to our health and increase the risk of developing certain diseases, allergies and skin irritations.  Some of these ingredients have been linked to an increased risk of developing certain cancers and disrupting our hormones, amongst other things.  Deciding I wanted to start using natural deodorant was easy once I began looking closely at these ingredients, it was taking the first step that was a little harder.


The start is different for everyone…

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to natural deodorants is that we are all different and what works for one may not work for another.  When switching to natural deodorants, some of us can go through a transition period that may last from a few days to a few weeks.  During this time you can experience a temporary increase in sweat, odour and even sensitivity, this is sometimes referred to as the ‘underarm detox’.  It can be more noticeable if you were a frequent user of antiperspirants, which use aluminium to block sweat.  The increased sweating is believed to be because of the sweat glands releasing fluids that were previously blocked by the aluminium. 

The theory goes that your armpits will go through this detox period to clear all the back up from years of constant use of antiperspirants and they will return to normal within a short amount of time.  This time frame is different for everyone and some people never experience this transition period at all, it all depends on your unique body chemistry.

When I began using natural deodorant I was expecting that it probably wouldn’t work and that I would be in sweaty, smelly misery, so I’d made sure that I had no social events coming up during this time.  Much to my surprise though, it was nothing like I was expecting.  Yes, for the first two weeks I was slightly sweatier but that was it and after those first couple of weeks everything was back to normal, better than normal even.  I couldn’t believe it, natural deodorant actually works and my pits couldn’t be happier with the switch!  

Stick with it!

These first few days or weeks of making the change is when some people will give up and decide that natural deodorants don’t work and that people who use them must have some sort of magical armpits.  The reason why I’d taken so long to try it was because of hearing these stories and thinking natural deodorants were useless and I’d have to hide away from society if I wanted to use them.  But in reality, it can just take a little bit of time for your pits to adjust to their new toxin-free way of life. 

If you’re finding the switch tough, instead of giving up, try a different type of natural deodorant first.  There are so many different types on the market, with many different combinations of ingredients, and often it can be a simple change that makes all the difference.  Also, wearing shirts made from a breathable material like cotton will help, as well as washing your armpits and reapplying the deodorant regularly during this short detox time.  Remember, it will be over before you know it!

Finding the perfect one…

Since making the switch I have tried countless different brands and types and I’ve found many that didn’t work at all for me and I have my favourites that have never failed.  I’ve also found that some, which I used in the beginning and that didn’t work very well, now work marvellously.  So don’t be afraid to go back and give a certain brand another try as your underarms change.

Also, If you experience irritation from your natural deodorant it may be from the bicarb soda.  Most of them contain it as it helps to neutralize odour and prevent excess sweating, but some people find that it causes irritation.  If you are one of those people, there are many great bicarb free alternatives that use plant based powders like arrowroot instead. 

The market place certainly has come a long way since the days of the crystal deodorant stick and there are plenty of options to choose from nowadays.  Some of my favourites are Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium and Woohoo! Wild.  Changing up your natural deodorant and trying new ones will help you to find what works best for you – don’t just settle on the first brand your try and with a little trial and error you will find your perfect one.


I know many people wonder if natural deodorant actually works (I was one of them) and it’s so easy to get cold feet about the whole idea of using it, especially when you try it for a couple of days and you notice you are a little more sweaty than normal.  But just remember, this is a temporary transition phase your pits are going through.  Stick with it, the end result is worth it!  And some of you may find, like I did, that it’s a lot easier than you were expecting and the only thing you regret is that you didn’t do it sooner, because guess what?? Natural deodorants DO actually work!

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