Whether you’re looking to use more natural ingredients on your skin or are hoping to find a plastic free alternative to your current deodorant, switching to a natural deodorant is going to be your main option.
For some people, switching to natural deodorant may be as easy as swapping the products you use, for others, there may be a little bit more you need to know about transitioning to natural deodorants (and what results you can expect) before making the switch.
What’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant?
Deodorants are designed to do exactly what it says on the tin (or rather, stick), deodorise your armpits by neutralising and/ or masking your natural scent. Antiperspirant, on the other hand, is designed to prevent (or limit) the amount of sweat that your underarms produce (as it’s the bacteria that develops in your sweat that contributes to body odour). Antiperspirants usually have deodorising properties thrown in for good measure too.
Some people do not like that antiperspirants block your bodies natural sweating process, others may be uncomfortable with the types of ingredients that are used to achieve this. This is why the ingredients in natural deodorant do not tend to be chosen to work in the same way as an antiperspirant. There are natural ingredients that can help promote dryness and fight odour-causing bacteria, but natural deodorant is not designed to offer the same levels of dryness as antiperspirant.
If you’re looking to swap purely because you wish to reduce the amount of single use plastic in your personal care routine (and are hoping for a plastic free product that works in exactly the same way as your current antiperspirant), unfortunately we haven’t found a plastic free alternative just yet (but we’re not against stocking them if we do find a suitable one).
Transitioning to natural deodorant
If you have been using regular antiperspirants and want to switch to natural or plastic free alternatives, you may find there is a transition phase when swapping between these products.
In fact, you may find that when you first use a natural deodorant, it might seem like it doesn’t work for you at all. This is because your underarms are becoming used to the lack of ‘sweat blocking’ ingredients and it may take a little time for them to adjust.
As your underarms will now be allowed to perspire whilst using natural deodorant, it’s likely that you will sweat more and therefore there will be more of the body odour-causing bacteria present. Because of this, you may notice your body odour (when you didn’t before), or even feel that it has increased during this time.
For many people, these experiences last for about 2-4 weeks when they first start using natural deodorant (hence why it is known as a transition phase). Once your body adjusts to the ingredients of your natural deodorant, you should experience better results whilst using it.
The ingredients regularly used in natural deodorant
Although natural deodorants are unlikely to have the full antiperspirant power that you may be used to, there are plenty of clever, natural ingredients that are added in to promote dryness (as well as for their antibacterial properties).
Ingredients such as bicarbonate of soda (otherwise known as baking soda or sodium bicarbonate), arrowroot powder and activated charcoal powder are all commonly found in natural deodorants to help your underarms feel drier whilst wearing them.
Natural deodorants are most commonly scented with essential oils, rather than synthetic fragrances. If you are looking to use a natural deodorant whilst pregnant, breastfeeding or are looking to purchase it for a young person under the age of 12, it’s best to check with a Doctor about the essential oils in your product first. Not all essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children.
Natural deodorants for sensitive skin
Whilst bicarbonate of soda is beneficial for helping your underarms to stay dry, you should be cautious of this ingredient if you have sensitive skin, or haven’t used it on your skin before.
Bicarbonate of soda can alter the pH level of your skin which can lead to skin irritation. This irritation may occur immediately or may take a couple of weeks of using a product with baking soda as an ingredient to show up. You may notice an itching and/ or burning sensation under your arms, a rash, bumpy skin, or the skin may become discoloured (usually temporarily) and may even peel away. Doesn’t sound great does it?
In all honesty, that’s why we only currently stock deodorants that are bicarb free, because what’s the point of using natural ingredients on your skin if they’re going to cause irritation?
If you’re looking for a natural deodorant that is bicarb free, we currently stock the full range of vegan deodorant balms from Happy Holistics. They’re available in Citrus, Soothing lavender or Fresh mint scents. Each deodorant comes in a plastic-free paperboard tube which makes application a little more convenient, as the tubes are biodegradable it means the packing is low waste too.