Find plastic free deodorant that suits your body and your ethics
There has undoubtedly been a change in public opinion in recent years when it comes to single-use plastics and there are now many plastic-free toiletry options like a plastic-free deodorant. It might have been a shock to the system the first time you realised you were going to have to pay for a bag at the supermarket, but most of us are now on board with bringing our own bags or having to buy them if we forget.
Likewise there's nothing unusual about carrying a reusable water bottle, using your own coffee cup, or saying no thank you when you're offered a plastic straw. The tides are changing at long last but there's still a long way to go when it comes to getting rid of unnecessary plastics.
Some changes are easy to make, others require a little more commitment, and some plastics we barely even register. The good news is there is almost always an alternative if you're willing to find it.
If you have started making the switch to more natural toiletries that are also plastic-free then finding a zero-waste deodorant may well be on your do-to list. As with so many personal care products deodorant is generally packaged in plastic and that's not what you want if you're trying to reduce your environmental impact and protect the planet.
Unlike changing to a wooden toothbrush / bath bombs the same deodorant doesn't work for everyone. Our bodies work in different ways and we have different preferences when it comes to fragrances and methods of application.
Luckily there are now plenty of natural deodorants available that don't come in plastic packaging so the chances are there's a product out there that will work for you.
The how's and why's of natural deodorant
The first thing to note is that natural deodorants are not antiperspirants. And it doesn't appear that there are any plastic-free antiperspirants although you can buy them in glass bottles with plastic caps.
Maybe that's because those people leading the charge in terms of plastic production are concerned about more than just the packaging of their products. And maybe over time, this will change. But in the meantime if you are looking for plastic-free what you will find is also a lot more natural.
Natural deodorants don't stop you sweating but instead, they neutralise any bad smells and use natural ingredients such as arrowroot, zinc oxide, tapioca starch or charcoal to keep you dry.
Many natural deodorants use bicarbonate of soda which is great for both keeping you dry and stopping any smells but there are also bicarb free deodorant for those that are sensitive to it.
Our plastic-free, palm oil free deodorants come in a variety of packing including cardboard tube deodorant that allow you to apply like a traditional roll on, deodorant cream in metal tins, and even a potassium crystal stick that is packaged in a natural cork case.
Find out more about life without plastic & why we should reduce our plastic waste here!
Why swap to plastic free deodorant?
There are really a huge number of reasons to consider swapping to a natural, plastic free deodorant.
In terms of plastic free, the benefits are obvious- those who are earth conscious will wish to protect the planet will want to reduce their plastic consumption by choosing products with plastic free packaging where possible. By ditching the plastic packaging and going for a zero waste option with sustainable packaging instead, this one small change can really have massive impact over the years. Zero waste deodorants often come in a recyclable aluminium tube or reusable tins, a cardboard tube glass jars in a cardboard box. Some deodorant bars come completely without any packaging at all! We have also seen natural deodorant products come in reusable packaging made from recycled plastic or anodised aluminium. All great options if they can be recycled properly.
Most plastic free deodorants tend to be natural and non toxic as well as environmentally friendly. The benefits here are that natural deodorant creams work in harmony with your body, rather than by blocking pores like conventional deodorants do. They tend to be the better option for sensitive skin- you can even get fragrance free versions if particularly sensitive. Natural ingredients such as almond oil, kaolin clay, candelilla wax, sunflower wax, organic shea butter and organic coconut oil gently nourish the skin. In addition, deodorant cream is usually either fragrance free or formulated with organic essential oils such as tea tree or patchouli oil to give a natural aroma, rather than synthetic fragrance that can cause irritation.
If you're looking for an all round eco friendly deodorant, you'll be pleased to hear that plastic free, natural deodorants tend to be cruelty free too, with many vegan deodorant creams available. The best zero waste deodorants are cruelty free, vegan friendly and free from palm oil too. Many of them are also certified organic, or at least feature organic ingredients. Look out for stamps from the vegan society and other signs of eco credentials.
Are there health benefits to using a plastic free deodorant?
As we mentioned before, plastic free deodorant creams tend to be natural and aluminium free. While there are many scare articles out there linking antiperspirant deodorant to cancer and alzheimer's, the reality is that swapping to deodorant bars is unlikely to be a fix to these health issues- however, it's no stretch to think that swapping to an aluminium free, paraben free, natural deodorant may still be the healthier choice. And if you can reduce waste and embrace a zero waste lifestyle while you're at it, win win!
How do I use a plastic free deodorant?
You're likely used to aerosol cans or plastic roll on deodorant, so it's no surprise if you're wondering how to use the plastic free version. Natural deodorant can be bought in a number of formats, mainly in a jar or tin, or as a roll on in a reusable or cardboard tube. You can also buy salt sticks, though be careful- these often come in recycled plastic.
If you have a deodorant cream in a tin or jar, this is normally applied using your finger tips. A roll on, meanwhile, is applied directly to the underarm area from the tube. Some ingredients, such as organic shea butter, sunflower wax or candelilla wax, solidify at room temperature, which can make the deodorant bars or stick very firm- applying to damp skin can make application a little easier.
Can I use natural deodorant if I have sensitive skin?
Absolutely, often this is the better option! It does depend what you are sensitive to- some are sensitive to shea butter, while others react to baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate.) You can easily avoid these ingredients, and you will find that most natural deodorant products labelled as "sensitive" will be free from baking soda.
Many customers report that they can tolerate scented natural deodorant while they normally can't use other fragrances- this is likely because natural deodorants tend to use essential oils rather than synthetic fragrance. Still, if you have sensitive skin, this is another thing to consider- and, again, fragrance free options are available.
Will an environmentally friendly deodorant really work for me?
There are a vast array of eco friendly. natural deodorants out there packed full or powerful natural ingredients, so you can be sure you will find one that works for you!
You may well find that there is a transition period when you make the swap, however this should quickly settle. During this adjustment period, keep odour causing bacteria under control by perhaps having extra showers and keeping your deodorant close.
The baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) along with essential oils fight bacteria, while arrowroot powder, tapioca starch, zinc oxide or kaolin clay work to keep you feeling dry. Other deodorants use powdered bamboo extract, which can actually hold double its own weight in moisture, magnesium oxide or diatomaceous earth to absorb moisture. Some natural deodorants also feature citric acid or ammonium or potassium alum (which are natural mineral salts) to fight odour causing bacteria. These won't have the same antiperspirant effect of aluminium chlorohydrate, but they do a great job at keeping you smelling fresh and feeling dry .
Why use synthetic, potentially harmful ingredients when you can use natural, organic ingredients and a natural mineral salt to do the same job?