Natural Deodorant Hacks for Summer
It's been a while since I've talked about deodorant here on the blog, but seeing as how we're in peak sweat season, I thought I'd take a minute to go over all of the natural deodorant options I offer and give you all of my tips and tricks to make it work for you this summer.
Deodorant is THE WHOLE REASON WHY I started Twinkle Apothecary! Before I started this business I was making the switch to vegan and cruelty free personal care items, and struggling so hard to find a deodorant that didn't make me smell worse. (I was stress sweating a lot in a high pressure, crappy job, and ain't nobody got time to be the stinky vegan girl in the fashion office!) I got tired of buying products that didn't work, so I started making my own with some coconut oil, an old box of tapioca starch I found in my cupboard (thanks to a failed attempt at a vegan mozzarella recipe) and baking soda. I think I also added some tea tree or orange essential oil (whatever was the cheapest thing they had at the grocery store at the time.) That simple concoction worked so well that I decided, "Hey, if all of these other brands can make a business out of some mediocre, not-effective products, why not me?!"
(That's a joke, but also kind of true...)
Of course, I knew that I couldn't just sell jars of coconut oil mixed with some starch... I wanted to make the perfect natural deodorant that made me feel dry and smooth and moisturized and that also smelled really pretty, was attractive to display in my bathroom, and had eco friendly, travel friendly packaging. And OF COURSE I wanted it to be effective! But I digress!
Fast forward 3.5 years, and I'm still here. I've made some tweaks and added some more options, but it's still pretty much the same formula I started with, and I happen to think it's perfect!
If you're just considering making the switch to natural for the first time, this is the number one thing I think you need to know...
YOU HAVE SWEAT GLANDS!
If you've been using an antiperspirant your entire adult life, you're not going to be used to feeling sweaty. Natural deodorant does not stop you from sweating like your antiperspirant does, (by plugging up your sweat glands with aluminum, yuck...) so your underarms will get wet when you are hot. It's not because you need to detox, or because you're gross, or anything like that... it just means that your body is functioning properly and trying to cool you down. (And probably thanking you for letting it do it's job for once!) Being sweaty means that body odor will happen eventually as the bacteria that lives on your skin feeds on the sweat. Natural deodorant helps absorb moisture and keep odor causing bacteria at bay, but even the best product can only do so much. At a certain point, you will have to shower, freshen up, and/or re-apply. That being said, your deodorant shouldn't make the situation worse. If it does, you've got the wrong stuff!
So let's talk formulas...
Twinkle Apothecary deodorant comes in 3 different formulas.
There's sensitive, which means it contains no baking soda... (and offers light odor protection...)
Original, which is with baking soda... (that's for full strength odor protection...)
And the Little Black deodorant, which contains even more baking soda and is formulated with activated charcoal in place of kaolin clay (extra strength odor protection... also less messy on dark clothing!)
So which one is right for you?
I always recommend that everyone start with the original formula.
Chances are, you're going to love it. But if you need more odor protection you can upgrade to the Little Black deodorant, and if it's too much baking soda for you, you can downgrade to the sensitive formula.
Personally, I rotate between all 3.
I generally do just fine with the original formula, but sometimes when I get extra sweaty I can have issues with sensitivity, so I'll take a break and wear the sensitive formula for a day or two. And I save my Little Black deodorant for days when I know I'm going to be super active, or out in the heat for a long time without a chance to freshen up, or, when I'm wearing a black shirt or dress.
Here's a "hack" for you, since that is what I named this article:
Buy the full size tube in the formula you think you're going to use the most, and buy the minis in the other two formulas. You won't use them as often, so those little jars will last you a long time. This way you can come up with a game plan and estimate how much you'll really need before investing in the full sizes.
If you need extra, extra odor protection, try adding a salt stone! (Or any crystal rock type deodorant.) Wet it down and rub it on your underarms. When it's dry, apply your deodorant like normal! Note that this might sting on freshly shaven areas, but the deodorant soothes it quickly. The salt helps neutralize odor causing bacteria, and it really works! It doesn't make you feel dry and soft, but that's where the deodorant comes in... If you don't need to feel dry and soft, just go for the salt stone. You do you.
Here's one thing you shouldn't do,
Don't try to apply too much. More isn't more when it comes to this deodorant. Start with just a couple of strokes, otherwise it will get messy and clump up under your arms, end up all over your shirt, and you'll get frustrated. If you get sweaty and need to reapply later, add just a couple more strokes. A little really does go a long way!
Speaking of getting sweaty,
Change your mindset. Repeat after me: there's no shame in re-applying. What is up with brands/products that promise 24 hour, or even 12 hour protection anyway? Who goes 24 hours without showering? (If you do, HI THAT MIGHT BE THE PROBLEM!) During the spring/fall I typically reapply after I pick my son up from school in the afternoon, especially if we're walking. If it's hot out and I got extra sweaty, I'll mist my armpits down with toning mist, wipe them off, and then re-apply. Switching to natural deodorant is about learning to work with your body, not against it, and getting sweaty when you're hot is totally normal and healthy. Sure, no one wants to smell bad, but that's why you freshen up as needed!
But if you feel like you're a little too smelly, or like the deodorant isn't working as well as it used to,
Change it up! It sounds a bit silly, and it's not something I've tested all that scientifically, but I think you have to keep your body (or your nose?) guessing. Switching the scent of your deodorant can make a difference - lavender and grapefruit are the most popular scents, but I honestly find that patchouli and ylang ylang are the most effective scents for me, odor-wise, so I usually alternate between those two. I think it depends on your own personal body chemistry, and what appeals to you. If you find that you're struggling or that it's not working for you like it used to, I recommend cycling through your favorite scents instead of sticking to the same one over and over so your body doesn't get stuck in a rut.
Sometimes it's not you, sometimes it's what you're wearing. Tight synthetic fabrics are going to make you more sweaty and lead to more odor. Loose, breathable clothing is going to keep you dry and odor free longer. Also, sometimes odors get trapped in fabrics, so make sure you're washing your favorite tops often, quickly, and thoroughly.
Be patient. (Sorry, that's not technically a hack, I know.) It may sound strange coming from someone in the wellness biz, but I hate the word "detox." Odor can definitely fluctuate due to hormones or diet, but I'm not into doing anything extra to "detox" your armpits. Just hang in there. Over time, you'll get used to how your body sweats and come up with our own routine that makes you feel confident in natural deodorant. Just make sure you're washing your armpits daily with a good natural soap and try to drink lots of water. Of course, you're welcome to try a clay armpit mask or vinegar, or whatever weird thing you found on the internet in addition to the hacks I've listed above and I hope that it works well for you, but usually I think you just need to hang in there and keep trying.
So, yeah, those are my main tips and tricks for making Twinkle Apothecary's natural deodorant work! Sorry not sorry that there are no magic tricks outside of switching up your scent/formula, reapplying as needed, and just good old fashioned hanging in there. What can I say? I'm just not into gimmicks!
But I do hope you all have a great, sweaty summer with minimal body odor. ;)
LMK how I can help!