I’ve dipped into the natural deodorant market from time to time over the years wanting to find a way to keep body odor at bay without possibly putting my good health in peril.
Chemicals typically found in antiperspirants that I’d rather do without include aluminum-based compounds, propylene glycol, steareths, and triclosan. The worry is that these ingredients applied daily year after year may cause cancer.
While the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration know of no conclusive evidence to link antiperspirants to the development of breast cancer, if I can find what I believe is a safer, effective alternative, why not go for it?
I’ve recently been using Arm & Hammer’s Essentials Natural Deodorant. It doesn’t contain aluminum or paraben plus it’s inexpensive and I can buy it at my regular grocery store. But it fails me when I’m sweating from nerves or exertion. And I’m not always in a situation where I can whip out my deodorant and reapply as needed.
So each morning I evaluate what I’m doing, then choose between the natural option and a conventional antiperspirant/deodorant.
I wanted to see if I could find a dependable green choice so I bought five natural deodorants and put them to the test. Three days each on my pits. Certainly not scientific, but worth a go. Also, keep in mind that deodorants don’t stop the flow of perspiration so there’s a good chance you may feel wet when using one. The goal is not to smell stinky.
Jason, Tea Tree Melaleuca Deodorant Stick, $6.49
I’ve heard good things about the anti-fungal properties of tea tree oil so I tried this one first. It claims to also have long-lasting odor protection from Bisabolol (derived from chamomile) and rice. It smelled fresh but sadly I didn’t smell so fresh at the end of the day, especially when the day included a workout.
Tom’s of Maine Long-Lasting Natural Care Aluminum-Free Deodorant Stick, Lavender, $4.24
A nice price and their claim of 12 hour-long odor protection made this one call out to me from the shelves. The packaging tells me that botanical hops inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacterial while zinc ricinoleate and natural fragrance absorb odor. I was feeling hopeful when I still smelled fine after a sweaty midday dance class but a couple of hours later I failed my sniff test.
Avalon Organics Deodorant Spray, Grapefruit and Geranium, $8.99
Though the most expensive of the bunch I wanted to experience a spray. Plus the fragrances derived from organic essential oils were divine. And it is these essential oils that are supposed to keep BO away. The spray feels so light going on compared to the sticks that I doubted it would work. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised. I had to reapply the second day but I made it through a bike ride and breezed through a 90 degree day with no AC. An added benefit: You can spritz this around as a room freshener or body spray.
Deodorant Stones of America, Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone, $6.95
I’d heard about these crystal deodorants but never tried one. It’s made from crystallized natural mineral salts which kill odor causing bacteria. You wet the crystal and apply. Well, let me tell you, this crystal rocked! I sailed through blueberry picking on a hot, humid afternoon and even survived a full day of sweating at Universal Studios in Orlando. It comes with a sticker that says: “Over 10 million sold”. Count me in.
Lafes Natural and Organic Deodorant Stick, with Organic Hemp Oil, Lavender, $5.49
Hemp seems to be everywhere — in clothes, bags, and skin care products so I wondered how it would perform in a deodorant. Besides the organic hemp oil, Aloe Vera, essential oils and natural antibacterial agents like baking soda are contained in this stick. The days I wore it were hot ones but I only got about half way through them when I started to smell funky.
So there you have it. My rankings from best to worst are:
1. Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone
2. Avalon Organics Deodorant Spray
3. Tom’s of Maine Long-Lasting Natural Care Aluminum-Free Deodorant Stick
4. Jason, Tea Tree Melaleuca Deodorant Stick
5. Lafes Natural and Organic Deodorant Stick, with Organic Hemp Oil