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How to Detox Your Armpits (So Natural Deodorant Will Work For You)

Have you tried switching from mainstream to natural deodorant and found that it didn't work for you? The problem probably wasn't the natural deodorant you tried. It might very well be the state of your underarms!

This might sound weird, but hear me out: for natural deodorant to work, you first have to detox your armpits.

Just a note. I hate the whole “detox” thing. Our bodies naturally get rid of toxins, so to call it a “detox” is rubbish. You detox when you’re coming off drugs. Switching deodorants? Not so much. So we’re using the word “detox” here as a shortcut for saying “how to get your body used to using natural deodorants so that they’re effective for you.”

So. Should you do an “armpit detox”?

How to detox your armpits

Benefits of armpit detox

Some people attempt to transition to natural deodorant then go back to mainstream because they find that the natural stuff leaves them horribly stinky.

If this is you, listen: it’s not that you're abnormally smelly. It’s probably because years (or decades) of using traditional deodorants has altered your armpit’s natural state.

Studies have found that the ingredients in mainstream deodorants and antiperspirants can change the natural microbiome of our armpits, leading to an overproduction of odour-producing bacteria.

When you do an armpit detox, you stabilise the bacterial community in your underarms, eliminating or reducing the growth of the bacteria that makes you smell like a caveman. After the detox, you can begin using natural deodorant without worrying that you’ll leave an embarrassing stench in your wake.

People who have successfully switched to natural deodorant after an armpit detox report that they:

  • No longer have body odour issues
  • Feel more comfortable using natural deodorants
  • Don't need to use as much deodorant as before, saving money
  • Feel better about the fact that they’re not putting unnecessary, potentially harmful chemicals like aluminium in their underarms
  • Didn't experience redness, rashes, and irritation

How to detox your armpits

If you’re thinking of transitioning to natural deodorant (and you should!), do an armpit detox first. It’s easy. All you need is a tablespoon of bentonite clay, a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar, and a bit of patience.

Bentonite clay pulls the gunk out of your armpit pores and apple cider vinegar kills bacteria. Mix the two until you get a spreadable paste-like consistency. Apply the mixture all over your armpits and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water or wipe off with a warm, wet washcloth.

Repeat the process daily for a week or until your detox funk goes away.

What else you can do

To supplement the armpit detox process, you should also:

  • Try dry brushing.

Dry body brushing coaxes the crud out of your armpits, getting rid of the waxy deodorant buildup that doesn’t completely wash away in the shower (have you noticed that?). It also drains the lymph nodes in your underarms and encourages blood circulation, helping your body discharge toxins. Use a natural bristle brush and gently work in circular motions from the outer areas of your underarms down towards your breasts. Do this right before showering.

  • Watch what you eat.

For some people, it helps to avoid caffeine, alcohol, red meat, fried foods, and pungent foods like garlic and onions.

  • Stay hydrated.

Drink plenty of water to help your body flush out toxins that contribute to body odour. Carry a reusable water bottle with you to help you remember to drink throughout the day.

  • Use body wipes throughout the day.

While you're detoxing your armpits, carry some natural body wipes with you so that you can have a quick freshen up and reapply deodorant. I love the JAK organics body wipes.

  • Wear natural fibres.

Avoid synthetic materials that trap sweat and harbour odour-producing bacteria. Cotton, silk, wool and bamboo are all good choices. 

Looking for a natural deodorant that really works? Check out our Best Natural Deodorant Cheat Sheet then hop on over to Hello Charlie for our selection of non toxic deodorants.

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