My Quest For A Natural Deodorant That Actually Works


I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that I do a lot of good stuff for my health. I consciously drink three litres of filtered water every day. I commit to nine hours of sleep every night. I buy as much organic produce as I can afford, eat more vegetables than I’d probably like to, fill my smoothies with a bunch of hard-to-pronounce powders, and I don’t, like, *take drugs*.

But there’s a lot I don’t do, and if there was one area of my health in particular that I’ve always failed to address it’s my beauty routine. Mostly because I know there’s room for improvement: in a world where the negative impacts of parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes and fragrances are now widely acknowledged, it’s uncomfortable for me to think about the number of products I expose my skin to on a daily basis. But I also know it’s the small changes we make over a lifetime that will have the greatest impact on our wellbeing, so about 18 months ago I decided to switch to a natural deodorant.

For me, a “natural deodorant” is classified as one that doesn’t contain aluminium or synthetic fragrance. Your definition might be different and that’s cool too. The two most annoying parts of my quest to switch to something more “kind” to my armpits was the sheer volume of false advertising and the smelly transition-period you have to endure when you make the change. Believe me when I say, I tried a lot of brands: Ethique, Aesop, Only Good, Crystal, and Weleda to name a few. The problem with all of them was they only solved one of two problems; they either masked the smell but you’d still get sweat patches, or they’d keep your underarms dry but do nothing to combat the smell. Then one day – when I was this close to giving up – I tried the plant-powered personal care brand Schmidt’s and I’ve never looked back. 

All of Schmidt’s products are free of aluminium, propylene glycol, SLS, PEG, parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrance, artificial flavours and colorants. Good God that’s a long list. But! More! Importantly! Their deodorant actually works. I’ve been using the Charcoal + Magnesium stick deodorant for over a year now and I love it (the Rose + Vanilla also smells amazing and the Geranium option is perfect for women with sensitive skin). The product doesn’t transfer to my clothes, I never get sweat patches, and I don’t smell after a 12-hour work day complete with a boxing or pilates class. Schmidt’s offers most of their deodorants in paste form too but I’d recommend getting the stick – rubbing paste on your armpits every morning is pretty hectic. I usually buy mine from wellness store The Tonic Room in Auckland, but it’s also available on iHerb (and is typically a lot cheaper).

As with all matters of beauty, natural deodorant has a lot to do with personal preference, so what works for me might not work for someone with sensitive skin or a heavier sweater. It’s also worth noting that it can take up to 30 days for your body to start regulating itself after switching to an aluminium-free deodorant. I distinctly remember smelling *pretty bad* for about four days after I stopped using the supermarket stuff.

Good luck and happy sweating!

Header image via Tumblr