What’s in Your Deodorant?

By blog team member, Kiran. To learn more about Kiran, check out our team page!


While we’re normally all about food on this blog, we also touch on the idea that what you put on your body is just as important. So in today’s sponsored post, I’m happy to share a deodorant with you that I personally use and love.

Primal Pit Paste was started by Amy Cazin who, like many others, was seeking a natural and safe personal care product that actually worked. When one of her young daughters came home with noticeable body odor, the importance of “safe” became that much greater. But Amy’s research also unearthed more concerns. “After finding out that aluminum and parabens are found in the outer quadrant of the breast tissue of cancer patients, I was very concerned,” she says. Thus the story of Primal Pit Paste began.

What's in Your Deodorant? on 100 Days of #RealFood

Unwanted Ingredients in Your Deodorant

There are numerous articles written on potential harmful ingredients in conventional deodorant. Here are some in question:

  1. Aluminum
    Aluminum-based compounds are the active ingredient in antiperspirants. They work to block the body from sweating and research has suggested that these compounds are readily absorbed through the skin and have the capability of causing changes in estrogen receptors.
  2. Parabens
    These preservatives are used in deodorants and antiperspirants (as well as other personal care products) to prevent bacterial growth. Parabens have also been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells.
  3. Triclosan
    Triclosan is a synthetic antimicrobial agent which has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, and it is a known endocrine disruptor and a suspected carcinogen.
  4. Propylene glycol
    This petroleum-based substance is used to create a soft and sleek consistency. It’s a low-cost ingredient with a versatile function, which is why it is so common in self-care products. Though propylene glycol is said to be eliminated from the body within hours, there are questions about it being a potential carcinogen and endocrine disruptor and causing developmental abnormalities, among other things. Our philosophy is – why take the risk?
  5. Phthalates
    Another class of chemicals often used in deodorants and antiperspirants, phthalates help to create a better consistency, but they have also been linked to a variety of health issues and have been suggested to be a hormone disruptor.

Yes, all of these ingredients can be argued, but my personal opinion is, why take a chance when there’s a good option that actually works without any of these questionable additives?

The base of Primal Pit Paste’s deodorant is organic coconut oil and shea butter. Together they provide an antimicrobial action when applied to the skin – sounds much better than the alternatives above, right? Baking soda is also added to neutralize the bacteria that causes odor, and organic arrowroot power wicks away the moisture. It’s important to note that it won’t stop you from sweating, with good reason. Did you know that sweating is your body’s intended natural process of releasing toxins and cooling you down? You sweat for a reason!

How to Sweat Less

Amy sheds light on antiperspirants and her experience with them:

Most people sweat more when they are on aluminum antiperspirants, as its role is to clog the glands kicking them into overdrive so the sweat glands are trying desperately to sweat more, thus creating increased sweating over time and leaving you feeling drenched, thinking you need a stronger clinical strength alternative. By getting off the aluminum for a few months, one will most likely start to notice they are not sweating nearly as much as their body was working so hard on overtime to do, but that they are sweating a normal healthy amount.

When you stop a body’s process, it will do anything it can do to continue that process. I used to have very bad almost hyperhydrosis levels of embarassing soaking wet shirt perspiration for 20 years. After 3 months of making and using our deodorant, Primal Pit Paste, I noticed a life changing difference in the amount I was perspiring. I could finally wear t-shirts with no sopping wet or yellow marks! I could wear nice silky fabrics that for over a decade I could not even wear.

Natural Deodorant That Works

I mentioned that we have worked with Primal Pit Paste for years, but I honestly didn’t start using it until a few months ago. When they first came out with it, I tried their stick, and I honestly didn’t love it. Also, I didn’t want to do the jar thing since I didn’t want to get it on my fingers. Let’s face it – I was being lazy and was used to my Dove deodorant. But then I learned that I had a sensitivity to triclosan, and I wanted to find something more natural to use.

I kid you not – I went through four different deodorants that I purchased from the health food store and none of them worked. One of them dripped badly and got all over my clothes …yuck! While packing to move, I came across one of the Primal Primal Pit Paste Natural Deodorant on 100 Days of #RealFoodPit Paste jars they had sent me years ago, and I finally gave it a go. The rest is history. It worked, and I realized that using the jar was seriously no big deal when weighing the safety of the ingredients. (Sidenote: jars do come with a stick to apply it.)

I also learned that not every scent works for every body. Some people’s pits don’t work well with essential oils, so you may have to experiment or try the unscented version. There are actually three different strengths to choose from, so there’s a good fit for everyone. I am officially hooked myself and hope you’ll give it a try, too. Our friends at Primal Pit Paste are offering a discount just for our readers – 20% off all jar and stick deodorants with code 

Now I’m curious to know, what natural deodorant do you use and how does it work for you? Please comment below!

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

118 thoughts on “What’s in Your Deodorant?”

  1. I’ve been wanting to try something new. The coupon code expired Jan 31 unfortunately.
    Still going to give it a shot though.

  2. I’ve tried a number of ‘organic’ deodorants, and none of them have worked for me – usually after about 1-2 hours, I smell like I’ve been out plowing a field. Considering trying the pit paste or making my own, adding a probiotic to it, like someone mentioned in a comment above.

  3. I have been using pit paste for a while and it really controls the odor (and I’m a sweater). My only trouble comes with chaffing, the moisture causes chaffing in my underarms. I’ve used their powder and it has helped some. I’ve also tried bumble bee organics, they claim they stop the chaffing. The chaffing might be a little better with bumble bee, but I don’t find the odor control all that great. so, I mostly resort back to the pit paste!

  4. Oh my, I thought I was doing well with a tea tree and lavender until I read your article. Now I’m going to look into the primal paste and see if it works for me. Thanks. I’ll let you know. Only problem is I have just opened anew tube and I have a back up. That’s about a years supply,

  5. Thanks for the discount code! I order the sample 6 pack to give this a try. I have tried Ava Anderson but it broke me out pretty bad. Hopefully this will be gentler :)

  6. I make my own with coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, beeswax, Vit E oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder, probiotoc capsules (which i empty into the mix), and a variety of essential oils. Its the second recipe I’ve tried, and it works great. One tube lasts a couple months, and I use all of those ingredients in other stuff or in other ways, so I make out all over the place :-).

  7. I’m make a Bentonite clay detox deodorant that is for sensitive skin, i love it . I broke out with bad rashes with other homemade or store bought natural deodorants. This one pulls out impurities In about two weeks. Try Pinterest for recipe.

  8. My husband and I use a roll-on deodorant called Alvera. We buy the unscented version with aloe Vera as the main ingredient. We love it and it works for us.

  9. First off, i have to say thank you to Lisa! Your page has helped me to change the way I live and eat. It was a great resource for me. I have been using Arbonne’s Pure Mint Deodorant. It smells great and it works. It is aluminum and paraben free. Nothing but the good stuff! All of Arbonne’s products are vegan, gluten free, free of artificial flavours and colors, no mineral oil or parabens, and the list goes on! You can order it directly to your door at http://AshleyParker.arbonne.com

  10. I have used Crystal Body Deodorant Roll-on or spray for years. It has no aluminum chlorohydrate, is hypoallergic, fragrant free, and paraben free. Its ingredients consist of water, Potassium Alum (natural mineral salts), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), benzoin acid, and zinc gluconate. It is not sticky and leaves no stain. It works great for me.

    1. My husband and I also use Crystal roll-on. It works very well for both of us! It’s affordable, and it can be found at Walmart.

  11. I use the Ava Anderson Non Toxic spray deodorant. The toner also works for a different scent. There’s also a stick option. Uses lots of essential oils. I also became a consultant because I love the products and message.

  12. I use the Ava Anderson Non Toxic spray deodorant. The toner also works for a different scent. There’s also a stick option. Uses lots of essential oils. I also be came a consultant because I love the products and message.

  13. Oh how I wished the Primal Pit Paste worked for everyone! I’ve tried multiple variations of their products and I am always left with a red, painful rash in my pits :( Even after trying all their suggestions on the website and using the primer. It’s the pits! My quest for a natural deodorant that works for ME continues. Any other suggestions from others??

    1. I had the same problem :( I even tried the “light” version and gave the product several months (understanding that there may be a transition period) before I could no longer take the red, blotchy, painful skin I was experiencing. It took weeks for my skin to return to normal after I stopped using it. I’m really disappointed. I’ve been wanting to transition to a more natural deodorant, but for the time being I’m back to Dove. I haven’t been able to find an effective natural deodorant that doesn’t cause that terrible reaction on my skin.

    2. I had the same problem of getting terrible rashes with natural deodorants. I finally found one that is baking soda free and works! Try meowmeowtweet.com for their baking soda free deodorant:)

  14. My comment is the same as Courtney’s. I use Ava Anderson Non Toxic deoderant and I love it, as well as the other Ava products I have tried. I have also just become a consultant as I believe in the products and want others to know the dangers in our personal care products.

  15. This works! There’s a reason aluminum is in supermarket deodorants, because it battles smell effectively. Natural products I’d tried previously didn’t work because either I had body odor or it was impossible to apply (some are rock hard). This blog reminded me of the issue, and I decided to try the lavender-scented paste. Excellent. Thanks for the information.

  16. I don’t comment often, but I have to give my 2 cents on the Primal Pit Paste products. I purchased them last year around this time when Lisa had a promo code and I couldn’t be happier with the products we’ve used! I love the lavender deodorant (haven’t tried the other scents, yet). It is so effective, and I love knowing I’m not using dangerous chemicals. My absolute favorite thing, however, is the Orange Creamsicle lip balm. It honestly works better than anything else I’ve tried on chapped lips, and it is DELICIOUS! I’m actually in need of more, so thanks for the promo code! I’ll be purchasing at least another year’s worth of deodorant and lip balm! It is weird that I’m so excited about that?

  17. I make my own. My whole family uses it now. The recipe is on wellnessmama’s website. It is much less expensive and lasts so long.

  18. I had tried everything on the market and even tried making my own. I finally tried Priml Pit Paste about 6 months ago and have never been happier with my deodorant! I was smellier and sweatier using plain old, bad for you, deodorant! My husband has even switched over. So glad to have finally found a healthy alternative that works!

  19. I tried primal pit paste (both the stick and the jar). I had to stop using them because they made my armpits burn and itch and left a nasty red and painful rash. I’m using Arm & Hammer Essentials now. It’s ok, but I hate the fact that I can’t find a natural antiperspirant. I live in Florida, it’s always hot. I hate having wet armpits, it’s gross!

    1. Hi Michelle!
      We do have three different strengths of deodorant (Light, Regular, and Strong) with varying levels of baking soda, we have an Unscented version with no essential oils, and we have a Sensitive stick with no baking soda at all. With all of these options, we truly feel that we have cracked the code on personalized natural deodorant that actually works! Please feel free to email our customer service team, and they’re happy to get some free trials sent out to you of what they feel would work best for your body chemistry!

  20. I switched over to Ava Anderson deodorant and love it. So much so that I became a consultant. It is not just the deodorant but all of the products you put on your skin. The skin is the largest organ and absorbs EVERYTHING you put on it directly into your blood stream.

  21. I was using natural deodorant based on shea butter and baking soda for about 2 years (first buying, then making my own). At the beginning it worked fine but towards the end the baking soda really irritated my skin, even in smaller dosages, and I had to stop and go back to commercial deodorants (no irritation there).

    My daughter, who is 11 years old and does a lot of sports, can only use the natural baking-soda based deodorant on days when she is not too active because on hot days or very active days – it doesn’t help in masking the bad sweat odor (and it’s really strong) so we are still experimenting with different deodorants (haven’t found the perfect one for her).
    I would just like to add that I never buy products that contain Triclosan (which has also been implicated in creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria), parabens or pthalates.

  22. I’m looking forward to trying some of these recommendations. On a different note, I thought you had recommended a line of natural cosmetics but don’t see it when I search the site.

  23. I was getting a terrible itch which lasted up to a week from all the top deodorants. My pharmacist said most of the popular ones are not good for you. He recommended Crystal Essence. I love the lavender+white tea. No more itch!

  24. I want to hear from someone who has teenage boys in their house and then tell me if it works. If it works on them, that would be amazing and I would buy it. Other natural deodorants don’t work with my boys.

  25. I love the coconut lime! Smells like a tropical vacation every day! And to know it is all natural (and works really well!) makes me thankful for this deodorant every morning! (I have the stick– to me, that is how deodorant is applied, and it works like any other stick.)

  26. Hi there,
    I’ve only tired Tom’s of Maine and I was deeply disappointed. I sweat a lot and it didn’t last very long and even when I reapplied, I could still smell my own BO. NOT cool. So I’ve been discouraged to try anything else. Maybe I’ll give some of these brands a try. I know it can be different for everyone and sometimes you just have to find what works for you.

    Thank you everyone for the comments you left with all the great options. :D

  27. I have been really interested in switching to a natural deodorant…so thank you so much for the 20% off! I just bought the sampler pack and cannot wait to try it out. The reviews are excellent!

  28. I just started using soapwalla citrus deodorant and am super happy with it! It’s even kept me fresh through sweaty workouts. I looked at ppp when shopping, but a lot of people mentioned rashes, so I went with soapwalla instead.

  29. I use Lavanilla deodorant it comes in a couple different scents and I like it. Seems to work well for me but sometimes I have to apply it 2-3x a day. I’m interested in trying something new there are some really great suggestions on here! Thanks!

  30. I was using one brand from a jar that I cannot remember but did not work well for me and my pits turned red then dark, so I switched to North Coast Organics “Death By Lavender” and love it. They have a neutral scent as well as a couple others It’s local here in Chicago and is sold at WF’s but not sure it’s available across the US.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Maybe try it again; I checked in with Primal Pit Paste and they assured me that it’s working. You have to hit “apply” once you enter the code.

      1. Thanks. I found I had been entering the code where it wanted “Gift Card” instead of in the space for “Coupon Code”. I got through once I looked more carefully.

  31. Primal Pit is amazing!! I had tried the Crystal deodorant, but it didn’t work for me. Both of my teenage boys use the regular strength Primal pit and it works better than any drugstore bought deodorant.

  32. I LOVE primal pit paste, but I broke out in a rash. I tried every strength, but to no avail. I have tried 4 different deodorants since then, but I just can’t find anything that works as well as the primal pit paste. I guess I have sensitive arm pits.

    1. Hi Cindy!
      If you have not already, please email our customer service team and they can work with you to find what would work better with your body chemistry! We have 3 different strengths of Pit Paste (Light, Regular, and Strong), as well as Unscented versions (with no essential oils), and even a Sensitive stick option which is free of baking soda. With all of these, we can help figure out what we would recommend for your unique needs, and we can get some free trials sent out to you to see what would be your perfect fit!

  33. I’ve been using homemade deodorant for years. Coconut oil, cornstarch and baking soda. It took a couple of weeks for my body to adjust to it, did a lot of extra sweating, but in the end so happy with it.

  34. My son is allergic to tree nuts (including coconut). Any other scents you sell that don’t have coconut or tree nuts in them? Would love to try this if you do as my 9 year old son is a big body odor offender. :)

  35. Primal Pit Paste did not work well for me. It works great for my guy though! I use Green Tidings. I’ve been very happy so far!

    1. Interesting that it works for your guy but didn’t work for you. Have you tried different strengths with Primal Pit Paste?

      1. I tried them all. I either sweat a ton, or broke out in a rash. I gave it a good 2 month run before I gave up. Maybe it’s a ph thing?! No clue. Green tidings is a good match for me though.

    2. If you haven’t already, please feel free to contact our customer service team and they’re more than happy to help find what would work best with your body chemistry! We do have a Sensitive stick as well as deodorant spray, and we can get you set up with the perfect products for you!

    1. I have tried the stick. I tried it initially; I personally prefer the jar since it’s creamier/goes on easier, but I had to get over the mental hurdle of using the jar instead of a stick that I was used to. I will say that there is no way that I’d go back though now that I’ve done the jar.

      HTH!

    2. I have used both. I feel like I get better coverage when using the jar. But, I use the stick when applying touch ups (applying when not right out of a shower) or when traveling. It works, you just need to hold it up to your skin for a few seconds to let it warm up and then it glides on pretty easy.

  36. Any males out there try any of these brands?
    Sorry ladies, nothing personal, but guys have a whole different level of stink that we have to manage, so I’m looking for some feedback from guys.

  37. I’ve been using Primal Pit Paste for a couple of years and I absolutely LOVE it! It works really well for me, even in summer and through tough crossfit workouts.

  38. I make my own out of coconut oil, arrowroot powder, corn starch, lavender oil and sweet orange oil. It took a boy two weeks for my pits to cleanse out all of the nasty chemicals, but now I won’t go back to store bought.

  39. I have been using Ava Anderson deodorant and I have had the best luck with it! Also, it comes in a regular deodorant applicator so it was an easy switch!

  40. I recently started using Face Naturals peppermint and tea tree deodorant and I love it! It works amazingly well and smells great!

  41. I love primal pit paste! I got used to the jar quickly and find I sweat less. I sometimes reapply in the afternoon/evening but that’s no big deal. I found the toxic deodorants to be LESS effective. My jar has lasted a really long time as well.

  42. I love Skin Food by Aubrey…recently purchased her probiotic deodorant at a holiday market in Cincinnati. All of her skin care items are non-gmo, organic, fair trade and natural. I’ve tried Primal Pit Paste before and it was just too sticky for me.

    1. If you haven’t already, give the jar paste a try! It’s got a more creamy and smooth consistency without the organic beeswax that the stick has, and the jar paste is definitely a customer favorite!

  43. I’ve honestly learned a lot from this post. I have used regular deodorant all my life but I have luckily not been a very sweaty person (unless I’m actually exercising. For this reason, I don’t wear it all the time. I’m gonna look into alternatives though!

  44. I started using Thai crystal deodorant stone regularly this year, and I’ve definitely noticed that I swear less than with regular posse based deodorant/antiperspirants.

  45. I’ve never tried natural deodorant even though my friends (and my mom!) have been cautioning me for years about aluminum and other ingredients that have dangerous health impacts. Maybe it’s time! It would be fun to see a pros and cons chart of some of the popular natural deodorants. I can see how the stick application could take some getting used to.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Great idea on the chart! Something for us to definitely think about. In the meantime, let us know if you try the natural route. I have not looked back since making the switch! :)

  46. I love the primal paste and have tried many many other more natura kinds. The stick works well for me. I should the paste jar to see how I like it.

    The only other natural one I’ve found that works is the “kiss my face” brand. Not sure if the ingredients are as good as primal paste but better than the other brands.

  47. We use Burt’s Bees Outdoor deodorant w/ Sage oil. Used it for years and love it. My friends and students are always telling me I smell good and wonder what perfume or lotion I use. I don’t. It’s just the Burt’s Bees.

  48. I’ve tried way to many natural deodorants and I finally found one that I love. I am on my third stick of Schmidt’s deodorant! The bergamont and lime is my favorite!

    1. I just ordered and received my first stick of Schmidt’s Ylang-Ylang and Calendula and the smell is AmAzInG to me :) Have you ever tried the jar rather than the stick. I feel like I’m pulling on my skin while using the stick and end up using my finger anyway to smooth it on. I feel like the stick needs time to adjust to my body temperature but thinking a jar would be easier for me. Just curious about your opinion. I love the deodorant otherwise.

      1. I agree, it does need to warm up a bit to glide on better. I did try the jar and it was really hard to get out during the colder months. The deodorant got really hard and solid in the jar and I had to pry it out, then warm it, then spread it. I feel like I can apply it a tad easier with the stick. Either way, I love the deodorant so I will deal with it. It does warm up quite nicely when I leave it near my steamy shower though!

  49. I use soapwalla deodorant cream and it works awesome. If you put it on right after you shave it can sting a little. I just shower and shave at night before bed and when I put it on in the morning no stinging. It works awesome even during workouts!!!

  50. I feel like the key to natural deodorants is to rotate. They seem to work well for awhile and then just stop so I switch back and forth between a few. Right now my rotation is Pit Putty from Bubble and Bee (I like Lilac and Super scents) and Piperwai. When I don’t want to use my fingers to apply I use the spray from Bubble and Bee in Lemongrass and Rosemary. Also, as basic as it seems, you really have to start with clean pits! Make sure you’re really cleaning well and use a little witch hazel as a primer if you’re in between showers.

  51. We use Primal Pit Paste and it is the ONLY natural deodorant that works for us. I tired so many I thought I would never find one that really stopped the stink! This one does.

  52. I use Primal Pit Paste! I tried various natural deodorants, and found PPP to work best for me. I’ve tried unscented, lavender, and now am on orange creamsicle, my favorite. As a heavy sweater, I never thought I would be able to use a natural deodorant, but it’s working really well for me. I will say I sometimes have to apply again around mid day because I’m not smell so fresh, but overall I really like it.

      1. Hello Marie,

        Here is the recipe I use… http://ourdailylegacy.blogspot.com/2011/08/homemade-deodorant.html

        However I reduced the baking soda to 2-3 T, because my husband and I broke out at the 4 T ratio. I’ve always used arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch and it works well.

        I recently added a few drops of lemongrass essential oil for a pleasant scent and uplifting aroma.

        I quadruple (or more) the batch and store extra jars in the fridge until we need it. We save pimento, artichoke, or the tiny Bell jars (cleaned and sanitized) to keep our deodorant in.

        We have been doing it for a few years now and really love this.

      2. I’ll also add that it felt a little weird at first to apply deodorant with my fingers… Now we think nothing of it.

        Good luck! :-)

  53. I do have hyperhydrosis. In college I used some prescription strength stuff my doctor gave me. It stopped me from sweating under my arms but my body made up for by sweating on my back. I remember being in college and sitting in my car and having the feeling that a waterfall was on my back while driving down the road. Your body does make up for it.

      1. Not yet. I’m not sure if it got better with time or if I just got used to it. I think it’s a little of both and the fact that I don’t wear clothing that would make it a problem. I never thought about using natural because in my mind natural = not as strong. But maybe I’ll give it a try and prove myself wrong.

  54. I just use a spray mix of high-proof vodka and essential oils. Works great and doesn’t stain my clothes but sometimes loses it’s strength and doesn’t last through a long day. I’m curious about the pit paste. Does it last most of the day? Does it leave any stains on clothing? All the DIY coconut oil deodorants I’ve tried in the past left awful underarm stains on my clothing.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Interesting! I was not aware of that concoction.

      As far as lasting and stains – I can absolutely say that it lasts. I put it on after showering and it lasts the day; it also works for me during and after exercising, which is key, since I do like to exercise;). And I have yet to have any stains on clothes. I’ve been using it for about 4 months now and knock wood, I have no stains that I’m aware of.

      1. We do recommend using only a small amount of Pit Paste (as a little really does go a long way!), and rub in completely and wait a few minutes before getting dressed. The key is to not over-apply!

  55. I use LaVanilla deodorant. It is another natural deodorant and it works really well! I even made it through summer in CA without smelling awful. I found that when switching from antipersiprant, there was a transition period where it got out of my system and I thought I smelled awful, but once my body got used to life without it, it has be great!

  56. I’ve had really good luck with Wish We Had Acres deodorant. Every “flavor” I have tried has worked, and that’s no easy feat! They are locally based in Charlotte, NC. I also had a pretty good experience with Fat and the Moon products via Etsy, but as you stated in your post, one of the essential oils didn’t really work out with me and it actually made me a bit inflamed in the pit area.

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