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Pit stop: Natural deodorants

Pit stop: Natural deodorants

With the season of sweaty pits nearly upon us, we take a look at natural deodorants to see if they'll keep us dry and sweet-smelling all summer long

I don’t mind admitting I’m a sweaty person. I dash about a lot and exercise regularly, which only adds to the situation. It would be tempting to slather on the thickest pit product on the market. However, sweating is a normal and healthy bodily function, so it seems wrong to go against this using conventional aluminium-formulated deodorants. I try to avoid toxic chemicals in cleaning products and skincare, so why not use a "natural" deodorant? (I put "natural" in inverted commas as it’s impossible to call a beauty product natural when even essential oils count as chemicals in terms of regulations).

Aluminium or alumin-yuck?

Many so-called "natural" deodorants are aluminium free, and even though there is no conclusive evidence that aluminium itself is harmful, I asked aesthetic surgeon Dr Glyn Estebanez if it's best avoided.

"Some small studies have suggested a potential link between deodorants and breast cancer, however, the National Cancer Institute maintains that there is no strong link"

His response was: "Aluminium compounds are the active ingredients that block the body’s sweat ducts and reduce overall sweating. It’s important to acknowledge that some small studies have suggested a potential link between deodorants and breast cancer, however, the National Cancer Institute maintains that there is no strong link."

Do you even need deodorant?


If you're not going out, why not give your pits a break and go deodorant-free

It’s also important to remember that how any deodorant works will vary from person to person and depend on factors such as hormones, menstrual cycle, and how active you are. People like my granny, who barely "perspired" as she genteely put it, hardly need a slick of anything, while people like me need more. Think also of the packaging - "natural" deodorants tend to come in recyclable packaging.

"While the jury is out on the negative effects of conventional deodorants, most "natural" deodorants smell amazing, some are multi-taskers and they definitely can’t do you any harm"

If you’re not leaving the house, why not just have a day without using any deodorant at all? At the least it makes your preferred product last longer, and at best it lets your armpits breathe.  

After using the below, my conclusion is that while the jury is out on the negative effects of conventional deodorants, most "natural" deodorants smell amazing, some are multi-taskers and they definitely can’t do you any harm. I’d happily apply any of the below throughout the day, just to make me smell nice

Here’s four aluminium-free deodorants to try: 

Malin+Goetz

 
Malin+Goetz deodorant smells so  good you could just wear it for the fragrance

New York-based brand Malin+Goetz has a cult following for its simply-packaged pared-back skincare, so smart-looking you’ll find adorning many a hotel bathroom. Cruelty-free, vegan and with a diminishing carbon footprint, their deodorants include aromatic fragrances, corn starch to absorb sweat and probiotic enzymes to neutralise odour. I tried the bergamot, £20, 73 gms, which made me happy each morning as I inhaled the fresh, rich lemony aroma of bergamot extract. Applying a thick layer with the chunky easy-to-use stick-style product, I stayed BO-free for most - but not all - of the day. I’d use it even if it didn’t work just for the fragrance. 

 Dr Hauschka


Dr Hauschka has been making chemical-free products since 1931

Dr Hauschka is a German brand that has been around since 1931, with certified natural products jam-packed with medicinal herbs. I associate it with beautifully fragranced products and the slightly woo-woo fact that organic rose petals hand-harvested at sunrise went into their rose cream. The glass-bottled Sage Mint deodorant, £14, 50ml, has an uplifting aroma, heady with sage and witch hazel essences, included for their antimicrobial and astringent properties. There’s a delicacy to this product, so it would need re-applying to maintain the effect, but when it’s such a pleasure to slick on, who would mind? 

Weleda


Weleda not only has a plethora of chemical-free products, but all their packaging is infinitely recyclable

Weleda scores points just for its commitment to sustainability. The long-established German brand’s eco-dedication extends to replacing the clear glass with green because it is more sustainable (it can be infinitely recycled and requires lower temperatures than clear glass). Their plethora of aluminium-, paraben- and preservative-free deodorising products include new roll-ons, including 24h Citrus, £8.50, 50ml, with lemon essential oils and 24h Pomegranate with fruity orange, licorice and vanilla.

"I showered, sprayed it on the first hot day this spring and stayed fresh for most of the day"

It’s hard to choose between this sweet-smelling, lightweight product and the Citrus deodorant, £10.95, 100ml. I started using this glass-encased fresh spritz as a body spray, so delicate and reviving was the feel and lemon and orange-infused fragrance. It’s designed to neutralise odours without clogging pores. I showered, sprayed it on the first hot day this spring and stayed fresh for most of the day (I didn’t work out, admittedly). 

AKT


This deodorant balm can be used on your forehead, chest and feet as well as your armpits

AKT, a plastic-and gender-free deodorant balm, £19, 50ml, hand-poured in the UK, was created by two West End performers, who, like me, needed a deodorant that er, performed well. They tested their balms, which come in recyclable metal tubes, made from moisturising vitamin E and shea butter on scores of cast members. What’s different about this sweet-smelling balm is that it isn’t designed purely for armpits but to be swiped across foreheads, chests and feet. If you invest in the extras - a tantalisingly gold-coloured slab that doubles as a gua sha - it becomes an AKT of self-care.  

I asked my 18-year-old daughter to try their latest creation, which is fragranced with a sweetly comforting blend of amber, violet and tonka. Like me, she’s a bit of a "sweater" but with different hormones and lifestyle. Her comments were: "I liked how quickly the balm dries after you apply it. I felt like it lasted all day, and no white marks was another plus."

Luxurious, sustainable, multi-purpose - what’s not to like?

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