Natural Deodorant: Can You Smell Me Now?

So of course we all know what antiperspirants do, they stop us from sweating!  It’s a miracle in a twist up tube–or is it!?  The aluminum, which is the active ingredient in conventional antiperspirants that stops you from sweating, has been linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  Many people use natural rock crystal deodorants which contain mineral salts instead.  These crystal deodorants are a good alternative for a lot of people.  They come in spray and solid forms, are available at most drug stores and are comparable in price to conventional deodorants.  There are some claims however that these are “dangerous” as well!  Crystal deodorant still contains a form of aluminum (I won’t go into the science of it all, you can easily search google if you want all the scientific details), albeit this is a natural salt form.  So nothing is safe apparently!!!  Regardless though, we can rest assured that the crystal rock  is somewhat safer than conventional antiperspirants due to the fact that it does not contain synthetic fragrances, coloring, preservatives, etc. (and is not tested on animals).

Crystal deodorant never really worked all that well for me.  I tried both versions, the solid and the spray, and didn’t have very promising results with either.  The spray was particularly bad because the salts in it immediately clogged up the spray nozzle!  And so I had to continue my search!  I finally found my “holy grail” when I tried Tom’s of Maine long lasting unscented.  I like Tom’s because it’s readily available at places like Target and most drugstores, also it’s inexpensive.  The only negative thing I have to say about this deodorant is that it does contain propylene glycol, which isn’t a terrible ingredient but it also isn’t the best.  PG helps the formulation penetrate the skin, it is also a petroleum derived ingredient in products like antifreeze.  The FDA classifies it as “generally recognized as safe” but many argue that it’s just a cheap filler…  Regardless, this deodorant still only rates as a 2 on Skin Deep’s Cosmetic Safety Database (scale rates from 1 being the the safest to 10 being toxic).

If you want a deodorant that’s natural, fresh, super inexpensive and works surprising well then try this DIY homemade recipe:

Coconut oil (can substitute with olive oil, jojoba or any other oil of choice; can also use a combination of them)

Raw shea and cocoa butter (optional skin conditioners)

Witch hazel

Baking soda

Cornstarch (can substitute with arrowroot powder)

Tea tree and lavender essential oils (optional, can also use other essential oils of choice)

This recipe is great because it only takes about 5 minutes to make, you can basically just use whatever you happen to have in your cabinets and it doesn’t have to be precise.  You just mix the above ingredients until it reaches a consistency that you are happy with.  Use equal parts of baking soda and cornstarch.  If your underarms are feeling irritated you should add less baking soda and more cornstarch, and if you added essential oil this may also be an irritant.  If any of the oils or butters need to be melted do that first before adding the other ingredients.  If you want more of a solid stick add less oil (though that may leave you with a bit of white residue).  I made a small batch of this deodorant a few weeks ago.  I put it in an old jam jar and use a mini spatula to apply it (you can also just use your fingers).  If your feeling especially adventurous you can try and put the mixture into an old deodorant tube!  The results actually amazed me, I was pretty skeptical that this little batch that I just haphazardly whipped up would actually work!  It even lasted through my workout!

If you don’t feel like making your own deodorant there are many great natural ones on the market today.  Many people think that just because they are natural and not laden with chemicals that they won’t work, but I beg to differ!  It’s true that they will not stop you from sweating, but isn’t that a natural function of the body!?  If your willing to experiment with different formulations I’m confident that you will find one that works for you!  There is usually an adjustment period for you body so make sure to give it at least a week before giving up.  Some great sites to order from that offer a lot of different brands at huge discounts:

http://www.luckyvitamin.com/

http://www.vitacost.com/

http://www.iherb.com/

Some other natural deodorants that I’ve tried:

Burt’s Bees Herbal Spray– this is alcohol based so it’s pretty much just a perfume and that’s what I’m going to use the rest of it for because it sure does not work as a deodorant!

Alba Botanica Clear Enzyme Tea Tree- nice consistency, doesn’t leave any residue, works pretty well

Trader Joe’s Unscented with Cotton– like Tom’s this also has PG, it just didn’t work for me in terms of odor control

Vitamin Shoppe Brand Aloe Vera– this one was probably the worst I’ve tried, it smelled bad before I even started sweating!

Dr. Clark’s Purity Zinc Deodorant- worked alright, the only ingredients are zinc oxide and water (it’s basically a liquid deodorant and you have to rub it in and let it dry, it’s also VERY white)

Nourish Organic Citrus Deodorant– I really like this one, it smells great and is very moisturizing (great for after shaving, it is a bit greasy though), all ingredients are USDA certified organic. The ingredient list is very similar to the above DIY recipe: Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Corn Starch, Shea Butter, Saccharomyces Ferment, Sweet Orange Oil, Lime Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil.

NOTE: This sounds weird but in my experience what kind of soap you are using in the shower effects how well natural deodorants work!  For me Dr. Bronner’s works the best!  I use the lavender scent soap but if you have sensitive skin you should try the baby/mild unscented and dilute it with water.  It’s also best to NOT apply deodorant right after getting out of the shower (I know that’s when everyone does it lol) but it will work better if you wait a bit!

Here’s another weird tip for ya: zinc oxide is also a great natural deodorant solution!  There are some brands that are zinc based but if you want an easy fix you can use Burt’s Baby Bee diaper ointment (many diaper ointments are zinc based) and dust their talc-free baby powder over it and your set!  The dusting powder has cornstarch and baking soda in it which are both great ingredients for a deodorant :-)!

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Natural Deodorant: Can You Smell Me Now?

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