Bye-bye, B.O.! How to do an underarm detox

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When CC Buckley isn’t creating seriously dreamy photos of food as a stylist, she’s working on her side hustle as an herbalist and founder of the website Ripe, offering advice on how to harness the power of plants to improve your everyday life (pretty genius). 

Buckley’s big on the idea that your body’s got everything it needs to be well—and when it doesn’t, there’s a natural, non-toxic fix to be had. For example, when her underarms weren’t feeling quite so fresh and so clean, she devised a ridiculously easy, two-ingredient solution—a detox paste she now swears by. Here she explains how she turned her pits sitch into a positive, plus what to do if your own could use a cleanse. 

File this under cool anatomy facts you might not know: The highest concentration of lymph nodes in your body is located under your arms (also your groin, but that’s another article). They’re part of your lymphatic drainage system, your body’s built-in detox mechanism. And when you use antiperspirant and deodorant—even a natural one—these channels can become clogged, causing B.O. Which is why, from time to time, to unlock all that funk and gunk, a detox is a good idea.

An underarm cleanse can be as simple as applying a paste made of apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay. The combo goes together like avocado and toast. Healing clays like bentonite, which is ash from volcanic rock beds, absorb and remove toxins. In order to activate the clay, you have to add liquid to it, and ACV, with its naturally occurring antimicrobial and antifungal properties, is an ideal carrier.

The first time I tried it, my armpits were (smell) free and clear in three days. In the week that followed, I didn’t need to use deodorant of any kind. Now, when things are feeling a little funky, I just swipe a wedge of lemon under each arm.

Every body is different—some may go longer or shorter between cleanses depending on diet, lifestyle, etc. For upkeep, I cleanse when things get especially stressful, when I’m traveling and my routine is off…or when I go out dancing and I have too many margaritas. (Fortunately, bartenders always have lemon and lime, and it’s easy enough to ask for a slice and slip away to the bathroom to rub under my arms as a quick fix until I get home. Phew!)

Ready to get extra-clean? Here’s how to do a 3-day underarm detox using apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay.

Graphic: Abby Maker for Well+Good

Apple Cider Vinegar and Bentonite Clay Underarm Detox Paste

Makes one use

1/2 tsp unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp organic bentonite clay

1. Combine apple cider vinegar and clay. Mix them together with your finger to form a paste.
2. Apply a thin layer to the area under your arms.
3. Let set for 20–30 minutes until paste is mostly dry with a little bit of wetness.
4. Hop in the shower and rinse.
5. Repeat this process daily for the next two days.

I detox in the morning because it’s easy enough to go about my routine making coffee or whatever shirtless. And while you’re detoxing, also be sure to drink lots of water, because staying hydrated is a huge part of keeping your lymphatic system healthy. You’ll still sweat, which is a good sign that your body is doing its best work. The cool thing is: You won’t be able to smell it.

Two other genius ways to use ACV: Swap it for your dry shampoo and acne spot treatment

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