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What's the difference between a natural deodorant and an antiperspirant?

When I speak to our customers and they're discussing building a natural beauty bag, one product people are reluctant to give up is their traditional antiperspirant deodorant. why? No-one wants to sweat and smell while they're at work or any other place. It's totally up to you whether you make the switch to a natural deodorant, but before you do, you should be armed with the following emails and your expectations should be managed because they absolutely do NOT stop you from sweating and what works for one person doesn't always work for someone else.

What's the difference between a natural deodorant and an antiperspirant?

Chances are, you're currently using an antiperspirant and it works really well for you. The reason it's working is that it actually STOPS you from sweating. Aluminium blocks the pores under your armpits and you don't sweat. It's very effective, but is it healthy? Natural therapists usually say no. Even mainstream health experts say it's not a great idea while you're working out. A major set of lymph nodes live around the armpit area. The lymphatic system is an important part of your immune system and your circulatory system in general. When you're unwell, you can feel lymph glands swell not only under the arms but also in the neck and around the groin area. If you're not sweating when your body wants to, what happens to it? Sweating is one of the natural ways the body chooses to detox, so you're effectively stopping that from happening by using an antiperspirant.

You'll notice we're not fans of using negativity and fear here to sell products. I'm sure I could sell more if I did, but I just don't roll that way. There is one scenario though where I'm going to pipe up and say something about antiperspirants. DON'T WEAR AN ANTIPERSPIRANT WHILE YOU EXERCISE. If you're going to exercise, please allow your body to sweat. Whether you do it sans (without) deodorant or you wear a natural deodorant is totally up to you, but please just allow your body to sweat. If you're healthy, fresh sweat will smell fine. You can go and shower afterwards. If your fresh sweat doesn't smell fine, this is a sign that your body is detoxing something unpleasant and some time with a naturopath or other medical professional could help you pinpoint what that is.

Do natural deodorants really work?

Yes they do, but not every formula suits everyone and there is a period of adjustment for some people. If you're going to make the switch, don't just try once and give up, and be prepared to try a couple of different formula styles to find the one that resonates with your body the best.

The job of a natural deodorant is to allow you to sweat, but to stop the bacteria growth from your sweat starting to smell. Some people don't like this idea, and I totally get it. If you want to use an antiperspirant at work during the week, at least give a natural one a try on the weekends and see how you go. Give it a try in winter or on days where it's not super hot and see if you like the idea.

The different formulas - all aluminium free

There are a few different formula combos that most natural deodorants are based on, and you'll find that you gravitate to one over another once you've tried a couple. Everyone's different, so there's no 'one size fits' all, which is why it's one of our largest and most versatile ranges in store.

Bi-Carb Deodorant Cremes (and also bi-carb free cremes)

Based on shea butter, coconut oil, bi-carb soda, arrowroot and some essential oils, there's a handful of brands on the market that do this really well and also some that either under perform, or some that over perform and irritate the skin because they have too much bi-carb soda in them. The first brand to do this well in Australia were Black Chicken with their Axilla Paste. They also have a bi-carb free paste in their range. Woohoo Body are another Aussie brand who have a bi-carb AND a bi-carb free paste.

Salt Based Deodorant

We have mineral salt based deodorants from USA company Crystal Essence. Grahams Naturals who specialise in skin sensitivities also have a potassium alum roll on. Crystal also make solid salt stick deodorants that you wet and use. Some customers find these work really well, and others get little results. They are well worth giving a try.


There are other brands that do a roll-on formula that are based on aloe and a variety of essential oils and other ingredients. There are deodorants from companies like Weleda and Fresca. A new brand worth a mention is Kind-ly, who use probiotics to get the good bacteria to overtake the bad bacteria along with other odour fighting ingredients.


We have non-aerosol sprays based in mineral salts from Crystal (mentioned above) along with the luxe spray for Mukti using a Lavender hydrosol, witch hazel, bi-carb and a series of essential oils, and three sprays from Weleda.


This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated in May 2019


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