Q: Which natural deodorants actually work? I've tried a few with no luck. I don't want to smell for the last month of summer!!
A: Nothing like a three-month heat wave to put your natural deodorant to the test. I've tried a couple that barely survived my short bike ride to work - and it's essentially downhill the whole way! But what's even more frustrating is that many so-called "natural" deodorants still contain a lot of the same ingredients found in drugstore varieties.
None of the alt-deos contain aluminum, the pore-clogging anti-perspirant ingredient linked inconclusively to Alzheimer's and cancer. Nor do they have triclosan (a super-persistent eco-contaminant found in many mainstream deodorants like RightGuard Sport Power Stripe, Speed Stick Clear, Gillette Power Stripe and Arm & Hammer Ultramax)!
But over half the sticks on health store shelves still contain petrol-based propylene glycol, which, in 100 per cent concentrations is antifreeze and is extremely toxic to aquatic life. Many, like Tom's of Maine, insist it's safe in small doses, while other companies have switched to propylene-free formulas. One health store manager told us customers complained that brands no longer worked once they became PG-free.
Besides PG, keep an eye out for synthetics like the carcinogenic preservative paraben. Avalon has phased it out, though old formulations can still be found on shelves. Check the ingredients.
Some vitamin shops sell a deodorant cream called Lavalin that is said to prevent BO for up to a week. Creepy. Its ingredients are largely natural, like zinc, arnica and potato starch, but it also has petroleum jelly and talc (a possible carcinogen illegally mined in India to the point of threatening tiger habitats).
As for which products work best? Read on. Note: body chemistries differ, so results can vary. Best to carry a stick in your bag for emergency reapplication.
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