For 27 years, I didn’t give much thought to my deodorant. I slapped it on in the morning and never bothered to read the ingredients. Then, I got really sick.
Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome made me rethink everything I was putting IN and ON my body. Things that once seemed harmless now made me react with pain, swelling, and fatigue. As I lay in my sickbed, I started reading everything I could get my hands on about getting healthy. Over and over, I came across people who’d switched to natural products and saw a difference in their health. So I decided to give it a try.
When I first started switching to natural products, deodorant was the one I dreaded the most. I was afraid that natural deodorant would leave me sweaty and smelly. Or reeking of patchouli, which is not exactly the vibe I’m going for.
But I knew that this was an important one. Conventional deodorants contain aluminum, which is a known neurotoxin. In high amounts, aluminum can cause memory loss, fatigue, behavior changes, and cognitive impairments. Since I already had some of those symptoms, I didn’t want to put anything in my body that might increase them.
Many deodorants also contain parabens, which disrupt the endocrine system. This can throw off hormone production, which in turn throws off energy levels, metabolism, mood, etc. One study even suggested that this could cause breast cancer. Again, I didn’t want to take my chances.
So I bit the bullet, threw out my usual Dove stick, and started trying natural brands.
To my surprise, the natural deodorants worked great! They made me smell socially-acceptable, while also doing a good job of reducing sweat (something that’s harder to do without gland-blocking aluminum). Here’s what I tried:
Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant
The first one I tried was Meow Meow Tweet’s Baking Soda Free Deodorant Cream. I liked that this brand uses a lot of organic and fair-trade ingredients and non-plastic (often compostable) packaging. I also loved that Meow Meow Tweet is a small company focusing solely on ethical and sustainable beauty products. I may or may not have thrown a few extras in my shopping cart…
I chose the grapefruit scent, although I was intrigued by the cedar-spruce and lavender-bergamot ones too. I also decided to get the jar rather than the stick, since reviews suggested it worked better when applied manually. It did take me a couple days to get used to applying the deodorant with my hands, but I soon came to feel more in touch (literally) with my pits. I also liked the control I had over how much I applied, and I felt like it actually absorbed better than any stick I’d used.
The formula had a really nice dry finish on the skin. It didn’t leave a residue or get on my clothes. Plus it kept me feeling fresh and smelling good all day!
Although I was perfectly happy with my Meow Meow Tweet deodorant, I decided to try one more brand just to see what the fuss was about. I bought Native Deodorant in cedar & sea salt for my husband and fig & honey for myself. What intrigued me about this brand was their outside-the-box scents (lychee, matcha, and oakmoss, to name a few) and their inclusion of probiotics in their formula. I am all about good bacteria lately, so I thought why not put in on my armpits!
My husband has always been an Old Spice man, but he’s been really happy with his Native stick. He told me it took him a while to get used to a creamier deodorant, but he likes the scent and hasn’t had any issues with it. I think he smells great, too.
I also had good results with Native. The scent was lovely, and I felt pretty dry all day. However, I did make a mistake not getting the sensitive formula. I really wanted the fig scent, but they only had it in the regular formula, so I risked it. My body and skin are very reactive, and within a few days, my underarms were pretty irritated. I ultimately decided to go back to my Meow Meow Tweet deodorant, but I think the Native sensitive formula would have worked fine for me had I not been so stubborn about scent.
Overall, it’s been surprisingly easy for both my husband and me to switch to natural deodorant. We’re enjoying the health benefits and knowing that our deodorants were ethically-made (both are made in America by small businesses). I have particularly noticed less brain fog and anxiety since switching over, which I think may have something to do with the magnesium in Meow Meow Tweet’s formula. At any rate, we are converted!
Would you try natural deodorant? Are you already a fan? Let me know in the comments!
This post is part of a series on natural products. For more about “Going Natural,” subscribe to my weekly email (signup in the sidebar) or follow on my Facebook Page.
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Photo: © Elizabeth Steere