Somewhere along my pre-pubescent journey, there was a point where exotic aromas began to emanate from my armpits. It was time to start using deodorant. Being the precocious little girl that I could sometimes be, I told my mom that I wanted deodorant, not antiperspirant. After a short conversation to be sure I knew the difference, she brought me an Arm & Hammer roll-on deodorant. It was the brand I used for many years.

Now, (clearing throat) a few years later I am back to where I began, using deodorant, not antiperspirant. My reasoning is similar and I’m armed with additional information. This return to deodorant use began last summer as part of a quest to reduce my toxic load. We’ll talk more about that another time, but basically, I chose to reduce my exposure to chemical and synthetic ingredients that are potentially harmful to overall health. It is virtually impossible to eliminate everything affecting your toxic load because there is so much that factors into it. I began with personal care items like bath soap, toothpaste, and antiperspirant.

Antiperspirants prevent sweat, which is a natural and healthy bodily function. It helps to cool the body and eliminate toxins. Also, antiperspirants usually contain some fragrance (usually synthetic/lab-created) to combat odor. This odor results from bacteria on the skin interacting with whatever the body eliminates through the skin via sweat. The use of lab-created fragrance has been linked to health concerns like endocrine disruption which carries with it health implications too many and complex to cover in this post.

Most of us use an underarm product daily to combat odor and wetness. The underarm area is reported to absorb 100% of what we put on it. It is also home lymph nodes, little hubs along the body’s lymphatic super-highway. Without giving you biology class flashbacks, there a few essential things to know about our lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small structures that work as filters for harmful substances. They contain immune cells that can help fight infection by attacking and destroying germs that are carried through the lymph fluid.1  Allowing the body to sweat is vital to the efficient functioning of the body’s cooling and eliminating processes.

For the last eight months I have researched and personally tested a variety of natural deodorants. By natural, I mean products that don’t contain toxic chemicals. It is no secret that conventional antiperspirants and deodorants are infamous for their toxicity and some of their ingredients linked to things like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and endocrine disruption. Natural deodorants, on the other hand, allow the body to sweat, contain skin-soothing ingredients, and reduce the toxic load by eliminating exposure to chemicals. Bonus: They work! But all are not created equal.  Doing your homework is essential. Some brands tout their products as natural but use synthetic fragrance. Others claim to be natural but use ‘proprietary’ blends of ingredients, with no additional explanation. During my search, ingredient transparency and disclosure were very important. If I didn’t know what something was, didn’t know why it was used and couldn’t find out, the product was a ‘NO’ for me. Understanding that different things matter to us when choosing products of any type, here are a few things to be aware of when selecting a natural deodorant:

  • Natural deodorants come in the form of cream, roll-on, stick, spray, and wipes.
  • Many natural deodorants contain baking soda as an ingredient, which can be an irritant to those with sensitive skin. Most brands offer options for sensitive skin. If you’re sensitive, you may want to try no B.S. (baking soda) versions.
  • Some brands use coconut oil. If you have nut allergies or an allergy to coconut specifically, you might want to avoid this variety.
  • If you are a vegan or vegetarian, be aware that beef tallow (a nourishing and vitamin-rich rendered fat). Be sure to check product ingredients.

Making the switch to natural deodorant is a personal and relatively simple choice. There are a plethora of brands available to choose from with a price range that can vary from $7.00 to $26.00, depending on the brand. Natural deodorants are sold in local drugstores, specialty markets, brand websites, and other Internet shopping hubs. Again, not all are equal. What will work for you may send you screaming from your teenager’s presence. I’m. Just. Saying. Likewise, what works for your best friend may not work for you. Trial and error may be a part of your quest to find the right fit. In addition to finding the right fit, here are some tips to help you once you’ve found it:

  • Follow the directions for usage. Using too much or too little can affect the effectiveness of the deodorant or may irritate unnecessarily.
  • This one may be obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway. Always use deodorant on clean underarms. Again, IJS.
  • Be prepared for a transition period. Some call it a detox period, but whatever you call it; there will be a period when your body
    adjusts to natural deodorant use. During this time you may experience more underarm dampness, sensitivity, or odor depending on your body chemistry and other factors.
  • Hydration matters. Being properly hydrated helps to dilute the toxins eliminated through the skin. Proper hydration can be especially helpful during the transition period.
  • Be patient! You’ve been using products that prevent odor and sweat for a long time. If you think back, it probably took a while to settle on your favorite conventional product. The same may apply when choosing a natural deodorant.

If you need a starting point to find a natural deodorant that suits your taste see the list below. Most have formulations for men and women, but there are some specifically for men indicated with (m).

Primally Pure
Ursa Major
Meow Meow Tweet
Herbman (m)
Agent Nateur
Kaia Naturals
Nature’s Gate
Desert Essence
For Pit’s Sake (m)
Routine Natural Deodorant
Arm & Hammer
The Crystal Deodorant Stick (m)
Primal Pit Paste
Soda Wax
Green Tidings All-Natural (m)
Sam’s Natural (m)
Nasanta Magnesium Deodorant (m)


Happy hunting. Make the switch for pit’s sake!




1American Cancer Society,, “Lymph nodes and what they do.”


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The Wellness CornerMaking the Switch to Natural Deodorant