Already have an account?
Get back to the

Natural Deodorant Works (After Your Pores Adjust) — Use This DIY Deodorant To Fill In the Gap

You don't have to sweat in silence.


The natural deodorant debate has been ongoing for quite a while: Does it work? Does it not work? Is it better for your health than the commercial products we’ve been wearing for decades? The answers to all these questions will vary depending upon whom you ask. However, the fact that commercial antiperspirants contain aluminum is indisputable — and it’s for this reason that many women choose the au naturel route. Still, the switch from commercial deodorants and antiperspirants to their natural counterparts isn’t without its challenges; one of which is the time it takes for your body adjust to the product’s unique chemistry. For some, it may feel like the natural antiperspirant isn’t working.

Such was the case for one First for Women reader who wrote in to our allergy and immunology expert for advice. Here’s what she had to say.

Q: I found out I’m allergic to the aluminum in my antiperspirant — it causes hives and itching. I’ve been trying different natural options, but they don’t seem to stop odor! As it gets warmer, I’m sweating more. What else can I try?

A: Aluminum is used in most commercial deodorants and antiperspirants. It works by creating a barrier that blocks sweat glands to reduce perspiration and odor, but many women become allergic or sensitive to the metal as they age. Natural deodorants, on the other hand, contain ingredients like tapioca or cornstarch that actually soak up sweat. When you make the switch to natural products, it can seem like you’re sweating more, but that’s just because your pores are no longer being blocked. Still, your body may just need a few weeks to adjust to the change. In the meantime, there are a few simple strategies you can use to make your natural deodorant work better.

First, apply witch hazel to your underarms before your deodorant. Why? Because witch hazel contains polyphenols that stymie bacteria production. Witch hazel also helps tighten pores, so you produce less sweat.

You can also try making your own natural deodorant. To do: Mix the below ingredients in a jar with a lid.

  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • 6 to 10 drops of peppermint essential oil

Baking soda absorbs odor; the cornstarch soaks up excess sweat; the peppermint oil is antibacterial and offers a pleasant scent; and the coconut oil is antimicrobial and makes the mixture a creamy consistency that is solid at room temperature.

To apply, simply warm up a dime-sized amount of the mixture in your hands until it’s liquid and rub under your arms.

Meet our expert

Heather Moday, M.D., is director of the Moday Center in Philadelphia. She is board-certified in allergy and immunology, as well as integrative and holistic medicine. You can follow her on Instagram, where she shares information on health topics. And to ask her a question here, send an email to

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.