Has anyone else been curious to make the switch to natural deodorant but isn’t sure where to start?? We feel like all of our friends have been talking about this, so we wanted to share some of what we have learned as well as our own personal experience. If you’ve been debating making the switch or are just curious to learn more, read on below for the lowdown on what “natural” deodorant means, why conventional deodorant is potentially harmful, as well as our own personal experience and a few brands we’ve tested.

Why Are Conventional Deodorants Potentially Harmful?

First, a quick note — a deodorant is different from an antiperspirant. Deodorants are designed to keep body odor at bay by preventing the breakdown of bacteria in your armpits. Conventional antiperspirants are made with aluminum which blocks your pores and keeps you from sweating. Most antiperspirants also have deodorant to prevent B.O. Fun fact: sweat alone does not actually smell. You can read more on this here.

Studies have shown correlations between aluminum-based antiperspirants and increased risk of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. While aluminum-based products haven’t been proven to be a direct cause of those illnesses, we don’t like the idea of using products that increase our risk. Other toxic ingredients in many conventional deodorants include parabens, propylene glycol, chemical fragrances, and triclosan. These can cause skin irritations, allergies, and have also been linked to cancer. You can read more about this from our friends Switch2Pure who developed a natural deodorant.

What Exactly is “Natural Deodorant”?

Over the past decade people have become increasingly more concerned and aware of the ingredients that are in products they consume — from food to cleaning supplies. It’s not surprising that deodorant ingredients have become a hot topic since your armpits are home to lymph nodes and close to your chest. Natural deodorants do not contain aluminum which blocks your pores, so they aren’t technically considered “antiperspirants”, however they typically contain baking soda or vegetable-based powders to help wick away sweat and kill bacteria that causes odor. Remember, your sweat doesn’t smell; body odor is actually caused by bacteria living on our skin — linking to more info here on Switch2Pure and you can read insightful tips from the founder in our interview with her! If you’re looking for a good natural deodorant, pay attention to the ingredients list and look for a natural oil (like coconut oil), a natural powder (like baking soda or arrowroot), essential oils, and a wax of some sort for texture (this ingredients list is explained here).

Does Natural Deodorant Actually Work and What Can I Expect?

We’ve tested a few natural deodorants and the verdict is that not all of them work for everyone — you have to find one that works best for your body. A few we have tried include Switch2Pure’s (they just came out with a new one that we’re excited to try), Schmitds, Dove’s new 0% Aluminum Deodorant, URSA MAJOR, and Kopari. Thankfully, deodorant isn’t very pricey, so you can try a few out and see what works best. We will say that you have to give it a couple of weeks, if not a month, for it to kick in. Your body is detoxing and it takes a while to get the toxins out and for you to start on a clean slate. Because there is not aluminum in natural deodorants, you will likely sweat a bit more, but that’s actually a sign of being healthy! Also, sweat is actually colorless and yellow “sweat stains” are caused when your sweat interacts with bacteria on your skin or your aluminum-based antiperspirant. If you’re concerned about the detox phase, carry a bar of charcoal soap with you for a little midday rinse before reapplying your natural deodorant. If you’re considering jumping into the detox process, now is the time before the hot summer months!

What is your experience with natural deodorant? Do you have a favorite brand? Please share in the comments below!