This week on the blog we’re looking at ‘natural deodorants’. You may not be familiar with that term but as we go through the ingredients in the products featured here you’ll soon get a feel for what is meant by it.
I’m lucky. I don’t have to wear deodorant or antiperspirants. Or maybe I’m in denial. I thought I was alone in this until a friend disclosed that she’s the same. Then a conversation popped up in a natural hair care group I’m in and it turns out there’s quite a few people out there that don’t need to wear deodorants. Is this all a bit too crusty hippy for you?
Well, there is growing evidence that body odour is not inevitable – once your shower / wash as needed – and that it’s most likely caused by an imbalance of bacteria in your underarm biome. When a Belgian microbiologist by the name Dr Chris Callewaert based at the University of California studied it he concluded that it bad smelling armpits are caused by an excess of ‘odour-making’ bacteria over ‘non-odour-making bacteria and that it’s possible to improve the odour by adding the right bacteria. His results also showed that deodorant may actually make under-arm odour worse in some people.
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There is also some concern over the chemical contained in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants such as parabens, which have been found in breast tumours and aluminium, which is linked to changes to breast tissue, and phthalates, which has links to things like obesity, hyperactivity in children, and infertility in males. As always it is virtually impossible to isolate causes of cancer and multiple cancer charities across the world have stated that there is no research that directly links deodorants or antiperspirants to breast cancer. Web-MD has a very good web page outlining the concerns around deodorants and antiperspirants and breast cancer and Alzheimer disease and the reality of those risks according to people working in this field.
It’s really up to you whether you feel the need to move away from conventional deodorants and antiperspirants or not. Everyone’s value system is different. If you do want to give ‘natural’ deodorants a whirl you’re well served in Ireland. We’re very lucky in Ireland to have quite a few suppliers to choose from. I should add that some people find that these work straight away, while others find it takes about 2 weeks. I’ve read that the transition can be helped by doing an armpit cleanse.
Naturally at the Wrens Nest make a 100% natural vegan deodorant with shea butter, coconut oil, cornstarch and bicarbonate of soda. It contains no aluminium, no preservatives, no synthetic chemicals. It comes in an aluminium tin.
Gallipot made natural deodorant from coconut oil, candelillia wax, beeswax, sodium bicarbonate, corn flour, which comes in a compostable push-up tube
Three Hills Soap have a cream deodorant that’s free of aluminium, artificial colours, artificial fragrances, synthetics chemicals, parabens, preservatives, alcohol and petrochemicals. It’s made using arrowroot powder, shea butter, coconut oil, sodium bicarbonate, non-nano zinc oxide, allantoin (comfrey root) and essential oils. It comes in an aluminium tin.
Palm Oil Free Soap do a natural deo bar made from organic cocoa butter, organic arrowroot powder, organic shea butter, candelilla wax, bentonite Clay, natural sodium bicarbonate, zinc oxide and organic essential oils. It is free from parabens, silica, triclosan, talc, propylene glycol, steareths, and TEA/DEA. It comes as a solid bar so package-free.
Herbal Earth do a spray deodorant that is 100% Natural and is free from aluminium and alcohol. Ingredients include distilled water, magnesium chloride, organic aloe vera powder, and essential oils. It comes in a plastic spray bottle.
Warrior Botanicals make a cream deodorant from sustainably sourced organic plant oils, organic shea butter, bicarbonate of soda, arrowroot and essential oils. It comes in an aluminium tin.
Earth Conscious on the Isle of White offer an aluminium free, paraben free natural deodorant made from with 100% natural ingredients – certified organic where applicable – in a cardboard tube. 10p from every sale of this product goes to the Marine Conservation Society and you can buy it from Irish e-tailer LittleGreenShop.ie
Lush have a powder deodorant and package-free solid deodorant bars. Their products contain both natural and synthetic ingredients.
Pit Putty in the UK has a range of vegan cream deodorants that are a blend of plant oils, butters, and pure essential oils. They are free from aluminium and preservatives. Ingredients in their deodorants include organic unrefined shea butter, arrowroot powder, naturally-mined baking soda, organic coconut oil, candelillia wax, jojoba seed oil, vitamin E oil, sunflower seed oil and essential oils. It comes in an aluminium tin.
Nuud is an Dutch brand and I’m including it here because it’s currently being sold by and Irish e-tailer called Bumblelane. It is free from aluminium, parabens, salts, petrochemicals, propellants, alcohol, colourings and fragrances, and being free of salts the product shouldn’t stain clothes. It is also vegan and cruelty free. It contains non-nano micro silver, which the makers claim naturally prevents the smell of perspiration, without blocking the pores or irritating the skin. You can see a full list of the ingredients in their product here. They say their product is concentrated (approximately 15 times more concentrated) and so you require very little for it to work. They also claim that because their product is a waterproof cream it survives exercise and showers and so doesn’t need to be applied every day. Their packaging is made from sugarcane (plant-based bioplastic) with a petroleum (normal plastic) lid. They say their packaging is recyclable but having checked with my local waste sorting facility they say that bioplastics can’t be sorted by optical sorters used by them and similar facilities and that the plastics recycling facilities that they ship the sorted plastics too don’t accept bioplastics for recycling. I thought this blog post about a personal experience of natural deodorants, including Nuud, was interesting
In addition to deodorant products you could also try using an alum stone, sometimes called a crystal deodorant. It’s made from a natural mineral salt called potassium alum, which has been shown to have antimicrobial properties. Potassium alum has been used as a deodorant in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years. Scientific studies proving the advantages of crystal deodorant are lacking and many of the benefits are anecdotal. Some people swear by it while others swear it doesn’t work. It all boils down to a matter of preference, since each person’s body chemistry is different. My husband tried one by the brand Salt of the Earth, which we bought in Holland & Barrett, but I’m afraid it didn’t work for him. You can buy alum stones / crystal in lots of health food shops but if you have to buy online UK etailer Boobalou sell the brand Biork, which comes in a cork container.
PS – If you like this post you might also like my posts on
- Homemade Lip Balm and Vaseline
- A review of the Beauty Kitchen’s Invisible Mineral Sunscreen
- Sustainable Shaving
- Minimalist Non-toxic Zero Waste Skincare and Hair Care
- List of Natural and/or Organic Skincare Brands in Ireland
- Sustainable Ethical Make-up Brands
- Shampoo Bars – the Verdict
- Easy Homemade 3 Ingredient Body Moisturiser