When I was in high school, almost twenty years ago, I had an unusual job. I picked organic, edible flowers at a farm in coastal Massachusetts. The owner of the operation sold the blossoms to a distributor of fine foods. Fancy restaurants garnished dinner plates with the colorful, pesticide-free petals. This hands-on farm job was my introduction to the natural and organic world, well before it became mainstream.
I stopped working at the flower farm when I left for college. Not surprisingly, this blog writer studied writing and communications in school. Like a lot of college students, I sought out internships in my field. I was lucky and landed an awesome (unpaid) internship at a magazine focused on organic gardening. I ended up taking a second unpaid internship at a health and wellness magazine. While I couldn't really buy organic ingredients and products on a student's budget, what I learned at the internships stuck. Natural and chemical-free products made sense to me and shaped my opinions as I headed into adulthood.
Nowadays, organic and natural products are mainstream and slightly more affordable. They're available to the masses—you can find organic food and natural products at traditional retailers. Even natural deodorants are becoming huge, which is what we’re going to talk about today!
Entering the World of Natural Deodorant
I seriously started using natural deodorant back in 2013 when I was pregnant with my first child. I heard things about antiperspirants causing breast cancer and heavy metals being toxic to the body. I have since learned that the National Cancer Institute
says no studies to-date establish that aluminum-based cosmetics and antiperspirants increase the chances of getting breast cancer. Even so, I couldn’t get the hearsay about aluminum out of my head.
Before becoming pregnant, I wasn't completely on board with natural deodorants, because they were not effective. I worked in an office with other people and needed to keep smelling fresh for their
benefit and to maintain self-esteem. Natural deodorant just couldn't stop BO for long periods without having to reapply!
Things changed when I became pregnant. Like a lot of new moms, I was anxious about the things I put in my body and put on my body. So, I wasn't taking any chances with conventional antiperspirants. I made the switch to aluminum-free deodorant. By 2013, natural deodorant was becoming more mainstream, and there were more choices, especially online. I even bought some natural deodorant on Etsy back then, and now the brand is in brick-and-mortar stores!
For six years
, I tried different natural deodorants. After my daughter was born, I stuck with an antiperspirant made by a natural company. It contains aluminum chlorohydrate, which is still aluminum, but one of the simpler forms. So, I kept with the naturally derived antiperspirant because it stopped me from sweating under my arms.
Though my rational mind keeps telling me to trust there's no real proof connecting aluminum to breast cancer, I'm having trouble fully believing it. I also have the case of the "what ifs." My grandmother had breast cancer, after all. Not to mention, aluminum-free, natural deodorant is all around us. Well-known publications write about it, and my friends use it. That being said, there's still the issue with the infectiveness of most natural deodorants.
So, I used my aluminum chlorohydrate antiperspirant right up until this past October when I discovered Lume Deodorant
. It’s an aluminum-free, natural deodorant that actually works
. Let me tell you, it has been a relief to find an effective, skin-safe deodorant like Lume!
Even Natural Deodorants Aren't Skin-Safe for Everyone
I was telling a friend about Lume the other day because I had recently started blogging for the brand, and because she wanted to find a natural deodorant that worked for her. She tried a few different products, ones that are highly rated on the internet. They gave her rashes and made her underarms red, bumpy, and super-itchy. Since I'm well informed about the intricacies of how natural deodorant is made, I told her that the brands she had tried all contain baking soda. Many people have skin reactions caused by this kitchen staple. Turns out that the skin is a little acidic and baking soda is alkaline. So if you have sensitive skin, alkaline products can be irritating.
Why is baking soda a common ingredient in natural deodorant? It's because baking soda is good at absorbing moisture, and it can also neutralize odor as it inhibits bacteria. Arrowroot powder is also a natural food ingredient that absorbs sweat but without the irritation of baking soda. Lume Deodorant uses arrowroot powder to absorb sweat.
Another friend of mine is also into the whole natural and organic lifestyle but has trouble finding a natural deodorant because many of them contain coconut oil. She's allergic to the ingredient. I recommended Lume Deodorant because it's free of coconut oil. Oh, and it works!
In addition to deodorant, I've tried numerous natural skincare products over the years. Sunscreen is a good example. Many natural SPFs contain zinc oxide, which makes them hard to rub in, leaving my skin feeling tacky and streaky. I use it because natural sunscreen is highly effective at blocking out the sun's rays, and it's safer for my skin and body. So why am I telling you about sunscreen in a blog about deodorant? Here's why: I have high standards for all the stuff I put on my skin, whether a cream or deodorant. I expect a natural deodorant to be skin-safe AND really work for me.
Even if an ingredient is natural, it doesn't mean it's good for you. I mean, look at baking soda. It's great in cakes and cookies, and it's found in toothpaste and deodorant. But it can be very irritating to some people’s skin. Or take coconut oil, for example. Coconut oil is in tons of natural products, but it causes allergic reactions in some people, like my friend, and it is highly comedogenic, meaning it can clog pores. I don't know about you, but If a product irritates my skin, it's bad for me. A natural deodorant that's skin-safe has different meanings for different people. That's why it's important to find one that works for your
Are You Sensitive to Aluminum-Based Antiperspirant?
When it comes to antiperspirants containing aluminum, some people can't use it. They may have medical issues with their kidneys, and too much aluminum in the body can be harmful. You may find yourself sensitive to antiperspirants. Maybe they give you a rash. Conventional antiperspirants can contain propylene glycol, synthetic fragrances, or zirconium, which can cause irritation.
Getting Used to Sweat
Now that I've started using Lume Deodorant, I've had to get used to perspiring. No natural deodorant can block wetness, but they can sop up moisture with absorbent ingredients like arrowroot powder. A deodorant's intended purpose is to keep you smelling fresh. Antiperspirants work by blocking sweat glands keeping wetness at bay.
Lume Deodorant is Skin-Safe
Lume is made from naturally derived ingredients and does not contain aluminum, baking soda, silicone, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, gluten, corn, soy, talc, propylene glycol, or synthetic fragrances. There's a great story behind it, too. Shannon Klingman, a gynecologist, developed Lume after trying to find a solution for her patients' "feminine" odor that's completely normal and natural, but women found it embarrassing. Dr. Klingman created a product that inhibits odor-causing bacteria and controls odor anywhere on the body—private parts and all.
Lume comes in a deodorant stick or tube. With either application, you rub in the odor-fighting cream for maximum effectiveness. You can buy an unscented version or one that is scented with essential oils or botanicals.
Remember, natural deodorant isn't as important as skin-safe deodorant, because skin-safe deodorant can be something different for everybody.