Welcome to a brand new series here on Root + Revel–in Test Drive, I try a handful of brands in a category of natural products and compare the real-life results. First up: natural deodorant.
I know what you're thinking–natural deodorant doesn't work. Listen, I hear you. I felt the exact same way not just six months ago. I've required clinical strength deodorant my entire life.
But it turns out, there actually are some natural deodorants out there that work great (trust me, I tried A TON to find them!). And what's more? After just a few months without conventional deodorant, I found that I sweat wayyyyy less.
It was like that clinical strength deodorant was forcing my sweat glands to produce more sweat and once I stopped using it, they naturally (and miraculously!) started producing less.
So why would you even want to swap conventional deodorant and antiperspirant for a natural alternative? Unfortunately, like most store-bought products, tons of known carcinogens, hormone disruptors and environmental toxins make up the ingredient lists of most deodorants. For all the skeptics, I’ve outlined the toxic ingredients for five of the most popular deodorants (for both men and women!) on the market today below:
**Note the products shown above are Dove Go Fresh Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Dove Men+Care 48h Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant & Deodorant Advanced Solid, Old Spice High Endurance Antiperspirant & Deodorant Invisible Solid and Soft & Dri DriGel, Antiperspirant & Deodorant Clear Gel.**
JUST TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHY THESE CHEMICALS ARE SO BAD, HERE ARE A FEW OF THE WORST OFFENDERS FROM ABOVE:
- Aluminum: Aluminum-based compounds form a temporary plug in our sweat ducts that stops the flow of sweat to the skin's surface. Research suggests that these compounds may cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects in our bodies, which can promote the growth of breast cancer cells and ultimately contribute to the development of breast cancer. Aluminum compounds have also been linked to Alzheimer’s and kidney disease. It’s worth noting that some experts disagree with these claims, but if history is any indication (and if Canada is correct in banning the compound from products), I’d rather err on the side of caution.
- Fragrance: Fragrance is so tricky because we simply don't know what's in it. Since fragrance is considered a trade secret, companies aren't required to disclose what chemicals they add to their mixture. But recent research from EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, which contain hormone disruptors (typically in the form of phthalates) and are among the top five allergens in the world.
- Cyclopentasiloxane: This silicon-based cyclic compound may be associated with environmental toxicity, not to mention concerns for tumors, endocrine disruption and neurotoxicity.
- Dimethicone: This silicon-based moisturizer is suspected to be an environmental toxin. It's also limited for use in food by the FDA and is expected to be toxic or harmful in Canada. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments recommends restricting its use in cosmetics.
Convinced a more natural alternative might be the way to go? Check out my review of five of the top natural deodorants on the market today!
The Natural Deodorant Contestants:
- Nourish Organic Deodorant ($8.99): This deodorant smells fantastic and is incredibly moisturizing thanks to the shea butter, coconut oil, cacao seed butter and beeswax, but I didn't find the gentle cornstarch and vegetable protein to be strong enough to nix sweat. I love that it's free of the aforementioned toxic chemicals, certified organic and gluten-free, vegan and cruelty-free, but I need something stronger on my armpits and found that a deodorant with baking soda was much more effective for me.
- Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone ($7): This deodorant, which relies on crystallized natural mineral salts to do the work of reducing odor and sweat, gets great reviews online. But I don't get it. While I like that it's fragrance-free, made without aluminum and doesn't stain your clothes, it really didn't do much for me at all. It was a pain to have to wet the stone each time–I was always either dripping water after, or too dry to apply–and it just didn't work for me, plain and simple.
- Purabela Creme Deodorant ($12): Free of aluminum, propylene glycol, perfumes, and dyes, this deodorant is made with essential oils, coconut oil, baking soda, arrow root, zinc ricinoleate and vitamin e. It's incredibly moisturizing, but I hated spreading the cream on with my fingers (which, no matter how clean my hands and/or pits were, always felt unsanitary and gross). I prefer the ease of a roll-on deodorant and found other brands that were more effective at reducing odor and minimizing sweat.
- EO Organic Deodorant Spray ($7.75): I want to love this deodorant–the spray is super easy to apply, it smells amazing thanks to essential oils and it is free of aluminum salts, propylene glycol, zinc salts, synthetic fragrances, parabens, polysorbate and disodium EDTA. Plus it's vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free and certified organic. But I just didn't find it to keep odor at bay as well as other deodorants. That being said, I still use this spray throughout the day as a lovely refresher. It's not the best base, but it can work wonders on top of a more effective option.
- Primal Pit Paste Deodorant Stick ($11.95): This is IT. Despite the hilarious name, this stick deodorant is far and away the most effective one I've tried. It's made with baking soda (the key for neutralizing bacteria-causing odor), arrowroot powder (which helps you feel dry), beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil (to moisturize and soothe) and THAT'S IT. No parabens, no aluminum, no GMOs or toxic chemicals to worry about. The only downside is that it can cause slight irritation to delicate underarm skin. But honestly, once I powered through the minor sensitivity, it went away. I've only tried the Unscented stick, but when I run out, I'm going for one of the essential-oil laced blends, as I do appreciate a nice, subtle scent in my deodorant.
The Natural Deodorant Winner: Primal Pit Paste!
Have you tried any natural deodorants? I'd love to hear about your results. Share in the comments below!