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What To Expect When Switching To Natural Deodorant: Men’s Guide

Picking up new hygiene products is always a roll of the die; you can never be certain what’s going to turn out amazingly well, and what will cause a bad reaction. But because lots of guys don’t know what to expect when switching to natural deodorant, they tap out of the game early before they get to reap all the benefits.

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How Long Does It Take Your Body To Adjust To Natural Deodorant?

If you’ve been using an aluminum-based deodorant for most of your life, it’s going to take your body anywhere from two to four weeks to “adjust” to natural deodorant.

One common misconception is that any bad smells or pit irritation that crop up during the switch are caused by natural deodorant. On the contrary, it’s actually the unpleasant aftertaste of your previous deodorant that’s causing most of your discomfort.

Deodorants (better referred to as antiperspirants) that use aluminum salts to block your sweat glands force all that moisture to gather beneath your skin. Normally, sweat has a neutral smell, but when your deodorant stops your body from releasing that sweat immediately, it starts to fester and stink.

When you switch to a natural deodorant, all that built-up sweat is going to come back with a vengeance. That’s called the detox period (which we’ll talk about more below). So it’s not that your natural deodorant smells bad or isn’t working…it’s that your skin is cleansing itself from the sweat and chemicals that your previous deodorant tried to shove under the rug.

BE SURE TO TEST YOUR NATURAL DEODORANT SOMEWHERE ON YOUR SKIN BEFORE YOU START USING IT. If your skin breaks out, then you know that you’re allergic to something in the deodorant. And if your skin doesn’t break out, then you know that any irritation or bad smells during your formal switch over are all part of the detox, not the natural deodorant.

Lots of guys never experience the detox, but for the few who do, it can be a shock at first. Don’t worry! Your natural deodorant is working perfectly well, and it’ll be better than ever once your body gets over the after-effects of your previous deodorant (this is the most important part when it comes to knowing what to expect when switching to natural deodorant).

What To Expect When Switching To Natural Deodorant

We talked a little bit about some possible bad smells and irritation. That’s all related to your body cleansing itself of aluminum salt blockage.

You can also expect a lot of good side-effects pretty quickly. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll notice how much nicer the all-day feeling of natural deodorant in your pits is. 

Applying it initially, you’ll notice the gritty texture that you really have to rub into your skin. Lots of natural deodorants are hardy (though there are exceptions), and you can feel them keeping your pits fresh. You’ll smell the difference too!

Be warned, you will sweat when wearing a natural deodorant. But that’s very healthy for your skin, and you’ll smell good despite the extra moisture. Natural deodorants are designed to be incredibly skin-friendly, so they don’t block your pores or glands, instead applying a gentle scent and bacteria-killer that ensures your sweat smells neutral and your pits smell fresh.

Week 1: Begin Your Detox (Or Not)

Week one of switching over to a natural deodorant will give you a good idea as to which camp you fall into: detox dudes or good-to-go guys.

Most men don’t notice much of a difference when they switch over to a natural deodorant. Besides nice-smelling pits, gentle product, and slightly more sweat, the transition is relatively smooth.

But a few guys will start the detox process in week one. Essentially, you’ll sweat more than normal and smell worse than usual while your body recovers from your previous aluminum-based deodorant. 

Keep in mind, all of these symptoms would happen even if you weren’t using a natural deodorant. When you stop using a deodorant that contains aluminum salts (whether you replace it with something else or just go deodorant-free), your body goes into recovery mode, sweating out all the built up moisture and gunk.

If you’re a detox dude, you’ll get the worst of it in week one.

Week 2: Start To Get Over The Detox (Hopefully)

For those few guys who end up detoxing in week one, week two usually marks the homestretch. You’ll get used to the idea of smelling bad for a little while in the name of smelling amazing later on.

By the end of the week, most detox dudes will notice the bad smells lightening up. Your pits will feel refreshed (which is my personal favorite aspect of detoxing).

As for the majority who don’t need to detox, you can jump ahead and read the week four vibes, because that’s what you’ll be feeling in week two. Your natural deodorant will probably start to feel like the new normal.

Week 3: Settle In With The Natural Lifestyle

Of the few guys who need to detox, just a handful get a little unlucky. Most will get over it in week two, but some may still feel the after-effects into week three. It all depends on your personal body chemistry and how your skin adjusts to the natural life.

If you’re still experiencing bad smells or discomfort into week three, now is the time to start noting some of your symptoms. We said in all-caps earlier that you should have done an allergy test before you started using the deodorant…if that’s not the case, and you’re rashy into week three, then it could very well be an allergic reaction.

But for most men, week three will be a breeze.

Week 4: Wonder Why You Didn’t Switch Earlier

For my detoxers, if you’re still smelly and uncomfy by week four, it’s time to try a new natural deodorant. Don’t waste your detox by switching back to a commercial deodorant; you just need to find something that jives with your skin, and you’ll feel fit as a fiddle.

If you haven’t been detoxing, and you’re not experiencing any irritation, but you just don’t like the deodorant, I’d hand out the same advice. The slight downside (and slight upside, depending on how you look at it) to all-natural products is that they are not one-size-fits-all. It might take some experimentation to find “the one” that just makes your pits sing.

But when you do find that perfect all-natural deodorant…boy oh boy, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t make the switch earlier.

Best Detox Advice For Men

We have the full guide to detoxing, and making the switch to natural deodorant here, but the gist of it is that you have to mentally prepare, and you have to stick with it.

Detoxing is a smelly, uncomfortable process. There’s no denying it. But it’ll make you realize just how much those commercial deodorants have been messing with your skin and sweat glands. Being so clogged and covered all the time is not healthy for your armpits.

I don’t normally recommend going heavy on the cologne, since most people can tell when you’re trying to cover up bad smells, but frequent showers and a little more product than usual can make the detox much more bearable. Just be sure that you’re using natural products that won’t screw up your detox.

Is It Worth Switching To Natural Deodorant

Now that you know what to expect when switching to natural deodorant, here’s the truth… natural deodorants are gentle, skin-friendly, odor-fighting, and ethically sourced. The detox process (for the few guys who actually experience it) takes a maximum of three to four weeks.

In the grand scheme of things, the switch is absolutely worth it. It’s a lame version of those hypothetical questions that middle schoolers love to pose: would you be willing to risk smelling bad for a few weeks if you knew that afterwards, for the rest of your life, you’d smell amazing and your skin would feel better than it does currently?

Think of it in those terms and it’s a no-brainer. Natural deodorants come with a slew of benefits that simply outweigh any detox drawbacks.

Quick warning…

While it’s they’re not as bad as antiperspirants, considering many natural deodorants use coconut oil, you should also read this guide on how to prevent coconut oil pit stains as well.

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.