This review first appeared in my weekly email dispatch.
You probably already know the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant. Antiperspirant blocks the sweat glands, while deodorant deals with the odour.
I’ve been using natural deodorant since the 90’s. Initially because I found it was easier to travel light with a chunk of salt crystal instead of a can of spray. Then of course there was no going back when the world realised the harm CFC sprays were doing.
Even though Chlorofluorocarbons were banned in 1996 I’ve never felt comfortable using sprays. Especially when a small rock in a cotton bag seemed to be a much simpler option.
I prefer the word simple over natural. The word natural means little to me than marketing hype. There are plenty of ‘natural’ things I would not like to rub on my armpits. Jelly fish and stinging nettles are natural but I fear there may be an adverse reaction with my sensitive under arm skin. The most natural thing would be to not succumb to any advertising and go ‘au natural’.
As long as it does the job I’ll always favour the simpler product with fewer ingredients. Especially when less stuff means that substances like aluminium drop off the label.
I don’t know the science. But with mumblings of Alzheimer’s and cancer floating around the use of aluminium based anti-perspirants… I’d rather avoid them.
I’m also not a fan of smelly additives (unless they have antibacterial properties.) There’s a chunk of science suggesting that we are messing with our chemosensory signals and blocking ancient communication channels.
Probably not much of a defence for body odour in the workplace or classroom. Especially where kids are finding their place in the world and insecurity breeds bullying.
After ten blissful years deodorant free, this week we noticed the joys of growing up have adjusted my lad’s body chemistry. Although I wasn’t sure if he’d be happy with me writing about his armpits, that’s exactly what’s prompted this recent study. I wanted to find the best deodorant that suits him. (I checked with him and he has ok’d me mentioning him in this review.)
It’s hard to find the simple rock in a bag any more. But there are plenty of crystal deodorants held in plastic dispensers. Animal friendly IceGuard is £4.99, contains only one ingredient and is said to inhibit the bacteria that causes odour. Works for me. It can last many months of use so the plastic kind of makes sense. A wet crystal in the fingers is slippy and i’ve dropped a few on hard bathroom floors only to watch them shatter into thousands of fragments. The plastic case does make it last much longer and says it’s recyclable. Another added bonus is that the single ingredient (mineral salt Potassium Alum) is meant to be kinder to your microbiome.
Also in a recyclable plastic container at £3.99 is the ‘Salt Of The Earth’ unscented natural deodorant which at first I thought was just a liquified version of their rock crystal offering. But it has a bunch more ingredients.
Rather than look them all up I messaged the label to friend and chemical scientist Dr James Bruce asking if they were ok to spray on a kids armpits.
He said… “Nothing to worry about there 👍”
Finally there’s the plastic free, cruelty free and vegan friendly Activated Charcoal by Procoal £7.99. It calls itself a ‘non irritating natural deodorant balm’. It’s applied like the original deodorants of the 20’s. You get some on your finger and rub it under your armpits.
After a week of testing, neither of us were that impressed with the liquid spray. My lad prefers the Activated Charcoal over the mineral stick both which seem to work great for him.
I wasn’t keen on the balm as with hairy armpits it was harder to spread evenly and didn’t seem to work after vigorous exercise.
The winner for me is still a mineral salt stick. Any one will do. They have worked great for the last 20+ years and continue to do so.
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