I’ve been using natural deodorant for about six weeks now. I wanted to share my personal experience. There’s a LOT of information (and misinformation) out there, so I recommend doing your own thorough research, speaking with your doctor or dermatologist, and ultimately figuring out what works for you. This is what I’ve done, and why I’ve done it.
So I’ve read countless articles about the dangers of aluminum in antiperspirant. If you read the back of your label, you’ll probably see something like 20% aluminum. TWENTY PERCENT. There are mixed opinions on whether or not aluminum is actually that bad for you. My opinion is that it doesn’t hurt to opt out. There are chemicals everywhere; you couldn’t remove all exposure to chemicals, even if you moved to some remote island. I wear makeup on my skin that has chemicals. My sunscreen has chemicals. I swim in pools with chemicals. I drive a gas powered car. I use laundry detergent with chemicals. The list goes on and on. To get rid of all chemicals would require a complete lifestyle change. And, frankly, I’m not ready for it.
I might not be able to do a complete 180 with my lifestyle, I can start making small baby step changes. My first step? Natural deodorant.
I jumped on the natural deodorant train after visiting Follain on Nantucket. They exclusively carry natural products. I tried a few different beauty products, but ultimately was most excited about trying the deodorant. It was perfect timing too, because I had just run out of my favorite deodorant and was going to have to make some kind of purchase that day, whether it was a repurchase at the grocery store or a natural deodorant at Follain.
The store manager walked me through the different options and I went with Meow Meow Tweet’s Grapefruit one. Now I’m using Tom’s Long-Lasting Wild Lavender Deodorant. Both are great options and good starting points. I kind of want to keep trying different ones too just to see if there are any better options out there… so let me know if you have a favorite.
This is likely going to be a disorganized brain dump. I have been taking mental notes of everything I wanted to share about my experience, so here we go.
1. Starting in summer is probably not a good time to start. I had this specific thought about ten times a day. Summer is HOT. We’ve had so many excruciatingly hot days and it made me miss my regular aluminum-ridden deodorant.
2. Sweating is a weird sensation. Deodorant is NOT an antiperspirant. It eliminates odors, but it doesn’t stop the sweating. (That’s what the aluminum does!) Honestly, I had gotten so used to wearing antiperspirant, that I don’t really know what the sweating felt like anymore. It’s weird when you’re not used to it. But sweating is a totally normal biological reaction to heat. I do have to be more conscientious about what shirts/tops I’m wearing because sweating can lead to sweat marks.
3. I’m paranoid about smelling bad. The absolute WORST part of the transition is being paranoid about smelling bad. I kept asking my boyfriend and my friends if I smelled. I made everyone SWEAR that they would tell me if I ever smelled. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more paranoid about something, in my life. (When I went down to Charleston and it was 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity, I was freaking out about how I smelled the entire time. Everyone promised that I didn’t though… so I had no choice but to believe them.)
4. It wasn’t as bad of a transition as everyone led me to believe. When I first made the decision to try it out, everyone freaked me out. I heard a variation of every horror story between what I read on the internet and what people were DMing me. People warned me about a transition period where I’d be fine for two weeks and then the smelliest person on earth overnight. I heard that I needed to detox my pits. I heard about rashes and allergic reactions and random bumps. People said that nothing worked for them.
It was definitely weird at first to be doing something different, and to be paranoid, and to learn how to be okay with sweating… but it wasn’t that bad.
The only time my sweat seems to smell is after I get nervous. I think nervous sweat must be some kind of different hormone or something. And I still get paranoid, so I just reapply whenever I get the chance. I want to find some kind of travel/tiny deodorant to keep in my purse just in case I ever get paranoid during the day!
5. I don’t think I can ever go back. The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to put aluminum on some of the thinnest skin on my body, right where a cluster of lymph nodes are located. I seriously wanted to go back to my regular deodorant after a super hot day when my paranoia was through the roof. And then that feeling passed and I came to the realization that I’d rather be safe than sorry. Even if I’m not ready to change my entire lifestyle, this is one easy thing I can do.
I’d recommend these two deodorants. Both are great, albeit different.
The Meow Meow Tweet is a cream in a tub. At first, I thought this would be a hurdle for me as I have an aversion to having dirty hands. Instead, it’s great to have a cream that you can apply and spread versus swiping a stick. I felt like I had so much more control of where the deodorant went. The grapefruit smell is pleasant, but I didn’t really smell it at all after initial application. I’d consider it more neutral-smelling than any other kind of fragrance. Again, not a bad thing when you’re going the natural route and it didn’t affect how I smelled, which is all I really care about! My only “con” for this is that the tin isn’t as easy to travel with as a stick. My recent travel spree is why I decided to try the Tom’s actually.
Tom’s Long-Lasting Wild Lavender Deodorant is more like a traditional stick that you’re used to. It definitely looks natural though. Almost clear and a little greasier than the smooth opaque stick I had been using. I LOVE the way it smells though. Having a stronger scent helped relieve some of my paranoia around smelling. I can actually smell the lavender throughout the day and it’s so pleasant. If you don’t want to deviate too far from what you’re used to, this is a good product to take the first step with.
Because both are natural, they don’t have certain stabilizers that keep the shape. Both of mine have melted while traveling and then you kind of have to mix it back together and wait for it to “set” again. To be honest, as annoying as that is, it just reaffirms my desire to avoid the chemicals.