There is a lot being currently said about the cumulative effect of chemicals in our bodies. That is the reason why I’m starting a series of articles about green alternatives for those who would like to reduce the amount of synthetic components they are exposed to. This said, it’s important to note that beauty products that use chemicals aren’t necessarily unsafe (that’s something that only the FDA can determine, and apparently there are not enough studies yet to reach a conclusion in this field.) However, I think it is important to help the consumers navigate the difference between natural, greenwashed, and chemical products so everyone can make an informed decision of what suits best their needs.
To me, the most important product on which we should fix our green objectives is the deodorant. It’s a beauty product we use every day, and because there is an ongoing scientific conversation about the possible negative effects of aluminium entering our bodies, I’ve been researching cleaner alternatives.
For some reason, there are not too many healthy and effective green alternatives to traditional deodorant. Of the few deodorants that contain no aluminiums and no parabens, just a tiny percentage seem to be really 100 percent natural. Unfortunately, many deodorants that contain no aluminium have substituted it for another chemical, yet market their product as “natural” to make the consumers perceive they are better than their traditional counterparts. To me, that’s pure and simple greenwashing, a marketing technique used by many brands to change the consumer’s perception about the chemicals there are in the formulas by using the world ‘natural’ or ‘naturally’ without actually having a totally clean composition.
Today, I’m reviewing four different brands: Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Aluminium Free Deodorant, Kelly Teegarden Finally All Natural Deodorant, LaVanila Laboratories The Healthy Sport Luxe Deodorant, and The Organic Pharmacy Deodorant Spray. I have personally used each of them for a week, read their ingredients and generally tried to understand whether their labels correspond to what they actually do. Here are my conclusions:
The product: A made in USA, cruelty-free, and leaping bunny certified natural deodorant created only with natural ingredients, many of which are also organic. This deodorant comes in a stick. It promises up to 24 hours odor-free protection with no staining.
The formula: It is created only with natural ingredients, many of which are also organic. I’m positively surprised because the first ingredient listed is Coconut Oil along with Sodium Bicarbonate, which is quite rare in the industry. The list of ingredients is pretty short (14 of them), and I can pronounce and understand everything I read there. This is obviously a clean formula, with a small concern about sodium bicarbonate, which can be irritating for some types of skin.
The results: I have to say I’m a believer of this deodorant. I have tested it for a week with impeccable results (no stains and up to 18 hours of protection as far as I can say.) For best results, it’s best to place the deodorant under the underarm and allow it to warm up for a few seconds before applying. In my opinion, this has to do with the fact that it’s formulated with coconut oil and shea butter, which need a few seconds to melt before you can apply them to your skin.
My rating: In my opinion, this is an excellent product that can proudly claim it’s totally natural, effective, and healthy (in the sense that doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals nor known endocrine disruptors or potential cancer-causing ingredients.) Kelly Teegarden All Natural Deodorant is ideal for those of you looking for an all-natural and effective alternative. Although it doesn’t have the FDA organic seal, I feel this deodorant will very likely bear it soon.
2. LaVanila Laboratories The Healthy Sport Luxe Deodorant ($16)
The product: An aluminium-free deodorant made in Canada created for an active life in motion. Its 100 percent natural formula is created without harsh chemicals. Infused with proprietary SmartSportTM Technology, it ensures high performance defense and nourishment. It comes in a solid stick.
The formula: The Healty Sport Luxe Deodorant contains no propylene glycol, no aluminim, no mineral oils, and no petrochemicals (which, believe it or not, are present in many deodorants.) The list of ingredients in this formula is quite long, and any chemically-sounding ingredient is naturally derived (for example, its glylceryl laureate is derived from coconut and palm kernel oil.) The only one I’m concerned about is silica, which can be chemically or naturally occurring, and LaVanila doesn’t state which type they’re using (and, though natural, it’s not one of my favorite ingredients.) Overall, EWG awards this product a score 4 mainly because the use of fragrance (which can potentially be derived from petrochemicals.) However, LaVanila’s fragrance is a botanical blend, so I feel that score should be revised.
The results: It really stands up to its promises. After using this deodorant for a week, I’ve noticed a real 24-hour continued protection with no stains on my dark clothes. Also, the vanilla smell is quite pleasant, and although it also contains sodium bicarbonate I haven’t experienced any irritation in my armpits.
My rating: In my opinion, this is also an excellent and remarkable product. The Healthy Sport Luxe Deodorant really stands up to its promises, smells divinely, and all its ingredients seem to be safe enough for those concerned with nasty chemicals.
3. The Organic Pharmacy Deodorant Spray ($35)
The product: A unisex spray that effectively deodorizes without the use of chemicals.
The formula: The Organic Pharmacy Deodorant Spray has the cleanest formula of all the deodorants I’m reviewing. The list is short and I can pronounce all its ingredients. It contains water, aloe vera, rosemary oil, lemon oil, witch hazel, sage, neroli, and rye alcohol. Nothing more, nothing less. Most of these ingredients are also organic. Because it doesn’t contain sodium bicarbonate, this formula is the gentlest for the most delicate skins.
The results: It really does create a safe and gentle lasting protection. I have used it for a week, and although it’s not as long-lasting as the other deodorants I’m reviewing, I have found that with a quick spritz in the morning and another in the afternoon I’m pretty much covered for my whole day (which includes extensive commuting, tourist avoiding, and in general sweating.)
My rating: This is the ideal formulation for those of you willing to go radically green. Although you might need to reapply it in the afternoon, this deodorant is the cleaniest I have ever seen, and it’s been formulated with effective natural ingredients.
4. Tom’s Of Maine Long Lasting Aluminium-Free Deodorant Wild Lavender ($4.50)
product: It’s a cruelty-free, vegan and Made in USA deodorant in a
stick. Formulated without artificial fragrances, aluminim, or
preservatives, it claims to offer “natural odor protection.” The smell
is quite pleasant and not overwhelming.
formula: Created with quite a few natural ingredients, it is however
NOT a totally natural alternative. It’s first ingredient listed (which
means it’s the most abundant in the formula) is propylene glycol.
Although it’s not as bad as aluminium, it still can create some health
problems and organic toxicity, according to the EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
results: I have used this product for two weeks and it works on me.
It’s not as strong as an antiperspirant, and I always bring one with me
in my bag in case I need to reapply it in the afternoon, but overall I
am really pleased with the results. I have even used it after razing my
underarms and it didn’t leave me a burning feeling. It doesn’t leave
terrible white traces on clothes.
My rating: This is a tricky
situation, because although all the ingredients are safe and the formula
eliminates anything that has to do with aluminium, it still contains
some chemicals. I do not like the fact that they claim it’s a “natural
24 hour odor protection” while they’re still using chemical compounds,
though way milder and better than those of the traditional deodorants.
In my opinion, this is a case of greenwashing. The EWG Skin Deep
Database awards this product a score 1
(1 being the safest and 10 being the most dangerous,) and I think it
has to do with the fact that these chemicals aren’t the worst offenders.
However, if you are really looking for a 100 percent natural formula,
you should switch to another option.
If you have read this post until the very end, it means you are
concerned about what is in your deodorant. Please feel free to comment
below with your opinions, and feel free to share my article in social
media if you found it interesting.
Disclosure level 1: The author received no compensation to write this post. The author received a sample of the products to test. There are no affiliate links on this post.