Natural deodorant is en vogue at the moment, and for good reason. I won’t bore you with the details, but more evidence points to links between aluminum (the agent used in antiperspirants) and Alzheimers…and even some cancers. So for those of us that sparkle a little more throughout the day, what are the alternatives?
Enter the deodorant detox. I first heard this term during a tread workout at a trendy studio in Minneapolis; the instructor was doing a month-long deodorant detox. Turns out she had simply eliminated all antiperspirants for a month as a way to reset her sweat.
As a person who glistens throughout the day (read: I sweat a lot), this piqued my curiosity. Could simply not using antiperspirants actually reset your body? Sort of. But, as one that’s not OK with settling (life lessons of a divorcée), I decided to dig deeper. After researching natural sweat remedies, what causes B.O., and what each of the actives in antiperspirant actually do, I developed my own Deodorant Detox Protocol (TM), and it actually does reset your sweat. And now I’m here to share with my fellow Sweaty Betty’s.
But before we get started, there’s a couple things you should know.
Overall, this detox is going to be one of the easiest things you’ve done in your life. The results are long-lasting and incredibly beneficial to your long-term health.
But let’s talk about the dirty details: B.O. Naturally occurring bacteria that live in armpits feast on our dead skin cells and body sweat. When bacteria metabolize these components, the byproduct is body odor.
Antiperspirants are designed to stop the area from producing sweat so that the bacteria have less to feast on, but does nothing to actually address the bacteria levels. Over time, our bodies can become “immune” to the antiperspirant properties and start producing even more sweat. If you’ve ever had to switch antiperspirant brands because it’s “stopped working,” then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Now let’s get down to brass tacks and discuss what you can expect.
More Details You Didn’t Ask For
The one thing you’ll notice almost immediately is your newfound aroma. Don’t be alarmed, this isn’t your forever fragrance. As your body adjusts over the weeks, you’ll settle into your new odor and you may find that it isn’t even all that unpleasant!
But…for the first week or so, your body is truly going through a detoxifying period. All the chemicals, active agents and manufactured fragrances that are included in antiperspirants are now leaving your body. So it only makes sense that this comes with a certain “scent.”
Think of a really cheap perfume or lotion…it has that crappy manufactured-fragrance scent to it that can even give you a headache. Well your pits won’t be that bad, but it will smell like a poorly made fragrance, even when you’ve got nothing on! But if anything, this helps indicate that your body is expelling the chemicals and that has a scent of victory, my friend! As your body re-adjusts to its own sweat cycle and bacteria levels balance out, you’ll notice this scent quickly goes away.
During this time, splurge with some extra showers to help keep your armpits clean and to eliminate the extra odor. And once the detox is complete, you should find that your body has reset to normal (or even less than average) sweat levels, and that your personal, natural odor isn’t as bad as it used to be!
I went from using prescription antiperspirant (you heard that right) to only wearing deodorant occasionally. And the little I do sweat (or smell) is far less noticeable.
So let’s get started, shall we?
What You’ll Need
- Witch Hazel and cotton pads. Witch Hazel is a natural antimicrobial and astringent. It’s great for a myriad of applications including toner, cuts, and some rashes.
- Patience. As with any effective detox, there are some periods of unpleasantness. You really just need to get through the first week and then it’s smooth sailing.
- Charcoal soap. Charcoal is known for its detoxifying properties, which can aid in the Deodorant Detox Process. A good charcoal soap or exfoliant can help extract unwanted chemicals while also cleaning the area with its antibacterial properties.
- A natural deodorant. This is for use after the detox is complete. A good natural deodorant is pricier than an antiperspirant, but you’ll need less of it! Many deodorants contain baking soda as a natural alternative to aluminum, but it can cause irritation. I prefer deodorants without baking soda, and Apha Labs is a brand out of Australia that makes an amazing product. Lots of people also like Tom’s, Native or Agent Nateur.
- A natural salt scrub. Salts also have antimicrobial properties and are a great way to eliminate dead skin cells and debris.
Deodorant Detox Protocol
- Throw away all your antiperspirants because you’ll never need them again.
- Soak a cotton pad in Witch Hazel and thoroughly rub over your pits 3-4 times daily (or more…basically whenever you notice a smell, it’s hot out, you’re working out, etc.).
- Continue with the Witch Hazel rub for 6 weeks* (or up to 8 weeks if you’re extra sweaty like me!). This should be the only thing you apply to your pits for up to two months, with the exception of soap and exfoliation in the shower.
- Shower 1-2 times daily. Anything you apply to clean, open pores is going to be more effective. Applying Witch Hazel immediately after your shower will allow it to penetrate your pores deeper and quicker. Plus extra showers will help eliminate the unpleasant aromas that come at the beginning of the detox.
- Thoroughly lather and scrub with charcoal soap. This will help eliminate any buildup of bad bacteria in the area while resetting the acid mantle and balancing out the good bacteria.
- Exfoliate once weekly with a salt scrub. This helps reduce the buildup of dead skin cells, giving bacteria less to metabolize.
- Start using deodorant after the 6-8 weeks of Witch Hazel treatment. Once you’ve effectively treated your underarms, detoxed your body of its buildup of antiperspirants, and reset the area, you can begin using natural deodorant as needed.
Send us a message @MaJolieSociety and let us know how your detox goes!
*It’s important to continue the Witch Hazel protocol for the recommended length, to ensure the good bacteria has a chance to replicate and squeeze out the bad bacteria. Plus your body is going antiperspirant free for the first time in likely years, so this extra reprieve is good for you.