The two questions I receive most from readers on a weekly basis are about A) Dallas Walker and B) My switch over to natural deodorant. It makes me giggle but also happy because my dog and switching to safer beauty products are 2 huge passions of mine! And if you follow along with me over on Insta Stories… you can see me talk about both Dallas and natural deodorant quite often. Haha!
My conversation about natural deodorant really began to pick up after I published this blog post almost a year ago which was the first time I shared about my decision to begin switching over to safer, more natural products. Shortly after that post, I shared that I had become a Beautycounter consultant and why in this post. Truly, my switch over to natural deodorant was probably the biggest contributor as to why I chose to further the change and go for it with Beautycounter. I learned so much about safer beauty and how my body reacted positively to saying goodbye to chemicals that I was used to using daily. And in my process of switching over to natural deodorant, it made me really want to commit to cleaning up my beauty routine even more!
So going back to being asked about my process in switching, what deodorant I am using and liking, and giving any tips or tricks. I’m here for y’all! You ask and I will answer! And I’m hoping that this blog post will be a resource for you if you choose to make the switch as well.
I will say, this isn’t the post for extensive research-based material. I’m going to let you really be on your own for that! There is SO much information out there about aluminum vs. natural deodorant and so many other ingredients that are found in beauty products right now. I’m not a doctor, I don’t have a degree in science, and I can’t answer any major health-specific questions. However, here’s what I can confidently share what I have learned from becoming a Beautycounter Consultant, as well as doing my own personal research.
Ingredients often found in many Aluminum Deodorants (and other beauty products) on the market currently:
- Aluminum – linked to Alzheimer’s disease, heavy metal toxicity
- Parabens – a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Found in 99% of breast cancer tissue sampled in this study. Also commonly found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.
- Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Classified as skin irritant by the EWG. Also commonly found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.
- Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Also commonly found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.
- Triclosan and Triclocarban: antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Linked to liver toxicity and thyroid dysfunction. Also commonly found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.
- Formaldehyde contaminated synthetics: used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. Also commonly found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
- Synthetic Fragrance: an engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. Aka a “Cocktail of Chemicals” creating skin sensitivities and irritations. Also commonly found in: all types of cosmetics.
WOOF, right?! It’s a lot. I know. Remember this: I’m still all about balance. We are exposed to harmful chemicals and toxins every single day aside from beauty products. Pollution, processed foods, cleaning products, etc. are all factors that go into that toxic exposure. So let’s all pick and choose are battles. I can control what I put on and in my body every single day. I also can cave and buy Cheez-Its while hungry grocery shopping and binge eat them in the car on the way home. And then feel sick and decide it’s a ‘green smoothie for dinner’ kinda night. #BALANCE
Okay, glad we got that out in the open. Now let’s talk about my personal process in making the switch…
Why I made the switch:
Well, because of the information I shared with you above! I also noticed that antiperspirant wasn’t even all that effective some days! If I was stressed, hot, ate poorly…. I sweat. It just is what it is. So why did I even need to be putting chemicals on that were trying to prohibit that? I also found out that aluminum blocks sweat glands (aka antiperspirant), which when I thought more about it…. didn’t sit that well with me. Our bodies sweat to rid toxins, so why was I prohibiting that process? Or attempting it and not even achieving success in it?
Also… have you ever read the back of an antiperspirant deodorant? It has a warning that states that those with kidney disease should consult with a doctor before using. My Dad battled through kidney disease, so that hit close to home. Why on earth should this be on deodorant labels?! I don’t even care that I don’t personally suffer from kidney disease, I just don’t think something I apply to a sensitive area on my body every single day needs to come with a warning label like that.
And finally, I’m in the stage of life where I begin to think about having a family someday, and I want to take care of myself and my body so that I can take care of babies to the best of my abilities. And I also just plain FEEL SO MUCH BETTER since switching over to the safer side. So there’s allllll that.
When I made the switch:
Last spring 2017 on our trip to Hawaii. I figured I’d be in hot and humid weather and on the beach sweating regardless, so why not just go for it. I was also only traveling with my husband and parents, who love me unconditionally… so they accepted if I was a little more sweaty than usual. I think… 😉
Most people wait until winter months to switch over, but I actually personally disagree. My logic is that I tend to sweat/smell more in restricted and long-sleeved clothing and I notice wet pits more then. In the summer, it’s hot. Everyone’s a little more sweaty! So just own it and go for it! Also, it’s waaaay easier to keep reapplying and using the deodorant wipes to keep things in check with a sleeveless or short sleeve shirt on than it is when you’re in a bulky sweater. (More on those tricks later).
Natural Deodorants I’ve Used (in the order I tried them):
- Tom’s of Maine. This is what I started this whole process out with! It’s easy to find at your local grocery store, has been around for a while, and it’s cheap in price. It’s a gel-like formula which knowing what I know now (and will share here as I go), that’s hard unless you like and are used to using a gel formula. I was switching over from a dry spray antiperspirant, so this felt all kinds of gummy to me. I figured it was just a part of the detoxing process of quitting antiperspirant, but looking back I don’t think it helped me feel like I was staying dry whatsoever. If you’re okay with a gel formula, I say try it. You have nothing to lose because the price is cheap. Some people swear by this one so why not start cheap and see? If it works for you, you’re in luck!
- Primally Pure. I’d heard great reviews about Primally Pure, but the formula I tried was not quite as gel-like as Tom’s, but not quite the powder-finish I was hoping for. I used the Lemongrass scent and it was just okay to me. I love citrus/grass scents… but this one didn’t wow me. I used up the tube pretty quickly and I didn’t love that either. Honestly, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t amazing… which is what made me move on to others. Some women I know absolutely LOVE Primally Pure and it’s their ‘winner’. They also recently came out with more scents/new and improved formulas like the Charcoal option and many seem to love that as well. Honestly, I wouldn’t be opposed to trying the new formulas in the future for comparison. But at the time, it was very average for me.
- Schmidt’s. After the detox phase (more on this later), I felt like I was over the gel formulas completely and wanted a bit more of a traditional powder-finish style deodorant. I had heard great things about Schmidt’s, could purchase it at my local Whole Foods, and it was the next bump up in price without being too much (under $10). I started out with Fragrance Free, then missed having a scent so I went for the Rose & Vanilla and I absolutely loved it! It smells so fresh and feminine without being overly floral. I truly think the scent is my favorite part about this deodorant! In terms of consistency of the formula, it’s far more ‘stiff’ than Tom’s or others. In fact, it reacts with body heat. In order for it to apply smoothly, you need to hold it in your pit for a few seconds and then apply it. This didn’t bother me all that much, but it was sort of a drawback – especially when in a rush! But because the scent is so good, I decided it wasn’t worth quitting. I also felt like it kept me far more dry than the Tom’s ever did and maintained a good routine with my body PH. So that’s honestly what I used and loved until a month or so ago. I’d still recommend it today; however, here’s one drawback I noticed specifically with the Rose & Vanilla vs. other Schmidt’s scents: it was staining my pits a pinkish hue! Because of its all-natural ingredients, the deodorant itself is pinkish in color. And I started realizing that my pits were starting to turn that color after using! This is fine when you’re covered up, but not so cute when in a sleeveless top or dress! So between that and the difficulty to apply smoothy, I decided I should attempt another option. Let me reiterate: I didn’t switch because I didn’t think it was effective, I switched because of the slow application process and pink pits!
- Native. We have a winner! For me, at least. I’d heard so many good things about Native from friends and other bloggers so I decided to try. It’s a keeper for so many for good reasons! The price isn’t as cheap as what you’d normally pick up at the store, but $12 and free shipping is certainly manageable in my opinion. It lasts a long time, the formula feels just as smooth as Secret or Dove or any other powder-finish deodorant, the scent options are plentiful (I just use their most popular – coconut & vanilla), and it really feels the most like good old “normal” deodorant to me. It’s far less irritating to me than the Schmidt’s because there’s no wait time in application. It goes on quick and smooth! And because of that, it just feels like the most effective and easiest part of switching over from antiperspirant deodorant to natural. It doesn’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything! I do miss the Rose & Vanilla scent of the Schmidt’s, but Native switches up their scent options seasonally, so next order I’m hoping to try their Rose & Magnolia – one of their ‘vintage’ scents (meaning, was a seasonal scent that you can still order).
- Pacifica Deodorant Wipes. No matter the deodorant option that you land on/works best for you… these wipes are little lifesavers! I brought these along to Hawaii with me for the initial switch over, but have continued to use them/keep them in my purse for touch ups! I’ll touch more on this below in my sharing tips and tricks to making the switch, but just know that these are a ‘must’ in the natural deodorant game.
My Experience with Switching to Safer Deodorant
- The word ‘detox’ has kinda become a buzzword in the health community, but it’s actually true in this process of switching over! As I mentioned above, antiperspirant (aluminum is the only one approved by the FDA) is used to clog pores aka block sweat glands and prohibit them from releasing sweat. When you abruptly stop this… your body gets thrown for a loop! It’s like if you’ve been using a certain skincare or sticking to a specific diet and then you go and change it suddenly – your body freaks out! However, with some TLC and patience…. it adjusts! This is absolutely the case for switching over to natural deodorant. First, your pores need to clear up from the aluminum. If you’ve been using antiperspirant deodorant for years (like I had), your body needs some time to clear that stuff out! Next, it needs to adjust to the fact that you’re letting your sweat be a free for all! SO yeah, you’re going to sweat. You’ll probably stink. It’s what your body has to do to figure itself out! And finally… your body is smart. It will figure out that it’s doing what its supposed to do! And truly, this was my experience. [Body freaks out, body sweats and smells excessively, body figures out that it’s finally free and rejoices, body regulates itself and is happier than ever before.] Detoxing is real, but worth it!
- No More Sensitivity
- I used to only be able to shave once a week. ONCE. A. WEEK. And because of this, I waxed my pits for 6 months leading up to our wedding. #FOOL. Truly, had I had known that antiperspirant is what made my pits so sensitive and resistant to shaving, I would have never had to go through that pain and money. Now? I have zero sensitivity! I can shave often and I can’t remember the last time I had true razor burn.
- No More Pit Stains
- I, as most people, always thought that pit stains were from sweating like a pig. Guess what? Yellow pit stains are actually the result of the chemical reaction when aluminum combines with sweat which is what makes that awful yellow tone. Don’t believe me? Here’s a source. Crazy, right?! And take my word… I wear white tees on a daily basis and haven’t had a stain on one since switching over. Come on, don’t be shy…bring on the emoji praise hands!
- Less Sweat in General
- You may think I’m crazy, but since switching over I honestly have to remind myself to put on deodorant. THAT’s how little I find myself sweating these days. My body has totally self-regulated and is a happy camper on most average days! Now, if I’m working out, there weather is warm, I’m stressed, or I’ve eaten poorly…. I will certainly still sweat and sometimes stink. But again, that’s to be expected and not even antiperspirant used to help me out in those scenarios. And in those circumstances is when I just make sure to have my Pacifica Wipes on hand and do a touch up to keep things in check. Otherwise, I’m truly so much less sweaty than I used to be when using antiperspirant deodorant!
Tips & Tricks for Making the Switch
- Understand the Difference Between Antiperspirant v. Deodorant
- I feel like I’m harping like crazy on this, but to break it down one more time: Deodorant is used to aid in stench and prevent odor-causing bacteria. Antiperspirant is used to cause cells in your sweat ducts to swell and block sweat from escaping. Apples and oranges, y’all! You can’t compare the two because they are ultimately different products with very different ingredients!
- Have Realistic Expectations
- If you haven’t gathered it by now… making the switch isn’t exactly for the faint of heart. You have to really WANT to do it and put up with sweat and stench in the detox phase. I view it like a diet or workout regimen…. it’s hard to start it. The first few weeks are rough. But if you tell yourself you can do it, stick to that commitment, and train your body to adjust to it….you ABSOLUTELY can do it AND you’ll begin to see positive results!
- Know Your Skin, Be Cautious & Read Ingredients
- The biggest ‘bummer’ feedback I’ve heard from readers who make the switch is that they are extremely sensitive to baking soda – a common (natural) ingredient used to kill bacteria in most natural deodorants. Unfortunately, you won’t know this until you try it and see sensitivity! Ugh, intimidating, I know. If this scares you, I recommend doing a small swipe on your forearm of a baking soda formula and see if you have any sort of reaction before you apply it to the more sensitive pit area. If you DO see a reaction, don’t lose hope. The good news is that many natural deodorant brands offer a sensitive option (here’s Native’s Sensitive formula – free of baking soda) and if you find that your skin is often sensitive to many products (lotions, creams, etc.) in general… you may just want to start with a sensitive formula right off the bat. You may find that a sensitive formula may not be quite as potent in killing off stench as one with a higher concentration of baking soda BUT…. like I said…. your body should be able to slowly but surely adjust.
- Give Your Body Ample Time
- Like I keep mentioning, this is a ‘slow but steady wins the race’ situation. Your body is very smart, but every body is different. Our PH’s are all different. So we will all take different times to adjust to new routines. You have to be patient!!!
- Don’t Go Back and Forth with Antiperspirants
- This is another complaint I’ve heard from readers and friends with making the switch. Maybe you have a big meeting or event where you feel like “I can’t afford to sweat through this!” so you slather on your old antiperspirant and say a prayer. Tough love moment: don’t do it!!! In fact, here’s my challenge to you: if you’re going to really go for this and want your body to adjust, throw away your old antiperspirant the day you start so you’re not tempted to switch back and forth. Boom. I said it. Again, go back and think about the analogy of a strict diet (think Whole 30 or something similar!) or workout regimen. The second you break it, it’s hard to go back to it. Your body gets thrown off and then has to work even harder to regulate itself! So really, just try to do this thing cold turkey. Sorry, but also not sorry.
- Don’t be afraid to keep switching brands.
- You read that I tried a few different brands until I found a sweet spot. Well, I have girlfriends who have tried way more than a few! And truly, I feel like everyone eventually finds their unicorn deodorant. I also believe that after enough time has passed, your body adjusts and it’s more about that adjustment vs. the actual deodorant. BUT, I still say…. keep trying! Truly! You’ll find your sweet spot and your body will adjust…. one may just happen before the other!
- Keep Applying & Wiping – Don’t Be Shy!
- Going back to these magical wipes…. don’t be afraid to wipe down continually! I keep them in my purse and do a quick touch up when needed. You could certainly just keep your deodorant close and reapply as necessary, but I do like the fact that the wipe feels more like a fresh start, if that makes sense. But remember… reapplying DEODORANT vs. reapplying ANTIPERSPIRANT is very different. So there’s no harm in reapplying deodorant as much as you need for it to be continually effective.
Are you completely deodoranted-out by now? I kinda am and I really do love talking about it! Haha!
Truly, I hope this extremely in-depth post is helpful to y’all! I totally understand what a mindset shift it is and how it can feel like an overwhelming task. If I can provide any more encouragement in this whole natural/safer beauty situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’ll say it again, but the switch to natural deodorant is what really got me hooked on switching over to safer beauty as a whole. So I’m here if you’d like to chat through that process, too!
If the brands I reviewed/tried above haven’t been a good fit for you, I linked more deodorant options in the slider below. [Note: Native Deodorant can’t be linked in the slider on my end, just click here to purchase]. The other options linked are all ones that I’ve heard positive things about. Like I said, no shame in the trying game! What works for one person may not work for another! And if you personally have made the switch and have an option that I haven’t covered… please leave your tips in the comments below! Share the natural deodorant wealth!
And if you start the process after this post… let me know! I can’t wait to cheer you on!!!
You got this!!!