It’s probably not breaking news to most of us that deodorants can have toxic and potentially harmful ingredients.
Years ago, before I knew much about non-toxic living, it was one of the first products I knew I should switch. I remember buying a more “natural” deodorant and thought I was golden (oh “greenwashing” marketing, you tricky fellow you). Fast forward a few years and I learned what ingredients a real non-toxic deodorant contains…or rather doesn’t contain.
I won’t lie, I tried a few and did not like them at all. I never was someone who smelled bad, but these deodorants had somehow managed to make me stink. Plus, not only was I now smelly (a quality most people look to fix when wearing deodorant), but they stained my shirts, too! Out from the back of my drawer came my not-so-natural deodorant again.
Big mistake. Huge.
First, let’s cover some basics. There are two categories of what you can buy:
- Deodorants contain ingredients that kill the bacteria that causes odor and contain fragrance to mask the smell.
- Antiperspirants are deodorants that have extra ingredients to keep us from sweating.
One big problem with conventional deodorants and antiperspirants is they contain a number of harmful and potentially harmful ingredients like fragrance and aluminum (antiperspirants use aluminum to clog your pores to keep you from sweating…eek). Your armpits are right next to your lymph nodes, which are critical to the body’s immune system. When you swipe deodorant on every morning, your armpit is absorbing these chemicals. They can penetrate your skin and make their way into your bloodstream and lymph nodes. A lot of these toxic ingredients mimic estrogen and can lead to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can turn into serious illness, infertility and exacerbate a whole host of health issues like PMS, thyroid imbalance, hair loss and more.
While doctors and the government won’t tell you that aluminum is dangerous for certain, when a woman has breast cancer one of the first things the doctor will tell the patient is to stop using deodorant with aluminum. Coincidence? I think not.
So what exactly should we be avoiding in deodorant? Here are ingredients you want to avoid:
- Parabens – These chemicals known to disrupt hormones can produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects
- Fragrance – Synthetic fragrance has been directly linked to causing reproductive issues, cancer, allergies, ADHD, and migraines.
- Phthalates – This group of chemicals can disrupt hormones and can affect brain development in a fetus.
- Tricolsan – A common ingredient that reduces or prevents bacterial contamination, it also alters hormone regulation and contributes to antibiotic resistant bacteria
- Aluminum – This is a known carcinogen and chemical that causes cancer.
These ingredients are found in the most popular deodorants you find in any major store. A lot of deodorants market themselves as “safer” since they don’t contain aluminum, but they still contain artificial fragrance. Anytime you see “parfum” or “fragrance,” put that stick back on the shelf.
Before I talk about my favorite non-toxic deodorant, let’s get something out of the way. No natural deodorant is going to perform as beautifully as your favorite antiperspirant. You will sweat with natural deodorant. That being said, our bodies should sweat. Our bodies are really intelligent in how they are designed. Our body knows to sweat through our pores as a mechanism to cool us down when we get overheated. Additionally when we sweat, we release toxins. Sweating also helps prevents illness and colds! Using antiperspirants block our body from doing what it is made to do.
I’ve tried a number of brands and my two favorites are Primally Pure. and Beautycounter. I’ve been using Primally Pure for about two years now and I’ve recommended it to many friends who are so grateful to finally “find a safe deodorant that works!” It swipes on smooth and they make great gentle scents from essential oils. They offer a number of scents an even have an unscented option. Their non-toxic formula is incredibly concentrated, made with only a few pure ingredients – ingredients that work with the body to not only neutralize B.O., but to help detoxify the body of toxic buildup and bring balance back to sweat glands.
If you are wondering which deodorant is best for you, Primally Pure has a nifty quiz. My favorites scents are blue tansy, charcoal and lavender. My Mom, who recently had breast cancer, and knew she needed a safe deodorant going forward but doesn’t like scents loves the charcoal.
Beautycounter just launched their new clean deodorant and I love it just as much as Primally Pure. A really cool feature about it is that it’s refillable! It comes in three scents – coconut, rose and lavender. Coconut is my favorite! It’s risk free to try the deodorant as they offer a 60 day open box return policy!
Note, when switching from a conventional deodorant to a safe deodorant, there might be a period where you are smelly as your body adjusts to ACTUALLY being able to sweat and detox!! Primally Pure has compiled a post with extra tips on transitioning to natural deodorant.