I like to get sweaty. But I don’t like to stink. That being said, I’m also pretty passionate about what I put on my pits. Why?
Your skin is your body’s largest organ and it soaks up whatever you put on it. Here’s the scary (and sad) thing…most of us have been tricked into thinking that our bath and beauty products are all approved as super safe. Unfortunately this isn’t the case – most conventional cosmetics (deodorant and antiperspirants included) are laden with toxic chemicals, the safety of which are dubious at best and downright devilish at worst. I could go on and on about this topic but suffice it to say, whatever your country’s governing body is for regulating the safety of cosmetics, they’re probably doing a very average job of making sure your beauty loot is safe and clean. So word to the wise – educate yourself, read labels and vote with your dollar by purchasing products that are made from natural ingredients and won’t jam up your bod with a bunch of toxic chemicals. (If you want to read more on this topic, head to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database which is a great resource.)
Back to the pit-y party. Let’s get started with a couple of quick definitions. What’s the difference between an anti-perspirant and a deodorant? The goal of an antiperspirant is to actually stop your body from sweating. Two strikes.
First strike – your body is designed to sweat as a way of detoxifying and cooling the body, but the apocrine glands in your pits are also responsible for releasing hormones and pheromones that act as a love potion number 9. (Yeah you heard me right – your sweat might actually broadcast a little “come hither” message to your soul mate. You really want to shut that down?)
Second strike – antiperspirants don’t just artificially block your body’s natural process, they do so with the use of chemicals. No thanks. The best bet is to stick with a deodorant. Rather than shutting down the sweat, the goal of deodorant is to manage the odour-causing bacteria that lives on our skin. When this naturally occurring bacteria mingles with the fat and organic compounds released from the sweat glands, they produce some stinky offspring, A.K.A. B.O., so if you can manage the bacteria, you can manage the funk.
So you’re skipping the antiperspirant in favour of a deodorant, but which one is best for your bod? Conventional deodorants have a bevy of bad-news ingredients from parabens to phlalates, aluminium to triclosan, as well as the benign sounding but usually chemical-loaded ingredient, “fragrance” which (unless it explicitly says, “derived from essential oils”) is shorthand for “undisclosed scary chemicals”. What all of these ingredients add up to is a cocktail of possibly endocrine disrupting, carcinogenic, allergy inducing, immunity bashing bull-honkey that has no business being on your skin. Needless to say that many of these ingredients are also damaging for the environment. Between petrochemical based ingredients and pressure pack spray cans pumping VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into our air, conventional deodorants and antiperspirants aren’t doing the Earth any favours.
If all the drugstore deodorants and antiperspirants are out of the question, where do we turn? Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you rub crystals (which are actually often aluminium in groovy packaging!) and unicorn tears in your pits. There are some actually really good natural deodorants that will be kind to your body and give B.O. the boot.
I’m sharing a handful of the best natural deodorants I’ve tried. The reason I’m sharing a few favs rather than just one pick is this: everyone’s body chemistry is unique. What works for one person might not be a perfect fit for another, so I think it’s ideal to give you a few options to try:
- Living Libations Poetic Pits: $30-$90. These oils not only do the trick, they also support your body. A base of pure, organic, undiluted sandalwood oil harmonises the endocrine system while a host of other plant botanicals alchemise your sweat into something sweet. Easy to apply, just roll on and go. Favourite blends for men are Maverick and Emerald or try Radiant Earth or RoseGlow for the ladies.
- Erica Brooke Him & Her Deodorant Creme $18.00. My favourite creme/paste style deodorant. Simple and very effective.
- Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste: $18.50. This one is easier to find and very popular. That said, if you have sensitive skin the baking soda in this paste may irritate your pits.
- Agent Nateur Holi(stick) No. 3 Deodorant: $18-$19. Bonus points for pretty packaging and a stick applicator. Ideal for the paste-averse or those who aren’t super sweaty types.
- Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant Paste (Available in a variety of scents): $14.95. Inexpensive and reliable, this is a solid option.
UPDATE: My new fav for sensitive skin is Fat & The Moon Sensitive Pit Cream; if you’re in Byron Bay you can pick some up at Nimbus & Co.
You’ll notice that most of my top natural deodorant picks are pastes. How a paste works: scoop out a pea-sized amount and rub into your pits with a fingertip. Sounds a little different, but it ain’t no thing (promise). If you’re totally averse to a paste, try the Agent Nateur stick.
If you’ve been innocently slathering a bunch of toxic chemicals on your pits, consider yourself armed with the info you need to make a change. I’d love to hear what you think of these natural deodorant options so holla back when if you give them a try!
Until then, keep sweating, sisters! xx