Baking Soda vs Magnesium Natural Deodorant: Which Is Better?

A lot of deodorants are known to be bad for the environment – contributing hefty amounts of air pollution. Eco-friendly alternatives are all around us, whether you buy from a green company or want to make your own.

Of the eco-friendly deodorants on offer, baking soda and magnesium are two popular variants that act essentially the same.

Magnesium counteracts odorous bacteria on the surface of the skin while baking soda is known to be effective at absorbing moisture and killing odorous bacteria.

While baking soda deodorant is popular and just one of many uses of baking soda, magnesium deodorant is ideal for anybody who’s a bit unsure of baking soda or has had a reaction to it. Both baking soda and magnesium are great ingredients for natural deodorant, so try them out and find the best product for your body.

Is baking soda or magnesium deodorant better?

Baking soda has been used in deodorants for decades. If you’ve ever seen sodium bicarbonate included in your deodorant ingredients, that’s the baking soda.

While modern brands of non-natural deodorant have largely moved on to use other salts, baking soda is still considered for natural brands like The Natural Deodorant Co.

The science behind baking soda deodorants lies in balancing the pH of the skin, using alkaline baking soda to counteract acidity in our underarms to create a more neutral pH level. Baking soda neutralizes acidic sweat molecules which would otherwise cause body odor.

This is also how baking soda is used to clean and neutralize odor in the fridge.

As a bonus, baking soda has antibacterial properties that kill bacteria that would otherwise grow and release odors.

However, the alkaline nature of baking soda is also why it doesn’t work for everybody.

While some people are allergic to baking soda, the majority of people who come up with a rash after using baking soda is because of how alkaline it is. Getting the right amount of alkalinity from baking soda is important.

That’s where magnesium deodorants come in.

Magnesium hydroxide is used in many natural deodorants and is also used as a substitute for aluminum. While aluminum is absorbed in the skin, magnesium remains on the surface of the skin and counteracts bacteria that cause odor.

Magnesium is gentler than baking soda, making it a great alternative if you have very acidic sweat.

Baking soda-free deodorants often use magnesium hydroxide, magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate, or magnesium citrate. Magnesium oxide is also known as Milk of Magnesia and is used both as a laxative and a deodorant.

Ultimately, baking soda and magnesium deodorants are equally effective, but because our bodies change often you could use baking soda deodorant fine one day and not the next.

Low concentrations of baking soda in deodorant are best to avoid too much irritation, but it just doesn’t work for some people.

If you’ve tried a baking soda deodorant or have had a rash from baking soda before, magnesium-based deodorants are likely best for you!

How to make baking soda deodorant

You can make baking soda deodorant yourself by mixing ⅛ of a teaspoon of baking soda with some water and rubbing it under your arms.

Baking soda can also be mixed with corn starch to fight odor and prevent moisture, using one part baking soda to six parts cornstarch.

Simple Green Smoothies’ homemade deodorant uses baking soda, arrowroot powder, organic coconut oil, and essential oils. You might be able to substitute arrowroot powder for cornstarch!

Make sure you only use essential oils that are really eco-friendly and aren’t contributing to environmental harm.

If you don’t want to make it yourself, there are a lot of companies that sell baking soda-based deodorant.

Magnesium deodorant is more difficult to make at home, but Mommypotamus’ homemade solid deodorant for sensitive skin uses magnesium chloride powder, beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter, kaolin clay, and essential oils.

Frequently asked questions about natural deodorant

If you have sensitive skin, you’re more likely to suffer from a rash from natural deodorant, especially if it contains baking soda. Other essential oils used in deodorants can also cause irritation, including coconut oil, lemongrass, lavender, peppermint, and sandalwood. This could be temporary while you undergo an “armpit detox“, which shouldn’t last more than a few weeks. Contact a dermatologist if you need professional advice!

Natural deodorants can stain clothes, especially dark fabrics. Baking soda is especially known for staining clothes. You can avoid heavy staining by applying deodorant and waiting for it to settle before putting your shirt on. Natural deodorants stain less than other antiperspirants generally because the staining is caused by aluminum. If you’re still suffering with lots of stained clothes, you might want to look into cleaning them with vinegar or baking soda.

If you’re making the switch to natural deodorant, you might feel like your armpits smell more and you need to put a bit more on throughout the day. This isn’t a problem with the deodorant, but is instead caused by your skin itself! When you switch to natural deodorant, you’re swapping from conventional deodorant that utilizes chemicals to plug your pores to stop sweat and choosing natural ingredients that absorb moisture. It will take a few weeks for your body to adjust and then you’ll find the natural deodorant working more effectively.

Natural deodorants are better for the environment because they use only natural ingredients and most brands don’t use plastic (some may use recycled plastic). The chemicals used in conventional deodorants damage the environment and can damage our skin as well. Switching to a natural or eco-friendly deodorant is just one more step to a sustainable lifestyle!

Aluminum deodorant has been linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. Spray deodorants using aluminum have been investigated for harm to the environment as well, causing long-term harm to the environment and plants, especially when used as greywater on vegetables.

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