natural deodorant

Natural vs. Conventional Deodorant

It’s a long walk to anti-perspiring freedom – I wish someone had told me this when I chose to make the move to natural, non-toxic deodorants. It all started on a clammy day in Cape Town when myself and a group of friends decided to take on Mother Mountain. After an incredibly successful and enriching hike to the top I pulled my trusty Brand Name spray, when one of my friends piped up, “Don’t you know that stuff will kill you.” A little hyperbolic, I thought, but let’s hear him out.

The biggest concern when it comes to conventional deodorant is the aluminium, and the aluminium is included as this is the active ingredient that stops perspiration, AKA an anti-perspirant. Non-toxic deodorants’, on the other hand, have natural ingredients that combine to kill the bacteria that stops your sweat from smelling bad. So, although there might not be an undesirable odour, there is certainly still the opportunity to sweat. Which is not necessarily a win for many.

For some reason sweat can be embarrassing. Obviously it depends who you are, how conventional you are and how much you care, but a sweaty pit stain at the end of a handshake in a job interview is not the most prudent for most people.

The key to making the switch effectively is patience. And maybe a little bit of research… and perhaps a sprinkling of trial and error. But essentially you have to go ahead and find a product that works for you, depending on your body’s requirements.

I’m lucky – underarm hair has never really been a big issue for me, and once I was old enough I went and got what few hairs remained zapped off for the rest of time. For me, less hair equaled less sweat and therefore less odour. So the natural switch was a little easier to make. This isn’t the case for everyone. I had a male friend who tried his hand in crystal deodorant rocks three times before finally committing to the path. The first time he dropped the crystal and it shattered into a million pieces (this is good to know – don’t drop your crystal), and from there it was just a matter of adjusting to his newfound watery ways. I also realised that you should buy a product that is manufactured and tested in the country you live in. European brands can’t handle the African heat, I found this out the hard way on a hot hot day in December when I plunged the unsuspecting deodorant stick into my armpit and instantly turned into Jabba the Hutt.

But why make the shift?

Jokes aside, why should you make the switch? Although the link is not entirely conclusive, research done indicates that the use of aluminium in conventional deodorants has been linked to the development of Alzheimers and Breast Cancer (1). The former was concluded in two separate studies where Alzheimer patients were found to have higher than average amounts of aluminium in the brains. In the latter, research concluded that it is due to the proximity of the armpit to the breast, where it can travel into the blood through absorption and shaving nicks. As well as antiperspirant stopping the excretion of potentially cancerous substances from the body (1).

At the end of the day – the choice is yours. Personally, I believe you can’t go wrong with natural. Take your time, make the switch, and maybe just pack a few extra tissues in your back pocket for a potential alfresco moment. 


Salt of the Earth Natural Deodorant – Unscented. 5 STARS “AMAZING… You could sweat a brick with this deodorant and no one will know. Better than even the chemical full deodorant in the stores. Natural deodorant has never worked for me, but this is really great. Hopefully it will last a long time as it’s a bit heavy on the price. But it definitely works!” – Ang

Earth Ant Wild Rose Deodorant. 5 STARS. “I have tried so many different natural deodorants over so many years, and this is the winner by far! It is easy to apply, doesn’t irritate my skin, and it WORKS. The fragrance is lovely: fresh, gentle and uplifting. I’m so happy that it is local too.” – Vera

The Apothecary Tea Tree & Cedarwood Deodorant. 5 STARS. “Kind on the skin. My husband tried a range of mild deodorants but still suffered from irritation in the armpits. He has been using this product for over a year now and his problem is solved.” – Ellen

Reference: 1

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