One good thing to come out of 2020 is that I had ample time to try different natural deodorants while sitting at home where there’s no one to bother with my scent. Because while there are great natural deodorants out there, none of them conceal funk like a good old antiperspirant. But, committed to making the switch, I’ve learned that sometimes, I’m just smelly. Last week, I had one of those days that, after a shower the night before and zero physical activity, my pits were particularly gross. So, I tried the new armpit Curie Clay Detox Mask ($16). It was mind-blowing.
I put it right on my stinky pits and chilled on my bed to let it dry. After about 10 minutes, I hopped in the shower and washed it off with just water—before I even used soap I realized the smell was totally gone. (Note: I later realized I did the mask wrong and it still worked wonders! But, don’t follow my lead. Instead, wash and dry your pits before applying the mask, the same way you would apply a face mask.)
Shop now: Curie Clay Detox Mask, $16
Made with activated charcoal, kaolin, and bentonite clay, this clarifying mask works to pull all the bacteria, dirt, and oils out of your pores that make you stink. It’s made with facial-grade ingredients, meaning it’s gentle enough that it shouldn’t irritate your underarms and you can also put it on your face.
The primary purpose of this product is to speed up that awful transition period when you’re switching from an antiperspirant to natural deodorant and smell awful for a few weeks. “Antiperspirants work by blocking wetness from reaching the surface of the skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “These contain aluminum salts that form a plug or blockage within the sweat glands to physically prevent sweat.” When you stop, the flood gates burst wide open and you start to truly experience your stench for the first time.
When you aren’t using an antiperspirant, Dr. Zeichner says your underarm skin may be able to better clear dirt, oil, and debris that accumulate on the skin and within the sweat glands. And because antiperspirants work by lowering levels of odor-causing bacteria that live in the underarms, he says “some people speculate that stopping use will help your skin’s natural microbiome reset, though it is unclear whether this has any significant impact on your health.”
Regardless of what’s actually happening when you stop using an antiperspirant, you will be super smelly. I wish I had the Curie Clay Detox Mask when I went natural last January. And even though I’m well past the initial aluminum-free shock, this mask helps pick up the slack when natural D.O. isn’t enough to mask my B.O. It also feels weirdly nice to give a little extra TLC to my underarms. All I ever really do is shave them and put on deodorant. So treating them to a little clarifying mask feels amazing.
Here’s what a dermatologist’s shower routine looks like:
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