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No, this isn’t the name of a new coming of age YA fic you missed. This is about both, why I gave up antiperspirant deodorant and the journey to finding a brand of aluminum and paraben-free deodorant that works. Or at least, semi-works. I want to start by saying I am one of the first to call BS on a lot of the so-called “natural” products, GMO foods, “detoxes” and chemical products nonsense that has become trendy. A lot of consumers don’t know that pretty much anything can be labeled “natural” legally by a product maker, plus a lot of chemicals are found IN nature, so my BS meter is strong anytime someone mentions so-called natural products, elimination diets or detoxes (not a thing!). Dandelion oil or Non-GMO fruit? GET REAL. However, when it comes to things such as aluminum and parabens in deodorant, the answer isn’t as simple.
While researchers have not found strong links to breast cancer and aluminum in deodorants, there have been a lot of flawed studies that did not overtly prove the claim but they did not shut the door on it either saying that samples of cancerous breast tissue have contained antiperspirant in them. Parabens on the other hand do have a stronger case against them as they contain estrogen-like qualities that have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Oh an increased risk? You have my attention. Over the last few years of reading and researching, I’ve been in the process of eliminating “bad” or questionable ingredients from my personal hygiene regime, lifetsyle and diet. It’s not something that can happen over night unless you’re Scrooge McDuck with a vault full of money. I’ve switched out products slowly as I’ve found alternatives and where no alternatives could be found, I’ve been creating my own products in my kitchen (who am I?!)! More on my body lotion, lip balm, salves, medicinal oils, tinctures and other hippie-esque adventures in future posts.
Today let’s take a look back at a year’s worth of Non-Aluminum and Paraben-free Deodorant adventures. Sometimes it wasn’t pretty (or pretty smelling) but I think I’ve come up with a solid list for a first timer along with a list of about 10 more I want to try!
Aluminum and Paraben-Free Deodorants I’ve Tested:
It’s everywhere from Target to Whole Foods to Walmart, Tom’s Natural anything isn’t hard to find and is a good first step in the road to going a naturale. I’ve tried several of their “scents” from lemongrass to unscented. With unscented, you might as well just wipe some coconut oil on your pit and call it a day… you GOTTA go with a scented version, my favorite is the Wild Lavender. Their ingredients include zinc that they say helps trap the stink. Tom’s gets points for being readily available in a variety of stores but loses points for it’s unscented BS scent that didn’t help anything.
While on a trip in the hot DESERT last fall, I realized I had left my deodorant at home and needed to get something stat. Since I had already made the switch to natural I was worried I wouldn’t find anything beyond the Secrets and Doves of the hygiene aisle. I was pleasantly surprised that the grocery store in Anza Borrego was full of natural hippie goodies including all kinds of deodorant brands I hadn’t tried yet (Score! I love trying stuff, send us samples!). Having read positive reviews online about Kiss My Face, I grabbed their Liquid Rock Roll On in Lavender scent cause I just can’t do Patchouli, I haven’t embraced the earth THAT much yet. This is my backup deodorant currently because the liquid takes a while to dry and because I wished the scent was prettier and more lavender-y.
I blame this purchase on a sweet, sweet deal at my local natural foods store, Lassen’s and my love of tropical fruits. We’ve all been there right? I bought the Nubian Heritage Deodorant in Coconut Papaya and might as well have been making my own deodorant at home (I’ve contemplated it, trust me), I LOVE the consistency of Nubian Heritage out of all the deodorants I’ve tried, it’s creamy, absorbs well and smells fantastic but a few hours in and I knew it wasn’t doing much for the sweats. My armpits were a creamy, sweaty Mai-Tai and I couldn’t lift my arms above my waist for fear of showing off my “baloney” as my boyfriend calls the rings of sweat you can see on the underarms of shirts. A+ for effort, scent and consistency but unfortunately doesn’t pass the baloney test.
For my most recent birthday, one of my BFF’s added this deodorant to my gift because, a: #friends and b: she knows me! You know you’re close friends when you compare notes on deodorant and then get your friend some for their birthday. Beyond being made IN Los Angeles (YAY! Local!) No Tox Life’s Deodorant with Enzymes if my current favorite and go-to deodorant. I even have a travel sized in my bag. My birthday deodorant scent is Warm Lavender Vanilla and I can’t sing this deodorant’s praises enough. I stay dry for most of the day and the scent is mild yet strong enough when it matters. The consistency is a bit like a dissolvable clay that feels more hearty than the others I’ve tried. No Tox Life’s ingredients include: tapioca starch, brewer’s yeast, salts, anti-microbial preservative and of course no aluminum. It must be something about the combo of the tapioca starch, the brewer’s yeast and anti-microbial preservatives because I haven’t seen these ingredients in other brands, most usually use arrowroot powder or some other starches. Whatever No Tox Life is doing, it’s working!
Once you find a brand that works for you, I’ve come up with some rules I’ve learned the hard way…
Yup, you’re gonna want to reapply some days especially if it’s hot, you’re stressed or you just sweat a lot. It’s ok, cause you’re not using a chemical-y based deodorant so remember that as you reapply, it’s a small price to pay for attempting a healthier life style.
2. Baby Wipes!
Sometimes when you have to do the mid-day reapplication, it’s nice to wipe down your pit with a fresh baby wipe. At least this is what I like to do and it gives me a little clean pick-me-up.
3. Try applying at Night!
I’ve read a bunch of posts on when to apply deodorant (I lead a wild and crazy life, guys!) but the most interesting one I read, recommended readers try applying their deodorant before going to bed. Again, you aren’t using a chemical based product, so going to bed with some natural deodorant on isn’t gross. The logic behind it, is that if it’s specifically a longer lasting deodorant, the product needs time to melt into the skin and really “work.” Of course, who knows if this is scientific and I usually forget and apply in the morning but it makes sense!
If I’m using a liquid deodorant, I’ll finish applying with a swipe of an unscented stick, like Tom’s to “seal” it off. I’ve found this helps make it last just a bit longer. This of course could be an old wives’ tale I made up as I’ve gone deeper down the natural deodorant rabbit hole.
5. Use Natural Soap
You’re using natural deodorant now but don’t forget that you need to wash your pits with something natural too. What’s the point of eliminating chemicals if you’re just going to use them in the shower and shove those parabens and whatnot right up your sweat glands? My favorite soap is… wait for it… crazy hippie Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap! Yes, who knew that soap bottle with all the crazy sayings on it could be used for everything? From on your body to your baby, to your dishes and your clothes, Dr. Bronner’s is biodegradable and vegetable based. They are a long time family owned business that were using Fair Trade and organic products long before they were “cool.” I love the Peppermint and Lavender Hemp scents, I use them on my body, my face and even make my own foaming hand soap with it. BUY IT!
6. Dip It!
I’ve heard women recommend dipping the deodorant stick into baking soda BEFORE applying it. I have not tried this myself but it makes sense as Baking Soda covers smells and moisture. Someone report back if they try it!
If you’re someone with sensitive skin (I AM!) do a test patch before you commit to the full pit. All of these deodorants are NOT tested on animals (another win!) and should always be sampled with caution until you find your own sensitivity level. I’ve seen crazy pics of rashes and hives from all kinds of deodorant but as someone with very sensitive skin, I’ve had NO problems with any of these products.
I will post part two once I try some other brands and possibly even make my own deodorant if I’m feeling crafty enough.
Share your deodorant secrets or favorite brands in the comments and share the love!
PS I finally learned how to spell “Deodorant” correctly by the end of this post!