Before I converted to Sustainabilisim (worshippers welcome!) I absentmindedly over consumed, ate meat daily and understood little about the hazardous effects of disposable plastics. I was also ill informed of the nasty ingredients found in every day cosmetics.
As a child I remember my uncle taking part in a televised Eco-warrior project and as I was looking at this group of activists I thought them all a bit batty and smelly looking. Since then I’ve been on a journey of redemption and I’ve a lot of making up to do.
Amongst many things, my daily cosmetic routine has made quite the transition. I’ve switched to solid hair-care, soaps, bamboo cotton buds and gifted out homemade cosmetics to some wary recipients.
Now this article is less on the subject of disposable packaging but more on finding deodorants which are healthy to use on our bodies. Our skin is an organ and my general advice is if you wouldn’t eat it don’t apply it to your skin.
A friend of mine scaremongered me into trying Toms aluminium-free deodorant back in college but I was so freaked out about body odour I soon abandoned the idea. As I started getting older I began thinking more about all the chemicals and hormones I was absorbing and ingesting daily. It was all so unnatural and I couldn’t help but feel if I kept on this routine it would one day bite me in the ass. I made it my mission to find the best aluminium free deodorant on the market.
My boyfriend also hated the idea of antiperspirants and together we ditched them and switched to natural deodorants. We both have to be presentable for work and we promised to be honest with each other and not to be embarrassed to say if the deodorant was not working out. When I started the trial I was super paranoid and informed all of my friends, colleagues and family what I was doing and I begged them to be honest with me if something was a’whiff!
I’ve tested out many natural deodorants over the last three years and I’ll share my experiences of them with you.
Perspi Rock crystal stick was the first product on the deodorant trial and it cost roughly 6€. Since I was determined to step away from aluminium deodorants I had reservations around the alum ingredient. I didn’t know the difference between the two minerals but after filtering through some research I’ve learnt that the alum in crystal deodorant stones differs to the aluminium used in antiperspirants. The crystal stone I’m using is potassium alum, also known as potassium aluminium sulphate. Potassium alum is an antimicrobial mineral salt that is soluble in water and made up of molecules that are too large to be absorbed by your skin.
Authentic crystal sticks are solid with a frosted glass looking form. You wet the surface and rub the stick under your arms. It was really strange to get used to and I felt like I was deodorising with a push pop! It’s totally odourless and leaves no texture on your skin which resulted in me constantly checking on its effectiveness to keep me fresh. The boyfriend wasn’t mad on it and I was in two minds, in hindsight it was probably the most alternative of all the trials so I hope to go back to it again now that my body is more adjusted to natural deodorants.
I also have to say that your body takes time to adjust to perspiring naturally again and after sometime you notice your skin feeling more breathable and overall more balanced. It’s probably TMI (so if you are easily grossed out; skip the next few lines now!) but before I made switch to natural deodorants I had an embarrassing case of whiffy socks since my teenage years. I tried lots of powders, insoles, socks and sprays but nothing gave me much confidence and I was pretty shy taking my shoes on and off (Shoe shopping was a dreaded experience!). I don’t know what it is but since I’ve stopped using antiperspirant deodorant this issue has 100% resolved and I would go as far as to say that my socks genuinely smell of roses! I suppose if you are physically stopping your pores sweating under your arms those toxins and bacteria must secrete elsewhere.
Shortly after that I bought the L’Occitane citrus verbena deodorant stick for a holiday to Mexico. At that time the Zika virus was a bit of a scare so I was searching for all sorts of natural mosquito repellent products and I was avoiding anything which was highly perfumed. This gorgeous smelling L’Occitane deodorant is made with citrus oils and feels really fresh. It takes a few minutes to dry but the solid cream stick lasts several months. It works well for everyday use and if I thought I would be over exerting myself I would pop it in my handbag and apply it once again later in the day. It’s more expensive than your average deodorant at €18 but in my opinion it ranks in at #2 in terms of performance. Its slips into #3 on my trial only because it’s a plastic twisty stick with a plastic lid. Sorry for the demotion but maybe @L’Occitane can improve the packaging to be more environmentally friendly?
I used the Lavera aluminium free roll on deodorant for sensitive skin when I was living in Germany. It’s a regular plastic bottle roll on you can buy in the grocery store for around 13€. Overall this was my least favourite deodorant and I didn’t finish it up because I had too many issues. Having such a creamy texture it takes a long to dry and as a result I was often spoiling my clothes after dressing. If I started to sweat the creamy texture sat on the surface of my skin and I could smell the deodorant aroma throughout the day which was a bit overwhelming.
After that I switched to Weleda sage spritz spray which I totally loved and used more as a body spray. The 100ml glass bottle retails at roughly 14€ and I bought both that and the mini 30ml refill bottle for travelling. Sadly I dropped and smashed the big bottle cutting my trial short but I would like to use it again in the future. The mini bottle is also really handy for freshening yourself up throughout the day.
Locally produced natural cosmetics brand Witches Kitchen has a gorgeous natural deodorant which uses arrow root powder as a natural antiperspirant ingredient. It has a really nice herbal botanical smell from the Bergamot essential oil ingredient and provides good performance throughout the day. Again if I have an active day ahead I carry it with me and top myself up later in the day. It also takes some time to dry so I apply straight out of the shower and before dressing. Unlike the Lavera deodorant it dries into your skin and doesn’t leave a creamy texture under your arms. It’s a traditional liquid product with a plastic ball head so if you like roll-on action you might like this product. Having a recyclable glass bottle it slides up to #2 in the rank but functionally I enjoy it as much as the L’Occitane. Its also much better value at €6.50.
I played the deodorant field for nearly two years and it was time to settle down with a favourite. Just when I thought I was finished with this trial I met Pit Putty. Ahhhh Pit Putty…. This deodorant paste is genuinely therapeutic to apply! I discovered this gorgeous tin of paste deodorant here in Ireland and it’s produced locally by Lula’s Handmade Soap founders Luke and Laura. After the first day I thought it was just too amazing and effective to be natural so being the skeptic that I am I had to reach out to Luke to quiz him on the genius behind Pit Putty. To my delight Luke explained to me that the science behind Pit Putty is that it alkalises the armpit and in doing so, neutralises the acidic biproduct of sweating; which renders sweat odourless! Unlike other alkalising deodorants, it is neither too harsh on the skin nor ineffective from a too low PH. I also love that the deodorant is in a plastic free tin container, I wished they offered refills however I can think of lots of second uses for this tin once the deodorant is finished.
A late addition to the trial was my favourite natural product brand LUSH. I’m currently using this generous solid block called Aromaco. Its scores high in terms of value for money and it’s totally packaging free which we love! It smells herbal (if even a bit cakey) and it does function as an antiperspirant. I don’t want to interfere with my bodies rhythm now that I’m used to perspiring but it is very useful to have this bar in the cosmetics case for more special occasions where I don’t want to sweat. It has sodium bicarbonate as an ingredient (thats the cakey smell I think!) which is fine for the skin however when used on irritated or broken skin (after shaving for example) it can become irritating so consider this if you shave under your arms.
I have also become more acceptant of how my body works. If I get hot and active, I’m going to sweat and suppressing a bodily function is just not good. If we hit the gym, spend the day digging the garden or hike a mountain then we are going to sweat and probably not smell like a bunch of roses.
I’ve ranked the deodorants in terms of best experience and I would continue to use the top five.
#1 Pit Putty
#2 Witches Kitchen
#6 Perspi Rock
I hope this inspires a few people to make the switch and to avoid the health issues which can be caused by aluminium antiperspirant deodorants. As well as using a more natural deodorant there are a few basic tips for staying fresh.
1. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to replace fluids lost from sweating. Water will also thin out the toxins in your body.
2. Avoid synthetic fabrics such as polyester or acrylic. Bacteria will stick to synthetics throughout the day and turn to odour. Wear loose fitting cottons, viscose or silks which sweat can breathe through and evaporate.
3. Washing. It seems obvious but you may need to wash more often with your new routine.
4. Sleep nude. This is ritual is highly underrated! Your body needs a break from clothing and will rest better when your skin can breathe!
I’d love to hear your comments on your own experiences (good or bad) with natural deodorants.
Enjoy 10% off our #1 favourite deodorant pit putty. Click the link in the article to shop the pit putty range and use the promo code pithealth10 valid until 14th November! 🐚🌸🌊🌿🐬