Don't Sweat It
*Actually, do. With summer around the corner, it seems like a good time to talk deodorants. Stick with it (geddit?), because it’s not as dull a subject as it sounds…
Unlike antiperspirant, deodorant doesn’t stop you from sweating. Instead it works by fighting odour-causing bacteria that live on your skin. Sweat in itself is practically odourless – the smell that sends us reeling is created by the process of bacteria on the skin breaking down sweat. Sweating is normal, natural and healthy for your lymphatic system. It’s your body’s way of releasing toxins, but conventional anti-perspirant deodorants block your pores, preventing the release of sweat. It’s one of those things that seems like a good idea at the time, but once you start thinking about it, you realise how unhealthy the process actually is.
That’s not to say that I advocate using nothing on your pits, but I do think it’s time to consider ditching the spray and reaching for a natural deodorant instead. Antiperspirants use aluminum salts to block your apocrine sweat glands from stimulating underarm sweat. Aluminum-free deodorants are focused on blocking odour rather than blocking sweat. If you shower every day (in summer I shower twice a day) there’s no reason why you’d smell like a skank (or even a skunk).
I actually stopped using deodorant/anti-perspirant around a decade ago, other than in very hot weather. I work from home so I’m not stuck on a hot and crowded tube twice a day, I don’t wear synthetic fibres, I shower every morning and often again at night.
I was worried that I’d kick up a stink, but I've not felt sweaty at all. Recently I decided to ditch anti-perspirant altogether in favour of natural deodorant. Admittedly I've not been anywhere warm since I switched, but I'm happy to put it to the test on a hot day if there ever is one.
I’ve done my research so you don’t have to, which means it's even easier to make the switch. It can take around 30 days to wean your little pores off the aluminium gumph, so during that period you might kick up a little whiff, but shower often (by that I mean twice, not every hour), apply your natural deodorant twice a day if you really feel the need and don’t worry about it, because you’ll soon be sorted. I contacted a bunch of UK-based companies who didn’t respond, so they may well make a good deodorant, but if they can’t be bothered to reply to an email they don’t make the shortlist. Here are the ones that did:
Awake Organics I’m currently using Awake Organics’ multi-award winning natural deodorant and I honestly love it. Its zesty, citrus formula kills odour-causing bacteria with organic coconut oil, lavender and lemongrass. Rub some of this under your arms and marvel as it absorbs wetness with superfine arrowroot and British kaolin powders, which help absorb natural perspiration for a cleaner, drier feeling. You can buy a tiny jar of it which is proper handy for travelling, and also means you can pop it in your bag when you go out in case you need a top-up after something exciting (or indeed terrifying) has made you extra sweaty.
Awake Organics source their ingredients, labels, packaging and jars from trusted UK suppliers. The majority of those ingredients are certified Organic, Fair-trade or both. The deodorant is certified cruelty free, the glass packaging is recyclable and all their products come in plastic-free packaging.
Their main ingredients supplier has implemented several additional eco-friendly strategies that set them apart from the crowd, too, including composting their milling waste and using it in their herb field. They also draw water from a bore-hole on their own farm. I’m not sure what that is either, but it sounds really impressive, if not something I’d probably fall into.
This truly magical company's award-winning Cotton Fresh Natural Deodorant Cream is full of amazing ingredients that do a great job of keeping you smelling decent all day. It contains nourishing shea butter alongside bicarbonate of soda and sage oil - known for its anti-microbial, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, so you can even apply it right after shaving.
A little goes a long way with cream deodorants – smooth a fingertip sized amount on your freshly-laundered armpit, ensuring you cover the entire area. Have a satisfying sniff and be on your way.
I love Evolve’s products. Not only are they lovely to use and super-effective, they’re also vegan, cruelty free and eco-friendly and they're probably the most sustainable brand overall I've ever had the pleasure of discovering.
Wild run their service as a subscription, and they’re gaining quite the following. Personally, I don’t want to sign up to a subscription of anything (OK, maybe kittens or cheese) because the rate at which I use products fluctuates and I don’t like to wake up one day find myself drowning in a sea of products I can’t get through quickly enough.
If you’re less anxious about such things, you’ll probably be fine, as the subscription is flexible and you can set your delivery schedule to a frequency that suits you depending on how quickly you get through your refills. For each delivery you can choose three fragrances from a choice of five (choose three of the same or mix and match).
Wild is a single-use plastic free refillable deodorant. The product is made up of two parts: the aluminium case and the deodorant refills. You keep the case forever and just keep putting in new deodorant refills each time you finish an old one. As they're a stick rather than a roll-on they're good for sticking in your hand luggage, too.
There are so many fragrances to choose from that your head will spin: Coconut Dreams, Bergamot Rituals, Mint & Eucalyptus, Fresh Cotton & Sea Salt, Lavender Haze, Jasmine & Mandarin Blossom and Orange Zest.
AKT tested their deodorant on dancers and athletes to check that it worked. They reported back with a thumbs-up and so their foray into the market began. A unique formula of active botanicals and a magic Deo-Barrier Complex™ keeps you feeling dry and confident all day long after only one application. I could do with some of this when I’m pulling 4850 dandelions from my front garden. There are a bunch of different (natural) fragrances to choose from.
The deodorant absorbs instantly and moisturises your underarms skin with shea butter and calendula oil. The product is vegan, plastic-free, cruelty free and the packaging is 100% recyclable, too. It is a subscription package, so again I'm less keen on that side of things but it does have rave reviews, so is probably well worth a go. I love the packaging, and it looks like application is easier than some deodorants as you're not having to dig about in a pot for it. However, it's classed as a 'paste' on a flight so this one will need to go in your stupid little plastic bag if you're hand-luggage only. Akt reckon one tube lasts two months.
Faith In Nature
Apparently their natural deodorant is ‘effective and long lasting’, but you’ll have to take their word for it as I’ve not given it a go yet. Their Chamomile & Aloe Vera Deodorant is an aluminium-free number that contains skin conditioning ingredients that fight odour without inhibiting perspiration.
Faith in Nature crystal deodorant is vegan and cruelty-free. It’s a roll-on deodorant, so less handy for travel which means it wouldn't be my first choice. The packaging is very '80s (and not in a good way) so although it shouldn't be a deal breaker, the other brands are more likely to score big with the youngsters.
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