This was my first step into the world of detoxifying my toiletries so it seemed fitting for this to be one of my first blog posts. I thought that changing to a natural deodorant would be simple as I was initially going for a straight product swap rather than trying to make my own deodorant. However, as with most things in life that are reported to be easy, this step has been one of the most challenging for me personally.
The difference between antiperspirant and deodorant?
In basic terms your antiperspirant uses ingredients such as aluminium salts to block the sweat glands and prevent you from sweating. Deodorant on the other hand doesn’t stop you from sweating but instead targets the bacteria which are responsible for that lovely armpit aroma that we all know and love.
Once I started delving into how these products worked I realised that I was not wholly comfortable with the thought that my antiperspirant was stopping my body from acting in the way that it is designed to. Our bodies do not sweat to cause us embarrassment; it is how we regulate temperature and is thought to also release toxins from the body. There is a lot of conflicting information out there on this issue with purported links between aluminium and Alzheimer’s, and parabens (a common ingredient in deodorants and antiperspirants) and breast tumours. I am not a scientist and I don’t have time to read through the different research findings so my take on it is relatively simple; why take the risk if I don’t need to. The big question for me was whether there was a more natural product which I could use which would leave me smelling good.
Detoxing my armpits
At the forefront of my mind were memories of the poor person at school who was bullied for smelling of BO so instead of thinking about what my current product was doing to my body I was actually worrying about stinking out the office when I changed to a natural deodorant. However, I did eventually ‘man up’ and decided to give it a go with the caveat that I would switch back if I started to smell as ripe as a camembert at Christmas.
I knew that I didn’t have time to make my own deodorant as we were living away from home whilst my husband had treatment and I was frantically trying to keep our lives as normal as possible. I therefore started out by going to our nearest aromatherapy shop and purchasing roll-on deodorant for both me and my husband which were aluminium free, paraben free and made with natural scents.
Those first few weeks were hard going on the BO front. I considered giving up and reverting back to my old antiperspirant several times as I was having to wash my armpits at lunchtime to stay smelling fresh and was occasionally having to change my top part way through the day due to my paranoia about smelling bad. The worst moment came when I had to dig a couple of tree roots out of the garden with my younger brother – believe me when I say that hard physical labour and detoxing your armpits are not two things that you ever want to combine.
The turning point
My saving grace was reading Glamorganic Goddess’s blog deodorant detox which made me realise that if I stuck it out a bit longer I might come out the other side smelling of roses.
Alongside this I also switched to a different product – a solid deodorant bar which smelt great and did the trick. No more having to wash my armpits at lunchtime and no more changing tops part way through the day.
The only downside is a couple of times when I got painful lumps under my arms. I still haven’t quite got to the bottom of what causes this but I think it is connected to shaving and then applying my deodorant bar so I am going to try and shave under my arms in the evening and wait to apply deodorant until the following morning.
On the whole though, I haven’t looked back and even though my new deodorant is slightly more expensive I wouldn’t go back to my old product now even if I was offered a year’s free supply.
You can find out more about the products I have tried here.