Splurge vs. Steal: Natural Deodorants

September 30, 2013


For the past two years, I’ve been using Lavanila’s The Healthy Deodorant.  Throughout my teenage and college years, I relied on antiperspirant to keep me feeling dry and fresh.  (I have this thing about feeling clean.)  As I learned, however, allowing yourself to sweat is actually “cleaner” in the long run.  Most antiperspirants contain aluminum, a very effective sweat-blocking agent, and parabens, preservatives common to conventional body products.  Since both of these ingredients may mimic or promote estrogen-like effects in the body, many in the scientific community have expressed concern that antiperspirant use may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. While The National Cancer Institute reports that studies on this matter are conflicting, I’d rather play it safe. Additionally, as we all know, sweat plays an important role in our health by cooling us down and helping detoxify the body.

For these reasons, I wanted to make friends with my sweat, but switching to natural deodorant required some getting used to.  More sweat on clothes means more frequent washing of clothes, which is not so good for energy costs and the environment.  Also, because natural deodorant doesn’t contain synthetic fragrance, it’s only somewhat effective at masking odor, leaving me to reapply, reapply… Nonetheless, I’m happy I made this healthy switch.

Recently while traveling, I ran out of my Vanilla Grapefruit Lavanila deodorant.  Fortunately, I found a Safeway and picked up a stick of Tom’s Long Lasting Deodorant in Fresh Apricot for about $4 (a good deal less expensive than Lavanila’s full-size deodorant, which costs $14).

I thought it might be useful to compare my experiences with each deodorant:

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant

Splurge—Lavanila.  The packaging is beautiful.  The deodorant itself is white and can leave markings on clothes (less than beautiful).  Each fragrance is laced with vanilla: there’s Pure Vanilla, Vanilla Blackberry (my favorite), Vanilla Coconut, and a few others.  Thus, you must love vanilla, as I do, to love this product. Also, the fragrance is somewhat “powdery” –according to my fiancé, a bit like “80s deodorant.”  Since I wasn’t around for the 80s, I’m not exactly sure what he means, but I don’t think it’s high praise.  Lavanila does a pretty decent job of staying with me throughout the day, however, which is probably why I keep buying it.  Thus far, it hasn’t irritated my skin.

Tom's Long Lasting Deodorant

Steal—Tom’s.  Tom’s is a clear gel, which makes for a lovely, smooth texture and mark-free T-shirts.  The Fresh Apricot fragrance is cheerful and not too sweet.  Tom’s comes in a variety of fragrances, including Maine Spice and Refreshing Lemongrass.  There’s also a fragrance-free option.  I’ve found that Tom’s odor-blocking abilities do not last as long as Lavanila’s, so I am constantly reapplying it. Finally, if I apply it immediately after shaving, it makes me feel a little itchy for a while but not bad.  I’m glad I found Tom’s when I was in a pinch, but I’ll probably be going back to Lavanila.

Not interested in either? There are other natural deodorant options out there, including those made by Weleda and Kiss My Face. (I have yet to try these myself.)  Also, there are some brave souls out there who make their own deodorant by mixing baking soda and essential oils and apply it with a kabuki brush.  More DIY deodorant recipes here.

Photos: Unsplash; Lavanila Laboratories, Tom’s of Maine.


Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.


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