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What’s in your deodorant?

by kcurly on April 27, 2010

in Deodorants

Having excluded products with cones from my hair care regimen had me taking a closer look at the other personal care products that I use. The lotions were pretty easy. A lot of great brands that make natural hair care products also make skin care stuff.

Then one day, out of the blue, I took a look at my deodorant. I used the Secret brand and here are the ingredients (from household products database):

Stearyl alcohol
Behenyl alcohol
Castor oil, hydrogenated (Trihydroxystearin)
Dimethicone 350
Talc (non-fibrous)
Silica (unspecified)
Aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly

Holy moly! Look at those cones! I guess it makes sense. Silicones block moisture and that’s exactly what most people are looking for in a deodorant. From this link in 2007:

Dow Corning claims that using silicone in deodorants provides manufacturers with formulations they can use to make low-cost products that are fast drying and non-tacky.

Dow Corning used the new technology in a range of prototypes, all designed for different markets. Although most consumers want underarm protection from wetness and odour, the company’s market research indicated that exact consumer specifications vary from country to country.

Maybe it makes no difference at all, but I just don’t want silicones in my deodorant. Even if the speculations about the correlation between deodorant and breast cancer aren’t true, I still would like a more natural deodorant.

So, that leads me to my next product adventure: Testing out new deodorants that claim to be natural. There are a lot on the market, so I just randomly picked this one:

Alba Lavender Stick Deodorant

Ingredients: Vegetable glycerin with certified organic aloe vera barbadensis, lavender (lavandula officinalis), alpine lichen (usnea barbata) and green tea (camellia sinensis), sodium stearate, steareth-100, sodium bicarbonate, glyceryl stearate, oleic acid, sodium chloride, ethylhexylglycerin, cetyl alcohol, grapefruit extract (citrus grandis), and pure essential oils.

Cost: Around 6-7 dollars

This worked great….for about 10 minutes. No, seriously, when I was wearing it at home, not doing much, it worked pretty well. I got to work, where I spend a lot of time on my feet, running to and fro, and …well,let’s just say it was not pretty.

The product smells very good! If only I smelled very good when using it. So, I shall move on to something else. It’s summertime in the South, so there’s no time for messing around.

Ladies: Do you have any suggestions for more natural deodorants? Share the wealth!



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  • b.

    Addidas deodorant. No, really. I can only find it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

    I also noticed (thanks to the observant hubby) that some deos marketed to men are non-antipersperant! Try finding that on the ladies’ side of the display. While I don’t want to smell like the new Old Spice guy, I wouldn’t mind 16-hours-of-BO-blocking-power (you’d have to YouTube the commercials for that one). Okay, tangent… But really, I’m trying out the Speed Stick in Irish Spring scent (the least non-masculine scent I could find) and so far it’s not bad. It’s not *perfect*, but it does work.

  • http://- Anonyomous

    You might wanna try making your own deodorant. I’ve seen recipes online which basically include coconut oil, baking soda, cornstarch and an EO of your choice for fragrance. Haven’t tried it yet though…

  • Yvette

    My cousin has told me that crystal solids work pretty well. I haven’t personally tried one yet, but I will soon.

  • Brittany G

    Try the crystal solids, but also give it a few days. I know the in-between isn’t pretty, but the deodorant issue is just like the shampoo issue- when people stop using shampoo, their hair is oily and gunky and they hate it. But over time, the scalp slows down the overproduction of sebum the drying shampoo caused, and everything goes back to normal. Your body needs to balance out the bacteria living in your armpits. Try addressing the bacteria, and not the smell they cause. I no longer use deodorant, because I guess I don’t have a lot of that bacteria, and I don’t sweat easily. Another danger of deodorants or antiperspirants specifically is the fine aluminum oxide powder used. It literally keeps you from sweating by blocking your pores, but aluminum deposits have shown up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

  • Daniele

    My mom uses toms (I think that’s the name). It’s natural and it really works for her. I can’t vouch for it because I just think I need something stronger.

  • ASJ

    PJD tested a bunch of natural deodorants. You can check them out at this link:

    She also made a vid of her favorite natural deo:


  • Smiley Face

    Try Oyin funk butter unscented. I apply a layer of coconut first because it can be drying because of the amount of baking soda. It took about two weeks before my my body adjusted to it. It’s gets a lot of mixed reviews though but over all it works for me. Years of using antiperspirants to just using deodorant was a major change and it doesn’t work overnight. Like the previous poster said, your body needs time to adjust.

    I haven’t tried crystal rock deodorant yet but I’ve heard it’s a great alternative.

  • np

    Crystal deodorant. You have to get used to sweating as this is not an anti-perspirant.

  • Smiley Face

    Also, one main reason I stopped using antiperspirants is because I started developing little bumps and cysts under my arm that I thought nothing about until I asked my doctor about it because they started happening more frequently…she gave me two choices either cysts or sweat..I chose sweat (which wasn’t that bad actually), lol.

  • eclare

    Hi K Curly!

    Before my pregnancy, I read an article about using a little water, baking soda and a small amount of essential oil (for scent) to create your own natural deodorant! The trick is to clean and dry the area thoroughly, then apply the baking soda mix. It can get kind of messy so I just mixed a little in a clean container and applied it with one of those cotton rounds. I believe it’s a very cheat, easy, and natural way to stay dry while your pregnant. I still use it now even after I had my son.
    Tell me what you think! Congrats by the way!

  • NewRibena

    I tried the Oyin funk butter but did not like having to apply it with my fingers. About a month ago I switched to Arm and Hammer Essentials Natural deodorant and I really like it so far. It’s great that I also found it in my local grocery for under $2.00. When I get a little warm I smell the deodorant but I have not smelled any BO since using.

  • krianne thomasson

    The Crystal, which I’ve been an avid user of for years now, employs natural mineral salts that work to prevent odor from happening by neutralizing the bacteria that naturally forms on our body. The mineral salts form a topical layer on the skin, making it inhospitable to the bacteria that cause odor. All Crystal products are hypoallergenic, paraben-free, alcohol-free, non-sticky, non-staining and they contain no aluminum chlorohydrate.

    there are other natural deodorants that work perfectly well for other people. I know people who love the Erbaviva deodorant and others love Tom’s of Maine and Jason’s deodorants.

    here goes a link 2 daily green’s 9 best natural deoderants:

  • Angie R

    I’ve been on a quest for a natural deodorant for the last year. Most of the popular brand don’t work for me longterm, i either smell or I’m sweaty at the end of the day.

    I make my own. You have the tweek the recipe to if you are easily irritated by EO’s or mild abrasives like baking soda and corn starch; but it works. I alternate days btwn a homemade spray and creamy stick. Takes a while for the body to adjust and it’s slightly messier than conventional store brands but it’s worth it. Also, a diet laden with meat, onions and garlic can elevate the funk! Check this out and read the comments.

  • Melissa J

    Kiehl’s makes a good deodarant that I like to use in the summer time. Its called Superbly Efficient Anti-perspirant and deodorant it comes in either orange,lemon and linseed secent or unscented. It kind of pricey its runs either $12 or $17.

  • kcurly

    Thank you ladies, ya’ll are giving me some great suggestions.

  • Dondrea

    I can vouch for Tom’s (lemongrass scent). Absolutely love it! Even after an intense workout, it’s still working.

  • amista

    I agree with those who suggested Oyin’s funk butter. I don’t really like the application, but I’ve found a way around that by using a dedicated wash cloth for it. I’ve tried Tom’s and The Crystal, but they didn’t last for me. I’ve also tried Arm and Hammer, but don’t like the scents.

    P.S. I’ve been lurking for a while, and finally felt prompted to comment. Great blog!

  • Tiffany

    Ah, deodorant…my archnemesis. My problem with deodorants/antiperspirants is that they all make me ITCH! The natural ones I’ve tried are Alvera Aloe Roll-On and Thai Crystal Roll-On. They both work to keep me from sweating and smelling funky, but the unbearable itching was still there. I found a recipe for a natural deodorant made with oil, cornstarch, and baking soda. I’ve been using it for a week or so. It seems to work, but I still have slight itchies. I feel like there’s no solution for me, so I’ll just have to deal with the itching if I want something that actually works.

  • Ellagirl

    I really like the LaVanila deodorants, and they come in the same scents as their line of perfumes. These were the only aluminum free deodorants that worked for me even remotely. They can be found here: I found lots of deodorants with sodium bicarbonate and propylene glycol worked very well, but burned the heck out of my underarm skin! One deodorant had my skin peeling like a bad sunburn! Good luck with your quest!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had issues with deodorants for a long time. I have a rare skin condition, called hydradenitis suppurativa (yeah, I know it’s a mouthful), that causes painful boils in the parts of the body where there are collections of hair, sweat, and oil glands. The most common place where sufferers of this condition are affected (myself included) is under the arms (in the pit area), which is the primary place where you have a collection of hair, sweat, and oil glands. The toxic ingredients in popular soaps and deodorant brands did nothing but severely aggravate my condition over the years. Over the years, I’ve tried different deodorants, and I’ve even used anti-bacterial soaps…nothing worked. But about six months ago, I switched to bathing with black soap and using the oyin handmade funk butter deodorant. I’m happy to say that, as of now, the boils have been almost non-existent (hopefully this will continue *knock on wood*)! Sorry to spill my life story. I guess I’m saying all this to say that I would definitely recommend the funk butter. One tin only costs $5, but, unfortunately, with shipping and handling, the total cost is $11-$12, which I think is pricey. But it lasts a LONG time! I bought my first tin back in October 2009, and I’m not even half way through with it. Anyway, I think you should give it a try. Best of luck!

  • CurlyChronicles

    I use a natural deodorant and tweak it to fit my needs. The crystal rock spray doesn’t do much for me on its own but when mixed with lavender essential oil, it works like a charm! I’ve sworn by this and I’ll never use anything else :) Lavender mixes extremely well with you own natural scent so you’ll smell nice even if you sweat a little. You may have to reapply in the strong summer months but I think that’s much better than having chemicals all up in ya armpits!

    I believe eating a diet rich in greens and veggies helps you smell less also! Don’t discount that :)

  • Robyn

    The MOST harmful ingredient in most deodorants is ALUMINUM! It has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease as well as cancer. I’ve been using Naturally Fresh ( which I looooooove for 6 months ($2.99 at Publix for roll-on). It doesn’t work well for my hubby, though. He switches between Tom’s of Maine and Arm & Hammer Naturals deo.

  • Shones

    I made my own using this recipe from HowAboutOrange’s blog ( It got about 90 comments.

    This stuff is fantastic, and I think that the use of arrowroot powder in place of cornstarch does make a difference. To make it unisex for myself and Sir, I decided to use sage for the essential oil.

    Notes: After using Secret, and then trying Tom’s and Alba’s, this is by far the most effective, natural deodorant I’ve ever used. And it’s cheap and easy to make! I was itchy for the first two days of use, probably due to my skin getting used to the transition.

    The funny thing is that I’ve always been the sweaty type… but now that I’ve been using this for several weeks, I seem to be LESS sweaty, which blows my mind.

  • Nikema

    I had given up on natural deodorants until I read through the comments here. For me it wasn’t the silicones as much as the aluminum and parabens in the deodorants. I tried Tom’s recently and I smelled like the farm. I was so traumatized by that that I switched to a clinical strength type.

    I’ve heard that baking soda works pretty well but I heard that most baking sodas contain aluminum too. Is that true or another internet myth?

  • Anonymous

    @b. I found this review at Amazon and cant wait to try it!
    This is the BEST non-alumin deo I have used. It works GREAT, washes clean off your skin, no stickness and no white marks on your clothes. I had a hard time finding this and thought it was discontinued. I just called the company today (10-7-09 at 1-800-715-4023) and was told they repackaged it and changed the scent around a bit. It is still the COTTON-TECH formula, scent is Pure Lightness, which can be used for men or women. Even thought it does say for women, this will work for men as well- Adidas did discontinue the Cotton-Tech version for men. The company told me they are distributing this through Walgreens currently. Don’t pay dishonest greedy price gauge sellers. I called my local Walgreens and they have it on the shelf and was on sale at $2.50. I have used the Pure Lightness and it works fantastic!!

  • PrettyBronze

    My husband and I use Weleda (Wild Rose). Yes, my hubby uses the wild rose – interestingly it smells nothing like roses on him. After much research and a horrible experience with Tom’s, this is what has been working for me. I sprinkle a little cornstarch powder on to minimize the sweaty/wet feeling that comes along with using deodorants as opposed to anti-perspirants. Its worked well for me. Based on the other commenters, I definitely plan to try some of the other recommendations. Specifically, the homemade concoctions.

    Ditto to the all that have said to give your body time to adjust no matter what product you try. It takes a little time.

  • Elle

    I agree wholeheartedly. I love other Alba products so I thought I’d give this a try. I thought WRONG. But since I shelled out the 6 bucks for it, I now use it as my nighttime deodorant :)

  • Derevaun

    I did not read all of the other posts, but here is my two cents. I have used every natural deodorant out there (almost) and they can keep the BO away, but there is a lingering underarm ‘scent’. So…I used straight baking soda with some essential oils mixed in. Apply it with a kabuki brush. I recently started using one that I made. Beeswax, coconut oil, essential oils, and baking soda. So far it’s better than the straight baking soda. By the way, the baking soda alone kept the bo away when I went to Asia a couple of years ago!

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  • Kim

    A great baking soda, EO blend that offers 2 strengths + “boosters” for odor control during transition/sweatier times is LIFE STINKS brand.

    I know the developers/owners personally and they make every batch by hand — with love! And their customer service is great.

  • justelise

    I know it has been mentioned before in the comments here, but you should really try the mineral salt (salt crystal) deodorants.
    – They inhibit the growth of bacteria, which is what causes odor.
    – They don’t have any harmful chemicals, fragrances, or colors.
    – They don’t stain your clothes or leave a residue.
    – They allow you to sweat, which is absolutely necessary, because when you sweat, your body is eliminating wastes and toxins.
    – If you really want a scent, you can use your favorite perfume instead of coating yourself in half a dozen scents (perfume, lotion, hair products, etc.)

    This week the temperature has hovered between 95 and 102 in my area, and I haven’t experienced any excessive armpit wetness or body odor. The salt crystal I use is so good that I don’t even have to reapply it every day if I don’t want to. It’s also extremely cost effective. The crystal sticks cost between $5-8 and the larger ones can last a year depending on how you use it.

    I’ve introduced the salt crystals to friends and relatives, and even some of my active male friends have been impressed with how well it worked.

    I went through about 20 natural deodorants, butters, and home-made concoctions before my friend introduced me to the salt crystal, and I will never ever use anything else again so long as it continues to work.

  • jessica

    Beware of crystal deodorants. Many of them contain potassium alum or ammonium alum which are still in the aluminum family. I used A&H Naturals for a while, until I investigated those ingredients as well. It contains triclosan and tetrasodium EDTA, which both have carcinogenic properties and dipropylene glycol which is a skin irritant that can cause dermatitis (skin inflammation) with prolonged use. I’ve heard raves about a product called “In Love”, but have yet to try it. I am also on the hunt for a good deodorant. I did also read Waleda, as another poster suggested, is very good.

  • BlackAngel

    I’ve been using Degree Men’s deodorant. I started using the antiperspirant because it saves money o use the same one hubby used. But I saw one with silver ions in it and decided WTH? I’ll try it. Then found put it was just deodorant. But after reading about the aluminum thing, and it smells pretty good. I’m happy with it. The first day it wore off, but since then, no problems!!

    Happy Deo hunting, Luv!!


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