In our 2019 Balance Survey, a whopping 70% of you told us that you try to reduce your carbon footprint where possible, with a very respectable 77% telling us that you consciously try to avoid single-use plastics – round of applause all round. Yet, while everyone’s got a steady supply of tote bags and reusable water bottles, when it comes to personal products, there’s still more to be done (though that’s not to say there aren’t some brands already doing epic things
Among the most often discussed, but not necessarily the most often adopted, switches is our choice of deodorant. Here in the UK it’s estimated that we collectively get through a staggering 600 million cans of aerosols every single year, without even counting hard-to-recycle plastic roll-ons. However, it’s not only the environmental benefits that are driving people to consider natural deodorant, with fans also expressing a desire to move away from direct exposure to the chemicals often found in regular anti-perspirants.
So, what do you need to know before you make the switch to natural deodorant? Well, before we even start, let’s make it clear that there’s a difference between deodorant and anti-perspirant; the former being designed to quell odours, the latter designed to stop, or minimise, your sweating. Now that's all clear, let's move on.
First, it's good to know how natural deodorant actually works. According to Awake Organics
, the science behind it is actually surprisingly simple, explaining on their website that: "With extra food and the right conditions, your good bacteria knock-out the smelly ones.” In the case of natural deodorant, this means using natural probiotics: "It contains both Ogliosaccharides from Arrowroot (prebiotic food for your good bacteria) and Lactobacillus ferment (probiotics), which promotes the right Ph for your good bacteria to thrive," they explained of their hemp and probiotic version.
Commonly made using a blend of oils such as coconut, olive, lavendar and lemongrass, natural deodorants gives users the choice to avoid blocking sweat ducts with chemicals such as aluminium and petroleum, as well as skip the synthetic fragrences.
You should also know that using natural deodorant comes with a few more ‘ts&cs’ than your usual go-to. Due to the fact that it won’t stop you sweating in the way that a standard anti-perspirant does, you need to get your head around the fact that you might need to reapply it throughout the day, especially ahead of situations that may cause you to sweat more – think, heading out for a run, meeting your partner’s parents for the first time, maybe even pre-commute, if you’re misfortunate enough to have to use the central line at 5pm on a Monday.
That said, some super-strength versions do claim to only require to be applied once every few days or so. Nonetheless, the effectiveness of many natural deodorants will also depend on how sweaty you are to begin with, because one thing natural deodorant won’t help you with is the post-workout spritz-and-go. Unfortunately, if you’re a fan of skipping out of the spin studio to shower at home, by way of a courteous spray in the changing room, then this probably isn’t for you.
Also in the 'good to know' category is the fact that it’s not as much of an ‘instant’ effect as your normal spray will be; in the name of saving your favourite shirts, you’ll have to do a little arms up dance to let it dry before you crack on with your day. That said, if you're a regular fake tanner this will seem like nothing.
All in all, if you're open to feeling a tad more damp than usual and looking for another small way to do your bit for the planet or avoid the unknown of chemicals, then it's worth giving natural deodorant a try. If you're instantly sold, don't write it off straight away; it may not be quite so effective for the first week or so, while your body adapts.