Pit Stop: Our guide to a stress-free transition to natural deodorant

I have a confession: I held out on antiperspirant for a long time. Even after I learned of the health risks associated with aluminum-based products, I was scared of switching to a more natural method. Your scent is such a deeply personal thing, and odor anxiety is real!! I wasn't willing to try anything that could put that at risk.

This hesitation wasn't entirely unfounded either. Unlike antiperspirants which cover odors with chemicals, natural deodorants work by stamping out the bacteria that would otherwise turn body-cooling moisture into relationship-ruining odor in the first place. The problem is that, depending on your skin’s unique microbiome, it can take a little while for your body to adjust to the switch-up, and that (sweaty, smelly) transition can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Yes, potentially weeks. The transition time scared me off for so long. Still, I eventually made the leap, and it actually wasn't that bad in the end! I am writing to you now as a happy and satisfied user of our alum stone deodorant for going on three months. What got me to finally commit? The gals at Eco Collective gave me some crucial assurance and advice along the way, which made the process seem so accessible.

Definitely check out Genevieve’s primer on how to use alum stone deodorant, and for those who are also concerned about this transition period, I’m sharing a DIY armpit detox mask recommended by another coworker. I hope these tips bring you the confidence to make the right choices for you, your health, and your happiness! 

Armpit Detox Mask Recipe

Ingredients:

  1. Activated Charcoal
  2. Bentonite Clay
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Mix equal parts of the charcoal and clay, and store in a small container. Before your shower, pour a quarter-sized amount of the mix in your palm or a small bowl and add a small splash of ACV, just enough to make it a paste-like consistency. Apply, and then wait for ten minutes, ideally with your arms slightly raised so the mask can dry evenly. I use this time to brush my teeth, wash my face, and give my scalp a lil massage. You can even toss a few more DIYs into the mix while you wait! The activated charcoal makes a great teeth whitener, and the bentonite clay is perfect as a spot treatment. Wash, dry yourself off, and then use your deodorant as usual.

I applied this mask every morning for the first two weeks after switching to the alum stone, and now I apply once a month for maintenance. You may need to adjust the frequency depending on your skin’s sensitivity.

The Verdict

I’m gonna call it a success! I do feel like the mask helped speed me through my transition period, shortening the worst of it to maybe 3 or 4 days. After I got through those first few days, I felt pretty confident my pit sitch was under control from morning to night!

Still, that leaves you with a few less-than-ideal days, so here’s some tips that helped me get through these as painlessly as possible: 

  • Prepare a reapplication kit. Those first few days, I found myself reapplying every 3-4 hours. If I was leaving the house, I’d wrap my alum stone in a little cotton cloth and throw it in my bag. A quick duck into the bathroom to dampen the cloth, wipe, and reapply gave me a few more hours of comfort.
  • Wear cotton clothing. Odor-causing bacteria breeds more easily on polyester than it does on cotton. Choose loose-fitting, 100% cotton clothing during this transition period!
  • Time your transition well. I timed my transition period with my days off from work, so I could stay at home and subject my cat to the worst of it, instead of my coworkers. 

Good luck, and let us know in the comments if you have your own practices for transitioning to new products! Sending virtual hugs as someone who doesn’t care where you’re at in your pit detox journey - we've all been there ;)