BODY | NATURAL DEODORANT: HOW TO SWITCH AND MY FAVOURITE PRODUCTS
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Transitioning from synthetic antiperspirant to natural deodorant is something that I have wanted to do for a number of years, and recently, I made a permanent switch: yay! Like anything in life that you really want, it's not the easiest thing to do, so I’m going to share why I did it, my top tips and my favourite products.
Why I wanted to make the switch
As the creator of a natural skincare brand, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that I always want to find plant-based/more natural alternatives to the synthetic products I use, and equally important is my desire to let my body function naturally. Antiperspirants work by blocking our sweat glands and essentially disrupting what is a perfectly natural process to cool us down, and the more I thought about that, the less I wanted to interfere with my body's wisdom to do the right thing for me!
Then there's my theory about the effectiveness of antiperspirants. As a naturally sweaty-betty (or so I thought), and having tried every maximum strength, 72hr, aluminium-based antiperspirant out there to no avail, I have a theory that – for me at least – antiperspirants actually made me sweat more. This was probably the biggest motivator for me, as it was almost like my body was fighting against the products that I was using. Since making the switch to natural deodorant, I notice that I sweat considerably less, which is why I can confidently say that I won’t be returning to regular deodorant. I feel like my body is working in the way it's supposed to, and in turn, I feel more confident that I'm not going to have visibly sweaty pits every time I wear a light-coloured top!
What you need to know and my top tips
Natural deodorant does not stop you from sweating in the same way as an antiperspirant does (though my view is that it's definitely made me sweat less!). Its purpose is to keep you fresh whilst still allowing the body to cool itself i.e. it doesn’t block or interrupt your body’s ability to sweat. That means that a) you may still sweat and b) you may notice odour if you don’t apply natural deodorant to freshly-washed skin
It can take your body a while to get used to it, and you may experience a period of time where you don’t feel as fresh as you might be used to (though it’s nothing a quick wipe down and reapplication won’t fix). For me, that lasted about 10 days; for some, the process can take much longer
Many natural deodorants contain bicarbonate of soda, which can be an irritant to some people. Again, there are things you can do to minimise this including washing with apple cider vinegar before you apply
Some say that drinking plenty of water and getting sweaty help to speed up the process of adjusting to natural deodorant. I took hot baths, exercised and made sure I drank 2 litres of water every day. I also applied a clay mask to my underarms every night
I would always recommend bringing your natural deodorant with you so you can reapply it throughout the day. Whilst your body is still making the transition, it’s also worth bringing some freshening wipes in case you feel you need to clean up and start afresh
For me, ease of application is a really important consideration. I purposefully haven't reviewed the pot of cream deodorant I used because I found the application to be too faffy, especially when I was out of the house
Natural fabrics are your friend when your body is adjusting. Avoid synthetics for at least the first few weeks
The products I recommend
My overall favourite: Holi(Stick) No.3 by Agent Nateur, £20 for 50ml
This was the winner for me by a very slim margin. It’s the most expensive of all the products I tried, but what swung it for me is the gorgeous scent that lasts all day, the feel of the formula on the skin, its effectiveness and the convenience of the application. It also feels like a very luxurious product, and as someone who doesn't really shop (more on my minimalist approach to clothes and beauty in a future post!), I really feel like I'm giving myself a huge treat in buying this!
Holi(Stick) Key facts:
Formula: Bicarbonate of soda-based, but in stick-form (unlike most bicarb-based products which are packaged in pots). It contains gentle essential oils, honey, coconut oil and beeswax, making it very moisturising. A vegan option is also available.
Ease of use: Can't fault it. The stick application makes it incredibly convenient, especially when you’re on the go. It doesn't like any white marks and I've had no problem with it transferring onto clothes.
Scent: Lavender and eucalyptus, and – unlike the other scented option I tried (again, not reviewed here) - the scent lasts all day. There are other scent options available, including a rose-base which I think I'll try next time.
Price: The best price I found in the UK is £20 for 50ml with free postage from Free People. This is the most expensive option of the three that I tried, but the ease of use, organic ingredients and scent make it worthwhile for me.
Effectiveness: 5/5. I still feel fresh at the end of the day and love the fact that I can still smell the essential oils at the end of the day. My underarms also feel really well moisturised!
Best value for money (and almost my joint-favourite!): Salt of the Earth, £3.99 for 100ml
This product was the biggest surprise for me, and it’s very close to sharing the top spot with Holi(Stick): it performs brilliantly and is a complete bargain. This was the product I was using when I realised I was getting to the end of the day feeling and smelling fresh, so it has a special place in my heart! The only reason it comes second is because of my preference for the scent and luxury-feel of Holi(Stick). This watery spray feels very light and refreshing, but when I reapplied it during the day whilst at work, I didn't like the wet feeling as much as I like the creamy feeling of Holi(Stick). Again, these are just my preferences, as both products work brilliantly!
Formula: This is a watery-feeling spray with a salt and aloe base. It’s wet on application but dries quickly. If you’re sensitive to bicarbonate of soda, this would be the perfect option.
Ease of use: Again, the spray formula makes this very easy to use and it’s a great option if you want something portable.
Price: £3.99 for 100ml with free postage from Holland and Barrett. There’s not much more to say: it’s excellent value for money.
Effectiveness: 5/5. It left me feeling fresh and was incredibly quick and easy to reapply.
I really am so delighted that I made the switch, and I love having a beautifully packaged, luxurious feeling deodorant on my dressing table. I love the fact that I now feel like my body is able to function in the way it wants, and I'm very pleased that I persevered through those first few weeks!
Comment below if:
You use natural deodorant (and tell me which is your favourite!)
You want to make the switch the natural deodorant and you're inspired by this post!
You have any more questions about my experience
Shop The Noble Apothecary plant-based skincare here.