While walking into a store (or shopping online), it can be easy to look at packaging, formula and reviews to make the best deodorant choice for your skin sensitivity, sweat level or even desired scent.
However, you’d be amazed at how many different recipes you could cook up to make deodorant at home. While “cooking” may be more your choice for a delicious dinner, rather than your own deodorant: there’s a common base of ingredients typically used in popular deodorants that are good to know related to allergens and the difference between artificial and natural ingredients.
In fact, many deodorant ingredients fall under two broad categories: artificial and natural. And it helps to know the differences between them.
Knowledge of artificial deodorant ingredients and natural deodorant ingredients empowers you to make the right choices for your health and to be an empowered shopper.
Artificial Deodorants Ingredient List
In a previous post about a set of dirty dozen ingredients, compounds you’ll find in the majority of mainstream deodorants. Here’s a reminder on what they are, how they’re used and the risks they pose.
Twelve Common Artificial Ingredient Classes
Parabens: A group of chemicals that are used as preservatives in cosmetics to prevent bacteria and mold growth. They usually contain “methyl”, “ethyl”, “propyl”, “benzyl” or “butyl” and have been linked to breast cancer.
Silica: These substances are typically used as a thickening agent and absorbing powder in cosmetics, but are linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Triclosan: A compound most often used as a preservative to stop bacteria from growing in cosmetics. However, triclosan has been linked to cancer as well as thyroid and brain complications.
Aluminum: This metal acts as a pigment and thickening agent and gives antiperspirants their sweat-blocking power. However, they’ve also been linked to cancers, hormonal problems and gene damage.
Talc: A power derived from magnesium, silicone and oxygen that’s used to give cosmetics and deodorants their texture, consistency and absorbency. Unfortunately, talc may contain asbestos, a known cancer-causing compound.
Steareth-n: A family of numerous compounds used as a cleansing agent in cosmetics and care products and a surfactant. Some of them, however, can activate cancer-causing compounds.
Propylene Glycol: A compound that acts as a hydrating and delivery ingredient for cosmetics and care products. It has been linked to allergic reactions and nerve damage.
Phthalates: A group of compounds used to give cosmetics and personal care products a suitable texture. Research has also shown that they may cause infertility, hormonal problems and even cancer.
Fragrance: Unspecified compounds used in cosmetics and personal care products to give them their scents. Their lack of transparency means that any substance, including disease-causing ones, may be used.
TEA/DEA: Triethanolamine (TEA) is used to adjust fragrances and pH balances in cosmetics, while diethanolamine (DEA) is used as an emulsifier. Both compounds have been linked to cancer as well as liver and kidney damage.
Artificial Colors: These compounds give cosmetics and personal care products their distinct color. However, they are known to trigger allergic reactions and have been linked to cancer.
Propellants: This group of compounds adds pressure in aerosol products so that users can spray deodorant onto them. They have also been linked to cancer and reproductive problems.
Natural Deodorant Ingredients
The compounds listed in the previous section aren’t necessary evils. There are hundreds (or thousands) of other deodorant ingredients that come from natural sources and can actually contribute to better health, not undermine it.
Essential Oils as Ingredients for Natural Deodorants
Bergamot FCF: This essential oil acts as a potent deodorizer, an antiseptic, and a soothing agent for eczema and psoriasis. It can cause skin irritation to some and may interfere with certain medications.
Lavender: A commonly used essential oil that has soothing, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties for the skin. It may cause skin irritation and GI upsets (if ingested) in some individuals.
Thyme: An essential oil (and herb) that can be used in deodorants for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can cause skin irritation and GI upsets if ingested.
Litsea Cubeba: A powerful and highly-praised essential oil that has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (among many others) for the skin.
Juniper Berry: A highly effective essential oil that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can treat eczema and acne. It can cause irritation such as burning and itching in those who are sensitive to it.
Cypress: An essential oil of Mediterranean origin that can detoxify the skin and is often used in natural deodorants. It’s not harmful but may cause minor skin irritation in those who are sensitive to it.
Lemongrass: A nutrient-dense essential oil that keeps skin glossy, balances its natural oils and reduces the appearance of pores. At worse, it may cause minor skin irritation but inhaling or swallowing it can be dangerous.
Clary Sage: An increasingly popular essential oil that can promote calmer, clearer and smoother skin. It may cause some skin irritation and is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Peppermint: A renowned essential oil made from peppermint leaves that can serve as a fragrance, soothing agent and antimicrobial agent. It may cause skin irritation in those who are sensitive.
Joban Beauty Natural Deodorant Ingredients
Isododecane: A synthetic hydrocarbon-based compound that makes deodorants feel weightless on the skin.
Trimethylsiloxysilicate: A silicon-based resin that’s used to help hold pigments in place and provide water-resistance in skincare products.
Isododecane Disteardimonium Hectorite: A dispersing agent used in various cosmetic and skincare products.
Tribehenin: It provides occlusive and emollient in deodorant and other skincare products.
Dimethicone: A type of silicon used in cosmetics and personal care products to give them their smooth and mattified finish.
Trihydroxystearin: A compound used in cosmetic and personal care products to improve their viscosity (thickness).
Sodium Bicarbonate: Known by its household name, baking soda, this compound helps to control the acid balance in deodorants and other care products.
Tapioca: A topical starch (derived from the cassava root) used in skin care products to create gel textures and deliver nutrients to the skin.
Tea Tree Oil: A powerful essential oil that’s added to skin products to treat inflammation and skin irritation.
Citrus Oil: An essential oil used in deodorants and other skincare products to promote skin clarity, smoothness and radiance.
Titanium Dioxide: A compound used as a whitening, thickening and lubricating agent in cosmetics and deodorants.
Iron Oxides: One of 16 iron compounds used in cosmetics and skincare products to enhance their skin absorption.
Labelling Deodorant Labels
Although every compound in existence - natural or not - can cause a reaction, some are simply safer than others. The synthetic compounds found in many deodorants have been linked to long-term health issues, which are somewhat avoidable.
Consider a natural alternative.
Many of the ingredients in a natural deodorant such as our Joban Beauty product are derived from herbs that contain powerful healing properties. They also have few if any side effects.
These natural deodorants will keep your odour free (and in our case, blemish-free from armpit darkness) without exposing your body (and mind!) to harmful toxins.