When I shared my fave natural deodorant last week, I asked if you guys would want a post about how I was able to make the switch. As someone who’s tried multiple times to give up antiperspirants and deodorants that contain icky ingredients, I know that the struggle is real. I don’t even know how many times I’ve tried to make the switch… sometimes my attempt was more successful than others. But then eventually I’d always switch back. This fall, I was finally able to switch to natural deodorant — and today I am sharing HOW with you!
How To Switch to Natural Deodorant Once and For All
I should start by saying that I started my switch to natural deodorant after I was discharged from the hospital for my pneumothorax. At that point, I’d been in the hospital for a week without any form of deodorant at all, so I figured it would be a good time to start. I also had to cancel all travel and meeting obligations because of my post-op recovery, so again… it felt like an ok time to be stinky.
Be prepared for the detox phase
It can take at least 4 weeks for your body to detox from traditional aluminum perspirants and get used to a natural product. Of course, each body is different, so for me it took about 3 weeks. The first week I used this Ursa Major Hoppin’ Fresh deodorant because it’s a brand I usually really like and it had good reviews online. I started using it right away and noticed that I didn’t get super stinky right away. In the past, I would sometimes get this weird cat pee smell after an hour or two… which would then make me switch back to the bad stuff! I never got that with this one thankfully.
I did notice that my pits were a bit damper than usual around week 2, but looking back I think that was from the deodorant I was using (more about that later in this post). This is also the body’s way of flushing out toxins, so I was mentally prepared for it. I also read that week 2 of the detox phase is when the potential for odor peaks. Thankfully, I didn’t have that experience, but you should be aware! As each week progressed, the odor strength decreased… it was simply a matter of waiting it out and being prepared.
Use witch hazel
Speaking of being prepared… the reason your armpits get stinky is because of odor-causing bacteria. As you continue to use natural deodorant instead of an antiperspirant, the moisture levels and bacteria levels begin to normalize, meaning that your body will stop over-producing the odor-causing icky stuff!
When I was on the go, I carried a small spray bottle of witch hazel. It’s a natural astringent that helps to kill bacteria — aka what is causing the odor under your arms! I was always so surprised by how quickly it helped to eliminate odor on the go. You can also carry the natural deodorant with you, but I found that witch hazel usually held me over until I could get home.
Use charcoal to help detox
Another helpful tip for successfully switching to natural deodorant is to use charcoal. It works by drawing out odor-causing impurities like bacteria and oil… like a face mask! I read that some people use activated charcoal deodorant to ease the transition. Megababe even made a charcoal mask specifically designed to make switching to a natural deodorant easier! It contains kaolin clay as well to help with removing impurities and glycolic acid to exfoliate.
Wear natural fibers
During the transition, I highly recommend wearing natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, and linen. They are so much more breathable. Also, typically these fabrics are machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about a huge dry cleaning bill.
Try a few different kinds
Honestly, it took me a few tries until I found an aluminum-free deodorant that worked with my body chemistry. For the past 3 months, I’ve been using this Tom’s of Maine Natural Strength deodorant in fresh sage — and I LOVE IT. Full disclosure, they sent it to me to try out, but I would have bought it regardless to try out. And will be buying it for my daily use going forward! Not only does it work really well, but my pits stay dryer and smell good for way longer than 24 hours. It even lasts through my spin class.
In summary, it can take about 30 days to fully 30 detox and switch to natural deodorant. I feel like in the grand scheme of things, that isn’t so bad since the aluminum alone in antiperspirant has been linked to so many health concerns. The one thing to keep in mind is that you will still sweat. You’re no longer literally plugging up the pores in your armpit with aluminum, so that will still happen. But the key difference is that you won’t stink, especially the further you get outside of the transition. I’ll be the first to admit that when I have something particularly nerve-wracking coming up (like a speaking engagement), I switch back to my old antiperspirant. But on a day-to-day basis, I am really happy that I’ve finally been able to make the switch to natural deodorant!
Have you switched to natural deodorant? What was your transition like and do you have any tips to share?? Let me know in the comments!