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Does Natural Deodorant Really Work?

Why Go Aluminium Free & Natural?

When transitioning from using anti-perspirants (which block the sweat glands with aluminium salts) to natural deodorants (which both disguise and hinder odour formation), expect your armpits to go through some environmental adjustment. Because underarm antiperspirants or deodorants are applied near the breast and contain potentially harmful ingredients, several scientists have suggested a possible connection between their use and breast cancer. 

Aluminium-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary “plug” within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin's surface. Some research suggests that aluminium-containing underarm antiperspirants, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and have estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer. 

If you are looking to stop odor and have a healthy body then deodorant without aluminium is the best option. Primrose & Co aluminium free deodorant also gives you the opportunity to use a product with plant-based ingredients. To know what deodorant doesn’t have aluminium, check the label first to see if it includes the term antiperspirant and has aluminium ingredients like Aluminium chloralhydrate, zirconium or hydroxybromide listed as Active Ingredients. For those wanting to make the switch — and stick with it — read on...

Whats A Pit Detox?

What a lot of people don’t realise is that your body goes through a detox phase when you swap out aluminium-laden anti-perspirant for a natural deodorant. For many people, making the change to a truly chemical-free natural deodorant can induce a pit detoxifying phase. Pit Detox isn’t exactly enjoyable, but if you’re experiencing it, be proud of yourself! Your body is sending clear signals that it is recognizing and responding to the important change you’ve made with your deodorant.

We’re going to share with you what to expect and tips that might make the process quicker and easier. The truth is your natural deodorant isn’t making you smell worse — the bacterial communities under your arms are changing and it doesn’t happen overnight! It can take up to 30 days for your body to fully detox from aluminium. A two to four week transition period can be expected. Each stage may vary depending on your body chemistry.


WEEK 1: If you have been using antiperspirant since you were a teen, your body will definitely be dependent on it. You may go a couple of days or even a week without noticing much difference between your anti-perspirant and natural deodorant. This is due to the aluminium compounds in anti-perspirant forming a gel-like plug that constrict your pores in the underarm. This prevents you from sweating and getting wet.

WEEK 2: When you stop using anti-perspirant you will experience a substantial increase in growth of odour-causing bacteria in the underarm area. You may also feel additional moisture because your body is sweating, which is the body’s natural way to flush out toxins. At the end of a study conducted at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Genomics & Microbiology Lab, it was found that there was an initial increase of smelly bacteria (Corynebacteria) in the underarms of anti-perspirant users when they stopped using it. Deodorant users did not experience the same increase in odour-causing bacteria when they stopped using underarm products. They even had fewer species of bacteria in their armpits compared to armpits of participants who used no product at all. It is important to know that this odour-causing bacteria won’t last forever, it is just a part of the detox that happens when you discontinue use.

Showering and washing morning and night is important to keep these odour-causing bacteria at bay, using gentle natural soaps is also important as we also have good bacteria living on our skin and using harsh body washes strips our body's natural defence allowing bad bacteria to take over.

WEEK 3: Bacteria levels may begin to subside. The culture of bacteria is able to re-balance and stop over-producing odour-causing bacteria. What this means is that you will likely notice any odour issues starting to decrease. Underarm moisture levels will also normalise. It will take some time to get used to sweating under your arms, (powder in natural deodorant can help absorb that moisture) wearing natural fibres like cotton, bamboo and linen are your new best friends. As natural fibres are much more breathable, both sweat and bacteria can evaporate easier from the fibres.

WEEK 4: Your body should have fully adjusted to natural deodorant. It can take up to 30 days for your body to regulate itself, though for some people the detox stage is shorter. You can now continue using natural deodorant every day to neutralise the smell of daily body odour.

For some people, the stages may seem too scary to embark on, but it is so worth it when you realise that then for the rest of your life, you will have the security of knowing you are making a healthier life choice every single day, especially for breast feeding woman and the health of baby.

Tips to Help You Get Through the Detox

Thankfully, there are also a few things you can do to help you get through the detox.

Eliminate odour-causing bacteria in the shower with a natural soap. Sweat + bacteria = odour. If you remove the extra bacteria that your body temporarily develops during the detox, it will significantly improve issues with feeling stinky.

Try a pit detox using our Clay Masks. Reset your armpits to their natural working order with this simple clay mask.

1 Tbsp Clay
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 tsp water


  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl (do not use metal!) with a wooden or non-metal spoon until about the consistency of sour cream.
  2. Spread in an even layer over the armpits and allow to sit for 5-20 minutes. I suggest starting slowly and working up to a longer period of time once you see how your body adjust. If it hurts at all, remove immediately.
  3. This may cause some redness as it will increase blood flow to the area, but it will go away quickly.
  4. Wash off in the shower or with a warm, wet washcloth.
  5. Repeat daily or as needed until underarm odor goes away and natural deodorant is non-irritating.

    Carry a travel-sized deodorant with you on the go to freshen up throughout the day while you detox. Rub a small amount into each armpit once or twice daily as needed.

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