As much as I love natural and organic beauty, switching over to a totally natural beauty routine isn't always easy. Take deodorant. Switching to natural deodorant can be a difficult transition. Sure, there are some great and obvious pros to making the change: No chemicals or metals building up on your skin that could potentially cause some harm, and no more pit stains from your sweat mixing with aluminum. But, as many who have tried switching from aluminum-based deodorants to natural ones have probably found, the transition can come with some extra sweat and body odor.
Seems a little counterintuitive (and disappointing) that a deodorant could make you smell worse. So to find out how to make the switch while continuing to smell fresh, I emailed with Tara Pelletier, co-founder of Meow Meow Tweet, and Hume Merritt, Brand Director for Nubian Heritage. According to Merritt, "When you make the switch to a natural deodorant, there can be a transitional period of two weeks or more." So just because the first few days seem like you're sweating or even smell worse than usual, don't give up just yet. Continued use should come with improvement. And there's a reason it takes some time for your body to transition.
According to Pelletier, when using natural deodorant, "your skin wants to clear itself of any unnecessary buildup," and it's the buildup of excess product and/or bacteria residue that causes unwanted odor. Even though natural deodorant creates an environment where bacteria can't thrive, says Pelletier, it helps to cleanse, condition, and balance your underarms during your transition to minimize and even eliminate BO.
Merritt recommends washing your underarms "daily with hot water and soap, leaving the soap under your arms for 30 seconds to reduce bacteria." It can also be helpful, he adds, to gently exfoliate your underarms with a loofah or brush. This will help remove any dry skin that may have been holding in odor-causing bacteria.
After cleansing, Pelletier recommends using a product that will moisturize and balance the pH of your underarms, as this will also help mitigate odor and keep your pits comfortable.
But the most important thing you can do when switching from a traditional deodorant to a natural one is be patient. Yes, it may seem like your body is rejecting your natural deo in the first few days or even weeks, but it's just adjusting. As long as you keep your underarms clean and conditioned, and maybe stick to light, breathable fabrics during the transition, you'll soon be able to experience all the benefits a natural deodorant has to offer.