Finding the right Natural Deodorant for you can be tough. As Margaux Khoury, the creator of The Best Deodorant in the World, said in her awesome interview last week – knowing what to look for on a label can make all the difference.
Not all natural deodorants are created equal. How do you narrow it down? What ingredients should you be looking out for? And what brands are worth your attention?
If you’re looking for the healthiest way to keep those pits fresh as a daisy, this post is for you.
Why You Should Be Using a Natural Deodorant
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. And that gorgeous shield is your protector, the first order of defence keeping your precious insides safe from the outside world.
But some of the products we place on our skin can get past that barrier. If that sounds impossible, remember that there are medications that do just that. Nicotine and birth control patches literally medicate our bodies through our skin. And some of the ingredients in your deodorant can potentially find their way into your blood stream too (source).
It might seems strange, but what we put our on skin can, in a sense, be feeding our bodies. It’s up to us to make sure that we’re feeding it with kindness.
What’s the Deal with Sweat
Sweating is an important bodily function that helps to regulate our body temperature. It’s also a natural response to anxiety and stress. But guess what! Sweat alone doesn’t stink.
It’s the bacteria that live on our skin that create that oh so undesirable odour.
Antiperspirants are a popular anti-odour product… but the issue is that antiperspirants actually prevent your body from sweating. And they use some pretty harsh ingredients to make that happen.
Deodorants, on the other hand, target and kill odour causing bacteria while still allowing your body to sweat. But don’t worry, a good deodorant will absorb any moisture on contact too, keeping your pits nice and dry. And it’s very possible to create wonderful, natural deodorants that do a fantastic job.
So how do you make sure that you’re getting something effective and healthy?
Let’s Talk Ingredients Baby
Conventional antiperspirants and deodorants can use some pretty cringe worthy ingredients. But finding a product that claims to be natural doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the woods either.
‘Natural’ isn’t a regulated term… so if you want the best, you need to put on your detective cap and get sleuthing. Knowing what to look for on an ingredient label is the only way to be sure you’re getting the best.
Here are some potentially harmful ingredients that you should look out for. These are best to avoid.
While alcohol can be a potent bacteria fighter (something we definitely want in a deodorant), it’s also a potential irritant. And we definitely don’t want to irritate those sensitive pits.
This is typically your sweat stopper in antiperspirants, but it can find it’s way into some deodorants as well. Unfortunately, research has shown that aluminum exposure may increase your risk Alzheimer (source) and Breast Cancer (source)… yikes.
This preservative is a possible skin irritant, and a potential carcinogen (source)
We all want to smell lovely… and fragrances are eager to make that happen. But since the ingredients used to create fragrances are protected trade secrets, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re putting on your body. They’re often made up of many synthetic chemicals and can cause mild to severe irritation.
If you want to know exactly what you’re putting on your body, fragrances don’t make the cut. And thankfully, essential oils can easily step in and save the day!
A preservative with anti-fungal and antibacterial properties… it all sounds pretty good until you find out that parabens can mimic estrogen, making it an endocrine disrupter… and it’s also been associated with breast cancer (source). Definitely not something you want to spread on your pits everyday.
These babies are used to make your deodorant more spreadable. Unfortunately, it’s also another potential endocrine disrupter. Some studies have shown that pthalates can cause developmental defects. And the fellas might want to watch out, because it may also cause changes in the testes and prostate, and reduced sperm counts (source).
A solvent and preservative, propylene glycol keeps your pit stick from drying out. It’s also a type of anti-freeze. But it can irritate your skin and there’s an ever-growing amount of research that reveals that it may be harmful (source). Thankfully, it’s being used less and less frequently for this reason… but you should still keep an eye out for it (and spare your skin any harm).
This absorbent powder is the same stuff you’ll find in baby powder… but talc can sometimes be contaminated with asbestos fibres, which can affect your respiratory system and potentially cause cancer (source). If you’re not already baking away slowly, some studies have shown that even asbestos free talc may be linked to cancer.
Another antibacterial you may find in your deodorant products… this little bugger has also been shown to negatively effect the endocrine and immune systems and can cause allergic reactions (source).
Now that we know what to avoid… what natural ingredients should we keep an eye out for?
Wanna naturally kick stank causing bacteria in the butt? Baking soda has your back! It’s one of the most effective odour-causing bacteria killers. This is because baking soda raises the pH in your pits, making it a danger zone to unwanted bacteria.
But balance is key. As Margaux Khoury told us in her insightful interview, too much baking soda can cause skin irritation. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to make sure that baking soda is further down on the ingredient list.
Thankfully, the Best Deodorant in the World found the perfect balance for healthy, happy, stink free armpits.
We all know that coconut oil can make a great, gentle moisturizer, which makes it a lovely addition to a natural deodorant. But did you know that it also has anti-bacterial properties? This is all thanks to lauric acid, and only adds to your natural deodorants potency.
Essential oils can replace fragrances, naturally providing you with the scent you desire. And many have some pretty fantastic therapeutic properties as well (from emotional aromatherapy to anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and everything in between).
Other Things to Consider
‘Natural’ isn’t a regulated term, but Organic is. From the farm to the bottle, in order to be qualified for an organic certification, the regulations and standards of the certifier must be met. If you wish to support organic farming initiatives, or simply want to make sure that you’re truly getting something extremely natural, organic is definitely something to consider.
Cruelty Free Products
Deodorants and/or the ingredients used to create them may be tested on animals. But finding cruelty free products is easier than you think. And being more mindful about supporting cruelty free brands definitely makes a difference.
Does application matter to you? Do you prefer a stick, roll on or cream? There are so many different natural deodorant options available. So if texture or application matters, don’t settle. The right fit is waiting.
Which Natural Deodorant Should You Use
As you may or may not have guessed, I adore The Best Deodorant in the World. But what works for me way not work for you.
So if you want options, I’ve got ’em!
They spoke with a dermatologist, a chemist and two natural deodorant creators before testing 23 different natural deodorants. Ingredient quality mattered, and they tested each one for scent, residue and application (we want goop free up in here!)
In the words of Margaux Khoury (the brilliant mind behind my favourite deodorant) – “Remember, natural deodorant doesn’t equal stinky people. Don’t settle for something that doesn’t work for you. It can work and it can be wonderful.”
Don’t be afraid to try a few different kinds if you need to. The right fit is out there.
Phew! That was quite the adventure down Natural Deodorant Boulevard. Thanks for sticking with me.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry! I put together a check list of all of the ingredients you should keep an eye out for. Print it and take it with you when you go shopping for a Natural Deodorant. You can download the checklist right here or by clicking the image above. Booyah!
Have you found a natural deodorant that works for you? Let me know in the comments below.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: I am glad to arm myself with knowledge and make the healthiest choices for my body.
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