Natural deodorant splits opinion. On the one hand, we've all heard the rumours that antiperspirants could increase the risk of cancer. But on the flip side, do natural deodorants work at all or are you destined to a life of bi-hourly deodorant application and no gesticulation?
Scientists in Geneva have conducted a study which suggested there may, in fact, be dangers caused by the aluminium compounds used in antiperspirants. They found that long term exposure to the compounds resulted in tumours.
In the past, these kind of findings have been dismissed but Andre-Pascal Sappino, a co-author of the study, compared the scepticism over the cancer risks to Asbestos saying: ‘Asbestos is cheap, has very attractive industrial potential, and it took 50 years to ban it.’
We decided to find out the truth behind these horror stories, and trial the best the natural deodorants the market has to offer.
The current concensus in the medical world is that there’s not enough evidence to support links between antiperspirants and cancer, but if you’re concerned about switching to a deodorant free from aluminium and parabens, it would be no bad thing for other reasons.
We spoke to Elaine Robinson, head of training and estheticians at Dr. Hauschka, about the pros and cons of unnatural deodorants and the benefits of their natural counterparts. She said: ‘Allowing your body to work naturally and rhythmically is reason enough to use a natural deodorant. You can perspire freely whilst smelling fresh, as they naturally inhibit the bacterial creation of unpleasant odours, without leaving white marks on your clothing. Applying any chemical to such a sensitive area of the body and anything that disturbs the natural functioning of the human body is not advisable in my opinion.'
In the past, it was tricky to find organic deodorants but nowadays everybody has a yoga mat, a Nutribullet and an interest in living a healthy life (even the friends you used to see for weekly wine and cheese nights), and the deodorant world has followed suit with most supermarkets, pharmacys and health websites stocking a varied range. Even the former downside of the hefty price tag has changed, with a roll on averaging at about £6-7... But how effective are they?
This brings us to the trial. We tested natural deodorants to see which worked. After an interesting few months, which involved the realisation that we do sweat and it’s not just boys that get BO, this is what we found…
Pros: The rose scent is pretty and subtly floral, it’s easy to apply and feels gentle on the skin.
Cons: It's a tiny bit pricer than most on the market.
Pros: PitRok, as you can probably tell from the name, is one of more hard-wearing natural deodorants. It lasts well and the rock formula makes it handy – if not rather heavy – for travel.
Cons: It’s not rocket science but the stick is quite confusing to apply when you’re bleary-eyed in the morning.
Pros: We rated the scent and spray bottle of the Sukin deodorant.
Cons: It doesn’t last for more than a few hours, but the handy spritzer means applying more is easy and this was tested at high summer.
Pros: The scent is refreshing and it lasts well.
Cons: Though you don’t smell, because it’s not an anti-perspirant it doesn’t stop you sweating.
Pros: The powder formula surprisingly well and is easy for travel.
Cons: Though I don’t like to judge a natural deodorant by its cover, it was a tricky application as white powder tends to sprinkle on everything if you’re not careful.
Not sold on natural deodorant just yet (unlike Jessica Alba)? We spoke to Elaine about making the transition from anti-perspirant to natural products - and it made us think again.
She said: ‘The experience depends on the individual. Though some people can experience undesirable effects, these should not be prolonged. For some there are no noticeable changes whereas for others an increase in perspiration is noticed as the sweat glands are able to work freely without chemical hindrance.'
In essence, there can be a bit of a transition period (which may have been what we were experiencing). So, how long does it take for one's body to get accustomed to the natural deodorant? ‘A transition time is normal. It varies person to person, but I would always recommend allowing around a month. This gives you a chance to assessing how your body is adjusting to being allowed to breathe freely', says Elaine.
Back to the drawing board then… What do you think of natural deodorants vs their unnatural counterparts? Let us know below.