Okay, let’s talk underarms. Not the most glamorous subject, to be fair…but it has to be done. It’s a million degrees in the city (okay, maybe one or two degrees less) and I can barely make it to the subway without breaking a sweat.
The humidity makes things worse and these are tempting times indeed. Tempting me to forsake all natural deodorants and just reach for the strongest chemical mix I can get my clammy hands on, preferably something that makes my underarms drier than the Sahara desert.
However, I just cannot get myself to be so mean to my underarms. Here’s the thing: I know beauty magazines would have us believe otherwise, but fundamentally there is nothing wrong with sweating. It is a natural way of our bodies to cool down. It happens. And to be honest, I find that I don’t sweat any more now than when I used to apply regular antiperspirants. Maybe it took a few minutes longer to start, but either way I always ended up sweating.
However, whilst I’m (kind of) okay with sweating, I don’t see smelly armpits as a badge of honour showcasing my dedication to green beauty. I don’t want to clear out a room and smugly say, ‘Yup, no aluminium for me guys.’ If I’m going to sweat, I want to at least not be smelly.
I currently have three natural deodorants in my bathroom cabinet, and I wanted to share the pros and cons with you guys.
First up is Lavera’s Basis roll on deodorant ($15.40 for 1.6 oz) with organic calendula and organic aloe vera, promising 24 hours of protection. Lavera is a German company that has been producing natural skincare for over 25 years. Its founder Thomas Haase suffered from allergies as a young man and was always looking for natural skincare alternatives. Lavera products are generally regarded as trustworthy and of high quality in Germany and have received many awards over the years. Apart from their deodorant I have also used a few of their shower gels, as I think they are great value. Their vanilla-coconut shower gel is my favorite. This is not a brand that markets itself as luxury skincare, but they have a great assortment of basic skincare and are definitely worth trying.
The deodorant is somewhat ‘medicinal’ smelling with undertones of herbs. Overall I find it to be a fresh scent, and when you first apply it instantly gets rid of any bad odor. Here are the ingredients:
Water, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice*, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Zinc Ricinoleate, Calendula Flower Extract*, Witch Hazel Water*, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylic\/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance (Natural Essential Oils), Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Geraniol, Citral, Citronellol, Zinc Oxide
The main problem is that this roll on is very streaky and doesn’t get absorbed quickly, which means that I end up with thick white lines under my arms for about five minutes. Not the best option when I need to get dressed as soon as I have applied it. So I always have to make sure I wait a few minutes and I’m used to this by now. Overall the deodorant lasts quite well, albeit not the full 24 hours advertised. When I’ve had a very early start I found myself smelling less fresh than is desirable around mid-afternoon. Nonetheless, my favourite out of the three – 7.5/10
Next we have ‘Pure Pitz’ by Purely Lisa ($13 for 0.6oz). I had never heard of this product before, but when I asked the sales assistant in WholeFoods whether she could recommend any good natural deodorants, she told me that ‘Pure Pitz’ was a popular choice. This creamy yellow stick is very different to anything I have tried before and I had to rub it in with my fingers, as the stick itself dispenses too much product if I keep moving it around. Once rubbed in the product has a slightly powdery finish. Looking at the ingredients list, it contains baking soda and corn starch, which probably contribute to this. Here’s the full list:
Organic Jojoba Oil, Aluminim-Free Baking Soda, Organic Beeswax, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Proprietary Blend of Organic Essential Oils, Organic Corn Starch, and Vitamin E.
The scent on this one is quite light and for the life of me I can’t determine what it is. I was convinced it was peppermint (I assumed it was a peppermint leaf on the front) but my husband said it smelled like lemon. Go figure. Either way, it’s quite delicate and a lot less noticeable than the scent of the Lavera one. Pleasant, though.
What I liked about it was that deodorant was quite moisturizing, even though the application was a bit fiddly. It dries fairly quickly, which is really good. Alas, it was not as long-lasting as the Lavera deodorant.
I have read great reviews about Pure Pitz, but for me it didn’t stand the ‘a full day in New York’s brutal heat’ test. A few hours after application I could pinpoint the moment when ‘Pure Pitz’ lost the will to live and said to itself, ‘Right, that’s me done. I’m outta here.’ By late afternoon I smelled like I’d been backpacking without a shower for a week solid, and to add insult to injury, my top had yellow stains under my arms. Not great.
To sum up, it has good ingredients, is pleasant to wear and very concentrated, so will last you a long time. But it might be more of an option for autumn/winter as it’s not powerful enough – 5.5/10
Finally we have Whish Deodorant Swipes ($7 for a pack of 8 on their website – I paid $8). They are by far the priciest option, at $8 for eight wipes. Ouch! I had heard of Whish before, but have never tried any of their products. The whole design of the brand is a bit too whimsical for me. And it doesn’t quite grab me.
However, Ricky’s were giving out free Whish samples a couple of weeks back, and I managed to bag the lavender lotion (separate post to follow). The sales assistant, who described Whish as a ‘natural’ brand, told me their deodorant swipes were amazing, so I decided to buy them. And, silly me, I willingly parted with my money without checking out the ingredients list first.
Okay, let me tell you about the performance of the wipes first, before I go into a bit more detail about the ingredients. So the scent really didn’t ‘wow’ me. For a supposedly natural product, I thought the wipes (swipes…whatever) had quite an astringent smell. They did leave my underarms fresh, although they stung a bit on application. The lasting power is actually quite good though, and my underarms stayed drier for longer.
The fact that they are individually wrapped makes them very handy for popping into my handbag. But knowing that I was burning through $1 worth of product every time I wiped my underarms made me break out in a sweat in its own right!
As it turned out, the ingredients are not fantastic, and that’s one of the reasons I wouldn’t buy them again. Here’s the list:
Water (aqua, eau), saccharmyces ferment, larrea divaricata (chapparel) extract, ordenone, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, propanediol, polysorbate-20, hippophae rhamnoides (seabuckthorn) fruit extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel), algae (seaweed) extract, organic licorice, organic calendula, cucumber, organic chamomile, phenoxyethanol, polyglyceryl-4 laurate/succinate, methylisothiazolinone, citric acid, fragrance (parfum), benzyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate, citral, limonene, linalool
You can see it’s a very different ingredients list to the other two deodorants! They are a couple of ingredients on there I’m really not keen on, and I’m not a big fan of companies using chemicals and throwing in a couple of token organic ingredients so they can highlight them in their marketing. Yes, the wipes contain organic chamomile, but it seems pointless to me.
To be fair, whilst they were sold to me as a ‘natural’ brand, Whish don’t actually use this description on their website. They say they avoid parabens and sulfates, but green savvy beauty junkies know that they are plenty of other harmful ingredients out there. Check out their website and see what you think.
In summary, the wipes had staying power, but the smell and feel of them was quite harsh. They would make a good option for exceptional circumstances though, such as job interviews, as they are easy to use. I have an interview coming up on Wednesday and will probably keep one in my bag.
These are tough to rate. Judging by how long they keep me sweat and smell free, it would be an 8, but everything else is a 3 at best. I’ll take the average and deduct a point for ingredients – 4.5
Lavera is the winner, but I will keep looking for something that’s even better. I already have my eye on something. Any suggestions are welcome 🙂
love, lou x