Natural deodorant is growing in popularity, and it is no wonder, with the amount of research out there now highlighting the detrimental effect that the commercial stuff has on humans. Some of the key ingredients in many commercial deodorants that you want to be avoiding include aluminium, fragrance, BHT, propane etc… See this link for more info on my list of the worst offending chemicals.
There are some excellent brands of deodorant balms out there. These companies genuinely have our best interests at heart. So, if DIY isn’t an option for you, don’t think that you don’t have other/better choices to make. I highly recommend heading over Biome or Flora and Fauna - I trust that these guys have our best interests at heart.
But, I am obviously here to encourage you to have a go at making it yourself. If you haven’t given it a go yet, I can guarantee that once you have tried it, or watched how easy it is (check out my online course - Chemical Awareness: education and DIY body care essentials), you will realise that it isn’t as daunting as it sounds.
For those of you who have tried, you're either loving it from the get-go, or you need a little help fine-tuning. Here are some tips on transitioning to natural deodorant, so you will find nothing but success from your DIY natural deodorant venture.
TIP 1 - When starting out
I am a bit of an all-or-nothing girl, so when I made the transition to natural deodorant around 3 years ago, I went cold-turkey. I applied some deodorant that morning, played a hard and fast game of netball, and was so pleased to learn that my deodorant worked! I shared my recipe with quite a few friends and the testimonies were a little bit ego-inflating!
If you’re a little doubtful and want to play it safe, try natural deodorant on a day you’ll be home, calm and not under pressure to avoid BO. Starting in winter is also a good idea as we sweat less when it is cold.
TIP 2 - Avoid staining of clothing and only apply a small smear
Check out how much is on my finger in this image; that is enough for both pits (actually, I use even less now). Any more than that and you’ll have the paste transferring to your clothing. If this tip comes too late for you, and your clothes are a little stained already, try one of my stain removal recipes. There is a paste and a solution. They’re both brilliant!
TIP 3 - Boost your deodorant with Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
There are days when I know I am going to be busy, hot and on-the-go, and on those days, I boost my deodorant with Melaleuca (Tea Tree). First, scoop out a little paste, smear it on your two index fingers, then drop the essential oil onto one, rubbing both fingers together and applying to your armpits.
TIP 4 - Body odour – start with the source
Good hygiene practice (ahhh, showers) is obvious, right? But do you know that the foods you eat, and the health of your body, in general, makes a huge difference to your BO? Also, the types of clothing you wear may have an effect on your BO. I personally find that cheap, synthetic fabrics, do not do me any favours.
TIP 5 - We need to sweat
Don’t forget that we need to sweat, so enough with the 'this deodorant doesn't work, I'm still sweating' business. Ingredients that stop that natural bodily process need to go. Natural deodorant will not stop you from sweating, and that has to be ok.
TIP 6 - Don’t feel guilty
If you wear (or want to wear) natural deodorant, but you have an important event to attend, and it’s just not an option to simply change your outfit to something that hides sweaty patches on the armpit sections of your clothing (I’m thinking weddings, presentations, etc), then don’t feel bad about using something else. Of course, I would hope that no one has to resort to the chemical stuff, but if it feels like the only option you have, just do it and own that decision (as a once-off, hopefully!). The stress we put ourselves under does more harm than the occasional ‘slip off the bandwagon’.
TIP 7 - Wet wipe mid-day
When starting out, you may feel a little unsure and even sceptical about your new deodorant's performance, so a mid-day wet wipe over your pits may be your saviour. Wipe and reapply.
TIP 8 - Bicarb can be irritating for some
If you find that you’re starting to develop a rash from natural deodorant, it could be the sodium bicarbonate (aka bicarb) that is bothering you. I can only advise that you stop for a while and try again when the rash has subsided, or switch to one of these low-carb or carb-free recipes.
TIP 9 - Anxiety and stress contributes to body odour
I was having such great success from using my natural deodorant recipe that I was totally thrown about 18 months ago when I flew to Vegas solo and could smell BO! I remember the feelings of overwhelm and anxiety that consumed me, leaving my kids in Perth while I globe-trotted for work. Since then, there have been a few occasions where I have noticed that even my amazing natural deodorant hasn’t cut the mustard for me, and each time, the common factor was mega-stress. It’s worth keeping this in mind.
TIP 10 - Try a pit detox
If you have tried many or most of these suggestions and you’re still struggling, it is worth trying some gentle dry brushing* and a pit detox. There is a recipe in The Inspired Little Book, but basically, it is a paste made from bentonite clay and water or apple cider vinegar, which you’ll leave on for 5-20 minutes, then rinse off. Massaging your underarms will help to promote lymphatic drainage, the paste will help to clear your pores, and this will certainly help with odour issues.
*If you are new to dry brushing, here's a simple explanation. Using a good quality body brush, start at your feet and work towards your heart, brushing in long, light strokes up your body. It can help exfoliate your skin, promote blood flow towards your heart and help with lymphatic drainage. Follow with a body cream and your skin will thank you for it!
Bonus Tip - Don't shave/wax then apply deodorant. It will sting!
Only a bonus tip because I forgot to add it sooner, AND I didn't want to change my graphics and blog title, AND 'Top 10 Tips' sounds better than 'Top 11 Tips', lol! When you shave or wax, you damage the delicate skin under your arms, creating little nicks. So, it is best to shave/wax the night before, and by morning, you shouldn't feel a sting when you apply deodorant. If you do, next time wait a little longer.
While it takes some people a while to fall in love with natural deodorant, those who get there, don’t look back. I know I haven’t. For me, it isn’t an option to use the toxic commercial stuff, and it won’t be an option for my children either. I do hope these tips help those of you who are struggling, and that someday soon you see and appreciate the awesomeness of DIY natural deodorant.