When I started the process of replacing conventional personal care products with cleaner, greener ones, one of the first things I looked for was an effective natural deodorant. Like most people, I use this product every day and it stays on my skin all day. Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain a cocktail of ingredients that I wanted to avoid. First and foremost on the list are the aluminum compounds used to plug sweat ducts to stop the flow of sweat. Aluminum is a neurotoxin; small amounts are absorbed by the skin. The science on the health effects of aluminum salts in antiperspirants is conflicting. For example, there are no conclusive studies establishing a causal link between the use of antiperspirants and breast cancer. However, some studies have suggested that there is a relationship between the use of these products and breast cancer, and also that aluminum compounds can cause estrogen-like effects in breast tissue. Thus, the National Cancer Institute has determined that additional research is needed to investigate the relationship between antiperspirants and breast cancer. Further, conventional deodorants/antiperspirants can contain a whole additional slew of problematic ingredients, including BHT, synthetic fragrances and penetration enhancers, such as propylene glycol, that facilitate the skin's absorption of all that bad stuff.
So, I tried many different deodorants with cleaner ingredients, but couldn't find one that worked well for me. Let's just say that they didn't neutralize odors as well as one might hope. Last year, though, at an event sponsored by Women for a Healthy Environment, I asked natural beauty expert Jessa Blades if she could recommend a non-toxic deodorant that actually worked. Yes! she said: Soapwalla's Deodorant Cream. She was right, this is a great product. It uses clays, baking soda and vegetable powders to absorb moisture, and organic essential oils to inhibit bacteria.
Two caveats: (1) when I first started using the Deodorant Cream, I developed red bumps under my arms and stopped using it for a while. Apparently this is a not uncommon reaction, for many people it seems to be a reaction to the baking soda. I tried it again when I ran out of the deodorant I was using and have never had a problem since. I just try to remember not to use it right after shaving. Also, Rebecca, Soapwalla's owner will make a baking soda-free version if the baking soda causes a reaction. (2) At $12 plus $4 shipping, it is somewhat pricey. However, it lasts a long time and for a product that is so effective and so pure, I'm willing to pay the price.
Finally, given that everybody's body chemistry is different and people react to different ingredients, it is possible that Soapwalla's Deodorant Cream won't work for you. Thus, I am listing a couple of other cleaner, greener choices that have received rave reviews on various sites:
- Bubble & Bee Pit Putty Deodorant Creams: This company is serious about the safety of the ingredients is uses. Many of its products are USDA certified 100% organic.
- Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant: I've used and liked this product a lot. It contains no petrochemicals, phthalates, propylene glycol, sulfates or parabens. I purchased the vanilla coconut scent at Sephora.
I would love to hear from anyone who has found a "clean" deodorant that works for them.