I am the smelliest sweaty Betty you are likely to meet. I work out regularly and I live in Phoenix, which might as well be the same as living on the face of the sun in the summertime. Needless to say, deodorant is must for me, or suppose I can go live in the desert and rot in my own filth by myself. For most of my adult life I used mainstream deodorant and didn’t think twice about it. About three years ago I noticed that my armpits started to itch, a lot. I started doing research on deodorant in hopes of finding out what was making me so itchy. I found some pretty scary studies about the possible health risks of deodorant. Shortly after this, I got pregnant for the first time and quickly decided that I didn’t want any more potentially harmful chemicals on my persons. Thus started my never-ending search for a natural deodorant.
The Natural Deodorant Research in a Nutshell
- The main active ingredient in antiperspirants is aluminum. According to The National Cancer Institute, aluminum in deodorant acts as a “plug” to the sweat glands under the arm, causing you not to sweat. However, when this aluminum is absorbed into the skin it mimics estrogen. Ready for the scary part? Increased estrogen levels that close to the breast increase instances of breast cancer…”say what?!”
- Let’s talk parabens, a preservative used in a lot of deodorant and antiperspirants, along with a lot of other cosmetics. Parabens are also known to mimic estrogen in the body cells and have even been found in breast cancer tumors. No thanks.
- I’m not saying that if you use deodorant you are for sure going to get breast cancer, and honestly the research is kind of all over the place. Mostly because not a lot has been done. But why even risk it!?
Natural Deodorant 101
First things first, most natural deodorants are just that, a deodorizer. They do not stop sweat; they simply stop the BO.
Switching to a natural deodorant takes commitment. Your body goes through a detox. The first two to eight weeks are rough. You will smell and you will sweat a lot. It will pass! Your body takes time to purge all the crap that conventional deodorant has in it. There are detox products on the market that are said to help with this process. I can’t speak for these products personally, but they do have good word of mouth. You will be tempted on a daily basis to just switch back to regular deodorant…DON’T DO IT! You will just have to start the detox again. If you are really serious about making the switch you have to commit. I promise your body will adjust and the natural deodorant will work.
Natural deodorant, for the most part, comes three ways—a stick, a jar, or a spray. Sticks, obviously, are what most of us are used to and the most “user friendly.” You do, however, sometimes need to hold the stick on your armpit for a few second to warm it up and make it spreadable, especially in the winter time. Side note: natural deodorant in stick form has come a long way in the last year or so. Deodorant in a jar has to be applied with your finger and can be messy, but works the best, usually. This is a turn off to a lot of people. I don’t mind it. Natural spray deodorants are not my favorite. Most, if not all, of them have alcohol as a main ingredient. For me, they burned, dried out me out and didn’t work well.
When trying to get input for this piece, I turned to my fellow blog contributors, to accumulate a list of North Phoenix Mom’s Blog Top 5 Natural Deodorant Favorites…
One of my personal favorites! They have so many scent options and I think it works well enough to keep the stink away with reapplying once or maybe twice. They have sticks, they have pots, and they have something for people with baking soda sensitivity. ALL THE YES! They also have a new Charcoal+Magnesium stick that it said to act as an antiperspirant. I have been using it for a week and so far it’s my new ride or die.
- Easy stick application
- Jars comes with a little spatula to help with application and keep the product sanitary
- So many scent options (including unisex)
- Deluxe set and travel minis available on website
- Also available fragrance-free
- 6 Baking soda free scents
- Cruelty-free, Gluten-Free
- Readily available (Sprouts, Target, Fry’s, Fresh Vitamins, and online)
- Some fragrances may be overwhelming. All the smells or no smells, no in between
- Reapplication sometimes necessary
- Cannot be applied directly after shaving (you will regret it!)
- Baking soda free version is more expensive
So many people, including multiple blog contributors, swear by this stuff. It didn’t work well for me but in all fairness I did try it right after having my second baby. Hormonal changes could definitely have contributed to my BO. Available in sticks, jars, sprays and baking soda free, there is a little something for everyone. They have different strengths, which could definitely be beneficial if you are transitioning. They also make detox products.
- Easy(ish) application
- Many scent options (including unisex)
- Baking soda free available
- Both light and strong strengths in some scents
- Unscented available
- Minis available
- All organic ingredients
- Tad bit greasy
- Top of stick gets a little messy in my experience
- Only one baking soda free version ($12.95)
- Not Vegan (if that is important to you)
- Reapplication necessary
- Only in a handful of local stores, will likely need to order online
A small soap shop started by (Phoenix local!) Tracy Perkins. This all vegan boutique makes great soaps and body products, including deodorant. She makes both a roll-on and a deodorant paste. I love love love that this a local brand that was started by a strong and driven lady. I’ve met her, and she is great! I have tried the paste and it worked for me. I really enjoy the roll-on, especially for more low key days when I don’t anticipate a lot of sweat. It is light and made especially for sensitive skin and baking soda intolerance.
- Locally sourced and made
- Minimal ingredients
- Roll-on made for baking soda sensitivity
- Both feminine and masculine scents
- Essentially used to help hormone balance or stress relief (dependent on scent)
- Paste lasts up to 8 hours without reapplication (roll-on 6 hours)
- Roll-on compact and easy to take with on the go
- Only three paste scent options
- Only one roll-on scent option
- Paste is very thick, it works, but application is tricky and a bit messy in my experience
- Only available at some Whole Foods locations and at the Strawberry Hedgehog Boutique in Phoenix, or online.
I first heard about Holly’s Etsy shop on Instagram. Her deodorant contains only 4 ingredients and has quickly become one of my favorites. It comes in a jar, but is so easy to apply. It is creamy and smells great, and it works really well! Again I like the idea of supporting a small business that is providing a quality product. The Sweet Orange scent is to die for!
- Easy application
- Smell is not over powering, but enough to make a difference
- Minimal ingredients
- Small company based out of California
- Made to order
- Only available on Etsy
- Only three scents (Lavender, Grapefruit, and Sweet Orange)
- No baking soda free options
I stumbled on Meow Meow after a recommendation from my lovely sister a few years ago. They are an all vegan and organic company that is big into cruelty-free products and Earth-friendly packaging. What’s not to like? I first used their original deodorant cream in a jar, but I was turned off by the scents. I am not hugely fond of lavender or tea tree. I had written off Meow Meow until I tried the baking soda free cream in grapefruit. It is so good! It’s a softer cream than most and so easy to work with. Not to mention the packaging is super cute. They do have a deodorant stick now that I would definitely be on board to try.
- Easy Application
- Organic ingredients
- Works so well
- Eco friendly and cruelty-free company
- Large size and mini jars available
- Only two original cream scent option in (Lavender or Tea Tree)
- Only two baking soda free scent option in (Lavender or Grapefruit)
- Only Two stick scent options (Lavender Bergamot or Lemon Eucalyptus)
- Only available online
- Shipping is a bit pricey $5.99-$41.99
Other Honorable Mentions
- Death by Lavender
- Sublime Natural Deodorant by Ahimsa Essential
- Clean Queen Vegan Deodorant by Tarte
So there you go ladies. The switch to natural deodorant is not necessarily an easy (or BO free) experience, but for me, it was so worth it. I can feel good about what I am putting on my body. The detox will pass, if you stick with it! We are mamas, after all, we have dealt with a lot worst stink than a little arm pit odor.