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Natural deodorant: how it works and why people use it

Natural deodorant from Norfolk Natural Living

Natural deodorant is nothing new. In fact, Ancient Egyptians were using it in their own unique way. As well as experimenting with perfumes, they were known to place handfuls of scented wax on their heads and allow it to melt throughout the day. It worked, but we wouldn’t recommend it!

Recently, natural deodorant has seen something of a resurgence. There are a few reasons for this. One is that people are becoming increasingly aware of the chemicals they place on and around their bodies. 

Standard deodorants often contain ingredients like parabens which some believe are harmful to use. Whether or not you buy into the idea of a paraben pandemic, it certainly doesn’t do any harm to take a more natural approach to your cleansing and odour fighting routine.

Why did people start using deodorant?

Before we delve too deeply into the pitfalls of some deodorants, we should explore the reason people started wearing them in the first place. Far from blaming mega-corporations for the trend, modern antiperspirants were first ‘sold’ by an American schoolgirl in 1912.

Edna Murphey’s father was a surgeon and created a miracle liquid that stopped his hands from sweating during surgery. Edna was a teenage girl battling with the hormones that gave us all angst at her age and experimented with rubbing the liquid into her armpits. To her delight, she found that it stopped her from sweating. 

Entrepreneurial (and from a family that was able to support her financially), Edna set about taking her product to mark it. 

She called it Odorono (meaning ‘odor-oh-no’), borrowed $150 from her grandfather and hired a copywriter from a successful advertising agency. Some of their early adverts would definitely fall under the bodyshaming category of unacceptable advertising by modern standards. An early Odorono advert read:

"Within the Curve of a Woman’s arm. A frank discussion of a subject too often avoided."

She’s basically saying “women stink and we need to talk about it”. 

Anyway, Odorono got off to a terrible start. The business soon ran out of money and Edna moved the office into her parents’ basement. Shops were refusing to stock the product and the few that did sent it back unsold. 

Edna’s look turned at the 1912 Atlantic City Exposition. The show was held during a very hot summer and visitors were suffering in the effects of the heatwave. The Odorono stand saw a roaring trade. Soon, Edna had made $30,000 in sales. Not a bad return on that $150 investment!

Odorono was arguably more effective than modern antiperspirants. A single application would stop sweat for about three days. Unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly safe. The aluminium chloride solution (which is the effective ingredient in antiperspirant) was suspended in acid. The product had to come with a warning. Would you have used it on your underarms

Today, the deodorant and antiperspirant industry is worth around 72.7 billion dollars (around 54 billion pounds).

Is deodorant dangerous?

With all the talk on Instagram and Pinterest about people turning their backs on conventional deodorant and taking a more natural route, you could be forgiven for thinking that your underarm roll-on is killing you. 

Relax, it probably isn’t. Modern cosmetics go through rigorous testing programs. That said, there is no harm in thinking about the kinds of ingredients in the products you use. Natural deodorants often use comparatively few ingredients than their unnatural counterparts. They also rely on essential oils (the same ones used in meditation and healing) to provide the scents. 

What is natural deodorant?

The phrase natural deodorant could arguably be used to describe any deodorant product that is made without the use of artificial ingredients. In our context, we use it to describe a deodorant that is made without the use of parabens, aluminium or any other toxins.

Why should you use natural deodorant?

It really comes down to personal choice. If you live your life in as natural a way as possible, why would you choose to smother your skin in toxins and artificial chemicals? says that natural deodorants can have fantastic effects on your skin:

“Not only does the use of only natural ingredients in deodorants limit the skin issues and diseases possible from their non-natural counterparts, but they also provide many benefits themselves. Natural deodorants don’t block pores, so that good bacteria keeps working, meaning less odor even when you’re not wearing any deodorant.”

If you are thinking about making the switch, we would love to help you. We make a wonderful natural deodorant that uses aloe vera, citrus fruits and ginger to help soothe and nourish your skin whilst actively fighting odour-causing bacteria. You can choose from four scents - suitable for any gender.

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