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How does natural deodorant actually work?

How does natural deodorant actually work?

If you’re a first time Woohoo-her or perhaps still sitting on the fence about making the switch to natural deodorant, then get comfy.

Today we’re going to school you on how natural deo works and why your pits will LOVE it.

Class is in session!

DO sweat it

Okie doke. Let’s begin with our favourite thing in the whole wide world - sweating.

This is your body’s natural way of cooling its temperature.

As your temperature soars, your super-clever sweat glands spring into action, releasing beads of sweat.

But for this seriously smart cooling process to work, the sweat must evaporate.

This is where body heat becomes the hero. It uses its natural energy to convert beads of sweat into vapour, which does an awesome job at cooling you down.

Yet, despite the fact that sweating (or perspiring, if you want to be a little bit posh!) is a good thing, it still gets a bad rap.


Well, people tend to associate sweat with body odour (AKA B.O.). Even though it’s the bacteria on your skin that causes the pongy smell and NOT the sweat itself.

Y’see, your skin is covered in trillions of little microbes, also called your ‘skin flora’.

These are your skin’s first defense against infection and can even help your immune system and include a balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria.

The “good” bacteria – staphylococci – don’t make much of an odour, but the “bad” kind – corynebacterium – are responsible for odour. They munch on the proteins and fats in your sweat and create a pungent odour.

So for healthy and non-smelly armpits your goal should be to have more of the good bacteria than bad bacteria, because they help keep the bad bacteria from running rampant (even when you’re not wearing deodorant).

It’s likely that your regular antiperspirant could be making your BO worse!

At the first whiff of stinky BO, people tend to reach for the strongest deodorant or antiperspirant they can find.

But did you know that traditional antiperspirants tend to clog pores and make it harder for your body to sweat the way it needs to?

That’s because they use ingredients such as aluminium salts to stop your body’s natural sweating process. The aluminium salts create a gel-like plug that block and constrict your sweat glands, temporarily preventing sweat from coming out.

As well as blocking your sweat glands, the aluminium salts also tend to reduce the amount of good bacteria on your skin’s surface, leaving the smellier “bad” bacteria to become dominant.

This means that antiperspirant can actually make you smell WORSE in the long run.

Using natural deodorant to combat armpit whiff

Natural deodorant, on the other hand, helps to prevent odour by creating an environment that the bad bacteria either (a) can’t survive in, or (b) can’t consume the proteins and fats in your sweat (so there’s no resultant smell). This allows your body to sweat the way it should, minus the odour.

Most good quality natural deos use plant-based ingredients and essential oils, enabling them to effectively battle BO, while promoting ‘healthy sweating’. Rather than clogging your pores, the ingredients work together adjust the pH balance of your skin, creating a less favourable hang-out spot for bad bacteria.

Most natural deodorants also incorporate a skillful squad of natural moisture-absorbing and odour-neutralising ingredients to create dry, whiff-free armpits.

For example, our Woohoo All Natural Deodorant calls on the burly stink-busting and dampness-sopping strength of magnesium, activated charcoal. Diatomaceous earth, and bicarb soda.

Together these ingredients make your skin too alkaline for the bacteria to feed on the proteins and fats delivered through your sweat — so, no smell!

Woohoo deodorant formulas also feature 100% pure essential oils (not an artificial fragrance in sight) for a shout-it-from-the-rooftops incredible scent as well as adding to their odour-eliminating abilities. The essential oils are antibacterial, and function in a similar way to the other deodorising ingredients in the formula by creating an environment where bad bacteria won’t thrive, resulting in a decrease in foul odour.

Hint: Rather forego the bicarb and essential oils all together? Mellow and Tango are perfect for sensitive souls as their formulas are bicarb-free. Mellow is also free from essential oils.

Another great benefit of natural deodorant is that it may even help your health.

The natural ingredients make it less likely that you'll have skin irritations, and the lack of pore-blocking ingredients means that good bacteria works better and may prevent odour even when you have no deodorant on at all.

Tips for making the switch to natural deodorant

When switching to natural deodorant, remember you are essentially rebalancing your underarm ecosystem—and that takes time!

If, until now, you’ve been using a mainstream deodorant or antiperspirant, it may take a few weeks for your skin to get re-accustomed to the natural sweating process and to reduce the amount of “bad” bacteria. We call this the detoxing process.

1 in 2 people don’t need to go through the detox process and find that natural deodorant works right away (lucky, right!?).

For the rest of us, some people find the first couple of days can leave them a little extra whiffy.

It’s essential to know this isn’t your new natural deodorant that’s causing the funky smell. In fact, it’s your body expelling all those pent-up toxins and your bad bacteria running rampant. Fascinating, huh?

And during this ‘detox’ phase you may find yourself going through a bit of a sweat fest.

Taking frequent warm baths and exercising regularly can help to rid your skin of toxins. Also, wearing loose-fitting clothing and choosing natural fibres, like cotton and bamboo, can help the elimination process along.

Stick with the switch though; in extreme cases it can take up to 2 months for your body to get used to sweating again. However, your underarms will thank you in the end!

In the not-so-extreme cases, within a few weeks your body will re-familiarise itself with its natural sweating mechanism and stop over-producing the bad, BO-causing bacteria.

Now you can happily continue to apply a natural deodorant daily to keep body odour at bay.

Remember, sweat happens, but smelling bad doesn’t have to :) Woohoo to that!