Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Natural Deodorants: My Quest to Avoid Both Hazardous Chemicals & B.O.

Early in my nursing journey, I noticed that if I put deodorant on without putting a bra and/or shirt on first, I'd end up with deodorant smushed onto my breast. Too close to where my son was eating for my comfort. So for a while, I just made sure to always put clothes on before the deodorant instead of doing things in the other order. But then I realized: there's gotta be a better option. I've tried several "natural" deodorants since then, and here are my experiences so far:

Tom's of Maine's Natural Deodorant:
I broke out into a rash immediately upon using this. The company was super nice about it and not only sent me a refund check but also a coupon for a free Tom's of Maine's product, so I go some toothpaste out of the deal, my rash went away, and all was happy in my armpit world again. Except that I really really wanted it to work. Their deodorant is readily available in stores I shop at regularly and reasonably priced. Anyway, awesome customer service despite the weird allergic reaction. I couldn't find the one I bought last time on their website and saw they have several new varieties, so maybe I'll try again (and keep some Benadryl on hand just in case...)

Trader Joe's
I really really wanted this deodorant to work too, but it just didn't. It was inexpensive and easy to get if you live near a TJ's, but it just didn't stand up to my odor on summer days filled with toddler chasing and walks to the park. I smelled bad enough I couldn't actually have comfortably gone anywhere I would have seen anyone I knew without showering and putting on deodorant that actually worked first. Sad.

Crystal deodorant
I bought the cheapest rock crystal deodorant from Walmart and it pretty much did nothing for either wetness or odor. Total bummer. I know some people swear by this stuff, so maybe it'd be worth trying a more expensive brand sometime (I already threw it away, but never noticed a brand on it in the first place...I just remember it was the cheapest one!).

Secret Natural Mineral
I got a free sample of this deodorant through Facebook and was kinda shocked to discover all they did was add some natural ingredients along with the artifically concoted one, to create one greenwashed, ineffective, Frankendeodorant with a long long ingredient list.

LaVanila-undoubtedly the best if you can afford it!
LaVanila deodorant from Sephora $18
I bought this with a giftcard and it worked awesomely. I love this deodorant and if I were a millionaire, I'd use it every day. But as an ordinary gal with an ordinary bank account, this stuff is just too overpriced to justify. It kept me sweet-smelling and reasonably dry all day long even on busy outdoorsy days, and I really wish Lavanila would try to develop a deodorant line closer to the $5 price point. I can justify buying deodorant that is $5 instead of the 99 cent Suave stuff I've been using, but $18 is just exorbitant.

the bottom line: For now, I'm going to keep looking. I've heard  there are several other natural brands available in stores, and I've even heard the suggestion of just using baking soda, but given how stinky I was even with most of these deodorants, I really think I probably need more than that. Where I live, it is simply not socially acceptable to have noticeable BO, and I'm not willing to be a pioneer in that area. Hopefully I'll find something reasonably priced and effective one of these days!!

What do you use to fight underarm odor and wetness?

*I bought all of these deodorants with my own money/birthday giftcards with the exception of the Facebook freebie Secret brand sent which was available to all Facebook users and not a special freebie for bloggers or anything. I was not asked to review any of these products; I just thought it could be helpful information for others investigating healthier deodorant options too!


Cassie said...

Too bad about that one deodorant costing so much! :(

Ive had the best luck making baking soda an coconut oil deodorant. Have you heard of that? You could google it to find the recipe. It's usually coconut oil, baking soda and corn starch or arrow root. Then you can add essential oils. It worked well for so long for me but then I made it wrong and the baking soda left a rash. I think I didn't mix well and didn't use the corn starch.
But now here comes the gross part. I have stopped showering as frequently, sometimes because I don't have time but mostly because I just want to try and do with out. I've done this for a while now and my skin is great like the oils are balanced again, my hair isn't quite as oily as it used to be if I skipped a shower and I don't think I smell bad. Because I dont use deodorant every day. Most days I do. But if I'm home all day I don't. I think after weaning off it mt body might finally be regulating everything in my pits better now. Like my arm pits never smell bad, like they did when I used un natural deodorant. I also use just regular coconut oil after shower for lotion and apply that. I think it helps too since it's a microbial.
Anyway, when I'm more motivated I'm going to make the coconut one again. Probably when I run out of my stick of toms!

Sheila said...

I use the Tom's and I think it works fine. I have no idea what's in it, though ... I'm assuming it's "more" natural, but whether all the ingredients are really healthy, I don't know. At least I'm pretty sure it doesn't have aluminum.