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How do natural deodorants work? What you need to know.

There are so many reasons to consider making the switch to a natural deodorant, but we know it can be nerve-wracking. Nobody wants to end up with wet patches on their clothing or smelling less than fresh by lunchtime! 

The truth is, sweating is part of being human. It’s how our bodies detoxify through the skin, and it’s an important way that our body eliminates waste to stay healthy. When we choose a deodorant, it’s important to choose one that doesn’t shut down the body’s natural detox processes by clogging pores with harmful ingredients like aluminium. By doing this, we’re not eliminating toxins properly and they can build up in our body and cause bigger problems. 

Deodorants vs antiperspirants - what’s the difference?

Most natural deodorants work by neutralising odour and promoting a feeling of dryness while allowing your body to sweat naturally. On the other hand, antiperspirants typically contain aluminium, which blocks your pores and stops you from sweating altogether.

Which active natural deodorant ingredients should you look out for?

You’ll want to make sure that your natural deodorant contains a combination of the below active ingredients, which work to control odour and moisture: 

Magnesium hydroxide - this ingredient works wonders for keeping BO at bay by gently altering the pH of your skin, and preventing bacteria growth. 

Zinc oxide - this is an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredient to protect your skin and keep bacterial growth under control to prevent odour. 

Bamboo, arrowroot, clay or activated charcoal - you’ll notice these ingredients in some of the best natural deodorant formulas as they all absorb moisture to help you feel dry, while allowing your body to sweat naturally. For example, the bamboo powder used in Ethique Deodorant Bars can absorb up to 200% of its weight in sweat and sebum!

Bi-carb soda - helps to alkalize your skin pH to prevent bacterial growth and odour. We only stock natural deodorants that use aluminium-free bi-carb soda in their formulas. If you have sensitive skin, bi-carb soda can cause some irritation, so it’s best to choose a deodorant without it (opt for a formula with zinc oxide or magnesium hydroxide instead).

Transitioning to natural deodorant

If you’re used to using deodorants that clog pores and stop you from sweating, you’ll most likely need to allow for a couple of weeks ‘transition’ where your body adjusts to a natural deodorant. You might feel like your body odour and sweat production increases during this transition period, but don’t freak out! After your body adjusts, it’ll be smooth sailing with your new natural deodorant. 

You can speed the process along applying an ‘armpit detox’ mask made with a tablespoon of bentonite clay mixed with 1-2 teaspoons of water and a dash of apple cider vinegar. Mix using a wooden spoon to form a paste, apply to your pits and let it dry, which should take between 5-20 minutes. You can do the armpit detox every couple of days during the transition period to help combat odour. 

The best natural deodorants (without plastic packaging!)

Best natural deodorant for active bodies: 

For the naturally sweatier folk or those who like to sweat it out in the gym without the stink, try and extra-strength natural deodorant like WooHoo Natural Deodorant Paste in Wild. The Wild formula contains powerful active ingredients like bi-carb soda, diatomaceous earth, triethyl citrate and zinc that are seriously tough on BO. The zesty, citrusy scent is perfect for both men and women, and this deodorant is available in both a recyclable tin or in stick form using a cardboard tube.

Best natural deodorant for sensitive skin: 

If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to choose a natural deodorant without bi-carb soda and that has low or no essential oils. The Physic Garden Sensitive Deodorant Paste is one of our favourites - it’s fragrance-free and uses magnesium hydroxide instead of bi-carb soda to keep you smelling fresh. We love the handy travel-friendly tin, too!

Best unscented natural deodorant for sensitive noses: 

Thanks to those odour neutralising ingredients, you don’t need any added fragrance to cover up your BO and make your natural deodorant work better. Whether you have a sensitive nose or just prefer to go unscented, Ethique Sans Solid Deodorant is a great choice. It comes in bar form without any plastic packaging and contains active ingredients like magnesium hydroxide, bamboo, zinc oxide and natural oils to keep your pits feeling clean, dry and nourished. 


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