The Quest for A Healthy Deodorant that Works

miessence deodorant

I’ve tried a great number of health food store deodorants, the ones that advertise being environmentally friendly and better for you than the run of the mill pharmacy ones.  I’ve tried a great many because they tend to work for a week or two and then fail miserably, usually on a high stress day when I really need them to work.  I was relieved to find that I’m not alone in this.  In her most excellent book, Ecoholic, Adria Vasil writes of experiencing the same problem.

There are certain brands that in the past I found worked for longer: Nature’s Gate and Tom’s of Maine.  However, these brands have propylene glycol as their main ingredient,  which the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database lists as “moderately toxic,” 4 out of a possible 10.  BTW, I have recently discovered that Nature’s Gate Organics deodorants are propylene glycol free, but I have not tried them. I was disappointed to discover Tom’s of Maine uses propylene glycol since they were the first company to develop a “natural deodorant” back in the 1970s and Ellis Jones, in his “the better world shopping guide” rates them as #5 on his list of the 10 best companies in the world from an ethical, environmental and social justice perspective. But I was determined to make my armpits propylene glycol free zones, so I went back to trying out deodorants.

Fortunately my environmentally-friendly hair dresser, Joy, recently introduced me to an Australian organic cosmetics company, miessence organics.  Their Aroma Free Deodorant is more expensive than your average health food store brand.  However, it has only four ingredients (water, aloe vera, sodium bicarbonate, xanthan gum, and grapefruit seed extract) all of which I am familiar with and comfortable using.  The deodorant works perfectly and has continued to work without fail for several months now.

One last note about healthy deodorants.  I have also found that deodorant stones or crystals work extremely well, save on packaging, and are about the most cost-effective natural deodorants out there.  However, on doing a bit of research, I found that their active ingredient was an aluminum salt, potassium alum, which led me to stop using it, the deodorant aluminum scares of the 1980s being what had led me to change to health food store deodorants in the first place.  The Cosmetics Database lists potassium alum as having very low toxicity (a score of 1, with 0 being the lowest possible), however, it also lists data gaps for this ingredient, so I’m still undecided on the crystal deodorant issue.

Incidentally, in preparing this post, I looked up grapefruit seed extract on the database and it gets a score of 3 on toxicity, mostly because of concerns that it might be contaminated with nasty chemicals.  So all I can do is conclude that being an informed consumer is hard work and the best path is never a clear one.


Miessence deodorant available at Pure Joy Hair Studio in Westboro, Ottawa, open Wednesday to Saturday, phone ahead 613-728-4069

Crystal Deodorant Stone available from the on-line Outouais store:

Ottawa-based website on health and cosmetics: PureKnowHow

International, comprehensive cosmetics database: Skin Deep

6 thoughts on “The Quest for A Healthy Deodorant that Works

  • hi,

    I just recently started reading your blog and find it quite informative. After using several of deodorants you mentioned and not finding them sufficient, I started using aromacream from lush and I love it! some people have found it irritating but the people at lush gave me a free sample to try before i bought a container, and I have been using it for over a year. just to add to your post!

  • I use the Nature’s Gate Organics deodourant and have found it works best out of all the ones I have tried. Now if I could just find somewhere in Ottawa that carries it!

  • Kiss my Face has a new deo out and I quite like it (so far…) – but just noticed propylene Glycol as its FIRST ingredient! That sucks. I guess the search is on again! I will see if I can get miessence here.

  • There is a 100% natural scentless deodorant which is 24 hours or more effective, its water based, so no oiliness and mess, it has dead sea minerals, organic food grade ingredients, and vitamins, no aluminum, no baking soda, I read the ingredients list, and its clean from nasty chemicals, my wife is using it also while breast feeding, two pregnant woman my family too, and they are vegans, and nature freaks. Sounds Good to me.

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