Of all the earth-friendly product switches I have made over the last few years, deodorant has been the most challenging by far! After a year of searching and a bag of money wasted, I was left with a draw full of mostly-still-full deodorant bottles and smelly pits! But finally…finally, based on a passing (and now wonderful) recommendation from a friend, I found it! The holy grail of earth friendly products, an earth friendly deodorant that actually works, smells great and doesn’t cost the earth!
Because this search has made me want to pull my hair out and scream I decided that I had better chronicle my search ASAP, so that our readers need not go through the same traumatic experience! And so here is a brief overview of my search for the one!
I used to use a well-known antiperspirant that professes to be “all you need”. Now if you aren’t aware of the health and environmental issues associated with almost all commercial antiperspirants and deodorants let me quickly highlight the main issues.
Deodorant and antiperspirant are not the same thing:
- Antiperspirants work by preventing perspiration from occurring
- Deodorants allow perspiration but block odour, by killing the bacteria that cause odour
So from a health perspective, it makes more sense for us to use deodorants that don’t prevent us from sweating, which is a natural process, they just prevent our sweat from smelling.
The main active ingredient in most commercial antiperspirants and deodorants is aluminium, which has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and kidney problems. Other ingredients include a whole host of nasties such as talc, parabens and synthetic fragrances (see our last blog post Are You Contributing to Water Pollution? for more information on these nasties). There is still a lot of debate amongst the scientific and medical community as to whether aluminium is really that bad for you, but honestly, does it really matter? In the end, it’s certainly not good for you to be spraying chemicals onto your body every day that prevent you from sweating, which is your body’s natural way of regulating its temperature. So whether it’s scientifically linked to cancer or not, why take that risk!
Tested on Animals
On top of all these nasty chemicals, most commercial personal care products are tested on animals. You only have to glance through the PETA website and Facebook page to be instantly horrified by how awful and cruel animal testing is. Unless the product has the Beauty without Cruelty logo on the back you can be
sure that it has, at some point in the production process, been tested on animals.
When we shower all the nasties listed above rinse off our bodies and go into our wastewater. Most wastewater treatment plants are built to treat sewage but are unable to effectively remove metals and harsh chemicals from our wastewater and these therefore end up polluting our rivers (see our last blog post for full details).
Aerosols also use hydrocarbons and compressed gases, such as nitrous oxide, which are greenhouse gases and contribute to the effects of global-warming. And finally, most aerosols are not recycled and thus end up taking up space in landfills. Whereas almost all earth friendly plastic deodorant bottles can be recycled.
Tried and Tested
Okay enough about the why! Let’s get down to the review! I tried SO many earth friendly deodorant products but below I’ve listed my top four, in no particular order:
My dad uses this and swears by it, so I figured if it worked for him, surely it would work for me. I should just add that I am fortunately not a very sweaty person; I don’t sweat copiously and haven’t struggled with it previously. So my assumption that if it worked for my dad (just a regular 60 year old guy, who I’m sure sweats the normal amount!) it would work for me wasn’t totally unfounded.
There are many different brands of this available. I tried the one from Dischem. The crystal is made from natural mineral salts, which prevents the bacteria that generates odour from doing its thing. So you still sweat but it’s odourless.
I must say, to its credit, this product is 100% natural, cheap and it really does work! But unfortunately for me it stops working around about lunch time, after which I start to get rather smelly pits. And there is nothing I hate more than when I can smell myself, it’s really gross and makes you totally paranoid that everyone around you is thinking the same thing… eeewww she smells!
So although this product is cheap and effective, I found that I needed to keep reapplying it and unfortunately in my books, that makes it fairly impractical.
Pure Beginnings Deodorant Monsoon
This product smells nice, and I love the Pure Beginnings range so I was hopeful when I tried it. They have a range of guys and girls scents, and one unfragranced option. It costs R65 a bottle, which is a little on the pricey side for me, but I figured if it worked well it was worth it. It was a bit sticky when I applied it and it takes a
while to dry, but I could live with that. The problem with this one, again, was the longevity. By lunch time it had stopped working and I needed to reapply.
Victorian Garden Lavender & Chamomile Roll-On Deodorant
Again there are a range of guys and girls scents here and these also smell nice. This deodorant is one that I stuck with the longest during the great deodorant search of 2014 – I would use the crystal when I got out of the shower and then putting this on before I got dressed and for a while that worked for me, but the problem with this deodorant is the price. It’s R95 for a bottle and it doesn’t last much longer than any other deodorant. And R95 is just too much for me!
THE WINNER – Earthsap Wild Rose & Vanilla Deodorant
During one of my many rants about unsuccessfully trying to find an earth-friendly deodorant, a friend of mine told me she had found a great one and recommended this Earthsap Deodorant. What’s crazy is that I love Earthsap products and was already using their shampoo, conditioner, face wash and body wash! I didn’t go for the deodorant because it had received some fairly mixed reviews on Faithful to Nature and so after trying so many others and coming short I decided it wasn’t worth trying the Earthsap one! Madness! I could not have been more wrong!
This product is fantastic! I have been using it for nearly a year and I love it! It’s not too sticky when you apply it and it dries quickly. The smell is pretty and light, not too intense! It’s cheap (R49) and it lasts the whole day! I took it to Mozambique over December expecting to be disappointed with its performance in the intense heat but no, it was amazing and kept me smelling fresh and flowery! I love this product and I will never go back! Thanks Earthsap for once again providing us with awesome personal care products that are non-toxic, earth friendly and reasonably priced! Also for the guys, Earthsap make this men’s deodorant that I’ve heard is pretty darn good!
And so ends the search for an earth friendly deodorant! Now get shopping and thank me later!
You can buy these and other earth-friendly deodorants from:
Faithful to Nature Online Store and Wellness Warehouse Online Store (see our where to shop page for links).
Earthsap products can also be found at certain Pick n Pay stores, Craighall Spar and Farm Table in Linden.
If any of you can recommend other earth-friendly deodorants that you love, let us know in the comments!