Natural Deodorants: The Long Journey to Find ‘The One’

By Hannah Schenker

No longer do you have to go completely au naturel if you want to skip the chemical load of conventional deodorants. Natural deos are flooding the market as the demand for them grows – we don’t want to be smearing chemicals on our pits no more! But if you are like me, you will have tried so many different brands, types and flavours, looking for the holy grail: a natural deo that works for you. Now, this is maybe TMI, but I am one of those heavy sweating people. I don’t glow, I don’t perspire, I sweat like a trooper. Genetics, maybe? Whatever the cause, it’s been a major flaw in my pursuit of the right natural deodorant. Nevertheless, she persisted…and I’m here to introduce you to a few that really do seem to do the trick.

The first thing I learned, though, all those years ago when I ditched the Dove, was that natural deodorants are not designed to stop you sweating. That’s right: you are still going to sweat, but the antibacterial ingredients should decrease or eliminate any smell.

Antiperspirants, however, contain aluminium that acts to temporarily block the pores from sweating, and kill off any smell-inducing bacteria residing there. The concern with this is that your armpit is nice and close to your lymph nodes and breast tissue, and some research suggests that absorbing those chemicals into this sensitive area could be cause for concern (Alzheimer’s and breast cancer being the main worries). While it appears that not enough research has been completed yet to conclusively prove these claims, if you are a health-conscious person, you will be game to ditch the chemicals anyway. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” says Dr. Philip Harvey, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Toxicology.’ The less chemicals, the better, right? Especially on our most wonderfully absorbent organ: our skin.

Natural deodorants these days are drawing on specific properties of nature’s finest ingredients – coconut oil, arrowroot, essential oils and clays – usually in a paste that you smear on with your fingers which is a new and exciting experience. And you will smell lovely (like geraniums, in my case) while you do so.

So – here are a selection of the best that I have found:

Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste

I heard about this one when Millie Elder-Holmes posted about it on Facebook. She is a sweater, like me, and she raved about the Black Chicken. All you need is a tiny pea-sized smear under your arms for a smell-free revolution! Unfortunately for me, this one caused some irritation, which I found out can be the case for sensitive types like me, likely due to the baking soda in its formula. That said, it did keep me a lot drier – so perhaps that’s the key ingredient. You can get a handy tester pottle from Oh Natural to see if it will work before getting a full-size pot. It’s got a pretty unisex aroma too, so get your boyfriend into it.

Schmidt’s Deodorant – Geranium * Sensitive Skin *

This is my tried and tested new fave: I have found The One! The Schmidt’s range contain no aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens or phthalates. The vegan-friendly deodorant sticks absorb moisture with plant-based powders and provide fragrance with natural essential oils. It comes in a handy stick – you just hold it under your arm against your skin after a shower to soften slightly, then you can smear it on. While I still get some wetness, it’s not as much as with liquid deodorants and I walk around smelling like geraniums all day. The only thing to watch out for is getting coconut oil on your clothes – best to rub it in with your fingers until it’s more absorbed before putting anything tight fitting on. It comes in a range of super gorgeous scents – with a couple of other options for the sensitive ones, if you’re not into geranium.

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