Did you know that most anti-perspirant deodorants have aluminum as an active ingredient? The aluminum in deodorant is what keeps you dry and prevents sweating. Aluminum is not something that I want to be putting on my body every day as it has been associated with a variety of health issues (i.e. breast cancer, alzheimer’s disease, bone disorders, and kidney problems). Many deodorants also contain other questionable ingredients such as parabens, propylene glycol, preservatives, and artificial fragrances. In my search to begin using a natural, aluminum-free deodorant, I tried basically every brand that could be found in a health food store. None of them worked for me (meaning I smelled pretty bad there for a while). When I started making some of my own beauty care products, I decided to try and make a deodorant as well. After lots of trial and error, I finally found a recipe that works for me. While I do share a lot of my recipes here on the blog, this is one that I keep pretty secret. My ingredient list is public (shea butter, coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder and essential oils), but getting the equivalents right is tricky part. If you are interested in trying it, you can purchase it through my Etsy store.
Now, let’s get into a little more of the “how-to” part of this post. If you are like me and have used an anti-perspirant deodorant for most of your life, the transition to a natural deodorant can be a little tricky. Anti-perspirants work by closing up the pores under your arms to keep you from sweating. This in turn actually causes your body to overcompensate and produce more sweat, which then causes you to slather on more anti-perspirant or search for a stronger one with more aluminum. When I first started using a my natural deodorant, I experienced some irritation and redness. I did a little research and discovered a few things that were able to alleviate the irritation and help my body with the transition.
Detox your pits: Make up a paste using bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and water. This helps your body get rid of all the chemicals and other stuff that is hanging out under your arms after using anti-perspirants.
- Mix 1 Tablespoon of bentonite clay, 1 drop of tea tree oil, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of water (add a little more water if needed) in a glass bowl. This mixture should have the consistency of a paste.
- Apply a thin layer under your arms and leave on for 5-20 minutes. The first time I did this it started stinging a little after 5 minutes, so I took it off. The next time I was able to keep it on longer and as my body adjusted, I could keep it one for a full 20 minutes.
- Wipe it off with a warm rag.
- Do this for about a week as you begin using a natural deodorant.
Note: If at any point you are using a natural deodorant and redness and irritation occurs, re-start this pit detox protocol and continue doing it until the redness and irritation clears up.
Drink lots of water: I have lots of people ask me if I make any products to help their extremely dry or irritated skin. The first thing I tell them to do is to make sure they drink a ton of water every day. You especially want to drink a lot of water if you are doing any sort of detox (like the one above). A good rule for drinking water is to divide your bodyweight in half and then drink that many ounces of water (i.e. if you weigh 130lbs you would drink 65 ounces of water a day).
Prep your pits with a skin-nourishing serum: This serum can be applied right before putting on your natural deodorant to help the skin transition better. The natural deodorant that I make includes some baking soda and it can cause irritation for some people. Applying this serum and using the pit detox protocol above, will help to balance the pH in your skin and prevent irritation.
- Mix 1 Tablespoon jojoba oil, 1 Tablespoon avocado oil, 1 teaspoon Argan oil, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon calendula oil, and a few drops of chamomile essential oil in dropper bottle.
- Apply 2-3 drops under each arm before applying a natural aluminum-free deodorant.
- Continue using this serum for a few weeks to allow your body to adjust. Resume use if any skin irritation occurs.
Balance Out the PH: This one is a biggie. If you have tried the things above and still have a rash, then the baking soda has probably caused your PH to get all wacky (basking soda is alkaline). To help balance it out you can use apple cider vinegar which is acidic. To do this, just add a 1:4 ratio of apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s) to water. I like to put mine in a spray bottle and just spray it on right before applying my natural deodorant. If you have just shaved, wait at least 30 minutes before applying so that it doesn’t irritate your skin more.
Disclaimer: Please remember that I am not a doctor. These are some things that have worked for me and my hopes in sharing them here are that they might help you as well.