Integrative Nutrition Blog
A Guide to Natural Deodorants
If you wake up with smelly armpits or start to stink after a workout class or stressful presentation, you’re not alone. It’s really common to have body odor, especially when there’s a trigger, such as stress or sweat, which can make it worse. So, should you be buying deodorant in the store? Are certain types of natural deodorants better or more effective?
In general, some deodorant brands do contain chemicals, which can be harmful. “You want to avoid any deodorants with toxins such as aluminum, p-dichlorobenzene, and/or phthalates. I can’t recommend any certain brands as I make my own natural paste, finding it to be the most effective and affordable. I also rest assured knowing that there are no hidden ingredients and my skin is being protected from toxins,” says Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC, founder of DrAxe.com and bestselling author of Eat Dirt.
“Regarding p-dichlorobenzene, it’s a carcinogen found in mothballs and deodorant blocks. It is linked to liver and nerve damage,” says Axe. And, “phthalates are chemical compounds that are often added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity.” Phthalates are common in many cosmetic and food products – and they’re prevalent in the environment.
So, which are the best ones to use? Axe makes his own natural deodorant – recipe below!
Total Time: 5 minutes (Yield: 30–90 applications)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 40–60 drops essential oil of your choice (scent recommendations for females: sage, lemon, and lavender oil; for males: cypress, rosemary, and bergamot oil)
- Empty deodorant containers
1. Put coconut oil in bowl. Mix in baking soda, then add essential oils. Mix well.
2. Store in a deodorant container or glass jar. Keep in a cool place (coconut oil will melt).
3. To apply, dab with fingers and rub or roll onto underarms. Wait a couple of minutes before contact with fabric.
4. For best results, use twice daily.
As an alternative, you can try this Homemade Probiotic Deodorant Recipe.
Coconut oil will moisten skin and boost hydration, so it’s a great base. And the essential oils are beneficial for health and skin and can easily prevent body odor.
“Essential oils are good for deodorant because they stop part of the process that causes body odor, known as bromhidrosis. When bacteria on the skin starts to break down the proteins found in your sweat, an unpleasant odor occurs,” he says.
You’ll also want to hit all the spots with these oils. “It’s most common in the groin, armpits, and around the nipples, because the apocrine glands in those areas release very high-protein sweat. Antibacterial essential oils such as lemongrass and tea tree oil can help to destroy the bacteria on the skin in these areas, preventing those bacteria from breaking down the sweat proteins and, in turn, helping decrease or eliminate body odor,” he explains.
Branded All-Natural Deodorants
If you don’t want to make your own but still want a natural option, there are a few you can purchase.
“Natural deodorants contain ingredients such as clays, minerals, essential oils and arrowroot powder, and sodium bicarbonate; which are all ingredients that are easily accessible in a local health food store. This is an additional benefit because the consumer knows exactly what is in their deodorant,” says CEO and founder of Bubbly Moon Naturals, Marshalla Ramos-Inde. Her sea clay and shea butter deodorant is beneficial over store-bought brands because it contains ingredients that are made to be gentle for sensitive skin.
Another one? “Bali Secrets Natural Deodorant accomplishes a strong deodorant effect without the use of harmful aluminum or chlorohydrate. Thanks to natural powerful ingredients like seaweed extract, essential oils, aloe vera, and natural mineral salt, this deodorant gets the job done in a vegan, gluten-free package – far safer than you'd get from the big-name deodorant purveyors,” says Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics.
“Schmidt’s Deodorant is another option. It disregards aluminum and other harmful ingredients but utilizes botanical powders in order to provide a powerful deodorant experience. Schmidt’s also utilizes natural ingredients to achieve a wide range of natural scents – this is highly preferred by individuals who prefer a natural scent to an artificial one,” Backe says.
Read labels on these natural brands or whip up your own deodorant at home – it’ll be safe, effective, and a lot cheaper, too.
What are your favorite deodorant brands or homemade recipes? Please share below!