Fad or Bad: Natural Deodorant
I have been working on this fad or bad post for a long time. I have given each sample the suggested amount of time for it to work and then some to really see the results. This post is the result of A YEAR of testing products on myself. It all started when my future mother in law gave me a stick of Schmidt's Natural Deodorant for Christmas, the brand that Goop really pushes (she's a big Goop fan). After a few jokes of asking I had offended her in some way, I started to pay closer attention and notice that natural deodorants were making a place for themselves in the beauty world. No longer would you be seen as a stinky hippie chick for smelling like witch hazel and patchouli. Now, You’d be hard-pressed to find any lifestyle or beauty blogger these days who don’t mention natural deodorants. You can find a list of reasons to make the switch to a natural choice but most of them come from blogs and old wives tales, neither credible sources. And yes, I know I just said that on my own personal blog but even now, I urge you to take what I say and my experiences with a grain of salt because I am no armpit expert. But to be fair neither is Gwenth Paltrow (at least not that I know of).
If you go and do a bit more medical research, a lot of the scary words associated with traditional deodorants like cancer and Alzheimers don’t have many medical ties to the BO-be-gone juice you use. In fact, some of the myths, like the aluminum connection to Alzheimer's, has been discredited (check out myth 4). I’m not saying it’s not possible, but so far from the year of research I have put into this post, I haven’t been able to find any substantial scientific evidence that backs up the most common claims I have heard when being pressured to make the switch. If you do have sources showing actual science, please share in the comments because I am interested in this topic, hence this blog post. Major celebrities and publications have been pushing the natural choices, and there were so many of them, I felt like trying a few to see if this product really was fab or just another fad.
One of the things people will tell you when you make the switch is to prepare yourself to be a stinky and sweaty mess. I have repeatedly heard that your body will go through a detox period and push all the toxins from the deodorant your body was used to. You will be smelly and disgusting and pretty much turn into a swamp monster, so I wasn’t exactly looking forward to that phase. I also have been a huge skeptic. It all smelled like a bunch of bullshit to me. Even though it is veiled with health concerns, there is no denying that natural deodorant is a current fad since I'm pretty sure most "experts" on the subject haven’t actually studied more of the inner workings on an armpit than a Wikipedia page. I probably didn’t go into this year-long experiment with the most positive of views, though I rarely do when it comes to these fad or bad posts.
What I’ve tried:
Schmidt: This was the first natural deodorant I decided to try as I mentioned above, it was a gift in my, and my fiance's, stockings during the Christmas of 2016. I used it graciously but dear God, the smell. Its the smelly smell that smells...smelly. I want to very clear - it wasn't ME that was stinky but the actual smell of the deodorant that I just couldn’t stand which even I will admit isn't a fair judgment on the product. To each their own but this was not for me when it came to the scent. Oh, also, within 24 hours my skin had broken out into a painful, bumpy rash. Awesome. Love sitting on an airplane with painful, smelly armpits as I’m sure the people around me did as well. That being said, my deodorant smelled way better than my fiances. He was gifted a scent that could be considered more masculine if you like your man smelling like hot trash. He is permanently scarred from natural deodorants after the smell of Schmidt's, and now whenever he sees anything natural deodorant, he asks if he can throw it out. I know it's a personal preference but every smell I sampled I just couldn't get behind, and the continuous painful rash led to me throwing my gift out mid-January when I returned home from the family trip.
Lush: I actually liked Lushes natural deodorant because the smell was cleaner and it didn't apply like a goopy mess, but my standards bar was set pretty low compared to what I had tried before, and I didn’t have any breakouts of painful rashes. If you are familiar with lush, then you know that they emphasize a lot of natural and earth/ animal-friendly ingredients and packaging. Part of this includes a LACK of packaging which I actually love, but it can be confusing when you are looking for directions. Because there aren’t any. And if the store clerk is busy, it can be easy for them to forget to tell you that this deodorant needs to be sealed in an airtight container or it will dry out...immediately. Which is what happened to me. So I was able to use this for about three days and then it was hard as a rock. Even when you go to the website, Lush doesn’t offer storing directions. You have to search through the product reviews to get a straight answer from others who have tried it. I think if I had continued using Lushes natural deodorant I probably would have liked it but I really didn’t want to go back and spend more money on a product I had ruined because their companies philosophy (which I love) led me to ruining it. It was user error but user error that stemmed from having no direction at all. So, I wasn’t about to do that again. Especially when there were other deodorants I wanted to try to really flush this post out.
Primal Pit Paste: After researching and researching I finally stumbled upon primal pit paste, a brand of natural deodorant that promised to be gentle with ingredients but effective on stink. I ordered a Jasmine and Lavender scent and fell in love with lavender. I have now been using this deodorant for six months and still have mixed feelings about it. I DID NOT go through the pit detox period everyone warned me about. I was waiting for the stinky and swampiness and the dark brown discolored pits to show up but they never did. I can honestly say I never felt stinky and always was dry using it so if you are looking into getting a natural deodorant, this is the one I would suggest out of what I tried. Especially if you are transitioning over to a natural choice. It still feels like deodorant and loved that I didn't have to worry about being a swamp girl. It felt hard to apply, but after reading the directions, I realized I wasn’t using it correctly. You have to hold it to your skin and let your body warmth soften the deodorant before it will efficiently smear. After I received my user error I thought it was working great but then a month went by and I noticed a little dark spot. Some more time went by and the spot was growing bigger. And bigger. And bigger. Then it started weeping, and it hurts like no other. Now I refer to my armpits as pain pits. If you click on the Amazon link, you will see some customer photos, and that is pretty much what my pits look like at the moment. It has become way too painful to shave so now they are a painful, hairy mess which I am indifferent about, to say the least, but hey at least I'm not clogging my pores with the silent killer, aluminum. At first, I thought it was the pit detox I had heard about but it has now been six months, and while I don’t smell bad, my armpits are a painful hairy mess, and it’s getting worse with every use. I've pretty much abandoned using any deodorant and don't give a shit if a stink to high heaven because at least I won't be torturing myself. If I go a few days without using ANY deodorant (I want to mention that I have not used any unnatural deodorant throughout all this time) my pits start to feel better, but the second I use the product its like I take twenty steps forwards towards hell. It’s been six months people, and I am done trusting the process. Some products aren’t meant to be for every person, and I think I just have to admit that natural deodorant isn’t for me.
Switching to a natural deodorant caused more painful, skin issues than I have ever encountered in my life and when you compare the pros and cons, most of the cons of “unnatural” deodorants are old wives tales. I have repeatedly heard and read that the aluminum in most deodorants can lead to breast cancer (which I have not found any actual science on and seem mostly untrue) From where I am standing with my year of trial and errors and research I have done along the way, natural deodorant is a fad and a bad one at that. Before you rush out to buy the brand your favorite armpit whisperer is hawking, do some research and really evaluate if you actually NEED to make this change for your health and also consider the source. So many of the natural deodorant crusaders are bloggers and fadists (not that I am judging because I consider myself to be in the same group, perhaps a bit more jaded) and take what they say with a grain of salt. Even take THIS post with a grain of salt. Just because I am not a believer and it is a product that was not for me doesn’t mean it won't be for you. If you look at Primal Pit Pastes reviews on Amazon, they are, by all means, stellar with 4 out of 5 stars and over 1,200 reviews. Those are pretty good odds. If you do try it and your pits hurt, however, it’s ok to quit and not suffer through the dreaded pit detox. It might actually not be detox but instead, just a product that’s not right for you.