Now that we’ve discussed the nasties hiding in antiperspirant deodorants, I hope I haven’t scared you off keeping your pits fresh entirely! Please do use deodorant. I don’t want to be accused of being a nutty tree hugger nor be responsible for the demise of your relationship! For the good news, there are plenty of safe, natural alternatives to keep you smelling lovely and fresh.
Do natural deodorants work?
Not all brands are not created equally. As I’ve discovered, sometimes the answer is yes but sometimes no.
If it’s not antiperspirant, will they stop me sweating?
Unfortunately no. They do not contain aluminium or any other sweat-gland blocker. An effective deodorant will however stop the smell.
I was concerned about this when I made the switch but I quickly discovered I don’t sweat half as much as I thought I would. I have adjusted to feeling damp under there in summer though. If you can’t stand it, just pop to the loo and dab under your arms with a tissue. Sounds like a pain, but in reality it’s no big deal.
Remember, sweat itself has no smell but when the bacteria from our skin start to break down the fatty acids and protein produced in our sweat, the end result is body odour. Natural deodorants will stop that bacteria in its track, stopping the stink.
The White Shirt Dilemma
I’ve done a little research and found that it’s the aluminium reacting in sweat that causes yellow stains. So making the switch should be a good thing. However I’m still not happy with sweaty marks on shirts and think it still does leave a mark. It is, fortunately, very easy to manage.
Either use a decent laundry wash or soak your whites first (Napisan or diluted hydrogen peroxide work wonders). It is annoying, but at the end of the day it’s easier to extra wash my whites than worry about cancer.
Road testing the most popular natural deodorants
I’ve trialed deodorants in a variety of settings: long work days, hot and humid summer days, extended bus and plane travels, etc. I’ve also had my sister double road test a few products too. My sister thinks natural only works for a month or two for her, then she has to alternate brands. I’ve gone through two tubs of Black Chicken now without a break and I still adore it.
I guess everyones body’s are different, thanks to our genetic makeup, diets, lifestyle etc, so you will need to find what works best for you too.
Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste
How it works: Kolin Clay and Arrowroot absorb moisture, Sodium Bicarbonate (Bicarb Soda) naturally neutralises odour and Organic Shea Butter moisturises and allows for easy application. Essential oils of Peppermint, Mandarin, Lime, Geranium, Cajaput, Clove and Lavender are used for their antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties alongside the benefit of their scent.
Application: It’s a “pit paste”. It comes in a little jar, you swipe out a pea sized amount for each pit and rub on. Sounds odd, but it’s actually very simple. It’s almost like your moisturising your pits! It doesn’t leave behind any weird texture on your fingers either so it’s all very easy. It can irritate a little on freshly shaven pits though due to the bicarb soda.
Effectiveness: I LOVE this stuff!!!! It’s my go-to foolproof deodorant.
Fragrance: Scented with natural essential oils, Peppermint, Mandarin, Lime, Geranium, Cajaput, Clove and Lavender. The combination is quite pleasant, fades quickly and not overly feminine. The smell subsides quite quickly and wont compete with any other fragrance you may use.
Price: $15.95 (75g jar)
Available from: Health food shops and natural skincare wholesalers, like nourishedlife.com.
Eco Tan Organic Deodorant
Effectiveness: It works well, generally for around 12 hours. For me, I would say it’s effective 90% of the time.
Fragrance: Light coconut scent with hints of red mandarin. It’s sold as a unisex product so its smell is very mild, more like a tropical holiday breeze.The smell subsides quite quickly.
Price: $14.95 (125ml bottle)
Available from: Health food shops and natural skincare wholesalers, like nourishedlife.com
Miessence Organic Deodorant
Effectiveness: Works well most of the time. For daily wear it was effective. But I found it would need a second application in the afternoon/evening if I was heading out.
Fragrance: There are 3 fragrances of Miessence deodorant to choose from: Tahitian Breeze, Ancient Spice, and Aroma-Free – I tried Tahitian Breeze and thought it was lovely.
Price: $10.55 (60ml roll-on)
Available from: Health food shops, natural skincare wholesalers and directly from their website.
Crystal Body Deodorant Body Spray
How it works: Potassium Alum (Natural Mineral Salts) and Sodium Bicarbonate
Application: Spray. Crystal also makes a range of roll ons too.
Effectiveness: I found it didn’t work for me at all, and in fact made my sweat smell really funky. Gross! I’ve read other reviews online though of people saying they love it. I guess, like I said before, we’re all different and our body’s respond a little differently.
Fragrance: Comes in a variety. I chose Pomegranate which smells very mild and sweet.
Price: $8.95 (118ml bottle)
Available from: Health food shops, some pharmacies and natural skincare wholesalers, like shopnaturally.com.au
How it works: Made of 100% mineral salts, which helps to kill and retard odour-producing bacteria. Effective anti-bacterial protection.
Application: Simply moisten crystal with water and apply to skin. After use, rinse the crystal then dry and stand on towel or coaster to absorb excess moisture.
Effectiveness: Surprisingly effective. It’s off-putting that there’s no wet feeling or scent so you’re left wondering whether you’ve applied enough. It will keep smells at bay, but I found it wasn’t 100% reliable. You may need to reapply in the afternoon if you want to party on through the night.
Price: $6.95 (100g stick). It does last forever too, which is a bonus.
Available from: Supermarkets, pharmacies, health food shops and online.
Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking) Soda
Yep, I’m referring to the stuff you’ll find in your kitchen pantry. This product is a miracle worker around the house, in the kitchen and in your beauty cabinet. I’ll have to do a post about it soon and all its many uses! Given baking soda is the main ingredient in most natural deodorants, it should be no surprise that using it alone works wonders.
How it works: It has deoderising properties. For most people, baking soda is an awesome, effective and safe deodorant; it prevents bacteria from growing under your arm pits and thus, prevents smell. It can absorb moisture without staining whites, it can preserve the other ingredients in the deodorant so it will last without additional preservatives.
It is quite alkaline so I wouldn’t recommend using it straight everyday. I usually use it when I run out of deodorant and need something to tide me over.
Application: You pat it on like you would baby powder. However, unlike baby powder it does not have a silky smooth texture. It is a little rough and can sting freshly shaved pits a little. If you don’t want to apply it straight, try my recipe.
Effectiveness: Works well for me. Not everyone loves it though, some people have very sensitive skin and it does irritate them.
Price: $2.50 (500g box)
Available from: All supermarkets
Score: 3/5 (Great to keep smells in check, but not so great on your skin)
Tip: Just make sure you buy a good quality baking soda, as the cheap(er) stuff can contain aluminium.
And the others
There are still plenty more natural options available.
- If you’re sensitive to baking soda, try the LaVanila range. I’ve read that they’re made without it but still completely effective as they use aloe vera, corn starch and plenty of essential oils to keep you smelling pleasant.
- My sister rates Dr Organic Manuka Honey Deodorant which uses honey, Aloe Vera and baking soda to keep your pits healthy.
- Next on my list to try is either Mukti or Fresca which I’ve also read great things about.