6 tips: switching from antiperspirant to natural deodorant

Woman putting natural deodorant on underarm

If the weather is still chilly where you are, now is the perfect time to get started on the switch from toxin-filled, potentially cancer-causing antiperspirant to a safer natural deodorant. I say this because the heat of summer is not exactly the time to work on preventing body odor while using natural products that work differently than what you’ve been accustomed to using. Get used to the difference now and you’ll be a pro by the time the warm weather kicks in and you rely more heavily on your natural odor preventing routine.

It takes a little bit of experimentation to figure out what works for your body in a natural deodorant. If you’ve been using antiperspirant, you are accustomed to not sweating. A deodorant will allow you to sweat. The right deodorant will take care of the odor that the sweat would cause, but not the moisture. It took me a while to get used to that feeling, but after a while I learned to accept the way my body functions naturally.

Below are 6 tips that will help your transition from antiperspirant to deodorant go more smoothly:

1. Watch what you eat. If you are putting a lot of processed foods, white flour, heavy meats, and sugar into your body, the sweat that comes out is going to smell worse. Sweat is your pores’ waste, and if you are putting junk in, you’ll get junk out. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a minimum of red meat and you will see a reduction in your body odor overall, even without deodorant.

2. Watch what you wear. Sleeveless tops are now your friends. Any shirt or top that fits tightly around the underarm is NOT. Think layers of looser fitting jackets or sweaters over tank tops, even in the summer. Or just a tank top. Whatever you do, avoid long sleeved body suits. Remember, any time you perspire there will be moisture.

3. Shave your underarms every day. Let me be the first to tell you that even though I am a fitness instructor and wear capri workout pants multiple times a week…I rarely shave my legs. Too much effort! But when it comes to underarms, I never take a break. Hair traps bacteria and, therefore, odor. Having any length of hair in your underarm area will exacerbate the odor causing bacteria that you want to avoid. So take a few seconds every morning to shave. Guys, I don’t know what to tell ya…societal norms just aren’t on your side on this one. If shaving that often becomes irritating, you might try this DIY deodorant for sensitive skin from my friends Kelly and Tamara.

4. Find a brand that works for you. Everyone’s body chemistry is different. What works for me (crystal deodorant first, followed by Nature’s Gate solid – affiliate link) might not work for you, so experiment. But not with Tom’s of Maine. I have heard from multiple readers and personal friends (as well as from my husband) that Tom’s of Maine’s “natural” deodorants are terribly, terribly ineffective overall. I realize that this brand is the easiest to obtain because it is manufactured by Colgate and is therefore in Walmarts and Targets nationwide, but please avoid it. Try nearly any other brand but this brand. Seriously. Trust me. Check GoodGuide and the EWG SkinDeep database for brand recommendations.

5. Try teas. In the summer, drinking iced peppermint tea (affiliate link) or other mint teas will help to naturally cool your body from the inside, helping you to sweat less. In the winter, try warm teas such as chamomile to help calm and keep you hydrated.

6. Be committed. Because this is going to take some experimentation, keep your goals in mind. Why are you taking steps to clean your body and the way you live? For your health? For your children? Due to pregnancy or holistic treatment of chronic illness? Whatever the reasons are, realize that they will not change even when you encounter challenges.

I’d love for you to make the switch with me, and hopefully these tips will help with the transition.
Please let me know in the comments or via Facebook or Twitter if you do make the switch!

6 thoughts on “6 tips: switching from antiperspirant to natural deodorant

  1. Sonya Kanelstrand says:

    I am with you on shaving, helps quite a lot! I’ve been using a crystal for a while now and it seems to work. I was also thinking of trying to make my own natural deodorant with coconut oil, sea salt and tea tree.

  2. Tanya says:

    I’m already on board!I started making my own natural deodorant about a year ago. I will never go back to the chemicals and aluminum versions. For the first time I was able to raise my arms with confidence that I wasn’t going to offend someone. I don’t care about the “damp” feeling, it was the odor I couldn’t handle. I was using those “prescription strength” brands. The recipe I use is coconut oil, beeswax, baking soda, corn starch, grapefruit seed extract and essential oils of my choice.

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