Hey! Now that we’ve gotten your attention with our greenwash-y, SEO-friendly title (thanks, Google), you should know that while there’s no such thing as “eco-friendly” deodorant, here’s what to be wise on when you’re shopping so you can pick the best option for you, the planet, and the people making your stuff.
Whether you’re an ultra-marathoner, a workaholic, or you’re just binging a particularly suspenseful Netflix show, deodorant can make life a little more manageable (especially for those close to us!). Recently, it’s been tough to keep up with all the options: roll-on vs. cream, gel vs. solid, aluminum vs. chemical-free.
WHAT TO BE WISE ON:
Aluminum is found in antiperspirants to reduce wetness by blocking our underarm sweat ducts and also minimize body odor by inhibiting the bacteria that feed on sweat. But, aluminum has gotten a bad rap because it’s been linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. Drum roll...the connection to Alzheimer’s has been discredited since the 1990s and experts (like the American Cancer Society) cite that there is no conclusive evidence to suggest a link between breast cancer and aluminum in antiperspirants. Just because of the sheer proximity from underarms to breasts doesn’t mean our Spring Rain scent is causing serious cancer risk.
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THE FACTORS TO CONSIDER:
If you still want to know if there’s aluminum in your deodorant, the active ingredient could be listed as aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly. That said, there’s no regulatory definition for “natural,” so just because a deodorant is made without aluminum doesn’t mean it’s made of 100% natural origin ingredients. Many crystal deodorants, a popular “natural” option, sometimes use alum crystals, which still contain aluminum. So, if you’re trying to go aluminum-free, make sure Ecocert says so. We love when deodorant companies make an effort to incorporate organic ingredients into their products.
If you’re really trying to raise the “bar” (see what we did there?), focus on packaging. Most deodorants are made with a variety of plastics, where the containers may be a different type of plastic than the screw wheels, making them not recyclable all in one piece.
Aerosols come with a
different set of issues, but the metal cans are often recyclable in one piece. Terracycle Loop has also come out with reusable deodorant containers that are less impactful than single-use. Overall, the best deodorant packaging options are plastic-free paperboard and cardboard tubes, which contribute to a reduction in plastic waste and are usually biodegradable.
A FEW TAKEAWAYS:
The good news is that there’s a way to crush FOBO (fear of body odor) and make sure your health and the environment aren’t being unnecessarily harmed. The overwhelming medical opinion is that we don’t have anything to worry about because there are no significant health concerns with aluminum in cosmetic products. The best thing you can do for the health of the planet is choose plastic-free deodorant.