I became aware of the dangers of aluminium in deodorants when I was in my teens. As dementia is common on both sides of my family, I definitely knew I wanted to avoid it, let alone the links between antiperspirants & breast cancer. Instead, I used perfumed body sprays that were (and still are) so popular with girls & young women, not realising at the time how much they can mess with hormones. I tried a natural spray deodorant based on tea tree oil, but it barely lasted a few hours before I started to stink. I then tried one of those solid crystal deodorants, only to end up with irritation that looked like a chemical burn. In the bin with that!
I tried so many different things over the years, with limited success. Several years ago, I realised a lot of the newer natural deodorants on the market were based on sodium bicarbonate. I tried dusting bicarb powder on my armpits & found it was amazingly effective! I went on to try a couple of pastes with bicarb which were great…..until the itch started. The itch quickly turned into peeling skin that had me wanting to rip my armpits off. I had developed a sensitivity to bicarb and was back to square one.
As it turns out, I was not the only one and I started seeing bicarb-free deodorant pastes in the shops. Huzzah! I have tried pretty much every one I’ve come across & wanted to share my top 5 with you in case you are a sensitive flower like myself – LOL. All are Australian made, natural and cruelty-free.
1) No Pong – Low Fragrance, Bicarb Free
No Pong is nothing short of fantastic. I find it lasts 2-3 days with no smell, which is how often I shower (daily showers make my skin worse). It has a lovely subtle scent, using some of my favourite essential oils. It’s the same blend of oils they use in their original formulation, just at a lower concentration. They’ve actually dubbed their deodorant as an “anti odourant”, which is probably a more accurate description for a product that prevents the odour forming in the first place. It’s also palm oil free, which is great news for the orangutans. However, if you’re vegan, you may prefer the other deodorants I have listed as No Pong does contain beeswax.
Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Magnesium Hydroxide, Diatomaceous Earth, Beeswax, and a reduced concentration of our fresh, gender neutral, proprietary blend of 100% pure, Australian certified organic essential oils consisting of Orange Sweet, Vanilla, Lemongrass, Cedarwood Atlas, Bergamot, Lime, Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, and Geranium.
RRP: $6.95 + Shipping from $3 from their website, $9.95 from retailers for a 35g tin.
Tins can be reused or recycled via roadside collection.
2) My Shay Sensitive
I had the opportunity to try the bicarb-free version of My Shay shortly before it was released on the market. My Shay is based on certified Fair Trade shea butter from West Africa & certified organic coconut oil. All the My Shay products are hand-blended & poured about half an hour away from me in Hobart, so it’s great to buy from a local small business! My teenage daughter, who spends several hours a week getting sweaty at dance classes, said she likes My Shay more than No Pong, preferring both the smoother texture & subtle citrusy scent. I find it doesn’t last quite as long (1, maybe 2 days), but I definitely like the texture more. It is also the least likely of all the pastes to leave any white marks on dark clothes.
Tara took out both Gold & the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Australian Non-Toxic Awards for her regular Lemon Myrtle deodorant (with bicarb) and her original scent was also a Finalist, so she definitely makes top-quality products. She has had a number of people tell her that her bicarb-free deodorant has actually healed irritated and eczema-prone skin, which is amazing!
Ingredients: Tapioca Starch, Coconut Oil*, Shea Butter*, Magnesium Hydroxide, Cacao Butter*, Kaolin Clay, Diatomaceous Earth, Candelilia Wax. Olive Oil, Essential Oils of: Lavender, Lemon Myrtle, Sweet Orange, Red Mandarin, Peppermint & Cedarwood. *=Certified Organic
RRP: 30g tin $11.99 + Free Shipping / 4 x 30g tins $35.99 (save 10%) + Free Shipping / 65g jar $19.99 (Free shipping on all orders over $35)
Tins & jars can be reused or recycled via roadside collection. Tara has also recently started using cardboard eco-pots, which are biodegradable, compostable & recyclable.
3) Good + Clean Deodorant Crème
I’ll admit that this was a “you had me at Sandalwood” purchase. I really can’t go past anything with Sandalwood….nor can my daughter apparently, who looked at me intensely & insisted we weren’t leaving the store without buying the Santalum Deodorant. There are 3 other varieties available: Nerolina (Beauty Shortlist Wellbeing Awards 2019 Finalist), Piperita (Beauty Shortlist Wellbeing Awards 2019 Winner) & Ternifolia (unscented), but it’s all about the Santalum in this house!
Like My Shay, this deodorant is vegan & hand-made, although somewhat further from us on the Gold Coast, and it’s palm oil free.
The first thing I noticed (after the beautiful scent) was the silky, powdery texture of the crème-to-powder formula. It’s much softer than the other deodorants and very easy to spread without having to wait a few seconds for it to warm to body temperature. They say on their website that it’s a non-staining formula and it’s true that there’s no lasting stains, but I do find it leaves white powdery residue on dark clothes, so you need to be careful getting dressed or be prepared to wipe down your clothes with a damp cloth.
Even though I love this scent the most, I do find that I react slightly to something in it (possibly the almond oil as I’m a bit iffy with nuts), but this is my daughter’s top choice.
As a bonus, Good + Clean donates 10% of every sale to land and ocean conservation projects.
Ingredients: Tapioca Starch, Magnesium Hydroxide, Prunus dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Diatomaceous Earth, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Vegetable Glycerine (Palm-free), Candelilla (Euphorbia Cerifera) Wax, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil, Essential Oils: Rosewood, Cedarwood, Orange, Buddha Wood, Peru Balsam, Australian sandalwood, Frankincense, Benzoin, Lemon, Vetiver, Juniper, Vanilla.
RRP: 70g tin $22.00 / 4 x 70g tins $80 / Free Shipping on orders over $75 / Afterpay available
Tins can be reused or recycled via roadside collection.
4) Black Chicken Axilla Paste – Barrier Booster for Sensitive Skin
For months, I saw people RAVING online about Black Chicken deodorant. It seemed to be the go-to amongst lovers of non-toxic products. It sounded great, but it was another product with bicarb. Then (drumroll), they released their bicarb-free version, Barrier Booster.
It lasts 1-2 days, spreads easily & smells lovely. It’s vegan-friendly & palm oil free. The oils and fatty acids actually help to strengthen sensitive skin, reducing sensitivity over time.
They also have an agreement with Terracycle where you can send back any Black Chicken packaging that can’t be recycled via roadside collection (at your cost) & you’ll receive a $10 e-gift card to use on their website.
Ingredients: Butyrospermum Parkii* (Shea Butter), Cocos Nucifera* (Coconut oil), Borago Officinalis* (Borage seed oil), Camellia Oleifera* (Camellia Tea oil), Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E oil), Vegetable Glycerine* not derived from palm oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla wax), Magnesium Hydroxide, Amorphous Silica (Diatomaceous Earth Powder)*, Manihot Esculenta (Tapioca).
With essential oils of: Citrus Paradisi (Pink Grapefruit essential oil), Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin essential oil), Pelargonium Graveness (Geranium Bourbon essential oil), Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang essential oil).
*Certified Organic ingredients.
RRP: 75g plastic jar $19.50 / Free shipping over $75 / Afterpay available
PET jar bases can be recycled in roadside collection. Lids may need to be returned to Black Chicken for recycling as there’s no recycling code on them.
5) Woohoo Mellow
Woohoo was probably the first paste-style deodorant I tried, although I started with the Urban scent that does contain bicarb. It worked well until I couldn’t tolerate it.
Even though they did all they could to balance the pH of their original formulas, it wasn’t enough for us super-sensitive types, so they created Mellow. Not only is it bicarb-free, it’s also the only deodorant in this list that contains no essential oils, which can also irritate some people. That makes it a great choice for pregnant & breastfeeding women who want to avoid essential oils, or those who just don’t like scented products. Like all except No Pong, this deodorant is vegan-friendly.
Ingredients: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Manihot Esculenta (Tapioca) Root Starch, Magnesium Hydroxide, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Kaolin Clay, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla) Wax, Triethyl Citrate, Zinc Oxide (non-nano), Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer Diheptyl Succinate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Activated Charcoal Powder
* Certified Organic Ingredient
RRP: 70g plastic jar $17.95 / Free Shipping on orders over $100 / Afterpay available
Jars are reusable or recyclable in roadside collection.
As you may have noticed, Magnesium Hydroxide (AKA ‘Milk of Magnesia’) is a hero ingredient in all of these deodorants due to its ability to safely kill bacteria on the skin. Magnesium is required for over 300 normal processes in the human body & most of us are deficient in it, so this is a much healthier option to aluminium salts which are neurotoxic and block sweat glands. On that note, none of these deodorants will stop you from sweating, and that’s a GOOD thing. Sweating is a great detoxification pathway which we don’t want to stop, but the ingredients in the deodorants will slow the growth of odour-causing bacteria on the skin.
With all of the pastes, the application method is the same: apply a pea-sized amount under each armpit & gently massage into the skin. Easy as!
So that’s my top 5 deodorants for sensitive skin. Although they are all similar in ingredients, there are subtle differences that will affect which choice is right for you.
I’d love to know which one you love the most, or if there’s any others you think I should try, so please comment below 😊
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