Updated September 2018
Did you know that your skin absorbs around 60% of what you apply to it into your bloodstream? So it makes sense to pay careful attention to what you apply to your skin – and that includes your armpits!
Many commercial deodorants contain synthetic ingredients. It goes without saying, you are doing your body no favors by rolling or spraying those products onto your armpits each day.
Time to consider a more natural deodorant? There are many activated charcoal deodorants around that tick the toxin free box. In this article we are going to explore the many natural benefits of activated charcoal deodorants, to detox your armpits.
Activated Charcoal, known for its detoxification and pH balancing properties, absorbs a thousand times its own weight in dirt, bacteria and chemicals.
Activated Charcoal acts like millions of tiny sponges that soak up all the nasties in your skin, and then trap them inside its own pores. It is one of the most effective ingredients in natural deodorants, helping you combat odors and fight bacteria.
To learn more about activated charcoal jump over to our Activated Charcoal Product Benefits blog post.
Natural Deodorants with activated charcoal are said to:
- Neutralise odor removing bacteria
- Prevent your pores from clogging
- Remove bacteria and toxins and absorb wetness
- Help reduce body odor
In general terms activated charcoal deodorants are:
- a healthier and more natural alternative to common aluminium, paraben, talc and other toxic deodorants and powders
- Effective for most skin types
- An effective option if you are up for a bit of a skin detox under your arms which may have been exposed to toxins over a number of years through use of more commercial deodorants
- Often cruelty free, gluten free, and not tested on animals
Activated charcoal deodorants may not be suitable for you if:
- you have open cuts or very cracked skin under your arms
- you have really sensitive skin that doesn’t respond well to baking soda (although the market does also offer products without baking soda)
- you don’t like deodorants that are applied as a paste and which may be a little “sticky”
- you have an aversion to touching the deodorant (some deodorants require you to apply it by using your fingers)
- you are not patient enough to wait a few minutes for the deodorant to dry
It is important to note that natural deodorants combat smell and odor. They do NOT treat wetness as well. Whilst some activated charcoal deodorants do contain ingredients to absorb some wetness, this is not their primary function.
Ease of use
If you are going to buy a ready-made activated charcoal deodorant, it is very easy to use. Most activated charcoal deodorants come in paste form. This means you need to smear a small amount of the deodorant directly under each arm. This does take a little getting used to.
If the deodorant is hard you might want to hold the container/stick against your body to warm it up a little before you spread it.
Most activated charcoal deodorants need to be stored in a warm dry place.
If you are using activated charcoal powder and you store it in airtight containers it has an almost indefinite shelf life.
When using activated charcoal powder in a DIY deodorant, you will need to consider the shelf life of the other natural ingredients you are using in your product mix.
If you keep the contents dry you will usually need to use up the remainder of the product within 2-3 months. The exact timing will depend on what other ingredients are in the deodorant.
Freak Out Factor
There are not many factors to consider when using activated charcoal deodorants:
- Application of activated charcoal deodorants may feel a little “wetter” than commercial deodorants
- Some skin types may soak up the charcoal more than others. If you find black marks under your arms, gently rub it with a moist paper towel or dark coloured cloth
One of the only major freak out factors will come as you are transitioning from a commercial deodorant to a natural deodorant containing activated charcoal. Your armpits need to go through a “detox”.
You will need to “sweat out” the toxins in your skin pores. This can take a couple of weeks and many people give up on natural deodorants before their skin has completed its detoxification. Stay the course.
Your armpits and the rest of your body will thank you for your switch to a natural skin care product. Try to wear clothes made from natural fibers and drink lots of water as your body goes through this detoxification process.
The Jury is Out?
Is it? Nope. We don’t think so. The majority of reviews we have sourced suggest that those switching from a more commercial deodorant (which contain a range of toxins and synthetic ingredients) to a natural deodorant containing activated charcoal, are overwhelmingly positive.
There is no real ouch factor when considering activated charcoal deodorants. The only thing to look out for is broken skin – it is not a good idea to apply it to cuts or abrasions.
Added “Extras” – Would You Like Synthetics With That?
The great news about the many activated charcoal deodorants on the market is that manufacturers/artisans (those who make deodorants by hand) use very natural, simple or organic ingredients.
Many have experimented over time with their ingredient list to find an optimal mix that will be gentle of delicate underarm areas while neutralizing odor, removing bacteria and preventing the pores from clogging.
Avoid using deodorants that contain sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten, alcohol and artificial colours. Avoid products with synthetic ingredients, harsh detergents, mineral oils, PEGs and EDTA. In our experience to date, we do not really see “natural deodorants” that contain toxins or nasties.
C&B has pulled together a list of commonly known body scrub and exfoliators with ingredients that may be harmful and are best avoided where possible:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Quaternium – 15
Coal Tar Dyes
BHA and BHT Buylated Hydroxyanisole
Diamine Toluene Sulfate
DIY Activated Charcoal Deodorant
If you are so inclined, you can make your own activated charcoal deodorant from scratch. There are many natural or organic ingredients you can use to make your very own signature blend. Some of those ingredients include:
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
- Baking soda
- Corn starch
- Tea tree oil orange lemon or rosemary
- Magnesium oil
- Witch hazel
- Bentonite clay
- Lavender, peppermint, rosemary essential oils
Usage – How often can I use deodorants containing activated charcoal?
For the most part people use activated charcoal deodorants daily.
Where can I get activated charcoal deodorants?
There are many places to purchase natural deodorants containing activated charcoal including online stores, at beauty and skincare stores and local markets. Some chemists or drug stores may also carry activated charcoal deodorants.
If you are making your own activated charcoal deodorants then most of the raw ingredients can be sourced from your local health food store.
See our Books and Resources page which includes a range of books with DIY deodorant recipe inspiration.
There are literally hundreds of ingredient variations for natural homemade deodorants. Given everyone has different skin types, what works for someone else might not work for you. Keep experimenting until you find a mix that is just right for your skin.
Buying Guide – How to choose an activated charcoal deodorants that is just right for you:
The key to buying activated charcoal deodorants is to look for products without any of the ingredients reflected in the Added “Extras” section above.
There is significant variability in the ingredients included in activated charcoal deodorants. Many products that contain activated charcoal tend to have less toxins and chemicals in their ingredient list.
There seems to be a greater focus on more natural or organic ingredients in activated charcoal deodorants made by artisans. That is, by smaller skincare companies that often make the product themselves, many by hand!
You can use your search engine of choice using the terms “natural deodorant” and “activated charcoal deodorant” for a range of natural choices from places such as Etsy, Amazon and smaller boutique companies with online stores.
The key points of difference in products within this category are probably in the quantity of activated charcoal in each product and the type and quantity of other ingredients.
For the purists, you will probably want to consider buying a product from an artisan producer rather than a mainstream brand.
Etsy is a great place to look for these products. C&B is literally discovering new activated charcoal deodorants by the day. We will continue to bring those brands to you on our website and social media accounts.
Take note of where activated charcoal is listed on the ingredient list of brands you are considering. As a rule of thumb, ingredients are listed in the order of quantity. For example, if activated charcoal is listed as the first ingredient on the product ingredient list, the product will contain more of that product than those listed after it.
If activated charcoal is listed last on the ingredient list, this means it contains a smaller activated charcoal than all the other ingredients listed before it.
We’ve noticed that companies who produce activated charcoal deodorants also look to make green choices with their packaging.
Many offer eco-friendly recyclable push-up tube for the deodorant stick and an eco-friendly recyclable shaker container for the dusting powder. We recommend that you warm the stick under your arms for a few seconds to make application easier.
The cost of many activated charcoal deodorants does exceed those in the mainstream commercial marketplace. You can expect to pay around double what you might pay for a “regular” deodorant.
Whilst this may be the case, there are significant health benefits of choosing products with no toxins, synthetic ingredients or chemicals.
In addition they are often made by hand. The added benefit is that natural deodorants containing activated charcoal are often chemical free (no parabens or aluminium), animal testing free and vegan friendly.
If you are interested in making your own activated charcoal deodorant, you will be able to control the cost a little more if that is an important factor for you.
Click here to see a range of activated charcoal deodorants that Charcoal and Body has reviewed.
Alternatively click here to head to our Popular Products list of a vast range of natural deodorants containing activated charcoal.
Some activated charcoal deodorants worthy of a notable mention
PiperWai activated charcoal deodorant
One of the most popular activated charcoal deodorants is by Piperwai. PiperWai is a natural deodorant made without harmful ingredients like parabens, aluminum or synthetic fragrances.
The deodorant has a creme texture and is 100% natural.
There are many PiperWai imitation products on line so make sure you purchase from the original company. Learn more about PiperWai activated charcoal deodorant by clicking here.
Magnesium deodorant – combine with activated charcoal for a super natural deodorant
Another common ingredient in activated charcoal deodorants is magnesium. According to honestlyfresh.com, magnesium has the following benefits for your body:
- Helps Increase Energy- Magnesium is an essential mineral for regulating energy levels.
- All Natural Odor Protection- Studies have shown magnesium to minimize odor caused by excessive perspiration.
- Calms Nerves- Magnesium is vital for BAGA function, a neurotransmitter that produces “happy hormones” such as serotonin.
- Improves Digestion- For those suffering from constipation, magnesium helps neutralize stomach acid and relax muscles within the digestive tract to help move stool through the intestines.
- Relieves Muscle Aches & Spasms- When your body doesn’t have enough magnesium, your muscles can ache or even spasm. This is because magnesium plays an important role in neuromuscular signals and muscle contractions.
- Heart Health- The heart has the highest amount of magnesium in your body. Together magnesium works with calcium to regulate blood pressure levels and prevent hypertension.
Our favorite activated charcoal deodorant that also contains magnesium is from Schmidt’s Naturals. Schmidt’s offer a range of natural deodorants. We love this brand because they prioritize natural ingredients.
AND, Schmidt’s Naturals are committed to manufacturing without harming animals and sourcing ingredients from suppliers who DO NOT test their products on animals. As a company committed to staying certified vegan and cruelty-free, we give the Charcoal and Magnesium Deodorant our tick of approval. To learn more about this activated charcoal deodorant click here.
Are Activated Charcoal Deodorants the Secret to Squashing Body Odor Naturally?
Based on the growing number of natural deodorant products in the marketplace and the chorus of praise for activated charcoal deodorants, Charcoal and Body would have to conclude that activated charcoal deodorants squash body odor naturally.
You have plenty of choice in sourcing deodorants that are just right for your skin type. Explore the market and stay tuned for new reviews and feedback on brands that are taking the market by storm. We are confident that you will find a deodorant that is just right for you.
Join the Charcoal and Body community to see more Ultimate Guides and much much more. Click here to subscribe.