Deodorants are an important part of our everyday hygiene routine, as much as brushing our teeth.
Everyone has a preference, and there’s so much variety out there, but we believe the best choice for your armpit and your body odour (BO) are natural deodorants!
Through the years, antiperspirants and commercial deodorants have been at times either demonised or idolised, from studies linking them to serious health hazards to others completely refuting these findings, and on the other hand claiming a reduction of BO through time.
Unfortunately, not enough evidence is available to make an informed decision on whether regular deodorants and antiperspirants are harmful or beneficial, but what we know so far is that the armpit ecosystem (microbiome) is incredibly varied, containing numerous different types of bacteria and microorganisms, drastically changing from person to person, and easily irritable.
It has probably happened to many of us, to pick up a deodorant at the store, try it out and eventually find that it just doesn't work for us, or on the other hand, to have been using the same deodorant for some time and then it just stops working.
This happens exactly because the armpit ecosystem is incredibly varied, so not all deodorants work on your specific microbiome, as well as being sensitive to change when harsh products are introduced, meaning that your armpit bacteria is sensitive to mutations due to the deodorant you’re using, possibly resulting in the deodorant becoming ineffective.
Before we get into the reasons why we think you should switch to natural deodorant, it’s important to clarify the big difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant:
- A deodorant is a product that only interacts with your BO, by either eliminating the bacteria which cause the unpleasant smell or by masking it.
- An antiperspirant on the other hand prevents you from sweating, by blocking your armpit pores (usually with aluminium) and blocking the exit of sweat, which produces the typical “sweat” smell when it comes into contact with your special armpit bacteria. Antiperspirants can actually be considered drugs because they affect the physiology of the body.
Natural antiperspirants have not yet been created, as there is no natural and/or organic ingredient has been found to have the same “block” effect that is activated by aluminium, furthermore, many believe that stopping perspiration is not so healthy as it’s the main way our bodies regulate our temperature and also get rid of toxins.
But now, let’s have a look at the reasons why we think natural deodorant is the better choice, for both you and the environment!
1. BETTER INGREDIENTS
As we said, the armpit is a very sensitive area of the body, where sweat is secreted, moisture thrives, and where hair removal is also quite common.
All these elements can create a very irritable part of the body, which is often only worsened by the application of deodorants.
The clogging of the pores done by antiperspirants on the long term can lead to further tenderness, furthermore, a basic ingredient of commercial deodorants as well as antiperspirants, is alcohol and synthetic fragrance, which can lead to irritations and an overall unpleasant feeling. Those of us who have applied deodorant right after shaving know the instant burning sensation, and that’s a feeling we’d like to avoid, right?
Considering that deodorant is a cosmetic product applied by a majority of the population on a daily basis, we personally prefer to stick to safer and more nourishing ingredients.
In general, natural deodorants contain more organic, delicate ingredients for the skin, having as a main ingredient a type of oil or fat (such as coconut or olive oil, shea or cocoa butter) which provides a moisturising and soothing sensation on top of deodorising.
Most natural deodorants are also completely water-free, making the product more compact and lighter in weight, reducing carbon emissions linked to transportation.
2. IT'S PLASTIC FREE
Okay, this actually does not apply to all natural deodorants, but it does to some, and especially the ones that we have in our store :)
Every year, deodorant containers alone produce over 15 million pounds of plastic waste!
Additionally, they're almost always made of at least a couple of different types of plastic which makes them very hard to recycle and dispose of correctly.
Not to mention aerosol cans, which although are mostly made of aluminium and tin-plated steel, easily recyclable materials, are incredibly energy consuming due to the pressurised environment inside the can, and require special ways to dispose of them (also to avoid possible explosions and fire hazards). In addition, they also contain some plastic and rubber components such as the lid, valve, and dip tube.
Our deodorants come in either glass, tin or cardboard packaging. Tin and glass can be reused and sometimes even refilled, whilst the cardboard packages are recyclable, biodegradable and can even be put in your home compost bin (like all the Lekker Company ones!)
We also understand that not everyone is comfortable applying deodorant balm with their fingers directly on their armpits, but right now there are so many different types available of natural deodorant, including in tubes, making it not much different than a commercial roll-on, so application has become super handy ;)
3. IT ACTUALLY WORKS
One of the reasons that are often given to not use natural deodorant is that it's not as effective. But if you use antiperspirant daily, then yes, natural deodorant might take some time to get used to, since it will not stop your perspiration from taking place as it normally should. However, if you use regular deodorant, the difference should be minimal.
Although it might require a little bit of a transition phase, natural deodorant does work quite effectively when applied correctly. In addition, contrary to commercial deodorants, it does not contain harsh ingredients which do not alter your armpit's microbiome. This means that you should be able to stick to the same deodorant for a while because your armpit bacteria won’t mutate!
Our range of zero-waste natural deodorant
But how does natural deodorant actually work?
Most natural deodorants have a basic composition made out of three main ingredients:
1. An odour control agent
Baking soda is the most common odour control in natural deodorants, it keeps the smell under check because most smells have an acid pH, and baking soda has the power of neutralising the ph, therefore also neutralising the smell.
However, some people might not react too well to baking soda, as it can be a bit irritating at times, but there are plenty of alternatives available for those with more sensitive skin types, the most common being magnesium powder, with some companies having specialised lines for delicate skins.
2. A type of oil or butter
The main component in deodorants is a type of fat, which as we commonly know does not mix with water. Our sweat is 99% water, so the fatty component makes sure the deodorant stays in place when sweating or exercising, as well as having antibacterial properties that can also help with the smell.
3. A drying agent
The last common element of natural deodorants is a drying agent, often arrowroot, to absorb moisture and avoid irritations caused by humidity and sweat remaining in the area.
A lot of other ingredients can be added to the mix, often shea or cocoa butter are present for nourishing effects, as well as essential oils to add fragrance. But in the end, you need the three elements to make sure your deodorant works.
The common complaint of natural deodorant is that you might need a transition period for it to become effective.
This depends very much on person to person, what deodorant they have been using in the last few years as well as personal characteristics such as someone’s diet! One of the main reasons for it however, is that the armpit bacteria has been disturbed by the chemicals in commercial antiperspirants and deodorants, needing some time to return to its normality. Furthermore, everyone's armpit bacteria, the so-called microbiome, is unique, and different deodorants containing different ingredients and formulas might not work for you, explaining why you might need to try a couple out before settling down on your favourite!
If you’re afraid of the effects of transitioning, and have been putting it off for a while, here’s what we can suggest: Firstly, choose an uneventful week, maybe where you’re often working from home, and if possible where temperatures are not too high. Secondly, shower very regularly, especially right after physical activities, and thoroughly wash the armpit area. We have found that using a gentle scrub and a mask can help getting rid of your BO and speeding up the detoxing period. Our favourite masks so far have been charcoal masks and clay masks (like our Helemaal Shea one) as they work great at really cleaning out the area. When it comes to scrubs, you can use whatever you have at hand and works for you, or DIY yourself one! It's super easy and you can tweak it to your liking. A couple we really like are this citrus scrub and our good old trusty low waste coffee scrub. Keep in mind that the armpit area is delicate, so try to be more gentle than when you usually scrub your arms or legs.
Remember to bring your new deodorant around with you and reapply through the day as much as it’s needed, it takes a few tries to figure out what’s the amount that works for you.
Lastly, try to integrate as many greens in your diet and eliminate overly processed foods. As we mentioned, your diet has a huge effect on your sweating habits, foods high in sugar can make you sweat more, and try to avoid food with a lot of onions and garlic, as they can also highly affect the way your sweat smells.
You should be all set after a couple of weeks, and be able to use your natural deodorant without any problems or unwanted smells.
Got any more tips on how to transition to natural deodorant? Share them below!
The Natural Deodorant Co. Orange and Bergamot Clean Deodorant Balm
We hope these 3 reasons were enough to make you question your regular deodorant use, whether antiperspirant is truly necessary and healthy, and the benefits of using natural cosmetics on such an important part of your body, responsible for regulating temperature and getting rid of toxins.
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments down below, we’d love to answer them as best as we can!
And don't forget to check out our natural deodorant collection.
- What is the healthiest deodorant?
A healthy deodorant is a deodorant without aluminum, alcohol and synthetic perfume. When it comes to choosing the best deodorant, you may prefer different application such as a stick or spray.
- What is a natural deodorant? And how does natural deodorant work?
- Is natural deodorant better?
With a natural deodorant without aluminum and parabens you do not block the armpits, but you switch off the bacteria that causes an unpleasant body odor. This keeps the normal flora under the armpits in top condition and is absolutely not harmful or clogged.