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Natural Deodorant Choices

By HERWriter
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Only a few years ago, there was a lot of concern that the chemicals in antiperspirants might contribute to breast cancer. The FDA and the American Cancer Society strongly report that studies do not support those concerns. However, many woman are still reluctant to expose themselves to the aluminum and parabens in antiperspirant, so they choose to only apply deodorant instead, especially natural deodorant.

Walk into any health food store and you are faced with an abundance of natural deodorant choices each touting how wonderful and pure they are. Searching the web, I found National Geographic’s Green Guide which does not endorse products but does review “the science, the manufacturer's detailed product information, their claims and third party certifications when developing the product recommendations.” http://www.thegreenguide.com/buying-guide/deodorants

The Green Guide lists 14 deodorants that meet their standards with Crystal Deodorant being the most cost effective and Burt's Bees Herbal Deodorant as being the “greenest”.

● Crystal Deodorant has been around since the 80’s and was the first “natural” deodorant people seemed to use. While regular deodorants use aluminum, Crystal deodorant uses alum (not related to aluminum). They claim that the mineral salts in their deodorant create a film to eliminate the bacteria that causes odor. http://www.thecrystal.com/

● Burt’s Bee Herbal Deodorant uses sage, lemon and lavender to neutralize odor. It comes in a spray bottle and the Green Guide was impressed with the company’s strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the environment.

● Tom’s of Maine is not on the “Green list” probably because they use zinc ricinoleate from castor beans as one method to reduce odor along with other botanicals to neutralize bacteria. Tom’s does provide a popular product with numerous fragrance choices and is also is an environmentally conscious company.

● Make your own. If you are so inclined, I found a few sites that have recipes containing similar basic ingredients along with other herbs to suit your style. For a simple deodorant, some women just use baking soda and cornstarch.


The main consideration to keep in mind is that allergies and skin irritation can occur even with the most “natural” of products especially if underarm skin is irritated, red or newly shaved. Do not rely on seeing “hypoallergenic” on the label as proof that problems won’t occur as the FDA does not evaluate for allergy susceptibility, the manufacturer is making the claim. It is always a good idea to test a new product under just one arm first to make sure it doesn’t cause a problem.

Info on deodorants and antiperspirants and cancer risk: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/risk/ap-deo

Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele can be read at http://www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles

Add a Comment6 Comments

This is a wonderful article and I appreciate you taking the time to write it. I've been interested in trying natural deodorant but didn't know where to start, or how effective they were. Next time I'm at my health foods store, I'll check these out. Thank you again.

September 17, 2009 - 8:24am

I have been using Tom's for the past 2 years and am very happy with it. Thank you for your article, it was very informative!

September 15, 2009 - 1:58pm

I think if you have been using these products and are satified with them then that's what matters. I did try to look up Oak Gall which is one of the ingredients in their deodorant and could not find any info on why it would be used so if you are curious you might want to contact them and ask them how they came up with their particular formulation.

I wrote the article because if you have ever tried to look for natural deodorant before, there are so many choices it is hard to know where to start. The Green guide at least gives you 14 to check out.

September 17, 2009 - 10:17am
EmpowHER Guest

What about these?


September 15, 2009 - 9:23am

Tom's long lasting deodorants use: Zinc ricinoleate from Zinc oxide and castor bean (Ricinus communis) plant. This is their link about Zinc ricinoleate: http://www.tomsofmaine.com/products/ingredient-detail.aspx?id=27&name=Zinc ricinoleate

They say that the zinc is from zinc oxide and "ricinoleic acid is a purified fatty acid from castor seed oil, a vegetable oil obtained from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant."

The link goes on to say:
"Some people ask whether or not castor oil and its derivatives contain the highly toxic compound ricin. Castor oil does not contain ricin because ricin is water soluble and does not dissolve in the oil obtained from the castor beans. Castor oil is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a natural flavoring substance, as a direct food additive, and as a safe and effective stimulant laxative."

So it does sound safe. I don't know why the Green Guide didn't include them, I just assumed something about the ingredients they use did not meet Green Guide's approval and Zinc ricinoleate is in 3 of their 6 deodorants. Tom's makes a very popular product which is why I included them and I know men and women who use their deodorants and like them.

September 7, 2009 - 6:47pm

Here is another good deodorant.. I had my compounding pharmacist make sure there were no carcinogens or hormone disruptors in it. If you know a distributor.. order it from them. http://charlottesal.ineways.com

September 7, 2009 - 4:57pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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