As I continue in my quest to find less-plastic and less toxic personal care products, I've been super duper stumped by deodorant. On the one hand, ditching traditional antiperspirants makes sense from both health and environmental perspectives, because they tend to contain petroleum-based ingredients and potentially harmful aluminum chlorohydrate. On the other hand, once you start exploring the world of natural deodorants, you're still looking at a sea of plastic: Even the Crystal Rock kind comes in a plastic roll-on dispenser now! What's a not-quite-a-hippie to do?
No sweat. (Sorry! Had to.) Here are three great options, which, after a week of test-driving in the face of an impenetrable Northeast heat wave, I can assure you really do work. (And trust me, I'm a stinky, sweat-prone person by nature. Now that we're sharing that kind of thing.)
Baking soda is the best deodorant EVER. Instead of deodorant in a plastic container, I use baking soda applied to dry underarms with a powder puff. It works better than any commercial deodorant I have ever used. Seriously. If you don't think baking soda deo is your thing, you could try a Lush solid container-free deodorant. But honestly? Try the baking soda first. No kidding. I would use it even if I weren't trying to cut down my plastic consumption.
2. Burt's Bees Herbal Deodorant This spray deodorant comes in a cool metal bottle (with a plastic top to protect the spritzer, but I'll cool with that) and contains essential oils and alcohol. From the official website:
Unlike many anti-perspirants which contain aluminum and synthesized chemical ingredients, Burt's Bees herbal deodorant allows the body to sweat, which is a natural cleansing process necessary to release toxins. Our essential oil blend of sage, lemon and lavender minimizes and neutralizes odors naturally [...] pH balanced. No Phthalates or Parabens. Biodegradable formula.
My verdict: The alcohol stings like a mother if you use this right after shaving (or, I would imagine, have generally sensitive skin) and as promised, you will still sweat. But you'll also smell really nice, and won't have to worry about white streaks. A solid, sold in drugstores everywhere option for $8.
3. Beacon Bird Bath All Over Spray by BirdsInBuildings Artist/art therapist/vegan/my neighbor Stephen Dickens makes his body sprays by hand using only plant-based essential oils and filtered water. They come in amber glass bottles (yay!) and the tags (featuring one of Stephen's original drawings) are hand-typed on a vintage typewriter (I. Know.) and wrapped in biodegradable plastic. (We'll take it!) Sold online at Etsy. My verdict: Yes, $15 sounds like a lot to spend on deodorant, but this stuff is incredible (plus indie/hand-made, eco-friendly, good for you, comes with free art, all worth paying a bit more for when you can). I smell like a lemon-lime forest, don't sweat as much as with the Burt's Bees version, and can spray this on right after shaving with zero irritation. An all around win.