Ask The GH: Deodorant


Honestly, I’ve avoided answering the dreaded deodorant question from many readers.  And by avoid, I mean I run.


Because I use commercial deodorant/anti-perspirant.  

There. I outted myself.

I have gone through many, many, many healthy deodorants and can’t find a good mate that has my odor in their best interests.  This Spring, I tried a new healthy deodorant every week for health’s sake and journalistic research purposes.  Many I had to re-apply throughout the day.   I barely re-apply my lipstick, the last thing I wanted to carry on my person every day was a stick of deodorant (not clutch friendly). Some didn’t combat a thing.  Others worked for the first 2 days and then my body acclimated and defeated the hopeful contender.  Then along came summer, and I about had it.  I decided to take a break and go back to that commercial brand that does its “magic”.

Do I want to find a healthy deodorant that will have and hold me from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward?


Here’s why:

Deodorant is a controversial topic with inconclusive evidence that it is linked to cancer, breast cancer.  Honestly, they can do studies until they are blue in the face, it is better to take precautions than wait for the conclusion.   The location of our daily deodorant application is at the lymph nodes and three fingers away from the breasts.  I call our lymph nodes the “cancer super highway” (my father had his under arm lymph nodes and sweat glands removed due to his cancerous mole on his back).  Daily application of aluminum based compounds and parabens is not so ideal.

Aluminum based compounds create a plug in the sweat duct and stops the sweat from releasing out onto the skin.  It is the effective component of anti-perspirants. Some believe that the aluminum has the capacity to be absorbed into the glands and act as an endocrine disruptor, a.k.a. produce more estrogen.  Estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells.  It is unknown if the molecular structure of the aluminum can be passed through the sweat duct.

Ever cut yourself shaving? Shaved with a more aggressive hand?  Got razor burn?  Ever apply deodorant/anti-perspirant after that shaving mishap, or just immediately after shaving?  So there is the possibility the aluminum may not be passable through the sweat duct, but now it has greater access to be absorbed by your broken skin. Not optimum. Hmmmm…maybe that’s why it says not to apply on broken or irritated skin (honestly, I never paid attention to that on the label until right now).  There are conflicting studies on the shaving + deodorant connection to breast cancer.

So, I don’t have any solid answers for you, but I advise prevention.  Don’t apply deodorant/anti-perspirant immediately after shaving.  If you are having a hard time like me finding something that works without aluminum compounds, take some aluminum breaks.  On cooler days or days of less strenuous activity use a natural deodorant.  On days of more stress, emotions, heat, date nights use your favorite magic stick.  I’m going to start taking that regimen on, as you know I suffer from toxic remorse and need to keep that under control!

Now, let me ask you Huntresses, what natural deodorants work for you?  Any DIY formulas you concoct?  Is there anyone that uses vodka as a deodorant, a la Joan Rivers?  Please share in the comments because I’d like to try them all and we can all use a bit of refreshing help.  Share! Share! Share!

Special thanks to Erin C. for backing me into a wall with this question and  having me come out as a commercial antiperspirant/deodorant user.  I feel a lot lighter now 😉

Alright, armpits.  Let’s do a vodka spritz.

(I’ll fill you in later on if this cocktail courtship sweeps me off my feet. Meanwhile, please share your deodorant favorites below!)



  1. Oooooh, tough one. I’ve been using Tom’s deodorant and it’s okay. I have to reapply sometimes, but I guess it’s not as big a deal to me. I mean, it IS. I wouldn’t like it better if it just WORKED, but you know… I saw something at the health store that was a cream and claimed you could wear it for like 5 days, even if you workout or swim. I have my doubts, but am highly intrigued! Anyone try that before?? Maybe if we use the cream + Tom’s we’d be good. 😉 xo

    • Oh, Stephenie! I’m intrigued about the cream as well. I will be on the lookout. Update us on the brand name the next time you are perusing the store’s aisles!

  2. The Beauty Bean posted this DIY a while back…I’ve never tried it. I’ve actually not been wearing deodorant most days and by the stroke of God, I don’t really smell (at least I don’t think I do…do I?) Let us know how it goes if you give this a try, it does seem a little messy.

    • Liz, first off, we are jealous of your unsmelly situation. Jealous. You are very lucky and you sweat like a rockstar, so it is dually impressive.
      Thanks for the baking soda recipe via The Beauty Bean! My mom totally rocked this recipe. I, on the other hand, BOMBED on the second day. Which is what makes deodorant and our bodies so interesting…what works on one person, can fail on another. Anyone else tried the baking soda trick?

  3. Dear GH, I am in complete agreement with you. My body is a gift to me, and I want to be a good steward of it, so it is my aim to treat it respectfully. Unfortunately I’ve not been successful in finding an underarm solution that works for me. Deodorants make me break out in a rash, but anti-perspirants do not. (Go figure!) A couple years back I did purchase some underarm “liners”. They adhered to my shirt like pantiliners adhere to underwear. They kept sweat from staining, but they don’t stop odor, and they felt a little uncomfortable. Thank you for your BLOG and for being transparent. I look forward to learning more from you.

    • Ocean… that is one great name! Sounds like you have been working the experimental phase for a very long time, and I imagine with some frustration. Those underarm liners sound pretty interesting and medieval at the same time. Bless your heart for experimenting with them. May we find a sexier and clean solution!
      btw, thanks so much for your words. I love having you here.

  4. I use the “salt sticks”, I think that’s what they’re called. It’s made from mineral salts, and you wet the stone then roll it under your arms. It doesn’t keep you from perspiring, but it definitely eliminates odors. I’ve been doing this for several years and LOVE it!!

    • I have yet to try those, Kim. I steered away from them simply because of its shape/form, which is a completely lame excuse, especially if I’m willing to spray vodka 😉 Ok, it is officially on the shopping list. Gracias!

  5. Been trying health food deodorants for more than a decade. All of ’em. Salt rock too. Mostly they don’t work. I would try one for as long as I could stand it then run back to my Dry Idea or Secret or whichever was then in favor. Then later in an inspired Whole Foods shop, I’d resolve to try again with the next new brand. I’ve finally found my happy nontox medium, and learned some helpful facts along the way:

    First it takes your body six weeks to two months to detox from antiperspirants, which means you will be extra stinky for that time. Interesting note: guys will howl at you like you’re the Moon herself during this stinky phase. You cannot believe the strangely raw sexual attention from the men in your life! And it wasn’t something I needed in the first place. But explains why the unshaven hippie girls at college held a certain sexual allure with all the clean cut boys.

    Once my body detoxed all the way, I settled on Weleda spray deodorant. It has alcohol, which isn’t great. But it works for mild days. Sometimes I shower, do a round of weleda rose deo, pat dry, then top off with a slathering of coconut oil in my pits. It has antibacterial properties and mostly seals the deal. Sometimes you’re still going to smell faintly like it’s been a long day. Sometimes you need to towel off and reapply mid-day. But it’s okay to have a human smell. It really is. It’s been forbidden for so long, we sometimes forget that its a normal girl thing to do.

    Plus, the way you smell once you’ve detoxed from antiperspirant is not horrible in the rancid way you smell when you skip a day of (insert your fave commercial brand here).

    I suggest you take an 8-week challenge yourself. Let your body detox. Buy a box of condoms just in case. Wash wash wash. And see if you can live with smelling like a girl. I think you’ll love it!

  6. I have the hardest time too. I used Toms as well, but it never worked…this summer has been brutal so I too, went to my commercial “magic” deodorant. But very good point about not applying after shaving. I didn’t even think about that as well. I can’t wait to hear what happens re: the vodka spritz…fill us in ;). Love you! xx

    • Toms apricot deodorant was a contender…I thought I had a winner…but days later it was defeated. But I hear that it works for many peeps. I’ll try a different Tom’s next time.
      Looking forward to my underarm cocktail 😉

  7. I like the Mineral Salts, but Dr.Hauschka also makes nice deodorants that work!! If it can beat the NYC heat, I’ll take it. I also believe diet plays a huge role in fighting BO naturally – Since I adopted a mostly plant-based, vegan diet I don’t stink anymore. Awesome!!

  8. You know, Mo, I use Tom’s…not exactly the best, but I feel better about it compared to Secret or some other commercial brand. I think the vodka idea is a good one…clear liquids have to be safe! Actually, I don’t tend to smell as much now since I have a cleaner diet. Maybe a DIY kale deodorant.? Great post!

  9. danielle says:

    I have been using natural deodorant for approx 1 1/2 years. I agree there is a detox period. I wash with tea tree oil soap and use Florere Deodorant. It comes in a stick or a creme. Simply the best I have found. It survives my busy 12 hour shifts in a hospital. I have never found it in a store, you can purchase on their site or on Etsy.

  10. I have been using/trying natural deodorants for years and years. The best I have found is Lavanila Healthy Deodorant. Florere worked, too, but it was too hard for me to spread. I didn’t know it came in a cream, though. The cream zinc oxide that I tried also worked pretty well, but was messy. All in all, Lavanila has been the best. It smells good and is easy to apply — and it actually works! I only wish it were cheaper…

  11. Here’s a recipe from Crunchy Betty. It’s a good place to start. You might have to experiment a little to work perfectly for you.

  12. GH- Thank you for posting this! I know I was one of the readers asking you the dreaded deodorant questions. I tried a Trader Joes brand natural deodorant and it did NOT work. I went back to the traditional/toxic stuff, but I only use it when I need it before exercise or a long day outside in the summer.

  13. I use the new-ish Tom’s Mineral Roll On. It works excellent for most days and it’s really cheap at my local Rite Aid drugstore ($2.99) I also bought an essential oil spray that works pretty good too. Trying to clean up my diet to clean up the stink too – I think that’s the key!!

  14. Nichole Sweeney says:

    Soapwalla deodorant cream (Etsy site) was recommended to me and I have been using for a bit now. Works quite well, smells nice, only thing is I don’t really like the application process so much since it is a cream you have to rub in. I live in AZ which is very hot so I had to put it in the fridge to chill it out when it came in to get it back into cream and not oil consistency. Tried Tom’s recently, didn’t work after a few days. Think I might give that salt crystal thing a try next.

  15. Antoinette says:

    I have tried many a natural deodorant with less than ideal results. Everything from low end deo’s like Tom’s, and Crystal Body Deodorant, and hi-end brands like Lavanila. The BEST natural deodorant I have found is Mbeze deodorettes via or They work ah-mazing, and my favorite scent is “twice shy.” My only criticism is that they are .30oz for about $10 a pop (they are on sale for 10% off if you buy two or more on their website right now!). This size is really best for travelling or to throw in your purse or gym bag — I am hoping they will make larger ones soon. Hope that helps!

  16. I’m addicted to the Dermadoctor med-e-Tate hyperhidrosis wipes! I’ve howed them to Upyou before, buy they’re the only thing I can depend on to keep me dry and fresh all day! A little pricey, but totally worth it to me:)

  17. I´ve tried all kinds of natural deodorants, from crystal sticks to baking soda(!). Finally, I´ve found one that REALLY works! It´s the Roll On Deodorant “Powder” from Lafe’s Natural Body Care. It´s a basic roll-on, don´t know why they call it powder, but it´s by far the only natural deo I´ve tried that works all day long. You can get at for $4.55. No reason to stick with the toxic ones!

  18. Priscilla says:

    I recently switched to natural deodorant. I never found a commercial brand that really worked for me, so I wasn’t expecting to find a natural one that would. I started using Bubble and Bee’s deodorant cream and it is amazing. The company has a deodorant guarantee and will keep working with you until they find a combination that works.–dsh-PRE-dsh-RELEASE/Categories

  19. I just found your site, et al. today. Love it!

    Deodorant… yeah, it’s been difficult. Right now I’m really happy with the following:

    Soapwalla Kitchen’s Deodorant Cream. Available from Etsy. It’s stuck with me through many a hot summer day of multiple sweat and dry cycles.

    Bubble & Bee has a new product, Deodorant Cream in Super Cream, Lemon and Clove and Geranium Lime. I got small samples of all three, then settled on the Super Cream. All three have done really well in the odor department. They’ve got an online store and their shipping is really reasonable.

    The wetness factor for all three is just okay, but I believe a little sweat is good so I’m okay with that.