The Natural Deodorant Answer to Your Body Odor Issues

Primal Pit Paste

In an effort to keep this from sounding like a page from the diary of a smelly girl, I’ll just say this: I sweat, a lot. Showering every day isn’t an option for me, both because my skin doesn’t love it and because we’ve been in a drought for the past few years, so I’m always searching for ways to do more than cover up my smell.

Changing my diet, exercising regularly, and working to balance my hormones has been instrumental but if I get hot or sweaty, all bets are off. Like most of you, I really don’t want to put the chemicals found in mainstream deodorant on my body—Come on! Our lymph nodes are right there, that is so not healthy—so I have tried a whole slew of natural deodorants, made my own, used a salt crystal, essential oils, carried baby wipes (the list goes on).

Enter Primal Pit Paste. Amy Cazin’s pre-teen daughter came home from school one day with body odor. Like us, she firmly believes that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put into it, so before she ran out to the store to get her daughter a clinical strength antiperspirant, she did some research—probably the same research you and I did and how we ended up here. She wasn’t thrilled about what she found for her options.

Ingredients in Mainstream Deodorants

I started this journey just like Amy, with a google search for the ingredients in a conventional antiperspirant. Here are a few of the ingredients in that formula, all of these (and more) are on our ingredient watch list. While this is just one specific brand of deodorant, most commercial brands are about the same with different scents and proprietary blends of ingredients.

Aluminum Zirconium

This was listed as the only ‘active ingredient’ in the product I looked at (FYI, there’s no such thing as ‘inactive’ ingredients, if they’re in the product they’re an ingredient) and it’s listed as 15% of the total product. Okay so we’re going to put tiny particles of aluminum directly onto our skin? That gives me the willies just thinking about it! Why? There aren’t any conclusive studies quite yet, but the preliminary research suggests that high levels of aluminium in the fatty cells of the body (like, you know, side boob) could be linked to breast cancer and alzheimer's disease and even though it’s mostly thought to move through the body unabsorbed I really don’t want to take my chances if I don’t have to.


Cyclopentasiloxane (try to say that out loud, I can’t do it) is part of the formula because it makes things feel smooth—but they don’t stay smooth. As soon as the chemical washes off of your body, it’s right back to where it was before. In other words, it’s not a healer, it’s a masker.

In research, the European Union, Health Canada, and the California Environmental Protection Agency have found that this chemical has the potential to be a slight hormone disruptor with a long half-life in humans (it stays in our bodies for a long time) but since this chemical is typically used on products that are quickly washed off (most notably conditioners) it’s mostly considered safe for people to use… I don’t wash off my deodorant right away, do you?

The scariest part of the research on this chemical is that it’s readily found in watershed because it doesn’t breakdown in the environment. Longitudinal studies are still being conducted but it’s very possible that the fish and wildlife are being affected by this toxin.


About a week ago I was out sunbathing with some friends and when it came time to re-apply our sun protection, one of them brought out a commercial spray. I jumped up yelling, “please don’t make me watch you put dimethicone on your body!” and handed her my organic sun protection to pass around. This chemical is in every kind of mainstream product so I wasn’t at all surprised to see it in the antiperspirant.

Dimethicone is a silicone-based chemical that is used to make products go on smoothly and evenly. It creates a barrier on our skin that doesn’t allow our pores to sweat or our skin to slough off dead skin cells, it traps in old sebum, bacteria, and impurities, it also doesn’t allow the skin to absorb anything moisturizing or hydrating so it can cause irritation overtime.

Dimethicone does not degrade in the body or in the environment so in the creation and the disposal of this chemical is an ever-present pollutant that creates an impenetrable barrier on everything that it coats.

Hydroxyethyl Urea

This ingredient actually blows my mind. Urea is a waste product from our bodies and companies recreate it in a lab and use it as a preservative in their products. Using this ingredient is literally putting waste back into our bodies, does that seem like a good idea to you? Nope.

As urea breaks down, it releases formaldehyde, which is known as a human carcinogen (I’m just going to say this again, our bodies get rid of urea for a reason) and it’s known to cause irritation and allergic reaction.

Why We Love Primal Pit Paste

Primal Pit Paste (P3) doesn’t have those ingredients. They’re a transparent company (and by company, we mean that Amy is amazing to work with) that has turned our office into a body-odorless haven.

Like with our products, The P3 people don’t use additives to change the texture or keep it emulsified. The deodorant will melt if it gets too warm, but it’s perfectly fine to use and just as effective. Keeping it in a cool, dry place out of sunlight will help to keep the texture it was made with but don’t worry if it does melt. Just stir it and put it into the fridge for a little while and the texture you love will come right back.

Our bodies can become addicted to the products that we work with. If we’re using really high quality products, that’s okay, but if we’re using chemicals it can be a struggle to change to a natural product. Just like when you switch skin care products and have a week or so of clogged pores or irritation, switching to P3 from a chemical-laden deodorant can cause your body to go through a detox at first—it’s actually a good thing but it can be a difficult week in terms of your body odor. They offer a Pit Detox Protocol if you do have this sort of reaction.

Primal Pit Paste is effective. This is what really matters, right? I purposefully worked with P3 in several different situations to test this out. Applying just after showering, it kept me smelling fresh all day long—okay, that’s good, but not abnormal for a natural deodorant. The next day, I showered, got dressed without any deodorant and went on a hike. Once I was good and smelly, I used the Pit Paste and you know what? No more smell, my armpits dried up and I spent the rest of the day sans body odor. I didn’t believe it, so I went even further the next day. I didn’t shower and I didn’t put on any deodorant before I spent the day in the sun and working on my feet. What I noticed is that while I got really hot and even a bit sweaty, it didn’t have the usual potency of two sweaty days in a row. I put on a little bit more deodorant just for good measure and again, I was dry and clean feeling for the rest of the day. While these results are of a personal nature, I’m sold.

We Heart

One of the most common questions we get when we talk about living a sustainable life is about how we find good products to use. In a nutshell, it’s a team effort. We share with each other and we each have a network of people that know we’re always on the lookout for sustainable lifestyle products.

WeHeart is our place to share those products with you, and we hope that you share with the sustainable seekers in your life.

Before we share these, we test the products and vet the companies by reaching out to ask questions about ingredients, processes, and sustainable efforts. We want to help shed light on companies that are doing amazing things and that share our same code of ethics when it comes to respect for the Earth and transparent practices.

To find out who’s on our We Heart list next month and beyond, get on the list:

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Do you love Primal Pit Paste? Tell us about it below!

comments (16 and counting)


Reader Interactions


  1. Jill says

    My very favorite deodorant bears the charming name of Stank Stop! It is made by Fatco and has several organic ingredients (coconut oil, arrowroot powder and shea butter) and tallow from organic grass-fed cows. I have never experienced any rash or sensitivity from it and often apply it only every other day.

  2. Laura says

    I do appreciate your info so please keep that in mind as you read this. You were out sunbathing long enough to need to reapply your sunscreen?!? Just sunbathing? That seems contradictory to all of your other advice.

    You know the following I’m sure, but I’m including it for other readers as many people don’t understand the reason for reapplying. Each person gets a certain length of time in the sun before burning based largely on melanin amounts in their skin. A person has one length of time WITHOUT sunscreen (and under a certain intensity of sun) and another length of time WITH sunscreen (under the same intensity of sun). Reapplying sunscreen doesn’t increase the original length of time, it only helps guarantee that you’ll actually get your initial length WITH sunscreen. As i’m sure you all understand, you get less time in the sun before burning if your sunscreen wears off. Reapplying sunscreen keeps its protection at full strength but DOES NOT start the clock back at zero. –Words from a Redhead.

  3. Erin says

    Primal Pit Paste worked very well for me, until I got a bad tube. Smells moldy and made me sick. Kinda bummed, since it worked so well.

  4. Lisa says

    I have tried the Pit paste and never really worked for me, I am not really a smelly person but not sure why that deodorant made me actually stink. 🙁

    • Diane says

      Hi Lisa,

      If this was after the “detox” period, and you still had this odor problem, then you could try a simple salt and water natural deodorant spray instead — that might work better for you. I’ve used these and found that I almost completely stopped having body odor at all during the time I was using them, even at times I hadn’t sprayed any on that day — they’re really effective. I’ve used two that for me are equally effective: Cleure Deodorant Spray, and Carina Organics Deodorant Spray. They are gentle, completely unscented, and they work. (Note: I also tried a salt deodorant spray from Face Naturals, where I get my lovely cream deodorants, but it was too concentrated for me, and left salt on my skin. But these two above didn’t do that.)

      Every once in a while, I got a little temporary underarm rash from the salt spray if I left it on too long without showering, but this was fairly rare, and cleared up quickly.

      I mainly just use deodorant creams now and not the sprays, because I enjoy the aromatherapeutic effects of the essential oils, and I enjoy the fragrances, too. Otherwise, I’d still be using the sprays because they are more effective than the creams, at least for me. Hope this helps!

  5. Diane says

    Nice to hear about another natural deodorant option, thanks! I might check it out sometime. I’ve tried several natural deodorants myself, and my current favorites are two cream deodorants which sound very similar to PPP: Bubble and Bee, and Face Naturals. They both work and smell great.

    I haven’t had any of the “rash” problems with my cream deodorants that others have mentioned. If you have that problem, you could try using a sensitive skin formula without baking soda, and Bubble and Bee has that, and I noticed that PPP has this option, too.

    For me, I have had rashes sometimes from my natural spray deodorants, and have actually used my cream deodorants to soothe my underarms and help heal the rashes, which has worked! I rarely use a spray now, and instead use my creams almost every single day.

    (About the sprays, by the way: one is just a natural salt and water spray, which works, and the other was an alcohol and essential oils spray which I don’t use at all anymore. I just got a brand new spray from Bubble and Bee, but the jury is still out as it is too soon to tell how well it’s going to work. And, I prefer the creams anyway!)

  6. Marta says

    I would love “Primal Pit Paste” to give me the confidence that the search is over. However, since it contains baking soda I am perplexed how would that not cause a lasting damage to the skin acid mantle since our skin’s pH is 4.5-5.5 & baking soda’s …8!
    You’ve wrote quite extensively about how most mainstream cosmetics cause damage b/c they do not follow the principle of staying within the skin’s pH as well as many homemade skin care products.
    I saw quite a few disturbing pictures of people’s armpits burned after some time of using Primal Pit Paste in Amazon reviews.
    I would be so incredibly grateful for any clarifications/thoughts.

    • Annmarie Skin Care says

      Hi Marta,

      Since everyone’s skin is different, it’s important to use what works for your skin. Most people are okay with a bit of baking soda in their deodorant but some people do have a reaction to it and need to seek (or create) baking soda-free deodorant.

      • Tom says

        There are several out there that do not use the baking soda as I had that issue with it burning my under arms. Currently use and love the Lemon Sensitive from Primal Life Organics.

        Hope that helps.

    • Diane says

      The rashes that people are experiencing may have nothing to do with baking soda at all. It occurred to me that it may actually be the Vitamin E that people are reacting to. Vitamin E when applied directly to the skin can cause allergic contact dermatitis and a rash. This happened to me years ago after neck surgery; I applied pure Vitamin E oil to the scar every day for months, and it was fine at first, but then after this prolonged use, it gave me a red rash with bumps, and I had to stop using it. This sounds like what people are describing — that after using this deodorant for a while, they developed a rash.

      The cream deodorants that I use (Face Naturals, and Bubble and Bee) do not contain Vitamin E, and I have never had a rash problem with them. And other than the Vitamin E, the ingredients are basically identical to those of the Primal Pit Paste. So, just a thought! The baking soda may not be the bad guy after all.

  7. Em says

    Have you tried Green Tidings All Natural Deodorant? I’ve tried both Primal Pit Paste and Green Tidings. I think I’m leaning toward a preference for Green Tidings but would like to hear if you have any thoughts about it.

  8. Tracy says

    I have used Primal Pit deodorant. It was recommended by the Foodbabe. However, it was her second choice because she had a rash develop in response to it. I, too, experienced a rash after a few applications, stopped using it a few days, then reintroduced it with the same result. Therefore, if you are sensitive, you should take caution in using anything with essential oils and/or baking soda in it, though none of the AnnMarie products affect me negatively. Also, I used the regular stick form of Primal Paste, not lavender.

  9. Laurie Indelicato says

    My husband of a year and a half didn’t know what he was getting into with this detox specialist wife. I also get the amazing job to work for a fortune company and help the employees get healthy.
    First i changed on him when we met was hair products, soap, toothpaste and of course deodorant. I handed him a jar of pit paste and at first he said,”Oh, No way”. He said he didn’t think it would work and was bringing the whole jar to work with him. He has owned an auto body shop his whole life and he is also a motocross racer on the weekends, both very sweaty things.
    After one week of use he was leaving the jar at home because he had to admit how great it worked, all day. He has to talk to people and he didn’t want to smell like he was working. He has a better diet so he doesn’t have any body odor but still likes to wear deodorant. So he uses Pit Paste daily. We love it

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