Confession: I'm obsessed with armpits.
If you know me, you know I don't wear deodorant. This is often viewed as socially unacceptable but you can ask anyone that has ever met me and hugged me and not a single one of them will tell you that I stink. And it's not because they don't want to hurt my feelings. (I surround myself with blatantly honest humans.) It's because I don't stink. People usually tell me that I smell like a garden and if they know that I don't wear deodorant, they're shocked that I don't have body odor. And that, my friends, is because you don't inherently stink.
But let's face it, at first, it's not convenient to forego deodorant. Really unpleasant things can happen like stubborn body odor. The heart is willing but when you stink it's hard to push through and easy to give up. Your armpits are delicate and are often neglected so I'm sharing some of my armpit secrets and how I've gotten away with not wearing deodorant consistently for 3 years!
Here's my step-by-step guide to un-funking your pits:
1. Throw your commercial deodorant in the trash
It's time to get conscious of what you're exposing your body to, like your daily deodorant routine. No tip toeing around this issue, throw your commercial deodorant in the trash. A daily smear of chemicals under your arms that intentionally clog pores is a habit worth reconsidering and oh so doable with a little help and planning!
Keep in mind there are dozens of lymph nodes close to the armpit and breasts that your chemical laden deodorant is touching everyday.
2. Armpit detox — 2 ways
An armpit detox can help your body get back to it's natural state of clean perspiration faster. Flush out the old bacteria and chemical residue and then if you choose to use natural deodorants, they will work better for you! To all my friends who gave up on making the switch, please, please try again! Try to resist using your new natural deodorant for at least two weeks to let these detoxes work their magic. Get those pores cleaned out and functioning properly and then begin your love affair with a healthy deodorant choice, or forego deodorant all together (like me).
ACV spray — Combine 4 drops of rosemary essential oil, 4 drops of lavender essential oil, and 1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar in a 2 oz glass spray bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with filtered water. Before going to bed, give the bottle a gentle shake and spray both armpits. Let the spray dry and get a good nights rest! Next day, repeat the process! You may need to spritz your armpits several times during the first 2 or 3 days but that will be short-lived. You should see your body respond to the detox reasonably well after 5 days. Don't give up! The length of this process will vary for everyone but like I said, don't give up! This too shall pass, you can do it! Take time for an Epsom salt or magnesium chloride detox foot bath at night, this too will speed the process of cleaning.
Bentonite clay mask — Combine 1 tablespoon bentonite clay, 1 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar, and 1-2 teaspoons filtered water in a bowl. Spread an even layer over your armpits and let it sit for 5-20 minutes. Wash it off in the shower or with a warm, wet washcloth and repeat as needed until underarm odor goes away!
3. What comes out of your body reflects what you put in
If you can't stand the smell from the outside, just imagine what your body smells like on the inside! Armpits are designed to sweat. Yet people go to great lengths to prevent their armpits from sweating. Sweating is an important part of maintaining optimum physical health. Conventional doctors like to say body odor is due to bacteria living in your armpits, but that's ridiculous because our entire bodies are covered with bacteria. The real cause of armpit odor is the intentional excretion of horrible toxins that your body is trying to get rid of! The way to eliminate body odor, then, is not to mask it with unhealthful deodorant products, but rather to clean up your body from the inside out.
Make sure you're drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water on a daily basis, ditch manufactured foods made with refined white flour, added sugars, hydrogenated oils and other processed ingredients, consume organic leafy vegetables and fresh fruits, super greens, lots of sprouts, raw nuts and seeds, healthy oils and other similar healthful ingredients.
4. Exfoliate regularly
We take such good care of our face with washing, toning, moisturizing, exfoliating, moisturizing again and then neglect our armpits. I get it though... Your face enters the room first but then couldn't your body odor enter the room second? Yeah, let's nix that.
Exfoliation is the first step from my facial ritual that I'm bringing down to my pits. I like to use Pure + Radiant's bare + grain it | FACE & BODY SCRUB while in the shower because it contains pink himalayan salt. Pink salt kills odor-causing bacteria while neutralizing body odor. Also, the two essential oils in this product are lavender and rosemary which are also in the armpit detox spray!
The thin skin of our underarms are prone to dryness. Keep them moisturized and they'll stay happy all day! I like to use Pure + Radiant's skin food | SERUM for mature skin because it contains frankincense essential oil which eliminates bacteria and protects skin cells.
6. Find a natural deodorant
Here are my tried-and-true favorites:
7. Just go ahead and avoid baking soda
Probably the #2 reason people give up on natural deodorants is because they begin to experience a red, itchy rash in their armpits. I remember using Schmidt's Naturals bergamot + lime deodorant jar for one month and then one day I broke out in the most annoying rash. The culprit? Baking soda.
I recommend avoiding baking soda in natural deodorants because baking soda is an accumulation in your body and it's not if you'll get a red, itchy rash, it's when. For my husband, it took over a year before he broke out in a rash. It's different for everyone. The Material Safety Data Sheet for sodium bicarbonate warns against rash, redness, and dry and/or cracked skin with prolonged exposure to baking soda on the skin.
If you're currently using a natural deodorant that contains baking soda and it's working for you, that's freaking awesome! Just be aware that you could possibly break out in a rash at some point and this is most likely why.
8. Hair under there?
I know it's not socially acceptable for women to have armpit hair in America, but I firmly believe that God put it there for a reason. It reduces friction between the upper and lower arm during movement, covers exposed parts of the body with vital arteries, and facilitates the release of sex pheromones. When you shave, you can get irritation, folliculitis, rashes, inflammation, and even infections from dirty razors.
I'm not on this level of dirty hippie (yet) but I do typically shave my underarms only once a week and every so often let it grow for a few weeks and then go get sugar waxed. I've noticed that the longer I go between shaving, the better my body handles sweat and body odor. Since I'm sure no one is ready to grow their underarm hair, let's talk about healthier ways of hair removal!
Razor — I've been using Oui Shave's Samantha Chrome single-blade razor for over a year and it has dramatically decreased the frequency of ingrown hairs and razor burn. I change the blades about once every 2 weeks as well. I also prefer to use URSA Major of Vermont's Stellar Shave Cream for the most silky smooth shave!
Sugar Waxing — If you're still using conventional wax, just stop! Sugar waxing is absolutely amazing! I go to Erin Cox of Sweetie's Sugar Co. in Dallas and she's the only person I recommend in the DFW area. I have had a few friends visit other salons and they said it was much more painful than conventional wax. I personally believe that sugar waxing is significantly less painful than conventional wax and strips, but I did ask Erin about this at my last appointment. She said it depends on technique and everyone that I've referred to Sweetie's Sugar Co. has come back a big fan!
I hope you feel more confident going au naturale!
Show your pits some love, they deserve it!
**I do sometimes receive products from companies to try out and review, but I would never recommend something that I don’t love or that doesn’t perform. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something after you click on the link I may get a small commission. I use those funds for the monthly maintenance fees of my blog.