It’s the smell that lingers all day long, even on your clothes. Why do my armpits smell with natural deodorant? Why are all my efforts into living more sustainably being thrown back in my face? We investigate why you may be smelling with natural deodorant…
Why do we sweat?
I don’t know about you, but I find myself asking this every time I do exercise, leave the house or even take the dog out – why do we sweat?! Plus, how come some people never seem to smell?
Think of sweat as the body’s air-conditioning unit for a hot summer’s day, it’s a necessity for not only your health but a lot of confidence for people – with many people admitting to caring more about how they smell than what clothes they are wearing.
The body is a pretty amazing place, so amazing in fact that it houses around four million of your sweat glands – all of which enable you to maintain the correct body temperature and release sodium (salt).
There are so many complexities to the production of sweat, but in simple terms - sweat is a clear, odourless liquid that is usually found in your underarms, feet and palms. Yes, you heard that right, sweat is odourless! It’s only when the sweat reacts to bacteria on the surface of your skin that it creates the stinky smell, we all know as BO (Body Odour).
In most deodorants (natural and otherwise) a key ingredient is alcohol. Alcohol is certainly an effective antibacterial (which is why alcohol gel is on every hospital ward) but applying it to your delicate underarm skin daily is not advisable. Alcohol kills both good and bad bacteria and leaves skin prone to dryness and irritation.
The best-known way to stop sweat is antiperspirant. It uses aluminium particles that slot themselves into your sweat glands, essentially covering the hole so your sweat can’t escape. It works, of that, we have no doubt, but you are blocking a crucial body temperature control function.
What is a natural deodorant?
Natural and Organic deodorant formulations differ but most eradicate alcohol and aluminium. Brands are now developing odour reducing formulas from only the ingredient’s nature has to offer. So, how do they create these formulas?
Most of the time you will find a natural deodorant in the form of a stick deodorant or cream in a pot. Aerosols are virtually impossible in the natural deodorant world as they will have to contain butane and isopropyl gases that will cause the canister to spray. However, the problem lies in its extreme flammability, essentially if you placed it anywhere near a match – the antiperspirant would become engulfed in flames.
In terms of the formulation of natural deodorants, they can be any of these groups; sodium bicarbonate – generally, this is the go-to for most natural deodorant brands. We then have saccharomyces ferment formulas which you might be surprised to hear are part of the fungi family…don’t worry, no mushrooms are going to be growing in your deodorant! They work on an enzyme-based concept to avoid the BO smell.
Finally, we have potassium alum rock deodorants – these are usually found in your health food stores like Holland and Barrett in the UK. These can either be in the form of a rock stick or may even be a roll-on. Usually, these are suggested to those that suffer from sensitivity in the armpits. On the other hand, these do have a downside in that for many people who sweat or suffer from body odour they just won’t work.
Why do my armpits smell with natural deodorant?
First of all, the only smell that should be coming from your armpits when you are using natural deodorant should be a refreshing or calming scent… Not BO. If you are testing out natural deodorants and still finding yourself sniffing your underarms and reaching for more throughout the day or spritzing yourself head-to-toe in fragrance – it’s time to stop.
Deciding on products to purchase can be a hard enough task, let alone when you’re working with all-natural ingredients! Therefore, it’s always good to know what to look out for to find the perfect one for you. However, these are just suggestions and in Proverb’s statements of truth style, they might not work for you as an individual.
- No aluminium- and nothing replicates that ‘plugging’ mechanism in natural deodorant as we don’t want to suppress the natural body function of sweating. So, for some people, it doesn’t work as they still feel wet and psychologically don’t like that. A good natural formulation will use clever cookery with arrowroot, tapioca or cornflower style powders to reduce wetness under the armpits.
- 2- 4 weeks change over period. When you go from a mainstream antiperspirant to a natural deodorant your sweat glands and skin have to adapt. The sweat is suddenly allowed to the surface, where the bacteria sit and can essentially have a giant feeding fest - resulting in the BO aroma. During this period make sure you wear natural, lightweight fabrics, drink lots of water and shower regularly.
- Poor natural formulations for simplicity. Some natural formulas try and be incredibly simple to reduce ingredients and be very natural, often this just doesn’t work. Rock crystal deodorants are a great example of this, on people who never suffer from real BO they are fine. However, if you are naturally smelly, they don’t touch the sides.
- Poor natural formulations for cost. Deodorant is a difficult product as the consumer doesn’t believe it deserves a high price point. Sodium Bicarbonate is a good deodoriser in the natural deodorant world and so, to keep costs down, many natural brands rely only on this. For some skins, it is too high in alkaline and can cause irritation and itchy armpits.
After 3.5 years of testing, Proverb made their combination of the natural deodorising complex. We have more deodorisers than most natural deodorants - hence its amazing efficacy. In truth, it is like all skincare. The better the ingredients and the more of them you put in the higher the efficacy and the less you smell.
When formulating our Natural Refillable Deodorant, we wanted to make sure we achieved a high quality, long-lasting product that just worked. One of the co-founders, Luke, is an ex-professional rugby player. Therefore, it’s fair to say he has tested A LOT of deodorants, which was why when formulating the product, it was trialled on lots of sweaty people that lived busy and active lives. The results? A natural and organic deodorant with subtle scents that lasted all day long.
So, the question of “why do my underarms smell with natural deodorant?” shouldn’t necessarily be to do with natural deodorant as a whole. Instead, it should be “why do my armpits smell with this brand of natural deodorant?” A question that is very few and far between with Proverb.