Should I Switch to Natural Deodorant?

The pros weigh in as heat and humidity rise
Should I Switch to Natural Deodorant?
The clean beauty movement is coming for your armpits. “When people consider switching to natural products, deodorant is where many start,” says J.P. Mastey, founder of Corpus Naturals, a brand known for its sustainably manufactured deodorant housed in stylish celadon packaging.

Consumers are wising up to what they’re slathering on their skin—and for good reason. Although scientists have yet to establish a direct link, iffy ingredients like parabens and aluminum are rumored to increase the risk of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, the notion of suppressing the body’s natural ability to self-regulate through sweat isn’t as appealing as it once was, especially if it involves applying potentially toxic ingredients “near anatomy—lymph nodes, breast tissue, vital organs, etc.—that is particularly sensitive to endocrine disruptors,” adds Mastey.

Natural deodorants have come a long way over the years but converting from a traditional antiperspirant that blocks sweat to a stick or spray that doesn’t still requires some patience. “One of the biggest concerns people have when switching to natural deodorant is the dreaded detox period,” says Mastey of the purging process that can leave you feeling and smelling, well, funky. “Often, they give up too soon.” Natural formulas can and do work—they just get the job done differently. “They exfoliate, keep the population of bacteria low, or mask odor,” explains New York City-based dermatologist Francesca Fusco.
The transition period may last from a few days up to a few weeks.
While nothing creates social distance quite like B.O., keep reading for tips on transitioning your underarm routine and staying fresh this summer.


If you’re just beginning your journey into the world of natural deodorants, prepare to be bombarded with options ranging from sticks to pastes to sprays to crystals. Whatever your textural preference, Dr. Fusco recommends looking for ingredients with antibacterial properties such as tea tree oil, clary sage, and coconut oil. She says baking soda, charcoal, and cornstarch can help absorb oil and sweat. Crystal deodorants use mineral salts, “which when wet and applied to the skin, can help reduce the population of bacteria,” explains Dr. Fusco. 

Mastey spent two painstaking years creating the perfect formula that was equal parts clean, effective, and ultra-luxe. The two key elements in Corpus Natural Deodorant: saccharomyces ferment filtrate (an organic ingredient derived from vegetable fermentation that uses live enzymes to decompose odor-causing bacteria) and diatomaceous earth (a food-grade mineral that boasts natural deodorizing properties). One ingredient Mastey purposely left out was baking soda, as it can cause irritation—something to keep in mind if you have sensitive skin.


“The transition period may last from a few days up to a few weeks,” says Mastey of switching from an antiperspirant to a natural deodorant. There are, however, a few things that can make the experience bit more bearable. The first being your wardrobe. Break out breezy linen pieces, tank tops, and sleeveless sundresses. “Avoid synthetic fabrics and tight-fitting clothes,” he adds. “Your body will want to breathe more during this time.” Mastey also suggests skipping spicy or heavily foods to help reduce B.O.

 Exfoliating your underarms a few times a week is key to unclogging pores and eliminating odor-causing bacteria—just be sure not to overdo it. If redness or irritation occurs, give your pits plenty of time to recover. Products containing glycolic, mandelic, or salicylic acid (such as Dr. Loretta Micro Peel Peptide Pads) can help slough away dead skin cells. The same can be said for naturally antibacterial and acidic apple cider vinegar, which Mastey recommends swiping to “speed up the detox.” Many have claimed that using a mask containing charcoal or clay (like Saya French Green Clay) helps draw out dirt, oil, and other impurities.

 While body hair—and whether you choose to remove it or not—is a personal decision, know that it can harbor sweat and smelly bacteria. “Hairy areas are slower to evaporate sweat, making them more susceptible to body odor,” says Dr. Fusco. Regardless, Mastey says natural deodorant should always be applied liberally to clean, dry skin. “Water will dilute the product and reduce its effectiveness,” he adds.


When switching from antiperspirant, you may feel slightly soggier than usual—and that’s OK. While it seems like you’re perspiring more, remember that antiperspirants use ingredients (primarily aluminum) to temporarily block sweat glands, so it’s merely a matter of getting reacquainted with your body’s natural function. “Sweat is not bad!” says Mastey. “We are raised to think that it is thanks to slogans like ‘Never let them see you sweat.’”

Societal complexes aside, sweat isn’t even necessarily what stinks. “Body odor is the result of the breakdown of bacteria mixed with sweat, dead skin cells, oils, and surface skin protein,” explains Dr. Fusco. If you’re worried about B.O., especially in the beginning, add an extra layer of insurance throughout the day. “You may need to reapply until your body has fully completed the transition process, but it’s just a temporary phase,” says Mastey. Mayron’s Goods Coconut Deodorant comes in a travel-size container for convenient touch-ups.

Natural deodorants have also made significant strides in terms of their fragrance profiles—meaning you no longer have to smell like a musky hippie who recently emerged from the woods (unless you want to, of course). Corpus uses essential oils to create sophisticated scents that are on par with fancy perfumes, like No. Green (a zesty blend of bergamot, pink lemon, orange blossom, and cardamom) and California (an invigorating mix of sea salt, bergamot, and white jasmine notes). No matter how you swipe it, Mastey’s best advice for becoming a natural deodorant convert: “Stick with it.” All good things take time.

Written by Amber Kallor

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