How do natural deodorants work?

How do natural deodorants work?

Deodorant, antiperspirant, natural deodorant, it’s all the same thing, right? While they all work to mask body odor, they all actually function very differently. Have you ever walked down the aisle in the drug store, come to the deodorant/antiperspirant section, and spent at least ten minutes staring, utterly confused as to the differences of each offering? We’re here to add a little transparency.

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The anti-perspire in anti-perspirants

Designed with aluminum, the goal of antiperspirants is to temporarily block sweat pores. Blocking sweat pores reduces the amount of perspiration that reaches your skin (1). 

The down low on deodorants

Deodorants, on the other hand, are formulated to eliminate armpit odor but not perspiration (1). Drug store deodorants are typically alcohol-based, and when applied, they turn your skin acidic. This makes your skin less attractive to bacteria, therefore less likely for it to hang around and become smelly.

Free-From & natural deodorants

Free-from deodorants, like Nala's, work similarly to regular deodorants, but with higher quality ingredients. Natural deodorant lets you sweat, naturally cooling your body and releasing toxins, while using ingredients like arrowroot powder and baking soda to absorb wetness. At Nala, we use essential oils to combat sweat and help your body self-regulate, thanks to their antibacterial (tea tree & bergamot), astringent (geranium, cedarwood, rosemary, peppermint, and citrus), and calming (lavender, Ylang Ylang) properties. 

The process in going natural

For many people, switching from antiperspirants to natural or free-from deodorants hinges on the ingredients. For years now, there have been concerns about the negative side effects of aluminium, the active ingredient in antiperspirant. Reports suggest that because antiperspirants are applied frequently on skin near your breasts, it may be absorbed and cause estrogen-like hormonal effects, contributing to the development of breast cancer (2). Hence the switch. 

Once you choose to make the switch to deodorants, you may go through a bit of an adjustment period, especially if you’ve been a heavy antiperspirant user. Why? Because there’s still a whole host of chemicals stored in the tissues of your skin (3). When you remove the ‘plug’ of aluminum, you begin releasing what you had been blocking off, which contributes to that brief smelly period. Your body is working hard to sweat out those toxins.

Drinking lots of water and using a detox deodorant to help pull out those toxins will help speed this process along. Eventually, your body will begin to self-regulate, and the odour will begin to subside because the harmful toxins have been flushed out. Your physiological sweat will become virtually smell-less (yes!), as your body chemistry has adjusted by this point. 

Now that you’ve made the switch, the fun begins in choosing the free-from deodorant that’s personalized to you and your needs. 


  1. Frothingham, Scott. “Benefits and Risks of Deodorants vs. Antiperspirants.” Healthline, 4 Oct, 2019,
  2. Souto, Melissa. “Switching To Natural Deodorant: A Detox Guide.” Into The Gloss, 3 Nov. 2016,
  3. Yarbrough, Jessica L., et al. “I Made the Switch to Natural Deodorant, and These Are My Best Tips.” Glamour,
Image by Sheena Zilinski

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