Natural Underarm Care: What I Use
This is a quick post about alternatives to antiperspirant - I’ve tested out loads of different vegan antiperspirants and deodorants, but the two products I’m using now are my favourites of all the ones I’ve tried!
Goodbye aerosol sprays
My first switch was from aerosol antiperspirant to non-aerosols, purely because I’ve always found them really choky - to me, the air feels thick and suffocating whenever an aerosol deodorant is sprayed near me, and I can’t get away quickly enough! I started using roll-on and stick antiperspirants in maybe 2010.
How does antiperspirant work?
From DermNet NZ:
Aluminium-based antiperspirants work by blocking the sweat ducts, thereby reducing the amount of sweat that reaches the skin's surface. ... When they are applied to skin and come in contact with sweat, the pH rises causing the aluminium salts to precipitate out and form a plug over the sweat glands.
Because underarm antiperspirants are applied near the breast and contain potentially harmful ingredients, some scientists have also suggested there’s a link between antiperspirants and breast cancer - but cancer.gov states there’s no hard evidence yet that this is true, so I don’t want to help spread any rumours! It’s more of a align-with-nature angle that I’m coming from. Humans have sweat ducts so that sweat is released from those ducts. It seems so unnatural have them plugged for 16+ hours a day.
Salt Of The Earth
So around 2015, I started my quest to use more natural products. I tried the rock salt stick from Salt Of The Earth and it really didn’t work for me - I’ve kept it to try again at a later date, as two of my friends swear by it.
I do, however, love the Salt Of The Earth Spray. The spray works by sitting on the surface of freshly-cleaned skin, inhibiting the growth of odour-causing bacteria - and it lasts me really well in day-to-day life. It didn’t hold up during exercise when I was pregnant, but I was sweating a ton, so it’s excusable as it’s not marketed as an antiperspirant - and it’s totally natural for a pregnant woman who’s exercising to sweat!
What about when you’re not clean?
There were two ways I would use my heavily-scented antiperspirant spray. One was straight after a shower, to block my sweat ducts and stop me from perspiring, and the other was when I was leaving the house in a rush and hadn’t showered - to cover up body odour.
While the Salt Of The Earth spray is great for clean skin, it doesn’t deodorise sweaty underarms. This is where many people turn to talcum powder.
A great alternative to talc is arrowroot powder - it soaks up grease and sweat really well! I use it as a dry shampoo between washes occasionally (i.e. when I’m overdue a hair wash), and as a deodorant too. However, due to the messy nature of my jar of loose arrowroot powder, it’s always been an on-off relationship - think black jeans covered in bits of white powder just before heading out the door.
It wasn’t until I had a baby that I realised there was a simple solution to this powder problem.
Burt’s Bees Dusting Powder
I came across Burt’s Bees Dusting Powder while pregnant and looking for talc alternatives for our baby, and ordered some in preparation for her arrival.
I’m now writing this when she’s 9 months old, and we’ve actually never used the dusting powder on Zara. She’s never had nappy rash and we use mostly cloth nappies, cotton and water to wipe, and coconut oil to moisturise after changing. It was only when I was rushing out of the house one day, having not showered, that I decided to use some of the dusting powder on my underarms in place of talc, and it worked a treat and smelled like nothing else I’ve ever used! Calendula (or marigold), fresh and not overpowering at all. I’m so glad I bought it, even if we never use it for its intended purpose! The shaker bottle thingy makes it a lot less messy than the jar of arrowroot too. To save on the plastic, once this bottle is finished, I’ll fill it with arrowroot powder and see how that goes.
So these two products - Salt Of The Earth Deodorant Spray and Burt’s Bees Dusting Powder - as well as plain arrowroot powder (ideally in a shaker), are great alternatives to aerosol antiperspirants and deodorants, and will cover your needs whether just-stepped-out-of-the-shower or can’t-remember-when-I-last-showered.
I’d love to learn more about natural deodorant alternatives, as it would be great to use something that doesn’t involve plastic. Like I mentioned, I’ll be filling my Burt’s Bees shaker with arrowroot powder once it’s finished - but I don’t know of any plastic-free alternatives that are as effective as the Salt Of The Earth Spray.
Let me know if you have any natural deodorant tips!
Thanks for reading.