After 1 Year of Searching, I Have Finally Found a Natural Deodorant That Works
Cosmopolitan Editor, Brooke Shunatona, Shares Her Search for an Aluminum-Free Deodorant.
Take a seat, friend, because I'm about to let you in on a sweaty, year-long journey (but also kind of a lifetime journey) to finding the perfect deo for my B.O.
See, I'm a sweaty, sweaty woman. Not like beads of perspiration above my lip or drenched hair when I leave the gym kind of sweaty — my sweat-uation is more-so focused under my armpits. Therefore, my whole life I've had to use antiperspirants (deodorants that contain aluminum salts that plug your sweat glands and prevent you from sweating). Until I had a bizarre allergic reaction to the one I was using that lead to cysts and, ultimately, a visit to the dermatologist for cortisone shots and an oral antibiotic. Woof. After that incident, I swore off deodorant all together for weeks until I simply couldn't handle Eau de Brooke anymore.
Luckily, given my line of work, I can test and try out new products on the regular. So, when an influx of natural deodorants (which are plant-derived and rely less on traditional chemicals and more on naturally occurring ingredients to mask body odor) passed by my desk, I decided to give them a try.
In addition to making the switch to more natural beauty products (because people are more aware than ever about what's in their skincare, etc.), many people have also been swapping their deodorants out for a purer formula for fear that the aluminum ingredient in antiperspirants could contribute to diseases such as breast cancer. Dermatologists, like Monica Schadlow, M.D., (who helped me with my aforementioned deo debacle), and the American Cancer Society, however, refute these claims and argue there are no strong studies to link the two together. So while there was no cause for concern, I decided that if I found a deodorant that worked for me and it happened to be natural, even better.
Too bad most natural deodorants suuuck.
Listen, I might be an extra odorous person, but I doubt it. I tried 11 brands over a span of 11 months (a very generous amount of time to wait for something so basic to work IMO) and nothing did. Every time I slathered on whatever essential oil combo I had under my arms, my body pretty much said That's cute and went about it's stanky ways. I distinctly remember one time, during a work event, when another beauty editor made a comment to me about how bad the venue smelled. It was me. I smelled. Because I was spreading, I dunno, crystals or something under my armpits and trying to call it deodorant.
It wasn't until I was talking to my mom on the phone, complaining to her about my smelly situation, that she recommended I give Kopari Coconut Deodorant, the one she uses, a try.
The first week I used it, I went on a beach vacation to Florida — somewhere I would normally be a hot, smelly mess. But my armpits smelled... good?! Think: the faintest coconut scent (the real coconut smell, not the artificial kind). My skin also felt hydrated and moisturized when I used it, not dried out, flaky, or irritated, issues I've experienced with the formulas I've tried before. And it lasted a long time for a natural deodorant! I will add that toward the end of the day, I needed to re-apply, but other aluminum-free options, maybe lasted an hour or two max. The real test was using it for a workout when I got back from vacay, and yes, my armpits even smelled nice after going to the gym. Did I mention it's clear and doesn't leave marks on my clothes either?
I hate when moms are right.
That said, I still sweat. The biggest adjustment to using an aluminum-free deodorant is that perspiration happens, because that's normal and that's what your sweat glands are meant to do. But I have noticed a decrease in how much I sweat, which could all just be in my head, but hey, I'll take it!
One of the biggest Aha! moments I've taken away from this whole experience is that it's not actually your sweat that smells, but rather the combo of your sweat mixed with the naturally occurring bacteria on your body. Dr. Schadlow explained to me that one of the ways a natural deodorant can be effective at cutting the stench, versus just masking it like most do, is if the formula contains an ingredient that has antibacterial properties, like coconut oil, which is Kopari's main ingredient in all its products.
I've now been using the Kopari Coconut Deodorant consistently for four months, my longest-standing and most loving relationship with anything thus far. Well, except for my husband, of course. He's cool too. And a big shoutout to him for pretending like I didn't smell awful for all of last year.