You’ve probably heard the buzz all around the internet about natural deodorants, and you’re probably wondering--what’s the hype about? Natural deos have been on the scene longer than you think, but are gaining quite a bit of attention due to a couple of studies that may have found a correlation between chemicals used in conventional deodorants and diseases like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.
Although results are not quite conclusive, studies have shown a possible correlation between aluminum on diseases like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer, leading to the rise of natural deodorant. Many wellness experts are urging people to put down the aluminum-laden antiperspirants and pick up natural deodorants.
Note the difference
To learn more about conventional deodorants/antiperspirants, we sat down with JP Mastey, CEO of Corpus Naturals, an all-natural deodorant company founded on creating artisanal scented deodorants that are effective and environmentally friendly. “Conventional skin products contain ingredients that are potentially harmful. Deodorants are a leave-on product meaning that you remain exposed to the ingredients for a lot longer than you would with a product you rinse off” Mastey explains. Antiperspirants--what we’ve used over the last few decades to ensure that our pits were dry even after stress or activity--use aluminum-based compounds to temporarily block your sweat ducts and stop the flow of sweat to the surface of the skin.
Deodorants, on the other hand, aim to neutralize body odor and do not control or block sweat from releasing. For this reason, some people are hesitant to try natural deodorants, but news flash--sweating is natural and we shouldn’t try to stop it from happening if it means potentially harming our health. In fact, by using antiperspirants, Mastey says “there’s a concern that [chemicals in conventional antiperspirants and deodorants] can bioaccumulate. And more concerning is that deodorant is applied near anatomy (lymph nodes, breast tissue, vital organs, etc.) that is particularly sensitive to endocrine disruptors. When you’re considering switching to natural products, deodorant is a very good place to start.”
Years of studies on the effects of aluminum-based compounds found in conventional antiperspirants have shown a potential risk for the development of Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. However, the studies do not provide solid evidence of causation, but many still prefer to err on the side of caution by using natural aluminum-free deodorants. I mean, why introduce more chemicals do your body if there are so many natural options out there?
In addition to being aluminum-free, natural deodorants are gentler on the skin so people with skin sensitivities may want to try a few natural options out if conventional deodorants aren’t working out.
Corpus Naturals, which launched in October 2018, has quickly become our favorite all-natural deodorant--even after trying out a ton on the market. It is a completely naturally-derived, effective vegan deodorant with refined, natural fragrances. It is a water-based, has a long-lasting formula using sustainable manufacturing practices, and it’s made in the USA. There are 5 scents available: No. Green, The Botanist, Santalum, Cedar Flora, and Third Rose. To make selecting the perfect scent easy, they even include a detailed description and video about each one including a chart of the notes in each scent.
Baking soda in deodorants
Baking soda is used in some natural deodorants because it is an effective natural remedy for combatting body odor but gets a bad rep for causing skin irritation and rashes. While some have exhibited such side effects, the cause is not the ingredient itself but the concentration of baking soda. It can cause rashes and irritation due to its alkaline pH if used in high concentrations. When a formula with baking soda is done right, the baking soda should not cause a reaction although a small number of people can’t use baking soda on the skin due to impaired skin function. There are natural deodorant companies who are aware of this subset that can’t tolerate baking soda though, like Corpus Naturals, that substitute baking soda with tapioca starch instead to mitigate the likelihood of irritation or rashes.
If you notice a rash forming on your underarms, discontinue use of any underarm products and seek medical attention.
Not all natural deodorants are created equal
If you’re new to natural deodorants, you’ll want to do a bit of research on the ingredients before you get started. It is quite easy for companies to get away with slapping the word “natural” on their products and this word is not regulated with household or personal hygiene products. Some natural deodorants contain fragrances (the term fragrances is typically used for artificial perfumes), or other additives that aren’t natural at all. Let’s face it, if you’re not getting the real thing, then what’s the point in shopping for “natural” in the first place?
The great thing is there are some brands out there that are all-natural and did the R&D to make their deodorant safe, effective, and environmentally friendly. Corpus Naturals’ CEO, JP Mastey (former CEO of Baxter of California), spent years developing their natural deodorants. “We have pushed the bounds of what people have come to expect from natural. Every detail is carefully considered. Even down to our green box which had to be custom made just for us to get that perfect tone of green. Our container and packaging are made in factories powered by hydroelectric energy and our fill is made with solar power”, Mastey explains, and the quality speaks for itself.
Right down to the scents, Mastey has set the bar for artisanal fragrances with scent complexities that mimic high-end perfumes without being overbearing. The result is a light scent with layers of aroma that feel like you, but without the B.O. No single-note essential oils here (because we don’t want to smell like a yoga studio). What’s more, the fragrances are created with resins, distillates, concretes, extracts, and more--nothing synthetic.
To find out more about the process of how natural deodorants are created, we took the liberty to ask JP Mastey, CEO of Corpus Naturals--why natural deodorants?
JP: My motivation was personal. In 2015 I was expecting my first child. In the process of preparing our home, I went from someone that read ingredient panels to obsessing about the idea of clean and safe ingredients. All of the “natural” product I found was either not really natural, or felt like you were making a sacrifice on aesthetics, scent, texture or performance. I was prepared to do it better.
I have a lot of experience in the industry (I was the owner of Baxter of California for over 10 years before it was acquired by L’Oreal in 2013) and in the mid-2000’s we made several futile attempts on creating natural formulations and gave up since we just could not get it right. Move ahead just one decade later and natural + effective has been established. The science has delivered on the promise. The major ingredient suppliers have put major effort into making safe and bio-based alternatives and that has made product formulation easier and effective. This is what made CORPUS possible and the time was right.
There’s a lot of love that went into creating the scents that are so unique to Corpus. We asked Mastey to walk us through the process of creating these signature scents:
JP: It is not synthetic, and it's more than essential oils. How did I create natural fragrances that smell like fine fragrances?
Let's start with the differences. Synthetic fragrances are made of a variety of substances many of which are derived from petroleum-based chemicals. Chances are you spent most of your life spritzing the compounds on your skin unknowingly exposing yourself to potential health risks (carcinogens, allergens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and more). The term "fragrance" can mask numerous ingredients that you might be trying to avoid, but end up consuming and wearing due to the cryptic nature of the term “Fragrance” on the ingredient you read.
Next, you have essential oils (oils extracted from plants). These are surely natural but are very limited in variety when it comes to perfume ingredients. They tend to lack complexity, longevity, and consistency (due to weather).
That brings us to natural fragrance and why we use it. Natural fragrance is also limited in variety, but greater options than essential oils. So while it is somewhere in the middle of synthetics and essential oils, it’s much closer to the limited range of essential oils.
Natural fragrances start with essential oils. In addition to essential oils, natural fragrances also use oleoresins, distillates, fractions, concretes, absolutes, and extracts. All of these materials are extracted directly from the plant source, but each plant releases its fragrance materials differently. So, for instance, Rosemary essential oil can be easily extracted from a plant through steam distillation, but true Vanilla comes only in an absolute.
The use of natural fragrances gives us a wider palette to work with, however, it is still very limited and challenging in comparison to the world of traditional perfumery and chemical compounds (synthetic).
Right now we are still not able to duplicate many synthetic notes with their natural equivalent. The typical Musk and Aldehyde notes that are used in perfumery are only available in synthetic form. Natural perfumery could be compared to the Vegan baker or the sugar-free confectioner. Possible, but only with a great amount of research, development, creativity, and experience can you compete with the expectations set by conventional chemistry.
Lastly, we wanted to know, what is Mastey’s favorite scent from his collection?
JP: You know it's a little bit like asking a parent who their favorite child is. I love them all the same but in different ways. Cedar Flora was the first iteration and maybe the hardest to get right, so maybe the scent will always remind of how much effort went into the process.
Intrigued? Check out Corpus Naturals for more information about their all-natural deodorant line!