I have casually toyed with the idea of changing to a natural deodorant for some time already, but always gave up for whatever reason. Lockdown meant that there were no reasons left not to press ahead with the necessary prep work to bring the transition to its successful end. Herewith my experiences.
Switching from antiperspirants to natural deodorants is a bit of a seminar. The point of the antiperspirant, in short, is to block your glands and stop you from sweating. Natural deodorant does not do this. Its point is not to stop you from sweating, but rather just to stop your sweat from smelling.
Finding a natural alternative to antiperspirants is very much trial and error. Mainly error if you ask me. I’ve tried the lot: the crystal sticks, the lavender-stenching creams you apply with fingers (very HC hippie stuff if you ask me), the rose-smelling waters your spritz from a pump dispenser. And then the various sticks that many eco-luxe brands have marched forward and have the closest resemblance to a regular deodorant.
The catch: their consistency is almost always half coconut oil, half bicarbonate soda. Problem with the former is that it ruins every piece of clothing it comes to contact with. Every. Piece. Of. Clothing. It’s grease, after all. Try getting that off your light silky summer top. Good luck.
Many people, myself included, have strong reactions to the other magic ingredient, bicarbonate soda. The internet is full of tips for how to go about angry skin when transitioning to a natural deodorant. Basically, what happened was that after a week of red rash following daily use of stick heavy on bicarbonate soda, the skin in my armpits started to peel off. This seems to be a very common reaction to bicarbonate soda.
I didn’t have the patience to continue with the experiment (shaving and using any deodorant with alcohol is obviously out of question when the skin is that angry) and after my skin calmed down I went back to my usual antiperspirant.
Then I came across Corpus, an American brand that do natural deodorants that are water-based and do not contain bicarbonate soda. I tried their Botanical scented version last year and was impressed, but then went back to my old favourite by Biotherm (partly because Corpus products are not widely sold in Europe – I came across them almost accidentally at German Niche Beauty).
Last month the fancy took me again to do a proper transition and review of the brand. I tried both California (sea salt, bergamot, white musk, jasmine) and Santalum (sandalwood, sandalwood root, Texas cedar wood, amber). If you like Le Labo fragrances, you might like the unisex scent combinations of Corpus-deodorants, too.
You all know how to use a deodorant, but herewith a few tips:
– Use Corpus -deodorants (or any water-based sticks) on dry skin only. As in properly dry your pits after showering before you apply the product. Water dilutes the deodorant thus rendering it absolutely useless.
– It will take you a week or two to get used to a natural deodorant if you are switching from an antiperspirant.
You will continue to sweat, because the point of the deodorant is not to block your sweat glands. Because of the time it will take you to get used to a product like this, lockdown and teleworking make for a perfectly safe test laboratory environment.
Some further remarks: Corpus –deodorants don’t look like natural deodorants. They barely look like deodorants, full stop. Douze points for stylish, mint green design and equally stylish golden font on the packaging. This is an important point (the most important being that the product actually delivers, obviously), especially as regards natural products whose aesthetics sometimes can be a bit home-spun. If you are paying relatively much for an everyday product, it is an additional bonus that some thought has been put into how it looks and feels.
All in all Corpus products look and feel like luxury beauty products that they are – their price point is pretty much at par with similar products by high-end labels such as Biotherm, Lancome et al (I paid €22 for each deodorant, bought at Niche Beauty).
The discussion around antiperspirant vs. natural deodorant sometimes reaches almost comically fanatic heights with people swishing around the old cancer-argument and similar passive-aggressive woodoo. I will not go there. In the end it’s deodorant we are talking about.
And a useful reminder to those buying their speed-sticks in the EU: any beauty product that legally makes it to the EU market is, per definition, safe and clean (whatever the hell the latter is supposed to mean). We’re persnickety about stuff like that on the Old Continent.
Yes, Corpus deodorants contain chemicals because everything is a chemical. Including water.
So yes, you do ask yourselves (the absolutely justified question) why anyone would go through such a lengthy, unpleasant-seeming and in many ways absolutely unnecessary experiment just to try out a different type of deodorant.
Look, it’s like my absolute fascination with the ongoing documentary-series about NBA basketball players. It’s sometimes better to not explain.
A quick note: I have not received any product or compensation for this post, I bought the sticks myself and have not been requested to do this review by anyone.