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Effective, Natural Deodorant is No Secret

Natural DeodorantMany of us are eating natural foods and buying more-natural body care products, but maybe haven't made the mighty leap to natural deodorant. Are you worried it doesn't work? Tune in to hear what makes natural deodorants effective and why it's time to switch. Malia Curran, MS, MPH, is a nutrition and health consultant. For a summary of this and our other summer podcasts, click here!

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32 comments

Comments

Kandice says …

Thanks for posting this and at such perfect timing too. My 12 year old daughter and I are having the deodorant battle. I'm medically housebound becasue of severe chemical sensitivities and she is in public schools. We've been trying to get her to use one of the natural deodorants offered at Whole Foods Market or a homemade powder to prevent myself from having a major reaction in my own home. To my surprise her school and health teacher are teaching the students that it is NOT normal to sweat under your arms or produce any body odor?!?!?! I understand that some ingredients prevent you from sweating and I emphasize how unnatural and unhealthy this is. But a school teaching kids that it is un-normal to have/produce sweat under your arms? I'd question the health teachers curriculum if I was capable of stepping foot in the school. I wanted to thank you for posting this blog as I will be having my 12 year old daughter listen to it more than once. Maybe now we can convince her that a natural deodorant is acceptable verses one full of dangerous ingredients not tolerable in our household.

Ash says …

I have been taking a liquid chlorophyll supplement everyday for a few weeks now. It has been said to act as an internal deodorant, and I could not find any sources that even claimed there were health risks (only benefits) involved in taking this. Unfortunately it has not yet been beneficial in deodorizing (as far as I can tell), but I am thinking it might take at least a month or so to absorb in your body. I really have no idea and could not find any sources to support my claim. (If anyone has this information please let me know!)On the plus side, I have seen my energy levels go up and improvement in my digestive patterns.

Selena says …

Interesting podcast...I have to admit, though, that although I understand sweating is natural and performs an important purpose, when I've tried natural deodorants I've found that it makes me uncomfortable and not really able to go through my day without being distracted by the sweat and ruining my shirt. And that's not because my school has taught me that it's unnatural to sweat or smell, just because of my own preferences.

Karen says …

Seriously.. of course it's normal to sweat, but our society is not designed to accept such a thing and well let's face it, it's not a comfortable thing. If we were to sweat freely from our armpits, all of our clothes would be ruined. this is just stupid.. I have used several "natural deodorant" brands and they don't work any better than your run of the mill ones and in fact seemed to make the problem worse, including odor. On the other hand, there are real natural deodorants you can experiment with such as apple cider vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice to name a few.. um but seriously, people that think it's cool to sweat all over and all over their clothes are not the kind of people a monumental place like this should be trying to create. uh ew.

anna s. says …

I have been using baking soda for over a year and it works better than the commercial brands of deodorant. Some people get rashes from it, but I have very sensitive skin and it works great for me! It absorbs and deodorizes the sweat and also seems to cut down on the perspiration! Just a light powdering lasts all day!

Tina Deulen says …

I use a natural deodorant from Wholefoods that works great. With my father dying of alheimzer's I felt it important to not put additional chemicals under my arms next to my glands. Hmmm ever wonder why we have a surge in breast cancer? Metal products are absorbed, attached to body fat, and accumulates at toxic levels...hence free radicals gone array...my kids have switched too.

Brynne says …

I was disappointed by this podcast. I expected better of WF Market. This was a brief soundbite. There was no education, no intriguing spark to encourage listeners to seek out more complete information. I already understand how important it is to use chemical-free products. The podcast should have explained for novices that the skin absorbs substances, which make their way inside the body. A few sentences detailing the deadly and debilitating effects of aluminum would have been helpful. Want odorless sweat? Eat only organic food! It's that simple. It took me several months for the built-up toxins to be slowly released from my fat stores. But once they were gone, b.o. disappeared........Nice to see the board alive with discussion for once!

Sharon says …

Brynne, thanks! I have been eating organic since September, thought I had done more research than any scientist however, I missed one thing. To your comment on having no BO when you eat organic, it makes sense, I have been saying to my friends I work out and I have no BO. I don't wear deoderant because I don't sweat profusely as does my sister, never have but that is a personal thing. Back to my point, I now know why I have no body oder at least one that is not offensive or easily observed.

Cecilia says …

I spray witch hazel solution, which I purchased at WF, under my arms and then dust with baking soda. This works better than any commercially-produced deodorant, natural or not, I have ever used. And it's much cheaper!

chilloften says …

There is a wonderful natural deodorants at the store "Lush". I love the one with patchouli the most and it lasts a good long time and you never smell stinky, ever. I highly recommend it.

sharon says …

1/4 cup baking soda + 1/4 cup cornstarch + 2 tbsp coconut oil + 10 drops tea tree oil... best deodorant ever. try it!

Carol says …

Sharon, I plan to try your recipe. I didn't have any luck with any other natural deoderant that I tried, which has been many, until I started using a coconut oil based deoderant. This deoderant is better than any I have ever used. The price is outrageous though, so I am anxious to try!! I didn't try the Lush, as they still have some ingredients that I am trying to avoid. With our horribly, hot and humid weather here, I have been able to test it out well too!

sunsh1ne says …

My father also died of Alzheimers. His illness prompted me to remove aluminum from my world, as much as possible. I really like the Tom's of Maine deodorant. I live in the San Francisco bay area. Our climate is pretty mild. I think that makes it much easier to forgo antiperspirant. If we had really hot and humid weather, it might be much harder to make the switch. Also, I don't wear as many silk blouses to work these days; we dress much more causally. That is another thing that makes 'natural' easier.

sasha says …

Hi Everyone, Can you guys recommend natural deodorant/anti-antiperspirant that is available at a whole foods store without any chemicals like aluminum?

Eshel Even says …

You can also find very effective organic deodorants derived from 100% Natural ingredients, don't block exit of toxins and perspiration and yet provide perfect protection from the odor You can also find at lovlis.com a lot of more information regarding Natural Deodorants and health, Natural deodorants using and breast cancer and a lot of more studies and investigation regarding this issue.

says …

@Sasha We carry many aluminum-free deodorant options in our stores. Just take a look in our Whole Body department. :)

stephanie says …

i use aubrey organics deodorant it works fine for me! i stopped using drugstore deodorant about 6 years ago, i tried toms-didnt work crystals-i dont know what mineral salts are so i am cautious but they work baking soda-messy and it can be irritating but works..aubrey is my favorite! smells wonderfull easy to use all natural..also getting rid of hair under the arms and washing with soap gets rid of odor i agree that if you are internally healthy you will sweat without odor, but even so you will develop an odor if you dont bathe!!

Marika Resnik says …

You guys have saved my life. Due to Parkinsons, I cannot taste. the meds I take make me nauseous so I have no appetite. I began to skip breakfast and lunch, until I see the colorful foods and healthy suggestions, food looks good again. Though my appetite is still poor at least my interest in food is returning and that's the first step to eating better. If I'm going to eat I'll eat what's best for me, thanks to you.

andiscandis says …

I have purchased only cruelty-free body/hair care products, household cleaners, etc for over 15 years. The one glaring exception is deodorant. Most big name brands don't even work on me and I've yet to find a natural deodorant that hasn't been a total waste of money. With that said, I'm going to give Cecilia's witch hazel/baking soda method a try. It can't hurt.

denise says …

you claimed to have a remedy for a deodorant and when I clicked on "click here" you had some remedies but none for what you advertised for. Thanks again for another misleading website.

Marie says …

Wow, that was 2 minutes wasted. Aromaco deodorant by lush works VERY well. Even if you're already stinky when you put it on, it abdorbs all the stinkiness and you only have to put it on once. A deodorant you have to put more than once doesn't work lol

Shana says …

To Kandice - I cannot believe that your daughter's school is teaching kids that it is unnatural and unhealthy to sweat or produce body odor. I am a self-proclaimed freak about smelling good, but sweat and body odor are completely natural. They are signs that the body is functioning properly - sweating is your body's natural way of cooling itself off. Unusual bad or strong body odor is usually a sign of poor diet. For you - I am sure you are severely sensitive to chemicals! Everything from the foods we eat to the products we use on our skin are overrun with chemicals, additives, and fragrances. Our bodies are made to work best with those things found in nature. Continue to encourage your daughter use natural products as much as possible. It will not only help you from having severe reactions, but it will also help her body function much better throughout her life.

Beth says …

It was nice reading everyone's comments. My sister swears by the using crystal ball deodorant and chlorophyll tablets sold at Whole Foods. I will give both a try and hopefully write on this post in the future. I have just been tested as breast cancer free and wanted to start fresh by eliminating antipersperants in my life. Yay!

Chris says …

I was wondering what brands of deodorant there are available to buy? I have been trying to find natural deodorant but just haven't found one yet. I thought I did when I bought Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant because it didnt have aluminum and parabens, but it has EDTA and (di) propylene glycol in it which remove essential calcium from the body and break your pores. Do you have any suggestions?

Beth says …

UPDATE: I've been using the mineral salt "egg" in place of my antipersperant for 2 months now and love it! It is the only product on the Whole Foods shelf that is in a blue box for abou $5.00. They also offer the spray or stick, but I like the ball/egg. I don't sweat or stink unless I've been excessively working outside in my yard. They say it lasts a year, but I'm going to get a new one in 6 months. Trouble occurs if I shave and put it on too soon. Let your skin cells heal before putting on. Try it! It's only $5.00 and all natural!

Barbara says …

I've tried several different "natural deodorants" myself and found that EarthScience has a mint rosemary deodorant that works well. I bought it at Wholefoods for about six dollars. I only apply it once and it lasts all day.

Lisa says …

Consider emulsifying organic limes and radishes, with their anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties; and retaining in a refrigerated cruet for keeping underarm bacteria at bay.

Nick says …

As I read the comments before I listened to the podcast, I wasn't expecting the information to be that great. But it was actually pretty sensible, though I'm not sure everyone really got the point. First, it's really important to distinguish between "deodorant" and "anti-perspirant". The podcast was clear that anti-perspirants are bad. So everyone is really well advised to avoid anything which says it stops you sweating. I noticed some comments about sweat marks on clothing. I would say at this point that I used to get bad yellow marking on my work shirts. Stains that washing struggled to remove. About 4 years ago I stopped using any form of deodorant (I'd never used anti-perspirants, even though I sweat quite a lot) and guess what, the clothing marks decreased substantially. So bear in mind that as well as sweat itself, a lot of what you see on your clothes is actually the chemicals that you just put onto your skin, or the resulting chemicals after natural skin bacteria process them. That brings me to the second thing. The podcast was also good in highlighting that the bad smell of body odour is caused by bacteria breaking down chemicals on your skin. I say bad smell, because smell comes from (at least) two other things. Firstly, everyone must have experienced eating garlic in a meal or curry and then smelling it on their skin the next day. Unfortunately, while most of my food is organic, garlic is just the same! So as the podcast said, we excrete toxins and other chemicals as a natural way of processing them in our body. But secondly, which wasn't mentioned at all, is that we secrete pheromones -- natural scents that are a vital part of attraction even though people don't seem to recognise them any more (because we lather ourselves in "nice" smells from soaps, deodorants, perfumes/colognes etc). Messing around with our natural systems to avoid such chemicals getting onto your skin is a bad thing. Bacteria get a lot of bad press in this discussion. Let's be clear, you have bacteria all over your skin and they need to be there. On a relatively normal piece of skin, say on your wrist, you probably have about 10 million bacteria per square inch. On more moist areas, it could be 40 million per square inch or more. When people get paranoid about bacteria it makes me laugh -- by number of cells, up to 90% of our body and skin is made up of microbes rather than our own cells, though by weight this is "only" typically somewhere in the range 3-8 pounds. Home cleaning products that don't acknowledge that our environment is full of bacteria again are very damaging to our attitudes to the environment we are part of. We cannot, and should not, aim to live in a sterile world. This is quite different from suggesting we shouldn't try to prevent harmful bacteria that cause/spread disease. So, what to do? Deodorants work in two ways: by killing bacteria or slowing their reproduction (chemicals like triclosan, witch hazel, tea trea oil) or by masking the smell (perfume). It's normally a combination of the two. Many perfumes (certainly in commercial colognes/eau de toilette) contain endocrine disruptors which are absorbed through your skin and harm your body's normal hormonal functions. Over-use of bactericidal chemicals can often just lead to colonies of resistant bacteria developing so become less effective over time -- this is causing a big problem for hospitals as well. As at least one person mentioned, it is society that is driving people's fear of smelling "bad". And consumer products companies love this because it enables them to sell you all sorts of stuff that plays on these fears. The simple answer is actually just to try to work with your body rather than against it, keeping it clean *enough* to avoid build-up of chemicals that when processed by bacteria will cause bad body odour, and also build-up of excessive amounts of bacteria themselves that will enable larger amounts of odours to be produced more quickly. The best way of doing this is washing, with non-scented soap (not chemical-laden shower gels either -- remember that bacteria will break down those nice scent chemicals themselves and potentially create BO). If you have a busy/stressful day then you may want to find ways of being able to give your armpits a wipe down during the afternoon too. And finally, bear in mind that BO may not be being caused by your armpits at all but by the bacteria that are on your clothes, and which are kept warm and moist (ideal conditions) just by being worn. So again, if you feel you have a problem then keeping a change of shirt at work for those occasions may be good. Perfumes were originally developed to mask the smell of body odour, before hygiene was even possible for a lot of society (no running water, for example). Nowadays, there's no real need for them except that society has replaced natural attraction smells for artificial ones. But, that's the way things are and I'm not saying that it is a bad thing to smell good! However, it's still good to remember that smelling good is totally different from "not smelling bad", and we don't have to use scents all the time as a routine thing. When you do though, don't put it on your armpits!! That is just feeding the bacteria! Putting scent on drier parts of your body where there are naturally fewer bacteria to break them down means that they last longer too! So, I mentioned I stopped using deodorant. Do I smell? Well, yes and no. It took a couple of weeks for me to adjust routines a bit, and I'm sure for my bacterial community to restore itself to a normal balance. If you get up close then I don't smell of nothing (that would be sterile and bad). I smell of me, but it's the natural me. It's not BO. Nobody -- including people who definitely would do without hesitation! -- tells me I smell bad. If I go out, I sometimes use cologne, but I wash it off when I get home. I generally only have to wash my armpits once a day now, with a straightforward soap, and that's enough. I have a facecloth and soap at work just in case. And some emergency cologne (a tiny free sampler from a cosmetics counter) which I've only had to use once or twice when it was actually my shirt that wasn't clean and I had no spare. A bar of soap is one of the cheapest things to buy too. Can you see why so many companies want you to buy this or that product, all based on your fear of smelling bad?

S. says …

Hi, I make and use natural deo from Geseen Natural Beauty's website. It works great and even for my husband and other guys that sweat a lot.

priya says …

Sharron, I tried the recipe you posted, and it is now what i use!! thanks so mcuh!!

Ms. G. Kidd says …

Do you sell deodorant by the name of "Sweet" or ("Sweet Sweat") deodorant? If yes, would you please give me the price(s) and size(s) of the product. Thank you, Ms. Kidd

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MS.KIDD - Our exact product options will differ between stores. I would suggest checking with the store you plan to shop with. They will be happy to let you know if they have this and if so, the price.