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Did you know that there is a difference between deodorant and antiperspirant? If you are like most people you were likely going about your day thinking that the personal care products you buy from the store are completely safe.

I felt compelled to share with you what I’ve recently learned. They are not the same, there are health risks backed by credible studies and it is not difficult to switch to a safer product that actually works.

More on this below.

A little about my journey

My clean beauty journey did not start with deodorant. In fact, two-plus years ago not only would I have not thought about the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant, but I would also have not been in the right mind space to even care. My health wasn’t a focus.

I started my journey towards a clean lifestyle over two years ago. First with the choices I made around my beauty products. My two-year-old (then about 6 months) would kiss me before I would leave for work. Not just a peck, but a wide-mouthed kiss that came with a little tongue action. I started to think “what is she ingesting when she is licking my face?” 

Her precious kisses
Tongue and all – giving her big sister love

There my journey began. 

How often do we do this?  How often do we choose our children’s health over our own? That was the ‘me’ two years ago. The ‘me’ now prioritizes her health. YOU deserve to prioritize your health. If you take away nothing else from this, take away that.  

Now I put thought into everything that goes in or on my body. This is the only one I have and I want to treat it right. This is including deodorant. That is why I made the switch and why you should too. 

If you are clean curious or interested in trying out clean beauty samples, fill out my form and I can send you a customized sample packet.

Difference between antiperspirant and deodorant

Here I am on a call learning about a pre-sale product with one of the companies I partner with and I’m learning about sweat, why our bodies sweat, and what the difference is between deodorant (natural/aluminum-free) and antiperspirant. 

What is the purpose of sweat?

Sweat has two main purposes.

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Sweat helps to regulate body temperature  

Sweat assists with cooling your body down when your internal temperature rises. With it being primarily water, it’s able to cool your skin when you get too hot.

But that is not the only purpose of sweat. 

Sweat helps remove heavy metals and harmful BPA’s

Let’s dig into this a little more, as this will be really important once we get to what antiperspirants inhibit your body from doing.

In a 2016 study in China, there were heavy metals found in urine and sweat. Wait for it…the higher concentration of heavy metals was actually found in the sweat of the participants vs. their urine.

Let that sink in for a moment. 

Our kidneys are intended to filter out waste through our urine, otherwise, the waste would build up in your body and it wouldn’t be good. Yet, your sweat has more heavy metals than your pee and I think most of us pee more than we sweat. Makes you want to work out more, so you can sweat out all those toxins, huh?

This isn’t the only study in case you are wondering. There was also a 2011 study that demonstrated that you can remove BPA’s through sweat. BPA’s, you know, that industrial chemical that is added to much of the products you and I have been exposed to – canned foods, plastic containers, DVDs, eyeglass lenses, toiletries, dental filing sealants, and the list goes on. 

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Women's deodorant vs. antiperspirant
Women’s deodorant vs. antiperspirant

Ingredients in antiperspirant vs. deodorant and why it matters

Okay, so sweat removes toxins. I’m sure you are wondering what this has to do with deodorant and antiperspirants? 

Another thing I learned on this call is the different ingredients that are in an antiperspirant vs a deodorant and how it affects our bodies’ ability to sweat. Also known as ‘getting rid of those nasty toxins.’ 

Antiperspirants control sweat by using ingredients such as aluminum to plug and block your sweat glands, preventing the natural detox process that sweating provides. The plugs that are created can stay in place for 24 hours.

On the other hand, deodorants (aluminum-free) work to neutralize and cover-up bad odor, while still letting your body sweat. It also works to increase acidity of your skin, which reduces bacteria. 

Health risks tied to antiperspirants 

What is the big deal? Well, BPA  (the toxins you don’t sweat out when using antiperspirants) bind to your estrogen receptors and can cause a multitude of endocrine issues – it can affect cell repair, fetal development, energy levels, miscarriages, thyroid levels, and reproduction. 

This really scratches the surface. Google “Negative effects from BPA” and the problem we are facing will become clear.

Sweat also removes other toxins, such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). PCBs have been linked to cancer, liver damage, acne, rashes, thyroid issues, impaired reproduction, and in babies’ short-term memory problems and reduced motor skills.

We haven’t even touched yet on aluminum compounds and health risks that have been suggested here. We’ve only touched on the toxins we consume daily that we can’t properly sweat out because of aluminum. 

Aluminum is not only in our antiperspirant, but it’s also in our food, drinking water, baking tools, cosmetics, and body products.

There have been studies showing that aluminum could contribute to breast cancer. These same studies have linked high levels to neurotoxicity and Alzheimer’s disease. 

The lead study researcher notes “that aluminum intake remains at potentially harmful levels” and that much of this is “due to its use in cosmetics and food packaging and tools that include aluminum.” 

To be clear, there is also scrutiny of these studies saying many were flawed. 

In my mind, there are enough studies, enough people smarter than me talking about it, that it’s just not worth the risk. Especially when you look at the fact that aluminum is the third most abundant element and most common metal of the earth’s crust. 

Especially when there are safer options.

Allergies to antiperspirants 

If all of the above wasn’t enough, there are some of us that are even more susceptible to the effects of antiperspirants.

Antiperspirants may cause contact dermatitis, specifically in the underarm area.

Those people that are at risk are those with:

  • Eczema (by the way if you have eczema, request your samples and note on the form that you have eczema. I will send you an an amazing cream that works wonders.)
  • Sensitive skin
  • Contact allergy to fragrance, preservative, or dye
  • Susceptibility to razor burn

Will I stink if I use deodorant?

Okay, I’ve convinced you to switch to aluminum-free deodorant, right? Please tell me yes, “Therese, the risk isn’t worth it. I’m going to switch today.”

Then jump to where I talk about the safe and effective options that you can choose from.

Or are you still worried, what if I stink? If my sweat is not being blocked, will I stink? Doesn’t my sweat stink?

Women smelling her armpits
Woman smelling her armpits

NO, your sweat doesn’t stink. Something else new that I learned – the smell is from when sweat mixes with the bacteria that live on your skin. 

Remember when I said above that aluminum-free deodorant works to increase skin acidity, which reduces bacteria. The bacteria is actually the reason your sweat smells. There are other ways to remove that bacteria and increase the chances that you won’t stink.

More on that below. 

But a little more on the “will I stink” question, because there is more to this story.

Will I need to go through a detox period when first starting to use deodorant?

I’m sitting on this call I mentioned earlier – learning about the differences and realizing I could have made this small switch a long time ago and hear them start to talk about detoxing. That once you start using deodorant after you’ve used antiperspirants for a long period, that you will detox? That it could take about 3 weeks to release all the toxins and aluminum from your pits that have stopped you from sweating and that you might stink during that period? ☹️

I  thought to myself, 

I might stink! For 3 weeks? I mean thank goodness I work remotely now, but I do go to Orangetheory where I tend to sweat a lot, I hope I don’t stink there.

Others say that the plugs that have been formed because of previous antiperspirant use will be pushed out of your glands over a week. 

For me, I found that it was about 1 week where I felt I was a little off. Though, I was also obsessively smelling my pits, which isn’t something I normally do. ?

My husband also switched and he noticed a difference in the first week.

It likely won’t be the same for everyone, but it seems the consensus is, that likely within a week you will be smelling fresh without the toxic chemicals or blocking of the detoxification process, and at most it will take 3 weeks. 

The good news is, you can help expedite the process by using products that help remove and pull out toxins and dirt.

Such as using a charcoal mask on your underarms that pulls out impurities. I use this charcoal mask for my face and I used it for my armpits during the first week.

And a body scrub that removes the bacteria, dirt and exfoliates your skin. I use this Bamboo Renew Body scrub once a week, including under my arms. For those that have discoloration under your arms, exfoliating is a must.

Will I need to apply my deodorant multiple times a day?

You should be good with one application. When I workout I put on two. But the second is after my post-workout shower.

Even when I used antiperspirants and I left the house for most of the day I would carry an extra one in my purse. Merely for the increased security it provided. I would always recommend doing the same.   

I did learn something interesting though. Even if a brand labels their deodorant with words like ”all-day protection,” this may not prove true. The FDA requires that deodorant or antiperspirant reduce sweating by 20% for them to be able to promote that it “lasts all day.”

Women’s aluminum-free deodorant that actually works 

So you are convinced, right? Clean ingredients that do not block the body’s ability to release toxins and you won’t stink. 

So which ones actually work?

I know of one that works from experience because I use it every day. I got lucky and it was the first deodorant I tried. If reading reviews on deodorant is any indication of the success rate with deodorants then I’m thinking many of you have been through a few that haven’t worked.

The one I have is the pre-sale product I mentioned before. Bonus, it’s also zero waste. But since it’s not available yet I’ve listed those that I’ve found that have clean ingredients and great reviews. Will add the one I use soon. It will be launching any day now. Sign-up for my newsletter and I’ll let you know when it’s launched. 

UPDATE: The one I used is back. It’s the BeautyCounter Clean Duo. I have been using this for a few months now. I don’t stink, it doesn’t irritate my skin, it is refillable, it goes on smooth. I love it.

BeautyCounter  Clean Duo

I scoured the internet for other options and this is what I found. All of the below have at least a 4-star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Ethique Solid Dedoro
4.3 out of 5 ⭐️
Ethique Eco-Friendly Bar

♻️ Zero waste
?Stay fresh all day long
?Scented with lavender and vanilla, with
jojoba and sweet almond oil for silky
smooth underarms


Rose Natural Deodorant with Magnesium
4.4 out of 5⭐️
Rose Natural Deodorant

 ✳️ 1st natural deodorant to use Magnesium
Oxide to control odor
?Good for those with ultra-sensitive skin
? Just 4 ingredients: sweet almond oil,
beeswax, magnesium oxide & essential oils
✴️ They stand by their products – one reviewer
noted they refunded her


Schmidt’s Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant
4.3 out of 5 ⭐️
Schmidt's Aluminum Deodorant

✳️ Enriched with magnesium
? Natural fragrance made with essential oils 
?Offers a Sensitive Skin Formula 
? Plant-Based Ingredients – activated
charcoal, magnesium, and essential oils
like tea tree and lavender


Rosy Pits Daily. Deodorant Alcohol Paraben-Free
4.4 out of 5 ⭐️
Rosy Pits Daily Deodorant

?Slight hint of rose smell
✴️ Goes on smooth 
? Clear application, so no transfer
? Made with a blend of natural ingredients,
including safe and green tea


Kopari Aluminum-Free Deodorant
4.4 out of 5⭐️
Kopari

?Goes on clear
? Made with organic coconut oil
?Good reviews by those with sensitive skin 


CORPUS – Natural Plant-Based Deodorant
4.1 out of 5⭐️
CORPUS Natural Plant-Based Deodorant

? Water-based deodorant
? Vegan and cruelty-free
♻️ 100% recyclable tube

Help others make their choice, which one will you be choosing?  Which ones have not worked for you?

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