an update on my underarms

My headshot from the Listen To Your Mother show, the day I decided my sweating was out of control. Photographer Jacob Slayton made my sweaty self look as good as possible.
My headshot from the Listen To Your Mother show, the day I decided my sweating was out of control. Photographer Jacob Slaton made my sweaty self look as good as possible.

So, remember how I discovered that the medicines I take because of my heart defect also make me really really sweaty? And how I decided, since even the most “prescription strength” antiperspirants weren’t actually stopping me from sweating, and since I’m at least slightly uneasy with using chemicals to try and stop my body from doing something it needs to do to keep me cool and excrete stuff that doesn’t need to be inside me, I decided to try and quit antiperspirants and use more natural, healthy deodorants instead? And remember how I decided to conduct this great, potentially-smelly experiment in one of the hottest months of the year in one of the hottest and most humid parts of the country?

Well, here I am a month later, reporting back. 

And I have to say: I think the switch worked. I have been using two different natural deodorants, one stick and one cream, and while they definitely don’t keep me sweat free, I don’t feel any sweatier than I did before when I was using Dove and Degree products, and I don’t think I’m any smellier, either. My husband, who has been known to say “what stinks” when I wore a new perfume or lotion around him that he didn’t like, has also had no complaints, even though I told him he was allowed to give me the unvarnished truth once my two-week detox period was up.

Yes, I sweat. I sweat before, a lot, despite the antiperspirants, and I think I’m about as sweaty if not slightly less sweaty than I was before. I just spent a sweaty morning at the zoo outdoors in 90 degree weather and 42% humidity, lifting and carrying toddlers and occasionally taking my turn pushing the double stroller. I got sweaty. But now, as I sit, I just sniffed an armpit, and I don’t smell like BO. Instead, I smell like lemongrass and ginger thanks to my Primal Pit Paste. Oh, and I didn’t even shower this morning.

Here’s what I think of the two products I’ve been trying:

Primal Pit Paste Stick in Lemongrass Thyme

I chose this Primal Pit Paste Stick because I thought I might think using a cream would be weird, and I’m used to applying stick deodorant. This goes on clear, and I must say, the stick itself feels a little gritty as it goes on. It definitely has a high level of baking soda, which can be slightly irritating if I’ve just shaved my armpits, but not like the horrific sting of applying liquid Certain Dri after shaving, for sure. The Lemongrass Thyme scent is herbal and unisex, and smells fresh and slightly citrusy. I feel the Primal Pit Paste works really well with my body chemistry to keep me stink free, and I’m less likely to need to reapply it than the other product I’ve been trying, which is…

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream

The Soapwalla is a cream that you apply to your armpits with your fingers. This seems weird, but it’s not much different than putting on say, lotion on your elbows or whatever. You just rub a dab into each armpit. This is definitely less irritating to my pits than the Primal Pit Paste, but I don’t think the smell of it lasts as long, so I’m slightly more likely to feel like I need to reapply something in the afternoon if I use just the Soapwalla. The smell itself is a slightly lavender-y, unisex herbal smell.

Overall, if I were to pick a winner, I think Primal Pit Paste is my favorite, because the stick is more convenient, and I think it holds its scent longer. It also happens to be like $3 cheaper. However, if you have particularly sensitive skin, you might prefer the Soapwalla. They’re both great products though, and I’m impressed that after failing to find a natural deodorant available at Target or the grocery store that worked for me (Tom’s, Arm and Hammer, Jason, and Alba were all failures), I actually found two great products that don’t have me running back into the sweat-free arms of Dove and Degree.

7 Replies to “an update on my underarms”

    1. Good luck! Most of the stuff you can buy at Whole Foods didn’t work for me, but I definitely do now believe that it takes a couple of weeks for the body to normalize after going off of traditional antiperspirants. I don’t think I ever went a whole month before this experiment.


  1. Thanks for the update. I don’t like to use the chemical stuff either. Our bodies are supposed to sweat and our culture thinks it’s unnatural! I use Scent of Samdhi. It has a wonderful incense smell to it. I buy it on Amazon and it’s not cheap but I love the smell. Yes, I still sweat but I don’t smell so bad now. It really is important for our bodies to sweat under the armpits. It makes me wonder if anti perspirants have something to do with breast cancer???


  2. You might want to try a different Primal Pit Paste scent other than the lemongrass one. I have that and the unscented, and the lemongrass one really irritates me while the unscented one is fine. I’ve made homemade deodorant with basically the same ingredients but a touch of lavender and teatree oil, and had no irritation. So, I suspect I’m sensitive to the EO’s in the lemongrass one (which is unfortunate, because I too like the smell!). They also have a stick/jar with less baking soda in it if that is causing irritation (I haven’t tried it, so can’t speak to its efficacy).


  3. I make my own deodorant but sometimes the high content of baking soda irritates my skin. So I also have a crystal deodorant stick – just another alternative if you wanted to give something else a try!


    1. Lindsay: one thing that might be worth looking into is some kind of oil to put on before applying the baking soda-y stuff, to protect the skin a little. Primal Pit Paste sells a “pit primer” that seems to mostly be a blend of oils that helps keep the baking soda from irritating the skin. Maybe even just swiping on some straight coconut oil before the deodorant blend would help.


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