How to Use Natural Deodorant: the Ultimate Guide with Tips for Sensitive Pits + How Not to Smell

If you're new to natural deodorant, overwhelmed by options, or had a bad experience in the past, these tips are for you!

As a zero waste shop owner I talk to customers EVERY DAY about natural deodorant. Here're 5 tips you absolutely need for how to use natural deodorant and not smell--based on dozens of conversations & feedback from my zero waste shop customers and other store owners.

Why use natural deodorant?

Traditional deodorants and antiperspirants literally clog your pores with toxic ingredients & synthetic chemicals and fragrances specifically designed to stop your body’s natural ability to sweat. They've been that way pretty much since they were first invented!

Side note: Vintage deodorant ads were awful--
especially to women, like this one!

vintage sexist deodorant ad

Over time, manufacturers started adding all kinds of gross ingredients while using advertisements that made people ashamed of their body's natural functions.

It has been suggested that deodorants containing aluminum to clog pores (on purpose, to stop the sweating) are also linked to risk of breast cancer; others claim that theory has been debunked.

In my personal (non-medical opinion), why take the risk with a synthetic deodorant if you don't have to?

If you can find a natural deodorant that actually works for you, wouldn't you rather be on the safe side?

Every now and then I get customers who are resolute in their opinion that natural deodorant doesn't work. But with so many new deodorants on the market, I firmly believe there's a natural deodorant alternative for everyone!

Thus, here are 5 tips you absolutely need for making natural deodorant work for you!

# 1

Use this No Tox Life Underarm Detox Bar first to clean your pits, and then natural apply deodorant

No Tox Life Underarm Detox Bar

If your natural deodorant is not working, if you're still smelly, or switching to natural deodorant for the first time, use this charcoal, clay-based detox bar FIRST to reset your armpits before applying natural deodorant.

No Tox Life Underarm Detox Bar

Traditional deodorants & antiperspirants clog up your pores to block your body’s natural ability to sweat--so once you finally let your pits breathe, of course there's an adjustment period!

The charcoal and clay base in the detox bar will help exfoliate, pull out impurities in your skin, unclog your pores and reset your pit situation before applying your deodorant. Use daily for as long as needed.

Also, consider the matching No Tox Life "extra strength" baking soda-free deodorant cube (made by the same brand). It's one that I use and it's truly one of the strongest on the market!

# 2

How to put on natural deodorant?

Cover your whole pit area!

Apply to the same surface area as you would "regular" deodorant

Sometimes people break out when using natural deodorant. This could be an ingredient you're sensitive to BUT it could also be chaffing if you're not covering the same surface area you normally would. Natural deodorants are great but CAN be harder to apply

HiBar Bergamot + Cedar natural deodorant stick

These new HiBar deodorant sticks in a cardboard tube are the same size as traditional ones and just as soft when gliding on.  I've been rotating this one into my routine-- especially when running outdoors. I realized I was breaking out in a spot where I hadn't actually applied the deodorant, and in fact hadn't been covering my whole pit. That stopped some redness and bumps I had where my upper arm was rubbing the top of my sports bra while moving.

# 3

Try a softer deodorant

Best natural deodorant for sensitive armpits? 

If you're still sensitive or having a rash, try a softer deodorant. Beeswax based deodorants like this Chagrin Valley deodorant work great for some (like my partner) but for others it can literally be too hard or scratchy.

You can try holding the harder wax-based deodorants under your pit to warm & soften first, or try a cream-based brand that's naturally softer and applies more smoothly with your fingers or a bamboo applicator, like Little Seed Farms or Fat & the Moon (they have both regular with baking soda & a sensitive pit cream) 

Little Seed Farms Lavender natural deodorant cream without baking sodaFat and the Moon Deodorant Cream

I also really like the No Tox Life cube for this reason-- it's the closest texture to 'traditional' deodorants that I've found so far. Like HiBar deodorant, it's also super easy to glide on & coat the whole pit area. The only downside is it has no packaging so you need to keep it in something

# 4

Determine if you're actually sensitive to baking soda

If you're still having a break out and ruled out these other issues, you could just be sensitive to baking soda itself. There's nothing bad about baking soda itself --it's a common ingredient used to help absorb sweat & odor, but it can be too irritating for some sensitive pits. 

Try switching to a natural deodorant without baking soda such as these:
No Tox Life Extra Strength Deodorant Cube

# 5

Finally, wash your pits daily, even if you don't shower!


soap bar on towel

Just like your face, wash your pits every day & reapply.

Natural deodorants allow your body to breathe & sweat like it was made to.

So, naturally, with more sweat you may just need to wash your pits more often! The same as a daily face routine, but a lot more simple!


Disclaimer: this is for entertainment purposes only and is no substitute for medical advice. If you are experiencing skin issues of concern, please seek the appropriate medical care.

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