Natural Deodorant for Women: 7 Tips To Pick the Best One for You
Welcome, friend, to the wonderful world of natural deodorant!
If you’re new here, you may be a bit tentative, and—trust us—we get it.
While there are a number of reasons so many of us are interested in making the switch to a natural deo (gentler ingredients, less worry about chemicals entering the body, better for the environment–the list goes on and on!), there is also one major concern just about every newcomer shares: will a natural deodorant really keep me odor-free? Are they all going to be fragrance-free?
We’re here to assure you that natural deodorant can absolutely keep you smelling and feeling fresh just like any commercial antiperspirant.
However, it can take a little time to find that perfect fit.
While all antiperspirants rely on aluminum to block sweat, there is a wide range of ingredients used in different natural deos meant to do everything from covering up body odor to absorbing moisture. And since all of our bodies are different, some of us respond better to certain ingredients than others.
While we believe the benefits of natural deodorant are well worth the wait, we also want to make the transition period as smooth as can be.
So how can you find the best natural deodorants for your body? Here are five tips to help you find your perfect deo match.
1. Look for Sweat-Absorbing Ingredients
First, let's quickly go over the difference between an antiperspirant and deodorant.
The key difference here is that antiperspirant targets underarm odor by using aluminum to clog the pores and keep sweat from exiting the body, while deodorants work to neutralize the odor-causing bacteria without completely blocking sweat.
Since it’s the sweat that attracts odor-causing bacteria, targeting sweat helps combat smell right at the source.
According to the FDA, aluminum is currently the only ingredient that can be classified as an antiperspirant — meaning that it blocks sweat glands. So while all antiperspirants rely on aluminum as a main active ingredient, aluminum-free deodorants can house a number of various types of smell-fighting ingredients within their case.
And just because the plant-based and naturally-derived ingredients used in natural deodorants aren’t classified as antiperspirants by the FDA doesn’t mean they can’t help absorb wetness and keep you feeling dry.
While some natural deodorants focus more on neutralizing odor-causing bacteria, others provide added odor protection with ingredients that can help reduce the amount of bacteria-attracting sweat in the underarms by absorbing wetness from the skin.
Tapioca starch, arrowroot powder, activated charcoal, and Kaolin clay are just a few examples of the wetness-absorbing ingredients you’re likely to find in aluminum-free deodorants.
These ingredients also absorb wetness without fully blocking sweat glands as aluminum does. This is important because sweating is a necessary biological function. Sweat helps regulate our temperature, flush out toxins, and support the growth of healthy bacteria.
So when choosing a natural deodorant, we suggest opting for one that contains sweat-absorbing ingredients that can tackle wetness without fully clogging your pores.
At Bite, we rely on tapioca starch to get this important job done right. As a mild, gluten-free, and plant-derived ingredient capable of absorbing skin moisture, tapioca starch is gentle on the skin and won’t disrupt your endocrine system as it works to keep you smelling great.
2. Seek Out Ingredients That Are Kind to Sensitive Skin
For those of us with sensitive skin, choosing the right ingredients in our deodorant is a must. And even those who don’t typically have to worry about skin sensitivity may still want to take a little extra care when it comes to the pits.
This is because our underarms are an exceptionally sensitive part of the body. The skin in this area is thinner and more delicate, making it more prone to irritation and allergic reactions. The folds of the skin here are also more likely to chafe as they rub against each other and against our clothing.
Of course, those folds are also responsible for creating a warm and moist environment where odor-causing bacteria can thrive. This means that we have to seek out ingredients that soothe sensitive skin while still being effective at combating those smelly molecules that can build up in the armpits. Deodorants that include aloe could help soothe your skin, for example.
Luckily, natural deodorants are typically free of the more abrasive and harmful chemicals that can irritate the skin or even disrupt the endocrine system, such as sulfates, triclosan, phthalates, talc, and parabens.
Ingredients like charcoal, magnesium, or certain types of clay could prove effective. Skip the preservatives and synthetic fragrances and opt for deodorants that include essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, or tea tree oil.
That said, some natural ingredients still carry the risk of upsetting sensitive skin.
One popular natural deodorant ingredient that can still irritate the skin is baking soda. While baking soda is a clean ingredient, it has a high pH level that can negatively impact the skin.
For women, the ideal skin pH is anywhere between 4.5 and 5.5. This range allows for proper cell turnover and skin barrier function to keep the skin balanced and hydrated.
Baking soda, however, has a high pH of around 8.4. With a pH so much higher than that of the skin, using baking soda in the pits can throw our natural pH balance out of whack and lead to dryness and irritation, especially when used on dry or sensitive skin.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are another natural skincare ingredient that may irritate sensitive skin.
At Bite, we incorporate only clean and gentle ingredients into our baking soda-free formula. We use castor seed oil, shea butter, and vitamin E to help moisturize and soften the skin, while coconut oil provides soothing hydration and serves as a protective agent for the skin barrier.
With nourishing plant-based ingredients replacing harsh chemicals and skin irritants, our calming formula is sensitive skin-approved.
3. Find a Deo With Antibacterial Properties
Along with choosing a deodorant that helps absorb wetness, you can further minimize body odor by using ingredients that ward off and neutralize the bacteria responsible for producing those funky odors.
Bite deodorant helps keep odor at bay by utilizing a number of ingredients that can help prevent bacteria growth. Our use of fractionated coconut oil and non-nano zinc oxide help reduce odor-causing bacteria and prevent new bacterial growth.
By pairing these antibacterial ingredients with our moisture-absorbing tapioca starch, you’ll be feeling dry and smelling divine all day long.
4. Consider the Scent
When it comes to deodorants, there is no shortage of scents to choose from. Whether you prefer catching whiffs of something fresh and fruity, cool and minty, sweet and floral, or rich and earthy throughout your day, there is a deodorant out there to elicit your favorite aroma.
However, along with deciding your personal preferences when it comes to the scent of your deo, you also want to consider the ingredients used to create those alluring fragrances.
Unfortunately, there is often a lack of transparency regarding fragrances in skincare and wellness products. Because fragrance is protected by trade laws, companies don’t need to reveal exactly what ingredients go into making their scents.
That’s why when you look at the ingredients list on any of your scented personal care products, you’ll often see an ingredient simply listed as “fragrance” or “perfume.” This doesn’t give you all too much info about what exactly you are putting on your skin.
At Bite, we believe that transparency is key. When we know exactly what is going into our bodies, we can make the most informed decisions that are right for us and our individual needs.
And if you prefer a completely scent-free option, our unscented deodorant offers a clean and gentle option that neutralizes odor-causing molecules without any added fragrance.
5. Choose an Application Method You’ll Enjoy
Natural deodorants come in all shapes and sizes.
While we love that there are so many options available, you probably have your own preferences when it comes to the right application method for your own personal routine.
When choosing a natural deo, you’ll see deodorant sticks and roll-ons, spray deodorants, and deodorant creams.
While deodorant sticks and roll-ons are super convenient, the ones that rely on plastic casing are unfortunately still contributing to more than the 15 million pounds of deodorant packaging ending up in our landfills and oceans each year.
And while deodorant creams often come in environmentally-friendly glass jars, needing to smear the cream onto the pits with your hands can be a little messy for a quick n’ easy morning routine or for taking on the go.
Here at Bite, we believe caring for our bodies and caring for the planet go hand and hand, and we want to make it as easy as possible to do both. That’s why all four of our deodorants come in a refillable plastic-free case that is meant to last a lifetime.
When it comes time to replace your first stick, we’ll ship a compostable refill straight to your doorstep using carbon-neutral shipping. Simply insert the refill into the travel-friendly case, and enjoy with ease as the deodorant glides smoothly along your skin.
6. Choose Ingredients You’ll Feel Good About
Along with avoiding harmful chemicals by opting for a natural deodorant, you can also seek out ingredients that align with your values. Whether you look for corn starch, sandalwood, green tea-infused deodorants, or essential oils, opt for natural ingredients that go hand in hand with your priorities — like sustainability.
All of our deodorants at Bite are made with environmentally friendly and ethically sourced ingredients. We keep our deodorants cruelty-free and vegan by using a binding vegan mineral wax called ozokerite instead of beeswax.
7. Give It Some Time!
Alright, here comes the hard part: once you swap out your aluminum-based antiperspirant for a natural deodorant, your body is going to need a few weeks to adjust. This is known as the detox period.
Because your body is used to having its pores clogged with aluminum, you may notice you are sweating a little more (and are a little stinkier) as your pores are first getting used to their newfound breathing room. But this won’t last — we promise!
Your body is simply readjusting as it restarts the natural and healthy sweating process. The detox period typically only lasts for a few weeks, and then once your body is used to the sweating process again, the amount of sweating you experience will decrease.
In the meantime, choosing a deodorant with a scent you love and using an exfoliating scrub once or twice a week can help reduce odor and boost your confidence during the detox.
We know you’ve got this, and your body will be thanking you for the swap to clean and gentle ingredients in no time!
The Bottom Line
The expansive world of natural deodorants can feel overwhelming, but once you know what to look for, choosing the right deo for you will be a breeze.
Making the switch to a natural deodorant and clean beauty products, in general, can help reduce the number of irritating and disruptive chemicals introduced into the body, while also limiting the environmental impact of our daily wellness routine.
And you don’t have to do it alone! Bite is here to help you through every step of the way.
With Bite natural deodorants, you can feel confident knowing you are using nothing but clean, gentle, and environmentally-friendly ingredients that will keep your pits happy and odor-free.