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Why You Need to Choose a Natural Deodorant. Just Pitting it Out There

Posted on February 27 2018

Last year, I ditched my conventional, commercial can of deodorant for good. It was one hundred times more liberating than spraying that can of aerosol all over my body every day.  It was something I had wanted to do for so long. I trained as a Dietician (way back when) and part of our training was learning how to read and understand food labels. Ever since then, it just became a habit for me to read the ingredient labels of EVERYTHING! 

And I think once you get to understand ingredients, and know what function certain ingredients have ie. why they are added to your product in the first place, you can start to make empowering decisions about the products you choose to buy or ditch!

One of the first products I "ditched" was my bright blue face wash. The blue was not attributable to a natural German Chamomile or Blue Tansy but to some artificial colorant with no beneficial action. The color additive was simply there to make the product look "fresh" and subtly imply cleanliness. The blue compound together with all the other ingredients I couldn't pronounce was enough for me to throw the bottle away and never look back.

And that was the start of Botanical Buddha and the creation of a range of natural face care, perfumes and body care products.

Since making my own products and working extensively with natural scents, I've noticed how overpowering chemical fragrances can be in many deodorants and antiperspirants - on labels they call it "Parfum" and by law manufactures are not required to specify the exact components of the artificial scent (Scary huh?!).

Other than parfum, there are loads more questionable ingredients in commercial deodorants that you should know about (more on that later). For now, let's talk about why deodorants are often the last product to get replaced by a natural version.

48-Hour Sweat-Free Promises

While many of us have the desire to use natural ingredients in our skincare and hygiene products, we still want the amazing promises that are made to us by large, mainstream manufacturers, like 48 sweat-free hours! We are so scared of sweating, of smelling bad that we hang onto these promises, and buy the strongest antiperspirant we can find. And we are advertised to constantly, telling us that our sweat is bad, our body odour is repellent and that we cannot possibly be accepted into society without permanently wearing a really strong antiperspirant!

Our supermarket shelves groan under the weight and variety of antiperspirants that offer you 2 full days without sweating!  WOW! BUT, the aluminium in these products actually PLUGS YOUR SWEAT GLANDS, and has been linked to a propensity for Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer. SO not cool.

Sweating is a Natural Process!

Sweating is a natural bodily process that should happen. It needs to happen. Sweat itself doesn’t actually even smell, being a mixture of salt and water. The smell comes when it mixes with the bacteria on the skin. We don’t want to smell bad, so it’s fine to mask the smell with natural anti-bacterial substances such as thyme or tea tree oil, but you will still sweat. And that’s OKAY! It will not be offensive. And you won’t be putting yourself at increased risk of life-threatening diseases. Well, from the deodorant anyway!

If you are reading this, you are obviously already conscious of what you are putting into, and onto, your body, which is great. But why is it so important?

Skin is a Penetrable Organ

Most of us don’t even think of our skin as an organ. But it is, in fact, your body’s largest organ and your protective barrier. BUT, it’s not armour! It’s soft, squishy and penetrable, and we really need to be aware of what we’re gaily slapping on to it.

If you put dangerous ingredients on your skin, they get into your bloodstream, and go merrily coursing around your whole body —exactly where you don’t want them!

Surely this shiz is Regulated?

But WHY would the hundreds of prettily packaged hygiene products lining our store shelves, promising a myriad of gorgeous benefits, be deliberately harmful? C’mon! The world is not SUCH a dreadful place is it? And surely, there is regulation on this sort of thing?

Hmm…yes and no. The commercialisation of our lives and the products we use means that marketing has (in many cases, but not all) become far more important than actual product quality. Ingredients are added to our everyday products that we cannot pronounce or spell, and neither do we know what they are exactly, why they are in our products, and what they do to our bodies.

Unnecessary ingredients are added, for ZERO benefit

I was recently in a hair salon, and attracted to an intensely vibrant bottle of golden Argan Oil. When reading the ingredients list, I saw that a bottle labelled ‘pure’ Argan Oil, in fact, had a list of colourants and E numbers, purely in order to make the product LOOK a golden, rich colour.

I was absolutely MORTIFIED!!

The scary thing is that this situation is not unique, it happens all the time. Chemicals are added to our everyday products that have NO benefit, other than to make the product a more intense colour, better smelling, or to prolong the product’s storage and shelf life.

Ingredient Labels

Knowing HOW to read labels has become an extremely important skill and if you are just a teensy bit worried about what is going into your, and your family’s bodies, take a look at this quick lesson:

Ingredients are listed in order of the highest to the lowest in volume.

The first ingredient is the one that there is most of, in that product.

What this means:

  • Sometimes, a product will contain a wonderful beneficial ingredient. But, not so much of it! I picked up a body cream in my local pharmacy the other day – it was tantalisingly named ‘Rosehip Body Cream’. Now, rosehip is a wonderful, natural plant oil that has major restorative benefits for dry skin. The price of the product was very low for a product that contains an effective amount of rosehip oil. Checking out the ingredients (of which there were many unpronounceable ones), rosehip oil was waaaaaaaaaay down, about 10th on the list. Yet it was called a ‘Rosehip Body Cream’. Completely misleading!

It’s the same with reading food labels – if you pick up a product that you are thinking would make a great lunch time snack for the kids and the first ingredient is ‘sugar’, well, then you know, put that sucker down and keep walking!

The shorter the ingredient list, the better!

In childlike wonder, we may think – ‘whoa, look how many fabulous ingredients this product has, it must be great!” But hold on cowgirl!

What this means:

  • ALL the ingredients can only make up 100% of the product, so the more there are, the less of each beneficial / active ingredient there is! Having only a few ingredients means the listed ingredients are more concentrated, (as long as they are beneficial, natural ingredients) and then you are getting what you are paying for.

What to Look Out For - Potentially Harmful Ingredients in Common Deodorants

>> Aluminium

Well, the main problem is deodorant or antiperspirant products that contain aluminium. The aluminium in antiperspirant creates a temporary little plug in your armpit sweat glands, which is what keeps you from getting super sweaty.

Aluminium has been linked to various health issues, and is a suspected contributor to Alzheimer's disease, chemical sensitivities, and breast cancer. So, there seems to be a lot of common sense in trying to avoid using aluminium as an ingredient on our skin.

{ Deodorant vs Antiperspirant }

There is actually a difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. Deodorant is anti-bacterial (bacteria mixed with sweat is what causes some of those sweaty smells we dread) and contains scent to mask sweaty smells. Some products labelled deodorant contain aluminium as well, so it’s always best to thoroughly check your ingredient listing. Sometimes the name will be something long and unpronounceable like aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex.

An antiperspirant always contains some form of aluminium and is designed to actually control how much you sweat.

Natural Overcompensation - By blocking up our sweat glands, the natural process of temperature regulation and toxin elimination is compromised. It is believed that our bodies, clever machines that they are, increase sweat production after the antiperspirant has worn off, meaning that we apply more to stop this.


But it’s not just the aluminium that’s a nasty! Here are 6 other ingredients commonly found in your deodorant or antiperspirant ingredient list that would be super-wise to avoid!

1. Parabens

While these have been around for many years and are in many different cosmetic products, they are said to upset hormonal balances, and to mimic oestrogen, which plays a part in breast cancer formation.

2. Propylene Glycol

Also found in a lot of different products, it is considered a neuro toxin that may cause kidney and liver damage, as well as causing delayed allergic reactions.

3.  Silica

A skin irritant that can cause or exacerbate skin allergies, that is also carcinogenic.

4. Talc

If it contains asbestos fibres, it is considered carcinogenic, and the quality of talc used in deodorants is not regulated.

5. Triclosan

This ingredient also irritates skin and causes dermatitis. Triclosan kills all bacteria – the good and the bad. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies triclosan as a pesticide, while the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists it as a possible carcinogen.

6. Steareth-n

The “n” stands for a number. So the label may say, for example, steareth-1. It is actually derived from vegetables, but it is combined with a known carcinogen, ethylene oxide. 

Natural Deodorants that Work - Let's Talk Alternatives  

So, if this does not sound healthy to you, there are alternatives! When looking at buying a deodorant product, check the ingredients, and if you see aluminium, drop and roll, just get outta there, ok?

Personal Responsibility for Health

I am on a drive to be consciously responsible for my own health, as well as that of my family. In order to create a deodorant that is safe for us to use, and that smelt good, I experimented with various different ideas, until I created Meadow Trail Deodorant. It’s fresh and breezy, and has a unisex scent. It’s also great for conditioning the skin as it actually moisturises, instead of drying the skin out.

Natural Deodorant That Works South Africa

Meadow Trail Deodorant - A Natural Deodorant That Works!

I use a combination of soothing ingredients that also have potent antibacterial properties, such as Neem and Coconut Oil, along with Shea Butter to soothe the sensitive underarm skin. Ingredients such as Sodium Bicarbonate and Bentonite Clay help to absorb moisture naturally, while essential oils of Tea Tree, Lime, Sweet Orange and Thyme give a fresh, clean scent and provide natural anti-bacterial actions. I wanted a refreshing, uplifting, clean and gender-neutral scent and this combination gave me exactly that!

Handmade Natural Deodorant that Works South Africa

Key Ingredient Benefits:


Coconut Oil: A powerful moisturiser, Coconut Oil absorbs quickly into the skin and helps to prevent skin cell damage. The naturally occurring Vitamin E that is found in Coconut Oil also helps to soothe damaged skin. Further to its list of benefits, Coconut Oil has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.


Organic Neem Oil: This powerful, healing oil is antifungal, antibacterial and contains antioxidants and reduces skin irritations.


Sodium Bicarbonate:  Helps to balance and regulate pH levels in the body and neutralises odours.


Organic Shea Butter: Shea butter has moisturising, skin-smoothing and anti-inflammatory properties.


Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay is an effective healing clay that absorbs and removes toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals.


Tea Tree: Tea Tree essential oil has extremely powerful and well-known anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.


Sweet Orange: In addition to the uplifting and relaxing scent, sweet orange oil is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.


Thyme Oil: Thyme oil has moisturising and toning properties as well as giving additional anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.


Lavender: Lavender is the essential oil most commonly associated with healing of the skin. It has cellular regeneration properties and thereby helps to heal skin rapidly and reduce scarring whilst at the same time prevents infection due to its antiseptic properties.


Mindfully Made: All products are mindfully handmade in small batches to ensure freshness and quality. The Botanical Buddha line of products were formulated with nature in mind so you can be rest assured that our products are not tested on animals, are free from parabens, synthetic preservatives, artificial colours and scents.


And it’s not just learning about deodorants that has helped me on my journey to protect the health and well being of my family. Using and creating natural products has given me so much joy, discovering the gorgeous natural ingredients, aromas, textures and colours that I am not going to regret using down the line. From skin care, to fragrance, to self-care, natural treatments and meditation oils, natural truly is superior! View all the Botanical Buddha products here



Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours.


The Health Effects of Aluminum Exposure.


Sensitization to propantheline bromide, trichlorocarbanilide and propylene glycol in an antiperspirant.


Methoxychlor and triclosan stimulates ovarian cancer growth by regulating cell cycle- and apoptosis-related genes via an estrogen receptor-dependent pathway.










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