Humans have been concerned about their smell for thousands of years, when their techniques were a little less convenient than what we have nowadays.
The perception of which body odours are "acceptable" has changed throughout history and it varied across different cultures. The Egyptians were known to already engage in scented baths to remove smell and applied essential oils to their armpits. The Vikings were known to have an "extreme" hygiene routine where they showered weekly.. something that the english and the french during Napoleon times were known to not agree with.
So, whatever is your stand with regards to the acceptance of body odours, one thing is clear, whatever we use to fight our armpit odour should be natural and friendly to our skin and the planet.
Carry on reading to learn the mechanism through which our armpits can smell, what things you should consider when choosing a deodorant and some cool recommendations to find the natural deodorant that best suits you.
How do deodorants work?
First of all, it is important that we understand that the smell from our armpits doesn't come from the sweat, since the sweat itself doesn't have any odour. Instead the smells comes from bacteria that lives on your armpits and feeds itself from the sweat that we produce.
Deodorants have some ingredients that fight the bacteria that builds up on your armpits, so you can carry on sweating since it is a necessary body function, but without smelling bad.
Natural deodorants use ingredients such as bicarbonate, cornstarch and essential oils that attack the bacteria on your armpits without clogging your armpit pores, resulting in no smell and a healthy skin.
What is the difference between deodorants and antiperspirant?
The main difference is the way in which they solve the problem, as well as what ingredients they use and how good for your those ingredients are.
- Antiperspirants are designed to block up your sweat glands and prevent you from sweating. To do this they use aluminium salts which tighten your sweat glands preventing your from perspiring.
- Deodorants kill the bacteria in our skin, so that when we sweat and release fats and proteins there is no bacteria on our skin that can feed from it.
How do I know if a deodorant contains aluminium?
You have to read the ingredients INCI and search for one of these: Aluminum Zirconium Pentachlorohidrate, Aluminium Sesquiclorhidrate, Aluminum Fluoride, Alumnium Chlorohydrex PG, Aluminium Chorhydrate, Aluminum Chlorohydrex, Aluminium Chloride or Potassium alum.
Although there is not causal medical evidence that prooves that aluminium salts lead to specific health conditions, there has been evidence linking it Alzheimer or cancer.
As a general rule, it is better to use a deodorant that fights the smell while you can carry on with your normal body functions instead of preventing your body from sweating with antiperspirants.
Things to consider when choosing a deodorant?
There are various things that weight on the sustainability and impact of a deodorant.
- Packaging: Most deodorants in the market come packaged inside of impossible or hard to recycle bottles. Seeking for the cheapest way to pack the product companies make it difficult for the end-customer to recycle their deodorant at the end of its use. Fortunately, there a few brands that are committed to help you reduce your impact and pack their deodorants in plastic-free tubes or fully recyclable packaging. This way you can ensure that your deodorant doesn't end up in the natural environment harming the planet and the life in it.
- Ingredients: As we mentioned before, it is important that you choose deodorants with natural ingredients that don't contain aluminium. Make sure that the deodorant that you are using not only fights your armpit smell but also nurtures and takes care of your skin. Choose bicarbonate or cornstarch over aluminium deodorants and choose essential oils that help your skin.
- Vegan: Many deodorants in the market are tested in animals before they reach the shelf of your bathroom. This is not because it is necessary but because it is easier and cheaper for brands to do this. Say no to animal cruelty and the use of non essential animal products in cosmetics.
- Fair trade: Because sustainability is not only about the planet, but also about the people. Make sure that you consume products that have been produced under fair working conditions and there are in place programmes to help the workers and their families progress both professionally and personally.
- The brand: Whenever you pay for a product, you are giving a vote to that brand. Very often we consume from brands that use the profit from our consumption in ways which harm the planet, the people and future generations. Look for purpose driven brands that are every day striving to do better and give back more than they take from the planet and the communities that make the products possible.
- Skin: if you have sensitive skin or normal skin you should look for some ingredients or others. For example if you have sensitive skin look for natural deodorants without bicarbonate.
What natural and aluminium-free deodorant should I use?
Natural, Sustainable and aluminium-free deodorants
Depending on your skin type, your daily activity, your personal taste for the format of the deodorants you have different options to choose from. The following plastic-free deodorants have been chosen carefully to provide the skin the best solutions against bad armpit odours while taking care of the planet and the people.
Deodorant for Sensitive Skin
For people with sensitive skin it is better to use natural deodorants without bicarbonate. Instead use natural deodorants with cornstarch as the base and apply between 1 or 2 times a day.
This deodorant doesn't contain bicarbonate and is specially formulated for people with sensitive skin. This model is vegan and the beeswax has been replaced by a plant wax. It uses corn starch powder instead of baking soda. It comes in a 100% recyclable and plastic free cardboard tube with a thin layer of biodegradable film to protect the deodorant.
This natural deodorant in stick formar is specially formulated for sensitive skins. It is hypoallergenic, plastic-free and has a nice and gentle smell. Without any doubt one of the best deodorants we have tried.
Cruelty free, vegan, plastic free and an effective natural deodorant for sensitive skin. It has a fresh and gentle citrus smell that will help you control the armpit odour in the most friendly of ways for the skin.
Natural Deodorant for Normal Skin
For people with normal skin you can use natural deodorants with bicarbonate. These deodorants are completely natural and you can apply them once a day, you will still smell nice and fresh into your evening.
These natural and plastic-free deodorants from We Love The Planet not only they smell amazing and last for many months, they are as friendly to earth as they are with your skin. The contain bicarbonate, coconut oil, cornsarch and beeswax and you will find them in different scents.
These deodorants from Ben&Anna are completely natural, plastic free, vegan and suitable for normal skin. They use bicarbonate as the base for this earth and skin friendly deodorant. They come packaged in a zero waste tin that you can re-use after finishing the deodorant.
These natural and plastic-free deodorants go one step beyond and have work had to develop these formulas that do not contain beeswax. Instead they replace it with the fruits from the Morella Cerifera Tree that produces an excellent replacement for beeswax.
Long-lasting Natural Deodorant Nuud
This is what we call innovation for the good of the planet and you. Nuud is a revolutionary anti-odorant that is highly effective and totally innocent. It has a revolutionary formula free without aluminium, parabens, petrochemicals or any other vague chemicals. If all that was not enough they pack their natural deodorant in tubes made from sugarcane.
Vegan certified anti-odorant focuses on micro-sized natural silver that prevents odour by neutralising bacteria on the skin, maintaining its effect for several days. On average people using Nuud report only having to apply it once every 3-7 days.
Now you have the knowledge, the solutions and the power to implement this little change that makes a big difference to our planet and for your skin. Make sure to teach and share what you learn along the way, because together we are the solution!