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Before You Switch To Natural Deodorant, Try An Armpit Detox

Natural deodorant works so much better when you can detox your armpits first.

Hi guys! My name's Emily, and I'm a freelance beauty writer. I have a special place in my heart for testing new, weird, and fun beauty products, trends, and DIYs. So when I came across the idea of detoxing my armpits I couldn't wait give it a go and report back.

When I worked at Self magazine, I got hooked on learning more about natural alternatives. I enjoyed using most natural beauty products but never was able to fully stand behind a natural deodorant.
Emily Rekstis / Via emilyrekstis.com

When I worked at Self magazine, I got hooked on learning more about natural alternatives. I enjoyed using most natural beauty products but never was able to fully stand behind a natural deodorant.

Anyone who’s tried switching to natural deodorant knows it can be...challenging.

It’s not as easy as just swapping products. Natural deodorants don’t work the way people expect their regular deodorant to work — aka they don't do a damn thing about the smell. Plus, some people run into an irritating rash that happens when the body starts removing the aluminum that's been building up underneath the arms thanks to regular antiperspirants. This scares a lot of people back into a regular, aluminum-filled antiperspirant.
@ValeeGrrl / Via Twitter: @ValeeGrrl

It’s not as easy as just swapping products. Natural deodorants don’t work the way people expect their regular deodorant to work — aka they don't do a damn thing about the smell. Plus, some people run into an irritating rash that happens when the body starts removing the aluminum that's been building up underneath the arms thanks to regular antiperspirants. This scares a lot of people back into a regular, aluminum-filled antiperspirant.

But I wanted to press on. After some research, I decided to do an armpit detox to help improve this process. Basically, it's a DIY underarm mask that mixes bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and water for ~natural~ armpits.

It seemed to be a safe bet considering the minimal ingredients. To be sure, I asked dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner for his thoughts. He said bentonite clay has little to no side effects. However, he says, “apple cider vinegar can be potentially irritating and lead to rashes in the skin, especially when applied to sensitive areas such as the under arms.” So, when mixing it together myself, I decided to use a bit less than suggested. I wasn't trying to give myself a rash here.
Emily Rekstis / Via emilyrekstis.com

It seemed to be a safe bet considering the minimal ingredients. To be sure, I asked dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner for his thoughts. He said bentonite clay has little to no side effects. However, he says, “apple cider vinegar can be potentially irritating and lead to rashes in the skin, especially when applied to sensitive areas such as the under arms.” So, when mixing it together myself, I decided to use a bit less than suggested. I wasn't trying to give myself a rash here.

This at-home detox is meant to help make the transition to natural deodorant smoother — literally.

The first and most important thing an armpit detox is meant to do is help pull out the aluminum without the irritation. “If you have been using traditional, aluminum-based antiperspirant for long periods of time, it's possible that it has built up on the surface of your skin,” explains Zeichner. “If you stop using their traditional products and start using a clay product, it likely will be able to fully remove any residue.”
@amanda_nan / Via Twitter: @amanda_nan

The first and most important thing an armpit detox is meant to do is help pull out the aluminum without the irritation. “If you have been using traditional, aluminum-based antiperspirant for long periods of time, it's possible that it has built up on the surface of your skin,” explains Zeichner. “If you stop using their traditional products and start using a clay product, it likely will be able to fully remove any residue.”

Not only is it good to rid underarms of aluminum, but it also helps eliminate the bad bacteria that causes that gross, unwanted stink.

NBC

Any clay mask pulls out all kinds of gunk and buildup like dirt, debris, pollution, and, of course, bad bacteria. “The idea of a detox is to help reset the skin’s bacteria to a more healthy state,” says Zeichner. “It's unclear how effective apple cider vinegar is at doing this, however it's being used to eliminate bad bacteria and allow new healthy bacteria to replace it.”

Eager to jump in, I got started, mixing one tablespoon of the powdered bentonite clay with a little less than a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a splash of water until it was the right, creamy consistency.

I’ll admit, I was nervous after reading and hearing that it could hurt, but I didn’t feel it at all. The only thing that was irritating was the vinegar smell and holding my arms up, lol. After five minutes I realized it wasn’t even within my strength to keep my hands up for the entire time. But I kind of got used to the vinegar essence.
Emily Rekstis / Via emilyrekstis.com

I’ll admit, I was nervous after reading and hearing that it could hurt, but I didn’t feel it at all. The only thing that was irritating was the vinegar smell and holding my arms up, lol. After five minutes I realized it wasn’t even within my strength to keep my hands up for the entire time. But I kind of got used to the vinegar essence.

After 20 minutes, I got a warm washcloth and rubbed off the now dried-up mask on both sides.

The hardened clay was all bunched up from my underarms rubbing together, so it kind of just fell off in clumps when I went to take it off (not the prettiest thing to see come out of your armpit). Next time I do it, I'll probably take it off in the shower instead of my lazy, half-assed manner.
Emily Rekstis / Via emilyrekstis.com

The hardened clay was all bunched up from my underarms rubbing together, so it kind of just fell off in clumps when I went to take it off (not the prettiest thing to see come out of your armpit). Next time I do it, I'll probably take it off in the shower instead of my lazy, half-assed manner.

The odor was gone immediately (thanks, ACV!). But the biggest shock was how different — great, even! — my armpits felt and looked.

I was shocked by how smooth my armpits were after I took off the mask. Mostly because, until I saw my post-mask pits, I hadn’t even realized how bumpy they were before. I just always assumed they were supposed to be wrinkly and rough, but no! They’re beautiful now! I'm bummed tank season isn't for another three months.I also felt my pores were more open, which was lighter and sometimes breezier. Whenever I overheated, though, it led to pretty wet sweat. TMI? Obviously, without aluminum blocking the pores, there are more openings for sweat to pour out, which, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure that I’m okay with. It may be healthier overall, but I still felt kind of gross, even if it is natural. With that being said, the sweat didn't have an overpowering stench.
Emily Rekstis / Via emilyrekstis.com

I was shocked by how smooth my armpits were after I took off the mask. Mostly because, until I saw my post-mask pits, I hadn’t even realized how bumpy they were before. I just always assumed they were supposed to be wrinkly and rough, but no! They’re beautiful now! I'm bummed tank season isn't for another three months.

I also felt my pores were more open, which was lighter and sometimes breezier. Whenever I overheated, though, it led to pretty wet sweat. TMI? Obviously, without aluminum blocking the pores, there are more openings for sweat to pour out, which, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure that I’m okay with. It may be healthier overall, but I still felt kind of gross, even if it is natural. With that being said, the sweat didn't have an overpowering stench.

When I used Freedom's natural deodorant afterward, it definitely went on easier and smelled more effective. But I think I'd credit my cleaner smell and smooth underarms to the detox, not the natural deodorant.

Only in time will I be able to tell if the mask helps keep the aluminum bumps from happening. Get it from Amazon for $14.44 or Jet for $17.
Amazon / Via amazon.com

Only in time will I be able to tell if the mask helps keep the aluminum bumps from happening.

Get it from Amazon for $14.44 or Jet for $17.

This won't be the last time I do this little DIY, and anyone else who's curious should give it a shot! It’s affordable, easy, and harmless. Even if you don't want to switch to a natural deodorant, a quick detox never hurts!

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