Well here is a post I really never intended to write… haha! But I have learned so many things in my quest that I felt compelled to share them with you… in case you are also curious about the differences!
Do you want to know which is more effective at controlling underarm odour? Read on, friends!
(You should also know this post was not sponsored, none of the products were freebies or PR-sent, and this entire piece shares my own experience and opinions!)
Over the past few years I have tried to change my dependency on certain beauty products, and that change included switching away from mainstream anti-perspirants.
What is the difference?
Deodorants typically “mask” body odour with their scent, and could provide some protection against sweat depending on their ingredients. E.g. if they contain some kind of powder like baking soda or starch, they will help absorb both odour and sweat from your underarms.
Anti-perspirants are designed to prevent sweating. Aluminum salts in anti-perspirants help to block pores on the outer skin layer, essentially turning into a gel upon contact with sweat. This leads to “plugging” sweat glands and limiting both moisture and body odour from forming.
Without getting into the hot debate for or against anti-perspirants or its active ingredient, this was a personal choice I had wanted to make for some time. And so I started purchasing deodorants and occasionally switching between my deodorants and anti-perspirants.
Here is where things became very interesting.
While using my deodorants regularly (for an extended period of time of days or weeks), I felt pretty good about almost never smelling odour on myself, even on days when I sweated more, despite the fact that I did occasionally feel some sweat! How could this be? Shouldn’t the anti-perspirant be more effective at controlling odour because it actually prevents you from sweating as much? Let’s hold this thought while I share my experience with the main brands I’ve tried.
One of the first brands I tried was Tom’s of Maine. I use (and LOVE) their toothpastes, even the toddler paste, and am a devoted fan of brands I already like and trust. Tom’s also had a pretty good variety of scents. I will say… I was dedicated to making this deodorant work for me. I’ve tried this brand on and off for years.
But — their deodorant just did not work for me. While smelling amazing on me, the deodorant left behind a sticky, tacky residue that did not dissipate. This stickiness left me feeling even more wet and uncomfortable throughout the day than if I wore nothing at all! I finally started dabbing some cornstarch baby powder on my underarms to combat the wet, sticky feeling which helped.
I decided this was the magic ingredient that was missing! Powder!! Do I try making my own? Do I try one of the deodorant pastes in the marketplace? I decided I still needed a ‘stick’ formula…
I searched and searched until I found Schmidt’s Deodorant, containing both arrowroot powder and baking soda. Arrowroot apparently helps absorb the sweat while baking soda is meant to neutralize any odour. Now this was something I could get behind!! You can immediately feel the dry finish of Schmidt’s on the skin, compared to the sticky, tacky residue left behind by Tom’s Deodorant. And the scents… wow, did Schmidt’s smell good! My favourite by far is Rose + Vanilla, but their Bergamot + Lime and Lavender + Sage are equally incredible.
Fast forward a few months of daily use… and I started getting itchy and red underarms. (insert very sad face here)
I felt like the baking soda (also listed as sodium bicarbonate) was the culprit… and sure enough, when I stopped using Schmidt’s Deodorant (and with the help of some hydrocortisone), the itching and redness started to fade. Being the brave blogger that I am, I even experimented a few more times by going back to my various scents of Schmidt’s (I have three or four), in case the different essential oils were the trigger, and each time… the same indications of contact dermatitis. You will find dozens and dozens of articles about why baking soda is bad for your skin – and to summarize, the alkaline properties of baking soda (a pH of around 9) are harmful to our more neutral/slightly acidic skin pH of around 4.5 – 6.5, throwing off our skin’s natural pH levels and causing dryness, itching, redness, or rash.
Feeling a little sad that I can no longer use this effective deodorant, I set out to find an alternative. And not having anything else to safely use, I reverted back to my anti-perspirants… and this is the part of the “experiment” that became interesting.
After just a few hours of wearing the anti-perspirant (and this is one I had used for many, many years prior to switching!), I checked… smelled… and woah. There was some not-so-pleasant odour emitting… As the day wore on, the smell did not disappear, and the worst part was, it had mixed in with the anti-perspirant fragrance and it was just not… very fresh-smelling. It was bad enough to warrant a shower. (Thank goodness I was working at home.)
In the battle of ‘natural’ deodorants vs. antiperspirants… the anti-perspirant was not really cutting it! My trustworthy, long-depended-on anti-perspirant may have been blocking some sweat glands, but it certainly was not reducing underarm odour. And this explained why my previous back-and-forth switching from deodorant to anti-perspirant was not really helpful, leaving me feeling slightly not-fresh one day, yet without any issues the next when I only used deodorant (even with some moderate exertion and sweating on a warm summer day).
I am truly surprised. Never did I think that my anti-perspirant could have been behind those less-than-fresh days! Every vacation, especially the hot ones, I used to revert back to anti-perspirant thinking it was the wiser choice… and every day that I wore it, I felt a bit less fresh. (Can I also add how much I loathed trying to remove the coating of anti-perspirant in the shower? Do you have that, too?)
So here we are in my quest for a powder-containing, yet-skin-friendly, odour-and-sweat-absorbing, deodorant. On the advice of my blogger friend Mai I have ordered some discovery sets of Each & Every Deodorant, and while I await this (hopefully) effective and amazing shipment, I share with you my thoughts. (I’m also blown away by the delicious-sounding scents Each & Every offers!)
Would you like an update on my experience with Each & Every Deodorant?
Is there a deodorant you use and love? Please share in the comments!
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