Deodorant tends to be one of those personal hygiene products where you buy whatever smells nice from a brand who advertised with your favorite celebrity. At least that’s what my thought process was when buying deodorant at the store.
However, when I started to experience skin irritation in my underarms, I realized I needed to think about what my deodorant was made of and what was causing my skin to react. Not to mention, commercial deodorant contributes to a lot of single-use plastic that I really wanted to eliminate out of my lifestyle. So, I started to research sustainable and natural alternatives to my everyday deodorant. Here’s just a piece of what I learned:
Say No to Unwanted Ingredients
Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on your drug-store deodorant or antiperspirant? Most of the words are hard to pronounce and are unfamiliar. That’s because almost all of these ingredients are chemically made to replicate natural substances.
The most common chemically engineered ingredients include fragrances, parabens and aluminum. These substances are not necessarily the best for your body, as they can commonly be found in manufactured materials like vinyl and lubricating oils. Each of these chemicals serves a “purpose” in commercial deodorant by creating an enticing smell or a texture that appeals to consumers. For example, although fragrances make the product smell desirable, the phthalate chemicals used to create the fragrances are harsh, and do not help fight off the natural bacteria that creates the bad odors- they simply mask the smell. Ultimately, these engineered ingredients truly have no benefits to the body
The Alternative: Natural Deodorant
Natural deodorants are made from everyday materials that you can find in your local grocery store. The most common ingredients in a natural deodorant include: coconut oil, shea butter, arrowroot, baking soda and essential oils.
With the right recipe, these ingredients will use their naturally occurring antibacterial properties to block odors and reduce sweating. Many natural deodorants are also made without baking soda, as it can create skin irritation for some, due to a pH imbalance in the skin. Either way, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can even create your own deodorant right at home!
An Eco-Friendly Bonus: Sustainable Packaging
Although you can find natural deodorants at commercial stores, it’s an extra bonus to find a deodorant with environmental-friendly packaging. The most common zero-waste packaging options are: aluminum and glass containers, and compostable paper. These are all great plastic-free alternatives as they can be reused, returned (some local businesses have take-back programs!) or composted.
Typically, you’ll only find zero-waste packaging when sourcing natural deodorant from smaller, ecommerce businesses or at your local co-op. I’ve found that the most common zero-waste brands are Hammond Herbs, Meow Meow Tweet and Sustain Yourself. These businesses have a variety of natural personal hygiene products and are shipped with 100% recyclable materials. Personally, I love to use the Sustain Yourself Grapefruit Deodorant because they are local to the Twin Cities and fellow University of St. Thomas Alumni. Not to mention, their products are awesome!
Don’t Sweat the Switch!
You can be confident that natural deodorants will continue to reduce your sweat and fight smelly bacteria, all while treating your body with kind ingredients. After making the switch, I found that the natural deodorant worked better for me than the commercial brand I was using previously. Plus, it eased my mind knowing that I was using ingredients that I was familiar with and not chemically made. By using a zero-waste option, I’m also supporting a small business and being conscious of the environment by eliminating waste. Try a natural deodorant and let us know what you think! Now’s the time to try!