Nov 14

Just the Pits – Natural Deodorant Options

Are you looking for a deodorant that works well and doesn’t contain potentially harmful ingredients? I know the search, and it can be the pits. (Sorry, had to go there.)

Finding a healthy deodorant option doesn’t have to be so difficult, though. Here’s the lowdown on armpit alternatives:


Pamper your pits, for the good of you and those closest to you

Image via pixabay/Peter Kraayvanger

Natural deodorants – Since there are oodles of options, narrowing down the field can be a big help. That’s why I was really interested when Jessica from reached out and told me they’d done a broad comparison of different natural deodorant brands to come up with the most pit-pleasing results. The info they presented was definitely worth a share, so I welcome you to check it out: *The Best Natural Deodorant*.

Storebought natural deodorants are a great option, but some can be pretty pricey. Another possibility, especially if y ou’re a DIYer like myself, is to make your own version. I recently made a video of how I make my homemade natural deodorant, with ingredients like coconut oil, baking soda (optional), and arrowroot powder. (You can watch it here.)

*Note: as I mention in my video, some people find that baking soda irritates their skin. Personally, I find that applying a bit of milk of magnesia (see below for more info), seems to prevent me from any sensitivity towards the baking soda. Another option would be to leave the baking soda out of your homemade recipe or, before applying a baking soda-containing deodorant, spray/pat some apple cider vinegar onto your armpits and let it dry. The acidic vinegar and alkaline baking soda should balance one another, which will benefit sensitive skin.


Image via

Milk of magnesia – Yes, we’re still talking about deodorant. Milk of magnesia is otherwise known as MOM in the “crunchy world.” I swear by it, as do many others. Most days, I swipe some milk of magnesia under my arms and am ready to go. Other days, I add a little of my homemade deodorant and everything’s peachy. I apply the MOM wet or as a thicker cream.  (*I make the cream by pouring a small amount of the milk of magnesia into a cup–the little cup that comes with the bottle works great. Then, I wait for a day or two, while the excess water evaporates.) You might think it’s icky, but I simply apply it with my fingertips. They work better than cotton balls and I’m left with no waste. Whether I apply it as a liquid or a cream, I let it air dry and I’m on my way.

*Note: if you give this a try, you’ll want to buy the plain milk of magnesia (not mint or cherry) and check the inactive ingredients to be sure it doesn’t contain sodium hypochlorite–not all brands do.


Images via pixabay/artemtation

Apple cider vinegar – This may work well, especially if you’re someone whose skin is irritated by the alkalinity of baking soda. The vinegar is acidic, which might be just right for your body’s needs, and it’s also a natural antiseptic. The vinegar scent is pretty pungent at first, but will fade as it dries. Consider spraying this under your arms rather than applying with a cotton ball; it’ll reduce waste.


Image via Unsplash/Annie Spratt

Lemon juice – This works on the same principle as the apple cider vinegar. It may require a bit more effort to spray or dab your armpits daily in lemon (or lime) juice, but some people prefer the fresh scent. Just watch out for anything acidic if you’ve recently shaved!


Image via Unsplash/Tirza van Dijk

Plain coconut oil – All hail coconut oil, right? While it doesn’t cure cancer (although that might be worth investigating?), it does help combat a lot of ills. For instance, being antimicrobial, coconut oil should kill some of the odor-causing bacteria in your armpits. On its own, though, the oil can be…well, oily, so a little might go a long way. As I mentioned above (and below), you can also try mixing it into a paste with some baking soda.


Image via pixabay/manueltapi

Baking soda – You can make a paste of this by mixing it with some water or coconut oil, or you can try mixing a little baking soda into some organic cornstarch. When applied to underarms, the baking soda should help prevent odors. (Cornstarch should help absorb wetness.)


Image via pixabay/evitaochel

Rubbing alcohol – Rubbing alcohol (or vodka) sprayed under your arms should help kill odor-causing bacteria. It can be used alone or along with a few added drops of tea tree oil or skin-safe essential oils. Again, this may sting for a bit if applied to skin that’s been shaved recently. I sometimes use EO’s deodorant spray in lavender (ethanol + essential oils) and really like it.


Image via Nair

Witch hazel – Witch hazel is an astringent and will help rid your skin of any trapped oils or moisture. Like rubbing alcohol, it will help kill odor-causing bacteria and can be sprayed alone on your armpits, or mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil, lavender or other skin-safe essential oils.


Witch hazel flowers

Image via pixabay/condesign

Crystal Deodorants – These are large crystals of potassium aluminum sulfate. It is believed by some that the larger molecules of aluminum in these crystals will not be absorbed through skin. Others don’t feel comfortable using aluminum at all. Personally, I tried a crystal deodorant many years ago and didn’t have any luck, but I’ve heard it works well for some.


Image via pixabay/wingsofcompassion

Be warned, it may take a little while for your body to adjust to going au naturel, but an armpit detox can definitely help speed up the process. I found this great one on, which is made up of bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and water, and should help rid your pits of toxins. I find that sitting with arms akimbo, airing your clay-ified pits has the added bonus of providing some family entertainment. Never a dull moment when you’re trying to live on the crunchy side of life.


Embrace yourself, pits and all

Image via pixabay/glisando

Just to add a few quick disclaimers, these are all deodorants–not antiperspirants–so they won’t keep you from sweating. That said, you do know how chemical-based deodorants keep you from sweating, don’t you? That’s right. They stop up your pores with aluminum. Kind of makes sweat seem a little more benign.

So, when it comes to your pits, I hope you’ll decide to pamper them. Remember, our body absorbs a lot through our skin, so going with something more natural should benefit your health. There are plenty of options out there. It might just be a matter of finding which one works best for you, so you don’t end up smelling like…the pits. (Sorry again. I blame the subject matter.) 😛


1 ping

  1. Whoa! I’ve wondered about this. Never tried the natural route, but it would be nice to do away with the chemicals…

    1. Hi, W! It might be worth a try! I agree about avoiding chemicals–I’ve opted for a lot of natural options and have been really happy about the change. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  1. […] compile one (a task which I’m now adding to my to-do list…) *By the way, as I mentioned in another post, milk of magnesia also makes for a great, safe deodorant…one without chemicals or […]

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