Updated: Oct 19, 2022
Eco-friendly deodorants that are plastic-free and made of natural ingredients are increasingly popular as fears about plastic waste and the chemical ingredients of antiperspirants grow. If you're thinking of switching to a low waste, more natural deodorant but are a bit nervous of taking the plunge then read on.
Here we explain the differences firstly between deodorant and antiperspirant. We’ll also look at how natural deodorants work at combatting BO and how to apply some of the different plastic-free varieties that are out there.
Let's talk about perspiration...
First of all we need to talk about sweating and BO (body odour). Basically, we all do it and not only is it perfectly natural, but it’s good for us as it allows the body to get rid of waste and toxins. Fresh sweat doesn’t actually smell of anything. Body odour occurs when the bacteria naturally found in our armpits breaks down the sweat and only then does it start to get a bit stinky.
Throughout the ages humans have attempted to mask the smell of body odour with varying degrees of success, usually using perfumes. Then, in 1888, the first commercial deodorant paste was launched in the USA under the tradename Mum and 20 years later the first antiperspirant was introduced onto the market. By the 1940s the plastic roll-on deodorant was available and developments in technology saw the launch of aerosol antiperspirant sprays in the 1960s.
The difference between deodorant and antiperspirant
The difference between the two is simple: deodorants mask odour while antiperspirants reduce the amount you sweat. Deodorants work by using antimicrobial substances to reduce bacteria under the arms. They often contain alcohol to kill off bacteria. And they also use fragrances to mask the smell. Meanwhile, antiperspirants block sweat glands to reduce sweating. This usually involves an aluminium-based ingredient.
What are natural deodorants?
Natural deodorants are made with 100% natural ingredients such as botanical extracts, baking soda and essential oils. They use these natural ingredients to neutralise the odour-producing bacteria in our pits. And they keep us smelling fresh with the addition of natural essential oils.
Because they don't contain any harmful, synthetic ingredients they are also kinder to the skin and less likely to cause irritation.
In contrast traditional, commercial deodorants and antiperspirants often contain substances such as alcohol, parabens and aluminium. These can cause skin irritation or worse.
Aluminium in antiperspirants
Antiperspirants aim to reduce sweat and do this by blocking the pores in the armpits. And many mass-produced antiperspirant deodorants use aluminium to block the pores in this sensitive area. This can lead to skin irritation and allergies or worse. Exposure to aluminium has been linked to Alzheimers and breast cancer and while the link isn’t definitive, many believe it’s not worth the risk. Because they’re not trying to block the pores, natural deodorants don’t contain any aluminium.
How to use natural deodorants
All the deodorants we sell at www.dancing-barefoot.com are made of 100% natural ingredients. They are all also plastic-free, vegan and cruelty-free (see specific product information for more details).
We currently have three different types for you to choose from: deodorant creams in reusable glass jars, deodorant balm in refillable aluminium tins, and deodorant sticks in a biodegradable push-up cardboard tube.
They might look a little bit different to what you’re used to but using them is very simple. All types work best if you apply to a clean and dry armpit.
Cream & Balm
Dab the cream or balm around the armpit area and your natural body heat helps it dissolve into the skin.
Push up to desired length and rub or dab over the armpit. Your natural body heat will help the deodorant dissolve into the skin.
Give it time
If you’ve just switched to natural deodorants it may take a few days or so for them to work properly as your body flushes out the toxins from previous synthetic-based products. And if you’re used to antiperspirants, it’ll seem like you’re sweating more as the natural deodorant is not trying to block your pores. However, if you give your body time to adjust you can look forward to using a natural product that is kind to your skin in packaging that’s kind to the planet. It’s a win win!