Switch To A Natural Deodorant

Happy Holistics Vegan Deodorant is handmade in Bristol

We don’t live in a particular hot country in England. So it’s not like millions of sweaty people are smelly! So why our chemists and supermarkets and chain stores packed with aisles of toxic polluting deodorants and anti-perspirants? It’s not just your underarms: the marketing men have got people smelling all kinds of nether regions, and deciding that these must be deodorised too!

So let’s of course know the main reason for avoiding these brands is to help the planet. But first we shall get into a little bit of science on why we sweat (all good!) and why we could be at risk of smelling (bad: unless you are a dog!) Then we shall discover how life has moved on from the ineffective flower-water natural deodorants, and discover wonderful inventions that will have you dumping all your toxic anti-perspirants in the bin!

What Is Sweat (and why do it?)

Sweat’s official name is ‘perspiration’ and simply means the fluid that we (and all mammals) secret out of our sweat glands. You have probably worked it out that in nature, it is a way for us to regulate our body temperature. That’s why athletes will sweat buckets if running a marathon, to avoid heat exhaustion (as long as they hydrate). Also in hot weather we sweat more, as we do also when nervous. Other mammals (like dogs) sweat in a different way, mostly evaporating heat from panting or through their paws. Yet it appears only humans (and horses) produce large amounts of sweat.

Why We Smell!

This large amount can contribute in some cases to body odour. Sweat is naturally odourless, but certain medications or diseases can create an odour, as can not showering or not wearing clean natural fibres in clothing. Some people develop ‘night sweats’ at menopause and some people have such bad sweats, that they are injected with Botox, to freeze the sweat glands.

A major factor in the odour of your skin is diet. For instance, in Japan (where they eat little dairy) they have very non-smelly sweat! Hair can trap the sweat and cause it to smell, and this is why men’s underarms (or women who don’t shave) tend to have more issues with body odour. Apparently, scientific boffins say that male sweat smells like rancid cheese, while female sweat smells like fruit and onions!

Tips To Help You Smell Sweet

Native Unearthed Natural Deodorants are based on charcoal

  1. Shower daily!
  2. Wear cotton or hemp clothing, as it allows your skin to breathe. Freshly laundered, and not too tight (this traps air).
  3. Remove superflous hair for less chance of body odour. Use a reusable razor to keep plastic-free. Or use Ben & Anna’s Hair Removal Sugar Paste.
  4. Drink plenty of water, to flush out your system.
  5. Clean up your diet. If you eat a lot of cheese, you will smell like cheese!
  6. It’s up to you, but very spicy foods can give off strong odours from the skin. So can garlic. If you love them: then spend time with other people who love spicy garlic food, and they won’t notice as much!

What’s Wrong With Conventional Deodorants?

Deodorants in stores are split into two groups. Deodorants simply mask the smell. And anti-perspirants stop you sweating. So neither are good. You don’t want something that won’t rid you of the issue in the first place. And stopping your sweating is downright dangerous. It’s a natural bodily function that filters out toxins from your blood and body. Stopping it is like a detox in reverse. Underarms are near your lymph nodes (so linked to breast cancer). So you can imagine why holistic health experts recommend only using deodorants.

Conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants are packed with chemicals, and around 60% of what you put on your skin goes into your bloodstream. Some of the dodgy ingredients include endocrine disruptors (parabens which have been linked to cancer) and carcinogenic compounds like aluminium (used to block up your sweat, and thought to promote breast cancer). Although there is no ‘proof’ that conventional deodorants cause cancer, it’s a bit silly not to use your common sense, and avoid them if you can. What has been discovered and proved, is that younger breast cancer patients have often been found to religiously shave and deodorise their armpits.

Away from the scary stuff, conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants also contain ingredients that can age and irritate your skin, and as they become less effective with time, there is no reason to use them. They also are annoying if you stain good clothing with them and cost a fortune.

Not to get too rude here, but avoid using scented items anywhere else. These areas are self-cleaning and if you shower regularly and eat well, if there is an odour, you should see your doctor. The scents can cause irritation and makes things worse.

Two of the major brands of deodorants/anti-perspirant are Sure and Dove. Typical ingredients in both of them are aluminium, stearyl alcohol, petrolatum (solid mineral wax), talc (not good) and more alcohol. Does this sound like something you want in your home, let alone on your skin?

Good Brands of Natural Deodorants (that work!)

  1. Ben & Anna is a brand from a young vegan German couple who wanted to create a natural deodorant. They are packed in recycled cardboard paper tubes and are based on arrowroot that absorbs excess moisture alongside natural scents. Sold online at Greedy Lama.
  2. Native Unearthed are good natural deodorants that come in glass tubs. Based on activated charcoal, they feature scents of lavender, rose geranium, grapefruit tea tree, ylang ylang or coconut vanilla. you can find them in some health shops and online natural groceries. The charcoal is combined with coconut oil and whipped shea butter (not for latex allergies) alongside scents. To use, just rub a little on the underarm and let it melt.
  3. Kutis Natural Deodorant features lemongrass and tea tree oils. This effective little gem is sold in biodegradable paperboard tubes, made from bicarbonate of soda, arrowroot powder and coconut oil.
  4. Evolve Cotton Fresh Deodorant comes packed in a glass jar, just add a dab to your underarm and let it melt in. Made with organic shea butter (not for latex allergies), coconut oil, bicarbonate of soda and essential oils, it’s lightly and naturally fragranced.
  5. BIORK Crystal Deodorant is a plastic-free stick made from renewable cork (no trees cut down). It’s made from potassium crystal that is often used as a natural deodorant in Asia. A mineral compound of alum (not aluminium) and potassium crystals to allow you to sweat, but get rid of odour-causing bacteria. Just glide the wet tip over your skin and dry with a towel after use.
  6. Earth Conscious is a natural deodorant made with safe materials, sold in a plastic-free tin. It comes in Lavender, Citrus and Mint and uses arrowroot powder, shea butter, bicarbonate of soda and coconut oil.
  7. Pit Putty is a plastic-free deodorant made from organic plant oils (no palm oil), plant butters, naturally mined powders and essential oils. Safe and effective.
  8. Lamazuna Natural Deodorant Bar is handmade in France from coconut oil, sunflower seed wax and organic palmarosa oil. No palm oil or animal ingredients, it’s biodegradable and zero waste
  9. Primal Suds’ No Bo Bar is a natural deodorant soap using essential oils to last for hours in your pits! Due to natural clays and hemp protein, it could rub onto light clothes, but will wash away.
  10. PureChimp Natural Deodorant Balm comes in a glass jar, with 5% of profits helping to save chimps from zoos, circuses and vivisection labs. It prevents odour and gives 60 applications per pot.

Some Out-Of-The-Box Deodorant Alternatives

  1. Rub Away Bar is legendary. Made from stainless steel, it looks like a bar of soap. Just keep it by the sink. And if you have been chopping onions or garlic, just wet it to activate the process, and it can remove odours from your hands. Lasts a lifetime.
  2. Charcoal Water Filters are little slabs of charcoal that you can use in a jug to filter water, without need for plastic water filters. They last a few months (if refreshed in sunlight) then can be put in the garden at end of use. However, you can also put the pieces in shoes, wardrobes, drawers to absorb smells.