At my son’s 4 week checkup, our physician’s assistant and I exchanged our typical question and answer dialogue beyond Kaden’s physical exam – as was the norm given my paranoia as a first time mother. “Is he gaining weight appropriately?”, “His belly button is still kind of dark – is it okay?”, “…Is that much spit up normal?” It’s an endless barrage of questions that our sweet PA very sweetly and patiently answers for me at each visit, although I can often tell she is biting at the bit to run out of the room to her other waiting patients. At this particular checkup there was one subject we were discussing that ultimately ended in her uttering the following words: “Well, of course you should be using all-natural deodorant if you are breastfeeding”.
I’ll be honest – I played along like I had known to be using an organic deodorant since the day my son was born, but the truth: I didn’t. In a moment, I rationalized in my head why she was probably right. We’ve all heard how bad antiperspirant is for you, and we are all aware that our axillary glands sit in extremely close proximity to our breasts and any adjoining breastmilk-producing glands – not to mention sweet and soft, nursing baby heads. It made sense, yet, I hadn’t heard of it before. So, naturally, I did some research (story of my life).
Here are the Basics:
These are the two types of conventional deodorants on the market (often combined in one product):
- Deodorant: Meant to kill or mask the odor your body produces due to the bacterial breakdown of perspiration. These are often made with antibacterial ingredients with questionable reputations, such as the chemical compound Triclosan.
- Antiperspirant: Temporarily plugs sweat glands by building a barrier with water solvent ingredients (like Aluminum) and preventing perspiration from occurring all together.
Toxic Ingredients to Avoid:
- Propylene Glycol (also called Propanediol)
The adverse effects of these ingredients vary according to the specific chemical, but among some of the worse reactions include promoting cancer cell growth, altering hormonal systems, and even causing genital reproductive abnormalities in male fetuses and babies, among others.
Upon leaving the pediatrician’s office that morning, I felt guilty for not doing more research on the topic and for exposing my child to impure ingredients (I know, I’m a bit dramatic). My first response was to go out and buy the first all-natural deodorant I could find – and I did… sort of. The bar I ended up purchasing wasn’t completely free and clear of all those pesky chemicals that I was trying to keep away from my son, and although they claimed to be all-natural, some of the ingredients listed on the back of that deodorant stick weren’t so pure. Luckily for me, my brother-in-law is an organic- and all-natural product connoisseur of sorts, and he has taught me (and my husband) quite a bit about this topic and which products are trustworthy.
Favorite Honestly Pure and All-Natural Deodorants:
Both my husband and I use this brand of organic deodorants. I personally love the “Naked” scent, while Kalen (my hubs) is a fan of the lavender. What is great about these sticks is that they are handmade and contain 5 or less ingredients – all of which we’ve probably all heard of (the main ingredient is Coconut Oil). Keep in mind that if you have sensitive skin like myself, to opt for the Naked deodorant stick rather than the lavender (it’s actually formulated for sensitive skin). The “Death by Lavender” variety left my underarms quite irritated if I had just shaved, but the “Naked” stick does not. These deodorants may take a few applications to get used to if you are new to an organic deodorant, as they naturally melt along your warmed skin and can be rough if you do not allow the product to become soft before applying. North Coast Organics organic deodorants are USDA Certified Organic, Vegan Action Certified, PETA Certified and contain no aluminum, parabens or BPA. Learn more about North Coast Organics, here.
“Naked” Ingredients (Vegan): coconut oil*, carnauba wax*, arrowroot powder* & baking soda; * Certified Organic
“Death by Lavender” Ingredients (Vegan): Coconut Oil*, Carnauba Wax*, Cornstarch*, Baking Soda, and Essential Oils (Lavender, Lemon, Cypress, Rosemary)*; * Certified Organic
- Nourish Organic – Fresh & Natural Organic Stick Deodorant
This deodorant stick is very similar to North Coast Organic’s, and is equally as effective and impressive in terms of its all-natural ingredients. The fragrances offered are Almond Vanilla, Fresh Fig, Lavender Mint, Pure Unscented and Wild Berries. Nourish Organics products are USDA Certified Organic, Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO), gluten-free and vegan. Learn more about Nourish Organics, here.
Ingredients (Vegan): Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Organic Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Organic Saccharomyces Ferment, Organic Fragrance*; *Pure Unscented does not contain any fragrance
- Primal Pit Paste – Natural Deodorant
This stuff is a bit different, as it is not packaged in stick or bar form, but rather as a paste that you apply with your fingers to your under arms. Nevertheless, it contains awesome ingredients, has wonderful product reviews, and contains no parabens, GMOs, aluminum, fragrances, soy, gluten, or toxic chemicals. Win, win, win, win, win, win… you get it. Learn more, here!
Ingredients(Vegan): Organic Shea Butter, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Non-Aluminum Baking Soda, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, Jasmine Essential Oil, Gardenia Essential Oil, Bergamot Essential Oil, Non-GMO Vitamin E derived 100% from Sunflowers
- JungleMan All-Natural Deodorant
With only 4 ingredients, I have a hard time not trusting this product. It is honestly all-natural, and contains no aluminum, parabens, peroxides, alcohols, GMO ingredients, artificial colors, artificial fragrances, propylene glycol, glycerin, ascorbic acid, silica, castor oil, sodium stearate, or “any other junk that shouldn’t be under your pits”. Other varieties include JungleWoman (lime scented), JungleJuice (orange scented) and JungleMint (mint scented). Click here to learn more!
Ingredients (Vegan): Organic corn starch, sustainable palm oil from non-peatlands, baking soda, tea tree oil.
“All-Natural” Deodorants You’ve Seen in Stores that I Don’t Recommend:
Although these brands may be better than other conventional, non all-natural deodorant sticks you may find at your local drug or grocery store, they don’t measure up as well as the above brands. Here’s why:
- Tom’s of Maine – Tom’s Natural Deodorant Stick
We’ve all heard of this guy. Who is Tom? Tom is that underarm and toothpaste guy that we think is organic and natural and good for us that we always walk past in the hygienic aisle at the store. But Tom’s gots secrets (well, they’re written pretty clearly on the label… but you get my drift). Tom’s of Maine products contain Polypropylene Glycol and Aluminum – two of those toxic ingredients we mentioned earlier to stay away from.
- JASON Deodorant Sticks
Oh, Jason. Jason, Jason, Jason. Sidenote: What’s with all these deodorants I dislike having male names? Are these deodorant sticks or hated ex-boyfriends? Anyway. Although many of the ingredients in this stick are reputable for this cause (there is no aluminum, parabens, polypropylene glycol or phthalates in this guy), some styles contain unnaturally derived fragrances. But what’s more is that it really just doesn’t work. My husband purchased the Purifying Tea Tree stick and complained about it for days. I tried it one day as it sat in plain sight following my shower and was in close range, and also complained about this deodorant. The consensus? We were pretty sure we smelled worse after using this. And not hours and hours later. Like 30 minutes after applying. Liberally. Moral of the story: if you don’t want to stink, don’t buy this.
Personally, I will be using my all-natural deodorant long after my run as “nursing mother” ends, especially given the facts on the conventional varieties and all their toxic ingredients. I know we cannot all be Kourtney Kardashian and completely omit from freshening up under those underarms while we are nursing, but I hope this information is helpful to some of you mommies out there, or those of you looking for an honestly all-natural deodorant stick.