With the announcement that Schmidt’s was acquired by Unilever the discussion of what safer deodorant to use has surfaced again. I thought this was a great time to share this blog post for any of you looking to make the switch.
When I made the switch a few years ago my requirements were SAFE!, working power to last me through the day and workouts, and doesn’t cause me irritation. Through my search I have found I am extremely sensitive to baking soda and it causes me to break out even in small amounts. This is actually a very common issue. Baking soda is commonly used as it absorbs moisture and neutralizes odor. It works great, but many people are sensitive to it. Because many don’t realize it’s the baking soda causing the rash/irritation they believe it’s the natural deodorant itself and give up.
Most conventional deodorants use aluminum to help prevent perspiration. Aluminum is a heavy metal that has been linked to neurotoxic effects. There is question as to how much aluminum is absorbed by the body when it is in deodorants. Also, some believe that there could be a link to breast cancer. As my rule of thumb is to avoid questionable ingredients when possible, aluminum is on my “ingredient to avoid” list.
Some conventional deodorants contain parabens which are preservatives. These chemicals have shown to disrupt hormone function. Research published in 2012 found one or more parabens in 99 percent of the 160 tissue samples collected from 40 mastectomies.
There is also thought that our body’s microbes play an important role in our health. Antiperspirants can impact our normal bacteria load, which can have negative effects on our health and also create more issues with underarm stink. It can be a vicious cycle.
Also, due to the antiperspirant effects there is usually a 2-4 week transition to an aluminum free deodorant as your sweat glands re-regulate as aluminum blocks them. This is a key piece of information to have. You may notice a bit more sweating and smelliness as things balance back out. One thing you can do to speed up the transition period is to do a detox. I’ll post a recipe below, but I’ve also heard that Beautycounter’s charcoal mask works well!
- 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons of water (to get right consistency)
- Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl (do not use metal!) with a wooden or non-metal spoon until about the consistency of sour cream.
- Spread in an even layer over the armpits and allow to sit for 5-20 minutes. I suggest starting slowly and working up to a longer period of time once you see how your body adjust. If it hurts at all, remove immediately.
- This may cause some redness as it will increase blood-flow to the area, but it will go away quickly.
- Wash off in the shower or with a warm, wet washcloth.
- Repeat daily or as needed until under-arm odor goes away and natural deodorant is nonirritating.
Other issues I’ve found with safe deodorants is the balance of coconut oil in the ingredients. Too much and it leaves a greasy residue on clothes. This seems to be common with DIY versions. If you want to try making your own, here is a recipe. They are all pretty standard for what ingredients are included.
Lastly, since we all have different pH levels and hormone levels one deodorant may work well for one person and not the next so it may take a little trial and error.
Here is my list of brands I’ve tried! They are in no particular order. If you have any that you’d recommend, send them my way!
- Native – This is my personal favorite. They were acquired by Procter and Gamble in November 2017 so as always when this happens I have concerns about continued commitment to quality of ingredients. I will continue to use this one as I love their sensitive version and it holds up through my workouts
- Primal Pit Paste – This one left my armpits feeling sticky and has baking soda. It also didn’t pass my workout test.
- Meow Meow Tweet – I love that they have a baking soda free option. This one didn’t seem to control the stink well enough for me.
- Schmidt’s – I will alternate this one with Native (the sensitive versions) as I’ve found my body can get used to one deodorant and it will stop working. They have a Charcoal and Magnesium version that I absolutely love and works amazing. I do have to alternate this one with my sensitive versions or I can break out from it since it does have baking soda.
- Lavanilla is a great baking soda free brand that works well, takes a bit more reapplying. I’m not 100% comfortable with what they use for scent.
- Truth be told I love Piper Wai, it has less baking soda, but it is still too much for me. I love the way it feels, works, and the fact it has charcoal (we all know how I feel about charcoal).
- Some other options that you might want to try!
Beautycounter’s deodorant is being worked on, but we are trying to find the perfect formulation and that takes time!