Reality check: The deodorant you're using is probably toxic (and not in the fun, Britney Spears way). The word is still out on whether slathering chlorohydrate, parabens, propylene glycol and triclosan under your arms once a day is causing any serious harm—but if you’d rather be safe than sorry, here are five things you need to know before you make the switch to the natural stuff.
1. You might need to detox your armpits first
Yep, it’s a thing. Although it’s not medically proven to actually expel any toxins, proponents believe that treating your armpits to a mask containing bentonite clay is a great way to prevent those “I’m so smelly, I can’t take this anymore” moments that happen when your skin hasn’t yet acclimated to natural deodorant. When we made the switch, we created our own version of a detox, using a peppermint sugar scrub in the shower a few times a week, then washing under our arms with Naturopathica’s Sicilian Bergamot Shower Gel. (Spoiler: It worked great.)
2. At first, your underarms might feel like a desert
After using natural deodorant for a few weeks, the skin under our arms began feeling dry—a little too dry, in fact. Because baking soda is a common active ingredient in natural deodorant, this is actually a pretty common symptom. Luckily, there’s an easy solution: Moisturize liberally after showering, and allow it to soak in for a few minute before applying natural deodorant. We love this ultra-soothing Nourishing Lavender Milk by Farmaesthetics.
3. You might need to apply it more than once a day
Depending on how much you sweat, the days of waltzing from work to drinks to dinner to the gym with only one deodorant swipe under each arm may be over. Because you’re no longer plugging up your sweat glands with aluminum, you might need to reapply once or twice throughout the day. In our opinion, the extra effort is totally worth it—just stash a backup in your purse and get used to the new routine.
4. There's no one-size-fits-all deodorant for everyone
While you might be tempted to just use the most popular kind and stick with it, most people have to try a few brands with different active ingredients before finding the right natural deodorant. We started with Vapour Organic Beauty AER Next Level Deodorant, which we love but do need to apply more than once a day. Tara Foley, founder of the clean beauty mecca Follain, swears by Soapwalla Deodorant Cream. “It works better than any other option for my particular body chemistry,” she says. “I stay dry and fresh for longer than I do with most other options.” Jules Hunt of the wellness and lifestyle blog Om & the City is a huge proponent of Lavanila. The moral of the story? Keep testing out natural brands and eventually you’ll find your perfect match.