Why Deodorant is the Pits... What to Use Instead

Anyone that knows me can tell you, other than my serious love for red meat and whiskey, I’m pretty crunchy. Years ago, when I was in massage therapy school, I had a teacher say to me, “I don’t put anything on my body, that I can’t eat.” This was a revelation for me. After studying and learning all about the skin and what exactly it does, this concept just made sense. It was after this very moment that I set out, on what has now been a 6 year journey to get off of commercial grooming products.

It never occurs to me that other people are not as obsessed with this as I am. I end up talking to clients about this sort of thing all the time, only to find out that they have never heard of any of the natural alternatives I use to maintain my cleanliness. One very important reason you should start making some switches in your body care is one of your skin’s important functions is absorption. Another important fact about this is the absence of your liver and kidneys in this system. When you eat or drink something toxic (not that you should), your liver and kidneys are there to clean your blood, and help balance toxicity in the body. When you absorb toxins through the skin it goes directly into your bloodstream, and then consequently into your lymphatic system (and who knows where else). Hence, the reason toxins in body care products have been linked to just about any autoimmune disease, nervous system issues, and a ton of cancers.


One of the biggest struggles of going hippy is deodorant! As someone that works very closely with others, I just cannot be stinky. I’ve had several co-workers laugh at me because I am constantly sniffing my pits, just to check in… and quite shamelessly so. While, I’ve had many comment that I never smell bad, no matter what alternative deodorant I have tried, I always feel like I’m a bit ripe halfway into my shifts. If you have ever considered getting off deodorant, let me save you some time by telling you what works and what doesn’t (for me, at least).

To give you encouragement on why you should get off your store bought deodorant, I would like to share with you some ingredients that are found in your typical anti-antiperspirant…

Aluminum. Research has time and time again linked aluminum to cancer, Alzheimer's, even schizophrenia. Heavy metal toxicity is a real problem in the western world and we should be doing everything we can to avoid it. That includes not putting it in your pits!

Parabens. Preservatives placed in just about everything you use in the bathroom. Also, linked to cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Fragrance. That literally could mean anything. It is a blanket term for “other stuff.” The FDA does not require that certain potential toxins be listed on the bottle, as long as that word is there.

One thing you need to understand is that sweating is good! Sweating releases toxins from the body, mostly heavy metals. Aluminum clogs pores so they produce less sweat. It seems oxy-moronic to utilize a heavy metal, to stop the process that cleans heavy metals out of your system.


Natural alternatives that do not work (on me), or have adverse side-effects of their own (again, on me).

Baking Soda.  All this does is give me a rash, it doesn’t seem to control my odor for more than an hour. Baking soda is also a harsh abrasive on the skin, and can screw with your ph balance, making odor run a muck.

Crystal. Doesn’t even work for a minute, and actually usually makes me smell worse. I wouldn’t even bother trying it. No one I know that has tried this, likes it.

Cotton. No, this is not a form of deodorant, but it does have an affect on my stank. When I wear fitted cotton t-shirts, my pits are the pits. The reason being is that cotton holds bacteria. If you notice this on your journey, buy bamboo t-shirts, and see if that is a better match. Bamboo has natural antibacterial properties, as well as merino wool (for the winter months).


What does work.

Shaving. There may be some argument over this but shaving helps keep my funk to a minimum. Some say skin on skin contact may create more sweat. I don’t think so. As a moderate to heavy sweater I pretty much just sweat all the time no matter what. I have noticed that it is more internal influences that affect this, such as caffeine intake. I’m of the population that says hair holds bacteria and shave like clockwork every other morning. I also have noticed that I will have less irritation if I keep my armpits nice a smooth, along with no fear of tank tops!

ACV (apple cider vinegar). Yep, you’ve probably read somewhere about the amazing uses for this healing elixir. I only use Bragg’s brand. The only downside to this, is that it smells like, well, vinegar. The good news is that it usually goes away once it is dried. If you can handle it, it's probably the best alternative as it actually can balance odor causing bacteria in your pits over long-term use, making them naturally less stinky, or dare I say, stink free. Just dilute it 50/50 with water and voila! 

My latest discovery however is tea tree oil. I ran out of ACV and needed to find something in my cabinet to use instead. It occurred to me one day that it is known and used worldwide for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. So, I just decided to give it a shot. I mix 1-2 drops of tea tree oil with two drops of rose hip seed oil and slather it on. I sometimes will have to do this in the am, and then again at night to stay stink free, but it really works well.

Remember, while on your journey, everyone’s body chemistry is different, so what may work for one, may not work for another. I have been fiddling with my own body experiments for years, and have found my odor remedies through tireless hours of research and experimentation. I encourage you to do the same. It is better for your health and pockets!

Thanks for Reading!

I'm Shelbi, and that's the Rub