Don’t sweat it – these natural deodorants will keep you fresh all day
During the stay-at-home season of the pandemic, I often forgot to apply antiperspirant or deodorant, which led me to discover that my armpits aren’t as sweaty as they used to be. And I’m not alone: a Mintel survey revealed that almost a third of us have been applying less deodorant, with a fifth of women not using it at all because of concerns that it’s not good for us. Over a third are interested in natural deodorants, and ones with minimal packaging that’s preferably plastic free.
What’s the difference between antiperspirants and deodorants?
Antiperspirants, as the name suggests, stop the body from perspiring. Deodorants stop odour from developing, so your armpits may be damp, but shouldn’t smell. Antiperspirants use aluminium, which blocks sweat glands, and when you try to scrub it off, you realise how tenaciously it clings to the skin. If you’re thinking about trying a natural deodorant, I don’t think there’s any need for the clay armpit masks that are currently trending on TikTok, amid claims that you need to ‘purge’ your pits to ease the transition, but giving your underarm skin a little TLC probably won’t go amiss.
Natural deodorants to try
Coming in a range of formats, from bars to balms, sprays to sticks, they generally contain a moisture-absorbing ingredient, such as tapioca starch, arrowroot or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), plus essential oils that are antibacterial and/or smell good, too.
This paper-wrapped bar in a cardboard box (travel tin available for £2.99) contains arrowroot and Fairtrade-certified coconut oil as its base. It smelt divine, rubbed on easily, and worked well on one of the hottest late summer days.
This comes in a push-up tube made from post-consumer recycled plastic, that can be refilled (refills, £8.90). Its slightly powdery, solid form glides on well, thanks to a base that includes coconut oil and shea butter, plus tapioca starch and sodium bicarbonate. Other options are Lavender & Vanilla, Amber & Sandalwood, Vetiver & Citrus and Unscented, but Melon & Cucumber reminded me of a watermelon ice lolly that I loved when I worked in Japan.
In a recyclable glass bottle, with a non-aerosol pump spray, this has a lemony, limey fragrance, and after squirting it on it dries quickly.
Both the Rose and Sage Mint roll-ons smell divine, and have a smooth, creamy texture that’s easily applied. Rose has perspiration-regulating Alchemilla (lady’s mantle), and suits sensitive skin, and Sage Mint has absorbent tapioca starch and astringent witch hazel and sage – and a slight tingling sensation initially.
This silky-smooth cream in a tin smells citrussy-fresh and woody – which makes sense as ‘verveine’ means verbena. Its rich texture sank into the skin quickly, and withstood an extremely stressful day.
Looks like a bath bomb, decorated with blue cornflowers on a blue wax base, and, like a bath bomb, contains sodium bicarbonate, as well as cream of tartar. Its lovely, strong lemongrass scent perfumed my office while awaiting testing. Tingly when rubbed on to skin, it leaves a slight dusty effect, and did the job. It also wins the award for least packaging, coming wrapped in just paper.
Its active deodorising ingredient is zinc ricinoleate, derived from castor oil, while its woody, herby, earthy scent comes from a blend of essential oils including lavender, sandalwood, eucalyptus and tea tree. Its look is understated, with an elegant brown-glass bottle and pared-back labelling.
If you prefer a clean, almost medicinal aroma for your underarms, this is for you, with eucalyptus essential oil and an extract of kaffir lime helping to neutralise odour, in recyclable polypropylene packaging. Having gone through a sweaty menopausal phase, Alyson swears by the Malin + Goetz Bergamot. (Also available at Cult Beauty)
And finally, I’d like to thank my partner for repeatedly sniffing my armpits before, during and after testing…
Adrienne Wyper is a health and lifestyle writer and regular TNMA contributor.