Natural deodorants (that actually work)
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Natural deodorants haven’t always had the best reputation in terms of efficacy, but science-led formulas are changing things; the global market for them is expected to grow at a rate of 15 per cent over the next five years, and is forecast to be worth $152mn by 2026.
But what does “natural deodorant” mean? Plant-based ingredients are key, says Matt Kennedy, co-founder of British deodorant brand Fussy. Deodorants support the naturally detoxifying and body-temperature-regulating process of sweating, so their aim is to combat bad-smelling bacteria – unlike antiperspirants, which use aluminium chloride salts to block sweat glands.
US brand Megababe harnesses the power of probiotics to regulate the skin’s microbiome. The multi-mineral The Geo Duo ($14) is a vegan stick that uses lactobacillus ferment, commonly found in yoghurt, to stimulate skin’s good microbes.
Nécessaire’s gel ($15) and GoBo (£9.99) are roll-on deodorants that call into action alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which decrease the pH of skin, and make armpits an inhospitable environment for bacteria. They don’t leave marks and are super-powerful. AHAs can cause irritation to sensitive skin so Kopari’s baking-soda-free deodorant ($16) is a soothing alternative.
I’ve also found some great balms and sprays including Ursa Major’s Sublime Sage spray ($20), and Aesop’s earthy and spicy unisex deodorant (£25). Pastes might seem a bit messy, but they often have nifty application devices. AKT has created a solid-brass tool for its unisex balm (£19) with arrowroot, which comes in a toothpaste-like metal tube. Mio’s Pit Proof (£12) in eucalyptus and Siberian pine is applied through slits at the top, and Aurelia’s tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint cream comes in a glass jar (£19).
Salt & Stone upcycles ocean plastics for its containers. Its extra-strength Santal deodorant ($20) includes antioxidant-rich seaweed extracts, and its notes of Australian sandalwood, cedar and cardamom mean it could almost double up as a fragrance. Elsa’s uses compostable tubes made from recycled paper – the Ocean stick deodorant (£18) has a long-lasting peppermint aroma. Fussy goes one step further: certified carbon-neutral, the pebble-shaped case is made from recycled plastic and the compostable refills from waste sugarcane (£13 followed by a £5 refill subscription).
For those making the switch, Kennedy says: “After your pores have been blocked for years, your body may sweat more for the first few weeks before adjusting and working its magic.”
Have you switched to natural deodorant, or are you still team Mitchum? Tell us about your deodorant journey in the comments below . . .