Monday, May 21, 2012

The Deodorant Diaries

It’s beautiful in NYC this time of year. Central Park is lush and green after some recent rain, it’s finally warming up and with that many of us are coming to the realization that our deodorant may not be cutting it. I recently ran into my friend Julie who had just purchased a new natural deodorant and a conversation ensued about the effectiveness of these products. Julie is really funny and one of those people everyone falls in love with. I asked her to test drive a few products and report back. I wanted to know if it is possible to be natural and odor free. Here is Julie’s Deodorant Diary.
Julie and I (with elderflower martinis) at my jewelry party, she smelled great.
Over the past few years, I have been a faithful Foodtrainers blog reader. I can’t tell you how many times I have connected with the advice offered here. I am digging my E3 LIVE shot and, as of Mother’s Day, I am now the proud owner of my first juicer. Lauren is a dear friend who has helped me tackle major food issues. I now exercise regularly and really try to put good things in and on my body, so I am excited to share my quest for a natural deodorant here.

This subject is along the same lines as poop, sorry if you are squirming. About a year ago, I noticed that my current deodorant clearly wasn’t cutting it. Whether in a business meeting, social situation or an intimate setting, whenever I would get a good whiff of my underarm BAM it would hit me that something didn’t smell good, sadly that something was me. I am extremely picky about hygiene so for this to be happening to me was a challenge I was not going to back down from. 

First, I started with every toxic brand you can think of.  For the money I spent on this venture, I could be walking around with a fabulous handbag.  I tried Degree, Kiehls, Dove, Secret “Clinical Formula”, Mitchum and the list goes on. Aside from being ineffective, I realized how horrible these were for me ingredient-wise.  To add insult to odor, deodorant residue was on my clothes and I itched constantly; I didn’t even realize I was scratching myself at inappropriate times. My trips to Duane Reade were almost daily and the garbage filled with nasty brands and then my husband switched from a toxic deodorant to an au naturel one. He would say “why are you putting a death trap under your arms?” I don’t always listen to him but, out of desperation, this time I did.


 I was so excited to find this brand. I read about it and learned it was good for me.  It has no Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Dyes, or Phthalates. It's also aluminum free (Lauren informed me aluminum in antiperspirants  has potential links to both breast cancer and Alzheimer's). I dragged my 10-year-old daughter to Sephora and ended up with The Pure Vanilla/Lavender Scent. I’ve always been the person who wears something new out of the store but decided to wait to get home. Sure enough, we ran into Lauren and her boys across the street at Whole Foods. I shared my recent find and even whipped it out of my bag and said, “ smell it”.  Good friends can do these things.

The next day, I woke up and applied Lavanila before my Fly Wheel spin class.
It has a creamy texture, goes on easily and smells fresh. I came out of the class drenched. As I walked to Fairway, when no one was looking, I did the QWAPIT (Quick Whiff Armpit Inhale Test). Directions: head to the left, raise left arm ever so slightly so no one notices and inhale.  All things considered, I smelled quite delicious. I was in love with Lavanila. Our affair lasted for about a week and was great, no itching or scratching, and my clothes were thrilled not to have deo-hickies on them. But it was time to move on and see if there were other non-smelly fish in the deodorant sea.


This selection awoke my inner hippy.  The description reads, “Crystal Body Deodorant is made of 100% natural mineral salts which eliminate odor. It is fragrance free, non-staining, leaves no white residue and can be used by both men and women.” The directions say wet it before use. I wet the crystal and tried to apply it but the crystal dried out as I rolled it on. It felt as though I was rubbing a stone on my armpit. I wet it again and attempted the other side. There’s no girly, fresh smell. Undeterred, I went to work and didn’t notice any overpowering odor or itching.  That night, I had my annual mammogram. The nice technician put me in position and then it hit me.  I said to myself that can’t be me who smells like this; I did the QWAPIT and was mortified. My inner hippy had become an outer hippy and clearly this one is not for me. Dumped.

This is Certified Organic and there is a list of ingredients that are all recognizable. I decided to try it on a date night.  I rushed to get dressed, took the cap off and sprayed away.  I did the QWAPIT and was overwhelmed by the smell; I emailed Lauren that I smelled like a Christmas tree. The smell is Origin-y, this is not a “50 Shades” sexy scent.  I put on a silk blouse; silk is a fabric sure to test any deodorant. I will tell you that this works for body odor because the smell of the product is so overpowering that it would mask anything.  It was good but we just weren’t right for each other. This one is going to my husband.

For my last test, I bought Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant.  

I found it at Ricky’s lined up next to all my other flings. This is a pump spray that was hard to get used to and position correctly. I felt like I was spraying perfume under my arms. On my first QWAPIT, I was transported to the rose garden my Granny had in her back yard in St Simons Island, GA so I already had a sentimental connection to this spray (funny how scent can do that). The rose scent dissipated and I didn’t have BO or any overly rosey odor. This scent felt feminine and was one that I will definitely continue to use. I just packed it in my suitcase for a business trip.

If I had to rank my test results, it would pan out this way…
  1. Lavanila Laboritories –first overall for texture, scent and staying power.
  2. Weleda Rose Spray – a very close second.
  3. Origins Totally Pure Deodorant – scent is personal and this worked just not for me.
  4. Crystal Deodorant by Swanson --- YUCK!
For now, I am satisfied with my case study and I have two options that will keep me happy on all fronts. Until we meet again to tackle another fun challenge, keep up the QWAPIT! You can be natural and odor free. -Julie
Ever failed a QWAPIT? Do you use natural deodorant? Which brand?

23 comments:

  1. Gina (Candid RD)May 21, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    I think I am one of those odd women who has no issues with deodorant, and who never has to put more than one little strip on each armpit..haha, therefor eI use the crappy Secret!  Actually, it's the only one that works for me. I bought the Natural JAsons line once and it stopped working within an hour, so I quickly went back to Secret.  I know I'm not perfect, so I'm ok with using the "not so good for you" deodorant!

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  2. aww I wish she would have included prices! I use Tom's. It definitely doesn't keep the smell away but it's the most affordable for me at this point in time. On super hot days (esp being preggo) I still use the regular stuff but the last I need is to stink lol

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  3. For sure naturals can be pricy but since absorbed into my skin I think it's worth it. I didn't love tom's but use one Julie didn't mention by NOW and it's really good. May be better to stink (prego) than have dangerous chemicals in your body...just a thought.

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  4. I don't think it's about perfection with anything. We all have choices but you may want to try some of the natural ones especially since you're not a smelly girl from the sound of things. I on the other hand sweat like crazy.

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  5. I use a liquid roll on TOMs that doesn't last very long at all so I am totally trying a few of these out.  Minus the crystal. I'm not a fan of those either!  Thanks chica!

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  6. I have never had a problem with sweating. People have noticed since I was a teen that I "don't sweat" (of course I do, but you can't tell). Except when I run, I just don't sweat like others do. As I've said here before (at the risk of repeating myself), most days I don't wear any deo at all.  You may all think I'm in denial, but I assure you my husband and one germophobe co-worker are in the know and have not once said a word. I stopped wearing it regularly at least six years ago. Especially in summer, there are days/events for which I don't want to take any chances, so I wear a little. 

    And my husband would surely complain, by the way. After I run he complains loud and long!  I want to try the Lavanila, though. Great review. 

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  7. I tried...couldn't do the natural deodorant thing. I had to go back to my "Secret." And I'm not much of a sweater (word?) either. So not sure what happened there...

    Wish I was in Central Park!!

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  8. I also use the LaVanila and love it!
    I have a great one from the body shop too

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  9. You are so brave, Julie, for trying this!  I'd love to switch to a less-toxic deodorant, but my experiment with the Weleda was awful at best.  I smelled like a hot subway with dying roses in it.  I will try the Lavanila, but I wonder if I just have super-sweat or something.

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  10. Marie, I tried toms/crystal (blech) and a powdery one before finding 2 (malin and goetz eucalyptus- I don't mind xmas scent) and now solutions. I am a sweater for sure so  I can relate). Hot subway/dying roses, Julie said rose garden, to each "armpit" their own.

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  11. LaVanila seems very popular, thanks for commenting Candace.

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  12. oh Ameena, we invent words here all the time. I would play the field a little more. 

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  13. ok I am feeling a little like a weirdo, all my blog readers are smell- free, Julie and I may be the only smelly ladies.

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  14. let us know what you think, we could do a What I "wore" Wed ha ha.

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  15. Fun post! I am in the category of "low sweaters", but (and this may be TMI) at a certain time of the month, I definitely notice my armpits getting a little stinker, so I use Toms lemongrass deodorant. I don't love it, but it's not bad and definitely better than the chemically stuff. I actually just saw a write up of LaVanilla in some magazine and have been meaning to try it. Now I will for sure!

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  16. Who knew so many people were low sweaters? Or maybe you eat better you sweat less? Never TMI, we're talking armpits you can throw hormones in the mix.

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  17. I actually use Tom's and my secret is the men's scents! I think I use "mountain fresh" or something like that, it's really not that manly but helps me feel a bit more fresh than any of the other rather tame female scents. Lauren, love this post, will definitely have to try Lavanilla!

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  18. thanks Amanda, love a "trick" but despite immediate application, Crystal left me smelly. As I've learned from the comments there is a wide range of neediness when it comes to our underarms. I may be more needy than you are.

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  19. LMAO you are great Julie : ).....having the same issues as you i will definitely be purchasing Lavinila as i type.......

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  20. No deodorant necessary if you drink Chlorofresh Mint daily.
    Works great. Try it.

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  21. I use Crystal, but not the stick, I like the roll-on.  There's a trick to these natural deodorants too...you have to use them immediately after showering or bathing.  Since they have no chemicals, you've gotta get it on your skin before bacteria begins to grow.  Try the Crystal brand roll-on or sprays - you'll love it, really.

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  22. Lavilin is a great brand. Highly regarded and time-tested. www.lavilin.com

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