Deodorant is a relatively new beauty product. Up until the 1900’s humans would just sweat and sometimes stink. It was natural and common. Many parts of the world don’t think it’s weird to stink a bit. We are the weird ones!
How Traditional Deodorant Works
Most people don’t even think twice about putting on deodorant every morning and they don’t really understand what it does and how it works for those “stanky pits.” So your under arms sweat like normal when trying to cool you off. But you smell because of certain bacteria trying to break down the sweat. Sweat itself doesn’t smell.
Traditional deodorant has two things: an anti-bacterial and an antiperspirant. The anti-bacterial combats the stinkyness of the bacteria before you sweat and anything after you do sweat. And you will sweat because the antiperspirant doesn’t prevent all sweat– just some. For a normal day in the office the antiperspirant will probably work fine. But would you even sweat in the first place without it? Probably not.
Why It’s Bad
When looking on the back of deodorant the active ingredient is listed as aluminum chloro-hydrate. It can be listed anywhere from 15% to 20%. This is the stuff that doesn’t make you sweat (for only a little while). It’s okay for companies to sell this stuff because it’s in a small enough dose. But hello, it goes on you everyday and sometimes twice a day!
The research is mixed on whether aluminium is really bad for you. There is no conclusive evidence that it causes cancer for example. But it does block your sweat glands and that is not natural. With enough use most people become immune and need to switch brands.
What is known is that it can mess with your hormones. The preservatives prevent the growth of the bacteria all together. This bacteria is good for naturally regulating your endocrine system and exocrine glands. These chemicals go on your skin and then can be absorbed right into your bloodstream. There is debate on the effects of the chemicals from deodorant but I think it’s smart to reconsider what we are putting on our bodies and effectively what is going into our bodies.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Natural Deodorant
Guess what? Humans sweat. “OMG no way!” you say. It’s true. Unlike what the media and companies have told you, it’s okay to sweat. I don’t know about you but I sweat a lot. In Pennsylvania where everyday of the summer is 100% humidity, full body sweat is instantaneous when I walk outside. Traditional antiperspirant deodorant only goes so far in preventing sweat under your arms.
Natural deodorants are made without those harsh chemicals. The most important difference is that they are smell fighting but not antiperspirant. Most DIY recipes contain antibacterial ingredients that gets rid of the smell without also blocking your ducts. And as a woman, I biologically don’t sweat as much as men. For me the bottom line is that no matter what everyone is going to sweat hiking up a huge mountain in the summer heat. So who cares? And if you are afraid of sweat stains, wear a tank top. When I know I’m going to have a hot day or if I’m exercising I will wear a shirt without sleeves. But then again, if I’m hiking up a mountain carrying a backpack then my shirt is going to be wet with back sweat and boob sweat anyway. (A lovely image, I know, but you can’t deny that it happens to everyone.)
Even if you are still skeptical, that’s okay. At least maybe you will think twice about putting on an extra swipe or a few seconds more of spray.
Detox Baby! (Why and How)
Before switching to a homemade deodorant you have to detox first. This is super important! There is a build up of chemicals in your arm pits that needs to get flushed away. If you put an all natural deodorant on, the chemicals will still reside underneath and it will be irritating.
You could just immediately replace your deodorant with a homemade one but there could be more irritation and a more potent smell. Your body is so used to the chemicals that it needs time to reset. A detox takes about 2-4 weeks.
You can help the detox process along by applying apple cider vinegar mixed with water under your arms after a shower. The ACV will help draw out impurities. I did not do this during my detox but I use ACV for a lot of other things (including acne spot treatment and wart removal– works the same way for your arm pits).
My Experience with Detoxing
I detoxed last spring when I realized that the heat was on its way. I wanted to be ready for a natural deodorant in time for summer (when I really need deodorant). Plus I wanted a bit of time to try experimenting with a few recipes to find one that works for me.
Thoughts on the first couple days: Not sweating at all and no smell! Maybe I actually am just a non-sweating unicorn who doesn’t need deodorant at all.
In reality, my traditional deodorant was still doing its job.
Thoughts on the first week: Must. Not. Lift. Arms.
When I sweated, I stank. And to be honest, it was not an overwhelmingly powerful stink. Just a bit when I decided to work-out. Immediately took a shower after wards.
Thoughts on the second week: Let’s get smart here and dress in layers. Remain cool (literally and figuratively).
When I felt like I was going to sweat, I took off a layer. I dressed more on the lighter side to keep myself cooler. And as someone that gets cold easily, this was not hard.
Thoughts while at a hot birthday party: OMG do people keep smelling me? Do they think this party smells like BO? Why are so many people here to make it hot?
Well the reason why there were so many people at the party was because my friend is awesome and has so many people that love her. Why would I wish for anything different? I was super self-conscious during the whole party though. When I went to the bathroom I even wiped my underarms with water just in case. But I stuck through it.
Here are a few tips to help you detox:
- Dress in layers
- Sweat more (to sweat the chemicals out faster). Think sauna, hot shower or bath, exercising, etc.
- Detox during cold weather
- Wash your underarms
- Apple cider vinegar application
Why I Switched
The bottom line was that I create way less waste by making my own deodorant. There are no harsh chemicals, no disposable plastic wrapping, no plastic container, and less energy waste to create, package, store, ship, and transport said deodorant. (Obviously there is energy waste in creating the ingredients of my DIY recipe too but the ingredients are also used for other things.) I can customize the smell, its healthy, and inexpensive. Both of my deodorant recipes are made right from things in my kitchen.
Here are the links to both my deodorant recipes:
This solution works great for me but it might not work for you. I’m still conforming to the social norm but I’m okay with that. Are there all natural brands that you have found to work for you?