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Switching To Natural Deodorant: The Definitive Guide For Men

If you’ve been using commercial, store-bought deodorants for as long as you can remember, then switching to natural deodorant is going to be a bit of a surprise. Like trying out anything new, the differences might be startling at first, but in that exciting, good kind of way.

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Is Switching To Natural Deodorant Worth It?

If you’re looking for a product that can keep you smelling fresh without irritating your armpits, staining your shirts, or clogging up your glands, the switch to natural deodorant is beyond worth it.

You’ll feel healthier and smell great. You can even find a natural deodorant built for your personal skin chemistry, delivering the ingredients you want straight to your pits.

The “is it worth it” question tends to come in if you’re making the switch from an aluminum-based deodorant. Commercial, store-bought, aluminum deodorants are like a bad bag of chips. They taste good while you’re eating them, but once you stop, they leave a weird aftertaste. It’ll take a little while for your skin to shake off the metaphorical bad breath, but once it does, you’ll feel ship-shape and smell better than ever.

Benefits Of Switching To Natural Deodorant

You can find our full list of natural deodorant benefits here, but a few upgrades you can look forward to:

Natural Deodorants Are Gentle

For guys with sensitive skin, or those who suffer from eczema or psoriasis, the texture and residue of commercial, store-bought deodorants can be insufferable. Not to mention how skin-irritating the aluminum and alcohol in those deodorants are.

Natural deodorants are gentle. They’ll feel gritty when you first apply them, but the natural ingredients will feel better on your skin throughout the day.

Natural Deodorants Allow You To Sweat – That’s Healthy!

Commercial deodorants often contain sweat-blocking additives. Those additives can mess with your armpit chemistry, clogging your glands and killing even the friendly bacteria that you want on your skin.

Natural deodorants keep you smelling fresh without those health downfalls. You’ll sweat, which is great for your skin! And you’ll smell good all the while.

Natural Deodorants Are Specific To YOUR Skin

Commercial deodorants are often one-size-fits-all, but natural deodorants are specific to every skin type. You’ll immediately notice all the benefits of using a deodorizing product that’s built to handle your skincare needs, whether you want something gentle or powerfully scented.

Natural Deodorants Use Safe Ingredients

Aluminums, parabens, formaldehydes – it’s a stretch to say they cause cancer, but they’re certainly under-studied. Researchers don’t fully know the long-term effects of constantly applying those commercial ingredients to your skin.

With a natural deodorant, you can rest easy knowing that none of the ingredients run the risk of harming your health later in life. You can also rest easing knowing that these ingredients don’t mean your deodorant will expire any sooner than conventional deodorant.

Natural Deodorants Have A Subtle Scent

Let’s be honest here, lots of guys aren’t that great at knowing how much is too much when it comes to scented products. Natural deodorants keep you smelling fresh without playing that age-old game, “Do I smell nice or do I smell like I crashed my car into a Bath and Body Works?”

How To Switch To Natural Deodorant Fast

Start using a natural deodorant today!

Most guys don’t experience any side effects when they switch to a natural deodorant, so it really is a “fast” process. For those that do, any bad smells or rashes are either allergic reactions or symptoms of a “detox” process, which we’ll talk about more in the next and last section.

If you’re worried about cleansing your pits from your previous deodorant, you can try using a baking soda scrub to help. It’s an easy-peasy do-it-yourself kind of cleanser, but be warned my sensitive skin friends: this treatment is probably not for you. Baking soda might irritate your skin, especially if you have eczema or psoriasis.

Otherwise, try this:

  1. Put a few spoonfuls of baking soda in a bowl. No need to be precise, as long as it looks like it’ll cover both your pits.
  2. Add water to the baking soda, stirring it in as you go drop by drop. Stop once you have a nice paste.
  3. Apply that paste to your pits (if you’re willing to shave beforehand for this, that’ll help. Tangent: Shaving will also help your pits smell nicer whether or not you’re using natural deodorant, so it’s something to consider if you’re having problems with B.O.)
  4. You can gently scrub the baking soda into your pits, but for the love of God, don’t be rough. Your pits are more sensitive than you may realize.
  5. Wipe the baking soda paste away with a wet washcloth. You can also do this entire process in the shower, if you’d rather wash it away with some soap and running water.

Voila! The baking soda won’t necessarily save you from detoxing if that’s what your body decides it needs to do, but it can give your pits a nice fresh feeling, and ward off any bad smells that might be a symptom of the detox.

What To Expect When Switching To Natural Deodorant

Let’s put a big disclaimer right here: lots of guys never notice any difference when they switch to natural deodorant (besides nice-feeling pits and good smells, and maybe a tiny bit more sweat).

For those that do notice a big difference, it’s likely because you’re going through what’s known as a “detox.” We’ll talk about the science behind detoxes more in the next sections (you can skip down if you’d like, or visit our guide to armpit detoxing).

Week 1

Off the bat, you’ll notice that applying a natural deodorant is harder than “normal” deodorant. It’s gritter, delivering nice ingredients directly to your pits. Some of you will sweat a little more than you usually do. Try wearing an undershirt if that’s the case.

If you notice that you’re smelling worse than normal…your detox has started. That musty smell might last right up until week four, or it may come and go within the first few days. Everyone’s body detoxes differently, so there’s just no way to predict how yours will work.

Week 2

If you noticed a little extra sweat in week one, it should feel normal and natural by week two. You might start trying to pair the neutral, odor-blocking scent of your natural deodorant with a nice cologne.

Some of you will still be detoxing this week. Keep your chin up! If you’re noticing any rashes or irritation, stop using the deodorant and test it on the back of your hand to make sure it’s not an allergic reaction. If your hand doesn’t break out, then the rash is probably a symptom of the detox or some other product, not the deodorant. 

Week 3

Using a natural deodorant should start to feel like the new normal for most of you by week three. The grittier ingredients will feel hardy and effective in your pits. The little extra sweat should also feel good and encourage healthy skin.

If you haven’t rounded the corner on that detox, start preparing to switch your natural deodorant. It might not be the right one for you.

Week 4

Lots of you will be asking yourselves, “Why didn’t I make the switch earlier?! This feels great!” Look forward to healthy pits and good vibes.

If you’re still experiencing bad-smelling sweat or rashes, try switching to a new natural deodorant. Natural deodorants are specific to your skin type, so you might have chosen the wrong stick for yourself. Don’t worry, your perfect natural deodorant match is out there! 

You won’t need to detox a second time if you decide to switch to a new natural deodorant. You WILL have to detox again if you go back to using an aluminum-based deodorant.

How Long Does It Take For Your Body To Get Used To Natural Deodorant

Lots of guys switch over to natural deodorant without any “waiting” or “detox period.” For the majority, your body will get used to natural deodorant right away.

Other guys have to go through a detox, which can be uncomfortable, but it’s safe and healthy. If you’ve been using an aluminum-based deodorant or antiperspirant, you’re slightly more likely to have to detox.

You don’t have to do anything special to detox. Just start using a natural deodorant, and allow your body to sweat. Your pits might smell more pungent than usual, but that should stop after about two weeks. Don’t buy or make your own “armpit masks.” They’re entirely unnecessary and don’t often work.

Why Does My Armpit Smell After Switching To Natural Deodorant

Your armpits likely smell because you’re detoxing. That just means your body is getting used to going without the sweat-blocking aluminum in your normal deodorant.

Commercial deodorants and antiperspirants have a lot of chemical components that block sweat and kill bacteria. Natural deodorants only kill bacteria, so your body is going to sweat more, and it’s going to sweat away all that chemical buildup from your previous deodorant. 

This is a natural, healthy process. It’s good to let your sweat glands do their job – sweat! You might smell a little mustier than usual at first, but you should be back to normal in a week or two.

Do You Need To Detox Your Armpits Before Using Natural Deodorant?

You can actually detox your armpits while you’re using a natural deodorant.

Our complete guide to detoxing your armpits has more information, but once you switch to using an aluminum-free deodorant, your armpits will detox on their own. You don’t need to buy into any “armpit detox masks” or anything like that. Lots of those products actually irritate the skin more.

Be sure to patch test all natural deodorants before you use them. Rub a little bit on the back of your hand or arm to make sure you don’t get an allergic reaction. That way, if your pits do start to smell bad or feel icky, you’ll know it’s part of the detox, not a reaction to the deodorant.

Detoxes usually last about two weeks. If you have any weird symptoms persisting after a month, you might need to try a different natural deodorant. The great thing about natural deodorants is that they’re not one-size-fits-all, so with a little experimentation, you can find the perfect one for your skin type.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.