The Downlow on Deodorants

Like many of us you just might be working from home right now. Our web lady let drop that for her this means washing her hair just once a week and not using (ahem) underarm deodorants.  In her honor let’s take a couple of minutes to think about the ingredients natural formulators use to create organic underarm deodorants.

Each one of us has a unique scent, a combination of diet and our invisible skin ecosystem of bacteria and fungus. Your deodorant’s job is to repress this natural microbial ecosystem in order to make all that biology less noticeable to the neighbors.

It is not a coincidence that the most sensitive skin areas including inner elbow, inner thigh and underarm are all areas of higher moisture and higher bacterial counts. It means that these areas, including underarms can become irritated and rashy; even when using the most natural of ingredients. 

Here are some basic deodorant options using completely natural and sustainable ingredients.

Let’s check out ethanol and herb combinations first. These are basically tinctures that you spray or roll on to apply. Weleda does a good job with theirs, but the downsides are several.   First, alcohol is irritating, especially when used over time. It can turn a mild irritation into a full-blown rash, especially when essential oils are being used. We experimented with alcohol and essential oil-based deodorants early on. And then we continued our research. 

Alum crystals aka crystal aka aluminum sulfate and/or ammonia aluminum sulfate more or less works as deodorant base. The liquid roll on worked better for me than a hunk of damp crystal. But it leaves a sticky sugar like film that eventually turned me away from it. Using the straight crystal seemed to make me sweat even more!

Cornstarch is a great absorber of moisture. And it acts a lubricant to reduce friction as you move your arms around throughout the day. Cornstarch, especially organic cornstarch is very soothing to red inflamed skin where heat, sweat and friction meet.  But by itself cornstarch is not a deodorant. 

Baking soda is one of those ingredients that look good on paper but doesn’t actually work well in reality. I know, we have all seen the ads. However, I find that even the finest ground baking soda is gritty and irritating to my sensitive skin. Rubbing straight baking soda on your skin will probably absorb some of the scent. But then a nice hot bath or shower would do the same and be less irritating. Not my favorite deodorant ingredient. I wish it did work!

Coconut oil acts as a mild microbe retardant. Combine coconut oil with specific essential oils and you have the beginnings of an effective natural deodorant.

Vermont Soap blends organic coconut oil, organic cornstarch, aromatherapy essential oil blends and natural waxes to create its signature line of underarm stick deodorants. The oils, cornstarch and the waxes that hold it all together are each soothing to inflamed itchy skin. The essential oils work with the other ingredients to reduce body odors for 6-8 hours on most people. 

Remember to rotate your organic deodorant essential oil blends for maximum effectiveness. This keeps the biology on its toes. And don’t over apply organic oil-based deodorants. If you do they might melt and run after exertion and discolor your shirt. Store your organic deodorants on a shelf in the door of your refrigerator right next to your supply of Green Gold. It will stay fresh and the cool temperatures will ensure that you do not over apply. The bonus to you is that everything goes further which saves you money. 

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  1. Glen Koedding on May 2, 2020 at 11:05 am

    I don’t overuse the deodorant and it really works. However no matter how little I use, it stains my clothing and doesn’t come out in the wash.

    • Vermont Soap on May 4, 2020 at 12:42 pm

      Hi, Glen. We recommend Liquid Sunshine concentrate to remove those stubborn deodorant stains!