A couple months ago, I decided to ditch my Secret Clinical Strength antiperspirant and go au naturel — saying goodbye to the chemical-laden antiperspirants, and go the way of all-natural deodorants.
Ever since my teenage years, I’ve had to use the strongest antiperspirants I could find in order to feel comfortable. I tried everything the market offered and still found myself with sweat dripping down my side body. Gag!
Now at 29 and still not impressed, I decided to get to the root of the problem. I’m still sweating, I’m still smelly (even while I sit at my desk all day), and I’m still getting yellow stains on my clothes (from chemicals like aluminum) — not to mention, there are a slew of health risks associated with these deodorants. Aluminum is thought to block estrogen receptors, parabens are synthetic preservatives linked to birth defects and organ toxicity, propylene glycol can damage the central nervous system, and triclosan is an FDA-listed pesticide. No thank you!
Instead of trying to cover up the issue, I would ditch these chemicals and see what happens. There really was nothing to lose at this point, and a closet full of white clothing waiting to be gained.
So, I decided to try six new deodorants, all with a slightly different ingredient list. Previous to starting, I was sent a Reddit thread by a friend, which discussed a possible detoxing reaction from giving up my antiperspirant cold turkey, as you may actually sweat more in the days or weeks after switching over to deodorants. With that in mind, and throwing caution to the wind, I proceeded.
Here are my reviews with a very “scientific” rating system of “yay” and “nay”:
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Duggan Sisters Stink Stick and Life Stinks Deodorant
The Stink Stick is a lavender and essential oil roll-on that is not only good for under your arms, but claims to be great on bug bites and zits too! This two-step system directs you to apply the stick and then the deodorant powder with your fingertips.
I smelled like a spa, and I loved it — a nice earthy and floral cedar wood, lavender, and eucalyptus blend. (Note: if you shave and then add the oil right after, you might experience a brief, slight burning sensation.) This system straight up neutralized any of my body odor. Amazing! Though, by 6 PM everyday, I started to get a bit fragrant.
Rating: full yay
Meow Meow Tweet
This lavender bergamot stick is made of natural, organic materials and is even vegan-friendly! It claims to take care of underarm odor, even for people with sensitive skin. Upon first try it was a bit sticky. Be careful, because if the room temperature is a bit warm, this will glide just like a glue stick. Not the best feeling in the world; however, it smelled absolutely gorgeous.
After a few days of using it, I had to stop. What occurred was a weird combo of nice scent mixed with foul body odor. Attractive. And it made me break out in an underarm rash. Double attractive. That said, everyone’s body chemistry is different, but this one just didn’t agree with me.
Rating: sad-faced nay
Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus
Named “best new grooming product” by Wallpaper Magazine, this has eucalyptus oil and “odor-neutralizing citronellyl.” Eucalyptus is known for its antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. This deodorant is all-natural, and also alcohol- and aluminum-free.
The stick is clear and went on in a smooth, thin layer — not sticky or thick like Meow Meow Tweet. And the smell! So. Good. By noon I was dry, yet pretty stinky. (Sorry to everyone I work with, who watched me methodically sniff myself every hour.) I decided to keep it around for emergencies, and because it makes me look like a fancy lady.
Rating: 50/50 yay, nay
This deodorant is super popular in Thailand, and is a bit harder to find in the States. However, Amazon has a few options if you’re willing to wait a few weeks for it to come in the mail. This looks very similar to the mineral stick from Crystal, and is also made of all-natural mineral materials. It also claims to keep you dry and stink-free all day.
Sad, and still dreaming of the Duggan Sisters deodorant, I went on to try Focal. When I first put it on, I didn’t trust that it would actually do anything. You get the stick wet or the skin moist, and rub the hard salt-rock-like thing on your skin. I did this about 10 times, not believing that the magic was rubbing off on me. I should start believing however, because at 2:30 PM on my first day wearing Focal, I felt very dry. I have no fear of sweating through my chambray Madewell button-up, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Throughout the week, this stick continued to impress. I smelled a bit by the end of the day, and definitely after a workout. But on a typical day at work, I was quite dry.
The secret to this deodorant is two ingredients: magnesium hydroxide (aka milk of magnesia) and water. I’ve heard of milk of magnesia being used on models and the like to keep their facial pores from sweating when under bright lights. Sounds promising! Did I mention that it’s also vegan?
Deodo MoM does keep you dry, I’ll give it that. But the stink factor was quite high.
PiperWai is a charcoal creme deodorant that was originally a product pitched on ABC’s Shark Tank. The website points out that activated charcoal neutralizes odor and can absorb 1,000 times its weight in moisture. It’s a creamy deodorant you rub into your underarms. It rubs in really well, smells gorgeous, and does a pretty fantastic job of keeping this lady dry and smelling pretty neutral throughout the workday. Like the previous reviews, when I was active, I would definitely still smell. I give this a “nay” because it’s still not as high a performer as the products by Duggan sisters.
After ditching my antiperspirant for over a month, I can easily say I won’t be going back. I learned there is a better way. A way to keep my body fresh without the chemicals. And you know what? I already got myself a new white shirt.
These are my own experiences, and everyone’s body chemistry is different, so give all-natural deodorants a try and see how they work for you.More On