Conventional deodorants contain all kinds of nasties like chemicals and fragrances. Anti-perspirants are even worse, as they stop your body sweating (a natural function to remove toxins). What is of concern is that these chemicals are applied near lymph glands. If you’ve used conventional deodorants for a long time, allow a few weeks to let aluminium leave your pores, which means you may sweat more at first, but this will balance out in a few weeks. It may help to gently exfoliate the skin a few times a week, before use.
Avoid deodorants on freshly shaven or broken skin, and avoid baking soda for sensitive skin (avoid shea butter for latex allergies). Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing and medical conditions like epilepsy, asthma or heart conditions. Avoid rosemary, citrus and sage oils for high blood pressure. If you live with pets, avoid (or wash off) natural deodorants with zinc or titanium dioxide, before allowing them to lick you!
Sweat does not smell, so in theory no deodorant is needed. Daily showers, eating properly, drinking water and wearing natural fabrics (organic cotton, hemp and linen) should do the trick naturally. But if you need a helping hand, a natural deodorant can help. Good natural deodorants use arrowroot or charcoal, to absorb sweat over a large surface area. Choose brands in plastic-free packaging.
Good Natural Deodorants (that work)
Battle Green Natural Deodorant is made with a natural blend of shea butter and essential oils. Just apply a pea-sized amount to your armpit and gently rub in. Gently push up the base of the tube, as it starts to run out. Available in Lavender Tea Tree, Orange Patchouli, Grapefruit Mint, Lemon Rose and Lime Vanilla.
Your Nature (Bristol) makes handcrafted deodorants in nice cardboard sticks. The lids are designed with extra room so won’t push back down. Made with organic arrowroot (to help soak up sweat and bacteria without staining clothes), choose Unscented or a range of natural scents. To use, place on your underarm for a few seconds to warm it up, swipe a few times and allow to dry before dressing. One stick should last around 12 weeks if you keep it in a cool dry place.
Paper Plane Lavender Bergamot Deodorant Balm has a soothing scent and is free from bicarbonate of soda, so good for sensitive skin. It contains nourishing coconut oil and cocoa butter to keep skin soft, and a little jar goes a long way. Just take a small amount and gently rub into underarms.
Earth Conscious is made on the Isle of Wight, with 10p from each going to marine conservation charities. Available in a tin or cardboard tube, these are scented with real essential oils, and the company also makes plant-based body bars.
Pit Putty is a range of family-friendly deodorants, thought up by friends of a cancer patient, after the doctor told her to give up conventional skincare, due to toxins. The range is handmade in Nottingham, and loved by thousands of customers worldwide, sold in health stores and online. The range includes fragrance-free blends and a range of deodorant soaps, all free from palm oil. Everything is vegan-friendly and in zero waste packaging.
The secret ingredient in Pit Putty deodorants is arrowroot powder, which used to be used by Native Americans as the antidote to arrow poisoning! Made from the dried roots of a plant, it’s packed with nutrients and has been around for 7000 years. A good alternative to talcum powder (an inorganic substance linked to ovarian cancer), this is ideal to absorb sweat. It’s also used to thicken these deodorants.
The range includes tins (which last 2 to 4 months) and sticks (these also last 2 to 4 months, with a handy ‘2 weeks left mark’ so you know when to order more (you can also buy mini-sticks that last around a week, to sample favourite scents). These deodorants are made with shea butter, coconut oil, naturally-mined baking soda, plant waxes and oils and real essential oils.