Switching to Natural Deodorant: Detoxing Your Armpits - Thyme Is Honey

Note: I first wrote this blog post as a contributor at Beauty Bets back in August of 2017, but I am republishing it here to help keep some of my favorite work together. Enjoy!

I feel like I’ve been trying to switch to natural deodorant for the past 3 or 4 years (or like…6/7 now!). I’d find or hear about a natural deo that sounded promising. I’d buy it. I’d start using it. I’d get super smelly, sore armpits, or a rash and switch back to my conventional deodorant for a few months. Repeat.

Are you stuck in this cycle, too? It seems we aren’t alone because I recently saw an online thread where many people were lamenting about the struggle to make the switch, with all of us having the same symptoms. That’s when someone suggested giving your armpits the same grace you give your face, and recognizing that after years of slathering them in toxic ingredients they’ll need the same detox process that your face needs when you switch to cleaner skincare or makeup….with the caveat that unlike your face your armpits might also smell pretty funky in the process.

WHY YOU SHOULD SWITCH

But before we dive into the how, let’s talk about why you should switch to a natural deodorant. In a nutshell: sweating is a natural bodily process. It’s one of the ways our body removes waste. Not allowing this process to take place can result in disease and other health concerns. In our society (especially in the US) it’s not only considered “gross” to have body odor but even just perspiration, which means that most Americans wear a deodorant + antiperspirant combo — a combination that keeps you from smelling AND from releasing moisture! Of course, that doesn’t sound good for your health to begin with, but the other issue is that conventional brands are loaded with harmful ingredients in order to keep you dry and smelling fresh (the most common ones are aluminum, phthalates, triclosan, parabens, fragrances + more…so check your labels).

It’s in the interest of your health to switch to a natural deodorant ASAP! You might still get moisture under your arms, but this can be controlled by drying them throughout the day and wearing natural fabrics.

THE DETOX PROCESS

The switch can be a little rocky. If you’ve been wearing deodorant for years you’ll likely endure a period of 10-14 days where you smell a bit “ripe” and need to be proactive about controlling it. The steps outlined below are for a 1o-day armpit detox that will kind of guide you through this smelly period to get you to the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope it helps!

For ten days follow these simple Armpit Detox guidelines:

  1. Go without deodorant. If you absolutely need to apply deodorant for a big even or hard workout definitely use a natural one (my favorite is linked below!). But I really suggest trying to go 10 days without anything on your armpits to let them rest and reset.
  2. Try to wear natural-fibered tops (they’ll help keep you naturally cool and dry).
  3. Stayed hydrated (dehydration can lead to stronger body odors). Go to this post for all my favorite hydration tips
  4. At night, apply Thayer’s Witch Hazel to both armpits using a cotton pad (keeping a few witch hazel soaked cotton pads or paper towels in a ziplock bag in your purse is also a great way to get through those deodorant-free days. You can also try an all-natural wipe like these individually wrapped lavender ones from Goodwipes, which are great for keeping in your purse, desk, or car for a mid-day refresh). 
  5. Every 5 days I applied a Betonite Clay Mask for 15 minutes in the morning (this one is available at Whole Foods but this one on Amazon is also great). I recommend doing this in the morning, drinking 16 oz of water while the mask is on, and staying hydrated throughout the day. The water will help aid in the detox process by flushing your system. I prefer this over putting on the mask and then going to sleep.

After this 10-Day Armpit Detox process, you should have managed to avoid the worst of rashes, stinging armpits, or smells and hopefully made a permanent transition to a healthy deodorant. But try not to stop the pit pampering there—exfoliate them, apply natural oils or moisturizers to them before bed. Keep up with an occasional bentonite clay mask. And of course, go deodorant free whenever you have the chance!

A slight rash or some discoloration could still occur while your armpits detox, but this process will hopefully help speed up the process while providing a very thorough detox that helps improve the condition of your precious little pits and prep them for a lifetime of safe, natural deodorant.

Switching to Natural Deodorant: Detoxing Your Armpits

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