Mark Mainz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

I Tried A Natural Deodorant Cleanse & I'm Basically Reborn From The Ashes of My Former Self

By
Ad failed to load

A few days before I started student teaching, my radiant starflower of an editor asked me if I wanted to try a natural deodorant cleanse. Of course, I was about to spend my days wrangling second graders, working 12+ hour shifts, and continuing to exercise like I was literally outrunning my demons. So of course I said yes, absolutely. There is no conceivable way that this could end poorly for me. I'd been considering transitioning from antiperspirant to natural deodorant for a while, and at this point, had run out of excuses.

Also, it's hard to un-know things. Like, do you ever get those gross yellow sweat-stains under your tank tops? Because that's not sweat — it's aluminum, a popular ingredient in antiperspirant. I don't know about you beautiful birds of millennial paradise, but no thanks, I'd prefer not to stain every shirt I own with yellow aluminum. I decided to try the all-natural Takesumi Charcoal Underarm Detox Kit ($42; kaianaturals.com), which relies on a combination of charcoal deodorant, soap, and bath salts to rid the body of toxins and transition to a healthier and aluminum-free lifestyle.

The detox consists of three products: a Charcoal Deodorant, Deodorant Booster (a charcoal-based soap), and a Detox Hot Bath (a charcoal and apple cider vinegar soak). Based on the Japanese principle of takesumi, the idea is that the bamboo charcoal functions to draw out and expel toxins from your body. However, the company warns that you may sweat and stink excessively as the toxic guys hit the road (weird, that's just like dating?) Your body requires a bit of an adjustment period, and as with most cleanses, your stank will worsen before it improves. Oh. Joy.

Ad failed to load

Right off the bat, the Takesumi Charcoal Deodorant got points for smelling incredible. Personally, I find that most deodorants smell totally putrid. Like some sickening cross contamination between a middle-schoolers locker and a poorly concealed olfactory crime scene.

I tried Cold Pressed Rose, but if that isn't your jam, they also have Lime Mint and Juicy Bamboo. Anyways, I have no idea what a cold pressed rose actually smells like — but this deodorant just smells lovely and clean. Application was smooth AF, which was surprising, because most natural deodorants have a natural grit that can really hone in on the old adage 'Pain Is Beauty'.

Ad failed to load

The hardest part about getting started was definitely reading all the instructions before incorporating the detox into my daily life. Luckily, the kit comes with a handy guide. Do not throw it away. My mind is a sieve, and having the guide around was truly a lifesaver. It's not mentally taxing so much as having to remember all the baby steps.

Week 1

I really focused on making a routine of using the deodorant booster bar, charcoal deodorant, and detox hot bath. And I'm so glad I did; the first week was a breeze. I kept the booster bar (charcoal soap, essentially) in a soap dish in my shower, and settled in for my first effervescent charcoal hot bath. The hot bath product is loaded up with activated charcoal and apple cider vinegar to kill smelly bacteria, and it does yield a slightly bubbly, effervescent effect.

Ad failed to load

I didn't personally notice any odor during the first week, even after student teaching and strength training workouts. The one thing I did clock is that because I'm using a deodorant (and not an antiperspirant that prevents wetness), my clothes don't stay fresh as long. I'm getting one wear out of t-shirts, sweaters, tank tops, etc., before they need to be washed.

Week 2

Okay, guys, this one was on me. I had plans to go out one night, and I applied the deodorant immediately after shaving my armpits, which as stated in the guide, is a big no-no. A moisture rash ensued. Luckily, I applied Aquaphor ($5; target.com) right away, and the irritation and redness disappeared by the next morning. During the heat rash, I also found that I was more comfortable wearing natural fibers and breathable cotton.

Ad failed to load

Other than the beautiful-angry rash debacle, things continued to go smoothly. I even asked a close friend to smell-check me during our carpool, and she gave me the all-clear, and then admitted that I talk too much. Yay for honest friendship!

Week 3

I was hoping to avoid this, but it happened. According to the guide, inordinate sweating can be expected during the cleanse. The additional sweat is the body going through the detox and getting rid of toxins and bacteria.

Ad failed to load

The good thing, however, was that there wasn't really an odor. (I think this was due to diet more than anything, and drinking a ton of water. Pro-tip: sweat shouldn't smell terrible. If it does, your diet is probably the culprit.) Anyways, sweating profusely for a week wasn't the most comfortable sensation, but I'm stoic and brave and beautiful so I made it through to the other side. Actually, real talk, I blotted my arms with toilet-lid covers and it seriously helped, but don't tell anyone else I did that.

Week 4

OK, the sweating issue is definitely getting better, unless I'm warm. Still no odor, and clothes still are being washed more frequently (am I the only human who will wear a shirt twice before washing? Good thing I'm putting this on the internet where people can judge me forever!).

Ad failed to load

The best thing I've noticed is that my underarms are wayyyy less irritated. The appearance is smoother with less discoloration. This was an unforeseen bonus that I'm pretty pumped about.

My Takeaway

You know what? Yeah, I fu**s with this, and would recommend this detox to anyone looking for a healthier alternative to antiperspirant. The only con I can think of is that if you sweat a lot, this might not always be the best choice in high-stress situations. You're going to be damp, my friend. Consider an emergency anti-perspirant to stick in your purse for situations where sweat might give you anxiety or stress you out.

Ad failed to load

Otherwise, charcoal armpit detox is lit 5ever hashtag healthyliving. Hahahah someone stop me.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

A Dentist Reveals The Best Times To Brush Your Teeth & It's Actually So Surprising

Do you brush your teeth twice a day? If you do, you're already way ahead of me, since I usually forget about brushing my teeth before bed at least three out of seven days of the week. I'm so bad about remembering to brush my teeth before bed, that I'…
By Caroline Burke

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett

How To Start Reading Tarot When You Have No Clue Where To Begin

I've been practicing tarot almost daily as part of my self-care routine for years. My favorite part of the day is putting on a face mask, pouring myself a blushing mimosa or some coffee, busting out a few crystals, and sitting down to spend a little …
By Minerva Siegel

This Company Is Hiring A Chief Donut Officer & I Can’t Apply Fast Enough

National Donut Day may not be until June 1, but one company is celebrating the sweet holiday a little early this year. This isn't your average discounted donut or a buy-one-get-one deal, either. Entenmann's is giving one lucky person the chance to li…
By Collette Reitz

7 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Life By The Time You Hit 30

Nobody has all of the answers in life, but you're probably pretty proud of yourself for how far you've come. Somewhere along the way, some of us got the hang of adulting and began to appreciate the unexpected things that come with being 20-something.…
By Marisa Casciano

8 Pickup Lines To Use In The Library During Finals Week To Find Your New Study Buddy

In the borderline eternity I’ve been on this planet — I’m 29, suckers! — I’ve rarely made the first move, verbal or otherwise. I admire my female friends who have no trouble approaching a person they find cute. I even admire the men who have approach…
By Kimmy Foskett
)}