How To Switch to Natural Deodorant Without Smelling

How To Switch to Natural Deodorant Without Smelling

So, you're ready to switch to natural deodorant but you're hesitant to because you're worried about smelling. I feel you, I don't want to smell either.

My natural deodorant journey began years ago. I tried switching to natural deodorant but constantly found myself switching back after only a week or so because I couldn't bear to be smelly anymore.

I realized that the problem wasn't the deodorant, it was how I was transitioning to it. I knew how bad traditional deodorant could be, so I kept at it. Finally, I found a solution that worked for me.

In this post, I'm sharing how to switch to natural deodorant without smelling. I'm also sharing some hard truths about switching to natural deodorant and tips for using natural deodorant long-term.

Why is my natural deodorant not working?

When we try switching from conventional deodorant to natural deodorant, we have to let our body adjust to the different process of deodorizing. Conventional deodorants use a type of aluminum which creates a barrier to stop sweat.

Additionally, conventional deodorants use a variety of other ingredients that cause a build-up on your skin and in your pores. Not only does this build-up disrupt your natural function of sweating, but it can also contain compounds that your body identifies as toxins.

Even when you stop using conventional deodorant, that layer of build-up will remain (ew). Because of this, your body can’t sweat the way it’s supposed to and your natural deodorant won’t be able to work around that layer of build-up.

Luckily, our bodies are great at detoxifying themselves. We can help our bodies function like they're supposed to by eating well, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. 

Usually, it takes 2-4 weeks for your body to rid itself during this detox period.

‘Ummmmm….’ you might be saying. “1-3 weeks? That’s a long time to be smelly! Is there any way to detox faster?”

Oh, I’m so glad you asked! There is, in fact, a way to detox your armpits in about 20 minutes.

Honestly, 2 to 4 weeks was just too long for me to wait for my armpits to detox. But, I knew the lack of detox was why I kept failing at using natural deodorants.

The 20 Minute Armpit Detox:

The 20-minute armpit detox has only 2 INGREDIENTS. Equal parts bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar. This recipe is more commonly used as a face mask and is the exact recipe on the container of one of the most popular brands of bentonite clay, Aztec Secret. As it turns out, this recipe works well for the rest of your skin, too. Specifically, your armpits.

Here’s how to use it.



-1 Part Bentonite Clay

-1 Part  Apple Cider Vinegar (Water can be substituted for some of the ACV if your skin is extra sensitive)


  • Mix 1 teaspoon each of bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar for an armpit detox, or mix about 1-2 tablespoons of each if you plan to also make a mask for your face/arms/etc). Some people like to dilute the amount of ACV they use because it is acidic. However, I do NOT recommend substituting water for all of the ACV because they ACV helps the clay work and the acidity helps to kill bacteria. Use only glass, wood, or plastic. The clay will pull the properties out of metal bowls and utensils making the clay less effective when you apply it to your skin.
  • Spread an even layer across armpits and leave arms up to allow the clay mask to dry. Let sit 5-10 minutes for sensitive skin and 15-20 minutes for normal skin.
  • Gently rinse off the mask. This works best in the shower.
  • Skin may be red or slightly irritated (this is normal). Apply a natural oil or aloe to reduce redness and any irritation.

That’s it! That is literally the recipe that will help you make the switch to a natural deodorant without being smelly.

Bonus Tip: I mix up a 4 ounce batch of armpit detox and put it in a 4 oz. mason jar to leave in my shower and use when my armpits need a little refresh.

Why does this work?

Bentonite clay basically acts as a magnet and pulls out not only the toxins but the aluminum (found in deodorants that are also antiperspirants) out of your skin. It sucks all of that nastiness right out of your pores.

The apple cider vinegar does a lot of things. First, it mixes really well with the bentonite clay to form a great textured mask. It helps to kill bacteria, remove toxins, and balance the ph of your skin. Apple cider vinegar also helps remove dead skin, which aids in getting rid of that gross layer of buildup on your skin.

When to Detox

It’s an absolute must to detox your armpits before switching to natural deodorant to help your body get rid of those nasty chemicals and make the switch seamless. But just as you treat yourself to a face mask to keep the skin of your face healthy, it’s important to regularly detox your armpits, especially since the lymphatic system plays a huge role in our immune system and helps to get rid of toxins from our body.

I like to detox every few weeks or so, or whenever I start to notice a decline in the effectiveness of my natural deodorant. I will generally make a good bit of the bentonite clay + apple cider vinegar mask and use it on my armpits and face, but also mix it up and put it on other parts of my skin like my arms or my feet.

When you first make the switch to natural deodorant, it can be helpful to detox about twice a week if your body is taking longer to adjust. Remember that all of our bodies are different, so it may take longer for some of us to adjust than others.

As you detox (and literally all the time) drink plenty of water so that your body has sufficient fluid to help flush out those toxins.

What they don’t tell you about switching to natural deodorant…

I don’t like to think of the following things as ‘downsides’ to natural deodorant. It’s a conscious choice to switch to body care products that are nourishing for our body instead of using products that work against our bodies natural processes.

So instead of these things being ‘negative,’ there are really just facts that come along with using a natural deodorant that you may have to get used to.

Remember that you’re not just switching products when you change from conventional to natural, you’re also adjusting your lifestyle! Here are a few things you might experience when switching to natural deodorant:

Initial smelliness. Although the detox will help immensely with switching over to natural deodorant, it may not be 100% effective right away.

You will sweat. Natural deodorant is NOT an antiperspirant. Antiperspirants block your pores from releasing sweat (which isn’t great). The detox will help with the amount of sweat, but you will still sweat, as is normal and healthy. The deodorant will reduce or eliminate the sweat smell, so you'll just have to accommodate for the actual sweat. I've switched to wearing more loose fitting clothing which is much more comfortable and breathable. You might switch up your shower routine and dress accordingly.

Natural oils can stain your light and bright clothes. Personally, I wear mostly black or patterned shirts, so this is essentially a non-issue for me. But many people who wear a lot of white do experience a yellowing of their shirts over time which is mostly due to the natural oils. So, either upgrade your wardrobe to include less white or be more intentional about removing stains from your clothes when you do laundry.

Different scents smell different on different bodies. Since natural deodorants don’t create a barrier on your skin, the scent of the deodorant will be interacting with your body chemistry. One deodorant may smell lovely when mixed with your body chemistry, but another may smell awful. For example, I steer clear of any citrus scents, because they honestly smell like cat pee on me. But my my friend uses a lime scented deodorant that she LOVES, and she smells great.

You may have to test a few deodorants before you find your perfect match. Again, since our bodies are different, we all won’t have the same results with deodorant. Be patient and find a deodorant that you truly love.

Baking soda can irritate your skin. If you have sensitive skin like me, you may find that you need to use a baking soda free deodorant. 

Just like changing anything in your life, switching to natural deodorant is a process. Be kind to yourself along the way.

I'm currently formulating my own natural deodorant and will share that with you as soon as it is available!

If you enjoyed this list, we think you'll also enjoy our Free Essential Oils for Self-Care Guide where you can learn our favorite essential oil for self-care picks and lots of ways to use them all. Sign up below and we'll send it right over.

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