BODY | The best and worst of natural deodorants

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Humans sweat. I seem to sweat more than usual, although it’s hard to compare, having only ever been myself; the assumption comes from the fact that ordinary strength antiperspirant/deodorants don’t really work for me. For that reason, I’ve always been hesitant to try natural alternatives, but since the opportunity came my way, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by one product in particular.

Despite the fact that natural products can really only be deodorants, not antiperspirants, there are two reasons why I’ve made a dedicated attempt to see if they will work for me. The first is that I like to try new things (that one’s simple).

The second is an admission that violates my science-loving inclination. Most clinical antiperspirants contain aluminium, which many people like to avoid as it can be allegedly harmful to one’s health. Aluminium has been previously linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, although there is no sound scientific evidence for this. Whereas ordinarily I would be demanding conclusive evidence before subscribing to such a thought, in this case there is a personal connection. My paternal grandfather suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and his health and mental wellbeing has declined over the past ten or more years since his diagnosis, to the point where he is no longer my granddad Tom. His life-long career? Working with aluminium. I know a personal anecdote is tenuous at best, but in this case it is enough for me.

Enough of that! Let’s talk about the deodorants themselves. I’ve got two: the Lush Guv’ner Deodorant Powder (NZ $20.90) and the Soapwalla Deodorant Cream* (NZ $23). Two very different formulas, and the Soapwalla cream is naturally much easier to work with than the Lush loose powder.

In fact, the Lush powder gets a big thumbs down from me, in the one stake that really matters when it comes to deodorants: it doesn’t de-odour. So let’s talk about the Soapwalla one, shall we?

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You can order this from Oh Natural if you’re buying in New Zealand, which is handy if you’re a) in a rush for more deodorant or b) are unsure about shipping a natural and preservative-free product internationally. It comes in super cute, compact packaging but you still get 55g, which by the looks of things will last me a good long time.

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The product is in a smooth cream form which you just take a little scoop of and rub into your underarm skin. I know jars aren’t the most hygienic of ways to store cosmetics, but the deodorant is full of anti-bacterials like tea tree oil, so I think it’s fine. The other this is if you’ve got long nails, this is going to get all up under them.

Mild inconveniences aside, this is a damn good deodorant. I don’t feel grossly sweaty, and if I do, I don’t feel like I need to go home and hide because I smell bad. It smells nice, herby and a little medicinal when you put it on, but it doesn’t release that smell during the day; it just does its job quietly.

I’m really happy that this worked out for me, for both functional and sentimental reasons.

Have you tried any natural deodorants? Are there any products you avoid for less-than-logical reasons?

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  • Nadine Armiger

    Thanks so much for sharing a NZ supplier for Soapwalla! I’d heard of a it a while back but hadn’t been able to find a local source. I have totally just bought some!

    • You’re welcome Nadine! I hope you love it as much as I do!

  • Deodorant powder seems counter-productive, I’d probably end up with it everywhere but where I want it. Might look into the cream though!

    • The powder was tricky to get used to, although I didn’t make too much of a mess with it. It just didn’t work!

  • Sophie ♥

    Tamira sent me over the Lavinila Deoderant from Sephora which is aluminium and mineral-oil free. I’ve not tried it yet because I seem to have several roll-on deodorants open at the moment but I’ll let you know if it’s any good! x

  • I’ve always wondered about natural deodorants. I’ve heard the Eco Tan one is quite good, but some of them are a waste of time apparently. I want one that will stand up to running!

  • carlyhitchcock

    I use the clear crystal stick from iherb – it has rave reviews. I like it but obviously it doesn’t work as well as an antiperspirant. Seems good for light sweating days though, or at night. It smells a bit salty sometimes though, maybe from the minerals?

  • Zoe

    I’m hankering to try the lavanila roll on deodorants and the Soapwalla cream but im so sceptical of natural deodorants and how effective they are. I get so sweaty with the humidity in summer that I really need something strong which is why I’ve been holding off on natural deodorants so far!

    • I don’t know how the Soapwalla one will go in extreme heat but I’ve found it good for daily wear. I have problems with sweat when I bundle up for the cold then rush to work, so by the time I get there I’m sweating and smelly. This one has stopped that so far!

  • Never thought of having a cream deodorant, might have to give it a go as every other deodorant doesn’t seem to work for me.

    Ashley | http://artedellamoda.blogspot.co.nz/

  • Caitlin Harsant

    Soapwalla gave me the worst, itchy, irritated under arms ever! I so badly wanted to love it and had heard so many good things, unfortunately, it just made my armpits sting to the extent that I had to wash it off. I have heard this reaction is actually pretty common (unsure why). I currently use the Eco Tan deodorant and I really like it. Luckily, I don’t actually sweat too much so natural deo’s work well for me. I would love to try out some more!

    • That’s a shame! The instructions say not to use it immediately after shaving or waxing – maybe that’s what caused the reaction?

  • Corrine

    Hi Morgan, heard great things about Soapwalla. I’ve been meaning to try it for years. Tom’s of Maine has never really done it for me. My friend also recommended Lavilin. Any experience with it?

    • Hi Corrine, I really recommend Soapwalla! I haven’t tried Lavanilla yet but I have had one of their mini deodorant sticks in my cart at Sephora for a while. Maybe I should pull the trigger soon and put it to the test against Soapwalla!

  • punkdinosaur

    My armpits are really sensitive towards alcohol and aluminium. If I use any regular deodorant/antiperspirant they’ll itch and turn darker! Baby powder is what I’m using right now. It does a decent job at keeping the smell away for the day, but it’s pretty inconvenient to apply, being a powder at all.