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In May of last year I began an experiment to find the best natural deodorant.
Actually, switching to a natural deodorant was my first step in a journey to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals in products I use daily.
I don’t sweat a lot, but over the years I have had to jump between deodorant brands multiple times because I couldn’t seem to find one that worked. Well, one that didn’t leave me smelling stinky by lunch time.
I have tried everything from regular women’s deodorant to men’s deodorant to clinical strength, and they all get the job done for a couple of weeks and then stop doing what they’re designed for — keeping me fresh and odor-free. It’s super annoying and pretty gross to walk around for half the day feeling like I can’t raise my arms because of possible BO.
Finally, I was fed up with deodorant hopping and decided to make this important lifestyle change.
In doing research at the beginning of this process, I learned my body’s PH was most likely off-balance and the smell I was experiencing under my arms was probably from my deodorant mixing with the natural bacteria in my armpits.
Plus, deodorants are full of all kinds to bad-for-you ingredients that have been linked to a range of health issues including breast cancer and fertility issues (not looking for a debate, but I do encourage everyone do their own research on the common chemicals found in regular deodorants and the health issues they can cause). Naturally, because my husband and I have been trying to conceive and haven’t had success, my ears perked up when I began reading about the link between deodorant and fertility.
I have known for a long time now that deodorant is one of the most toxic products we put on our bodies, but I have never committed myself to switching to a natural one (or one that is at least free of aluminum). Several years ago I had a failed attempt at trying one of the most popular natural deodorant brands. This bad experience ultimately scared me away from natural deodorants until now.
So, I did more research … and more research … and finally made the decision to switch out my deodorant for a natural product.
But, where should I start? Like I said above, I had already had a bad experience with a well-known natural deodorant brand, and I didn’t not want to repeat that.
In doing all of this research, I came across Katie Wells at Wellness Mama. I learned from her that if I wanted the best results as I began testing natural deodorants, I would need to first detox my pits.
Conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants contain a variety of chemicals and additives. It takes something un-natural to block the body’s natural ability to sweat— WELLNESS MAMA
Katie’s pit detox is a mixture of bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and water. The paste goes directly on your underarms and you let it dry before washing it off.
According to Katie, this armpit detox helps speed up the natural deodorant adjustment period while helping pull some of those toxic chemicals out of the skin and tissue of the armpits.
I thought, “What the hell,” and decided to give it a try.
I mixed up my bentonite clay, water, and apple cider concoction and had my husband spread it on my pits one night after I stepped out of the shower.
I was skeptical at first, but I now attribute my success of finding the best natural deodorant to this crucial first step. I could not believe how well it worked. After my first pit detox, I immediately noticed less sweat and less odor (even when I wasn’t wearing deodorant).
Since the detox worked, I repeated this step each time I started testing a new deodorant brand (typically, one time each month).
Now that my pits were detoxed of the junk left behind from my regular deodorant, I needed to find a natural product to test first.
My parameters for a natural deodorant were this: It had to be formulated without aluminum, propylene glycol, and parabens and phthalates, and I wanted it to cost as close to $10 as possible.
Since I didn’t really know where to begin, I started with one of the most popular natural deodorant brands on the market: Schmidt’s.
Schmidt’s Rose + Vanilla
This natural deodorant was the first one I tried when I began this journey in May 2018, just before we moved into our new house. Yes, I chose the beginning of the hot and humid summer season to transition to a natural deodorant.
I have to say, though, I like this particular product and how well it held up when put to the test during moving day. Even my husband was shocked at how good I smelled at the end of the day (or, how much I didn’t stink).
While it smells great, it didn’t always keep me as dry throughout the day as I prefer. Plus, around day five, I began noticing some discomfort under my arms. It turns out that the deodorant gave me a slight rash that cleared up on its own after a day or two, but it would randomly return here and there. However, the rash/discomfort wasn’t bad enough for me to feel like I needed to discontinue use.
Pros: Smells good; all-day odor protection
Cons: Caused minor rash that cleared up on its own without further problems; left yellow stains under arms of white shirts; not great wetness protection; rough and gritty texture
Smartypits Lavender & Rose
Sensitive Skin Formula
I love, love, love this product (and the name).
It was the second deodorant I tried, and it far outperformed Schmidt’s. I did opt for the sensitive skin version — it is made with magnesium instead of baking soda — since I developed a minor rash under my arms while using the previous one. I have had zero issues with Smartypits.
It is a thicker formula, which I had to adjust to. I think the thickness provides ample amounts of wetness protection, though. The scent is subtle enough that it is not overpowering, but still provides quality odor control.
The brand was developed by the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and is powered by prebiotics (food for good bacteria). Also, a portion of every sale is donated to breast cancer research & survivor support, and it is not tested on animals (that wasn’t an original parameter, but it made me appreciate this brand so much more).
Pros: Smells good & does not have an overpowering scent; all-day odor protection; does not leave yellow stains on white shirts
Cons: Thicker texture than I am used to
ACURE Lavender & Coconut
We have a winner with ACURE. I was actually sad when my first stick of this deodorant ran out but was excited to have landed on a product I loved, and I promptly ordered more of this one from acure.com.
I initially picked up this deodorant on a whim at my local Marshalls, never expecting to enjoy it as much as I do. I hadn’t even heard of the ACURE brand before stumbling across this product, but I am incredibly happy I found it as their skincare line has become one of my favorites.
I had zero issues or grievances with the ACURE Lavender & Coconut. The texture is buttery smooth from the coconut oil and glides on so softly (it isn’t gritty and rough like Schmidt’s).
I also tested their fragrance-free deodorant and loved it just as much.
Truly, I cannot recommend ACURE enough if you are switching to a natural deodorant.
Pros: Light scent that lasts all day but isn’t overpowering; wetness and odor protection; does not leave yellow stains on white shirts; smooth, gentle texture; cruelty free
Other deodorants I tested
(that didn’t make the cut)
JĀSÖN Nourishing Apricot
Alaffia Coconut Reishi Deodorant Lavender & Charcoal
I had the same problem with both of these: They did not work. They wore off before I even got to work each day. I tested each of them for about one week — hoping their quality would improve — before I had to give up on them.
OK, friends, I hope this summary helps you find a new deodorant if you are looking to make the switch to a more natural product. Honestly, now that I have been using it for about 8 months, I can’t imagine myself using anything else.
I know natural deodorant often has a bad reputation for whatever reason, but the trick is to find one that works for your unique body chemistry and do the armpit detox to help you adjust. What works for me might not work for you, but I encourage you to test different brands until you find your own winner.
Already have a natural deodorant you love? Let me know in the comments below.