Why Armpits Are Having A Major Beauty Moment Right Now

Unless you subscribe to a certain fetish, armpits are not, and never have been, anything to write home about. The amount of time we consciously spend thinking about the dark, warm area under our arms is generally limited — it’s just that, with the exception of washing, shaving, applying deodorant, or being forced to defend your personal decision not to shave or apply deodorant, very little goes on under there. If the body is a wonderland, then the armpits are a very quiet, very unassuming neighborhood on the outskirts of town.

But armpits, as it were, are having a bit of a beauty moment — hot on the heels of the rise of vagina beauty, another long-awaited venture into formerly unchartered territory — with a new emphasis on both their health and appearance. There’s a growing trend of not only ditching traditional chemical-laced deodorants, but trading out the unappealing, ineffective versions that line the shelves of second-rate health-food stores for ones that wouldn’t seem out of place in the Instagram feed of the coolest — but not necessarily most health-conscious — person you know.

The come-up of the underarm is not strictly limited to matters of deodorizing, either: This is about armpits that look better and smell better, that have been detoxed and primed, and are ready to take on the world... or just go back to hiding under your sweater. But no matter what you choose to do with yours (and it is, after all, your choice), the humble human armpit is no longer an afterthought. Put your hands up for the products that are making it possible.

Arguably the first formula of its kind, this cooling stick will change the way you think of deodorant. Rather than attempt to cover up one smell with another to create a bizarre and unnatural olfactory blend of B.O. and fake flowers, the combination of activated charcoal and saccharomyces ferment — a live enzyme similar to the kind you’d find in kombucha or kefir — balances smelly bacteria and acts like a magnet to draw odor-causing bacteria and toxins out of pores, effectively deep-cleansing your sweat glands over the course of a few weeks. It sounds like some real hippy-dippy shit, but after 30 days of using this deodorant (and weathering the in-between phases of being sweatier and smellier than ever), your pits will be transformed.

Kaia Naturals The Takesumi Detox Bamboo Charcoal Deodorant, $21, available at Kaia Naturals.
By popular demand, Kaia Naturals also created a solution to help you get through those middle stages without alienating those closest to you: a specially formulated soap-on-a-rope that contains activated charcoal and apple cider vinegar to keep bacteria in check. With a base of coconut and olive oils, plus shea butter, peppermint oil, camphor, and eucalyptus, you’ll smell fresher than fresh — and you can even use it on your feet, too.

Kaia Naturals The Deodorant Booster Bar, $22, available at Kaia Naturals.
If a month sounds like a very long time to smell like Pig-Pen, this new mask aims to speed up the process in just five minutes when used once or twice a week. Activated charcoal works its detoxifying magic with a little help from silica, kaolin clay, and malic acid to gently exfoliate and clear out residue left behind by sweat gland-stifling antiperspirants so you can start fresh. Plus, on the more superficial side, it’ll also help treat razor bumps, clogged hair follicles, uneven texture, and discoloration for prettier pits overall.

Lavanila The Healthy Underarm Detox Mask, $26, available at Sephora.
One thing that traditional deodorant has on most natural deodorants is that it comes in fresh, exciting fragrance variations with delightful names like Luscious Lavender, Cool Cucumber, and Sunshine Surprise. But who needs that when you can have the equally extra Elements Collection to use after your armpit detox? Inspired by nature’s elements of earth, air, and water, these unique blends combine the familiar scent of vanilla with essential oils to channel balance, creativity, and/or peace — exactly the kind of thing you’ll want to put in your armpits to keep you grounded while you’re waiting for your crystals to recharge.

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant Elements Collection, $14, available at Lavanila.
A lightweight lotion meant to be applied to your underarms is an alien concept, but so is the suggestion that a person might even need an underarm primer in the first place. To clarify, nobody needs an underarm primer, but if you have sensitive skin that’s easily irritated after shaving or just want to moisturize, prep, and balance pH levels in your pits before you put on your deodorant, this one’s for you. Astringent witch hazel is a great ingredient for treating and preventing ingrowns, and soothing aloe, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, and vitamin E will keep finicky skin in check.

Meow Meow Tweet Underarm Primer, $22, available at Meow Meow Tweet.
As far as you’ll get from your aunt who lives in the Bay Area’s trusty Tom’s of Maine but just as natural, the streamlined, minimalist look of this simple stick is all the proof you need that treating your armpits right is officially on-trend. Finally, a deodorant that actually looks good on your bedside table with the rest of the luxe beauty products you've arranged specifically for the Instagram.

Primally Pure Deodorant, $12, available at Primally Pure.
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