Today we’re talking about armpits and how to avoid smelling like a dirty hippie. Should be a rousing good time!
I have good news, and bad news, then more good news. Here it is:
Good news: I won’t be fear-mongering you by telling you that aluminum in deodorant/antiperspirant causes cancer. (It hasn’t been proven definitively… yet.)
Bad news: There are actually much scarier things to worry about in your Lady Speed Stick.
More good news: There are natural alternatives that actually work well and won’t leave you stinky and gross – pinky swear.
What’s the Big Deal with “Regular” Deodorant?
Most people who seek out a natural alternative for their stinky-pit needs do so because of the aluminum in the conventional sticks of deodorant or antiperspirant found on drugstore shelves.
To those fine folks, I salute you. And, if I may add a postscript to your anti-aluminum convictions…
Aluminum is NOT something you want to be putting in your body – it is suspected to be linked to breast cancer and alzheimer’s and more. However, the research isn’t as solid on this connection as it is for other troublesome ingredients. So what else do we have?
Ah yes, the word that no one can pronounce and is definitely on the naughty list. Pthlalates are found in the fragrances (ie. synthetic chemical cocktails) used in deodorants to make it smell like a weird version of flowers or fresh linen or something else nature-y that they concocted in a lab.
This is one of the most heinous ingredients in the personal care industry today, and of course – it’s everywhere. It is a hormone-disrupting chemical with links to abnormal sex development of the male fetus, autism spectrum disorder, and lower IQ.
A common ingredient in conventional deodorants, triclosan has detrimental hormonal effects, particularly on the thyroid, and may contribute to the creation of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
How to Find a Natural Alternative
Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as running to the drug store and buying whatever brand says “natural” on the tube.
We talked about that very issue a while ago in the post, “What Exactly are “Natural” Skincare Products (and How do You Spot the Imposters?)” First step: find a company/brand that you trust (check out their ingredients for yourself), then see what type of deodorant they have to offer. Check it out in EWG’s Skin Deep database if you’d like.
There are a few key players on the natural deodorant scene, such as baking soda, coconut oil, bentonite clay, green tea, herbs, and others. The trick is in finding out which combo works best with your own body chemistry.
I’ve tried many of the natural-ish brands at my local health store over the years, with no luck. This past year I’ve had the pleasure of using products from a fantastic little online shop called Blissoma (I wrote more about the products here, and why you’re worth it in this post). One of the things that I tried was several of their deodorants.
Well, after years of searching for the perfect deodorant with mad stink-stopping skills (maybe even more effectively than the conventional stuff I used to use)… I finally found THE ONE. Hallelujah!
The clear winner for me was the Scentless Stick. It has a baking soda+bentonite clay base with a few key additions, like fennel, diatomaceous earth, and arrowroot powder.
It has turned out to be the perfect combination for me, and worked so well that my husband started stealing it and now I need to order another one. (Get your own awesome natural deodorant, Chris!)
In case you’re weird like me and enjoy reading product descriptions and fine print, here’s what the Blissoma website has to say about their Scentless Stick of Stink-Free Wonder. (<– That’s my creative licensing take on the name. It’s accurate.)
This formula will keep odor at bay for anyone. Like many natural deodorants it includes baking soda which absorbs and eliminates odor extremely reliably. Due to many reports we’ve seen of people reporting irritation from some baking soda deodorants we worked with our recipe to create a more balanced, skin-friendly formula so even sensitive types could enjoy powerful odor protection. There is about half the baking soda as in other products, which is less problematic for your skin’s natural Ph levels, yet we’ve retained all the efficacy.
Sweat and odor absorbing powders help top off our new solid deodorant recipe. Anti-irritant Zinc Oxide coats and helps calm sensitive pits. Bentonite clay helps eliminate toxins from the body and Diatomaceous Earth and Organic Arrowroot Powder absorb some sweat.
I find it fascinating to hear about why each ingredient is chosen in the products I use. I’m sure the honest descriptions for the other guys would be something like, “phthalates (because they’re way cheaper than actual essential oils or herbs and profit is king), aluminum (because most people don’t care what’s actually in their products, so long as they work), and triclosan (because it’s our mission to anti-bac the heck out of the entire world, no matter the price)”.
I’m just guessing.
Wanna try some of my favorite natural deodorant (and other amazing natural herbal-based skincare products)? You can get a $5 off coupon through this special link, just for Red+Honey readers.