“I’ve used the Glossier Deodorant for two months and it’s cemented my thoughts on natural bodycare”
I have never spoken about sweat as much as I have spoken about it in the past two months. My vocabulary is dripping with underarm chat, but you’ll have to excuse me because Glossier – arguably the IT-girl brand of the millennial beauty era – launched a deodorant at the top of the year, and I’ve been putting it through its paces. From boxing classes and spectating football matches to sweaty nights out in Shoreditch, I think I’ve asked the question “do I smell?” approx. 2580 times. But I can categorically say I’m a natural deo queen now and after dipping my toe – or pits – into the category tentatively over a year, it’s Glossier (natch) that made me switch for good.
Underarms and addressing sweat have never really been a huge topic of conversation in the beauty-sphere. In fact, as a beauty editor, I’m much more likely to talk about lasering my bikini line than how sweaty I feel sitting on the Central Line. But Glossier’s launch is almost a culmination of some of the most innovative and Indie brands on the beauty block. Brands are noticing consumers bucking the trend of sticking to mainstream options for a deodorant to explore more of the natural and sustainable world of deodorising our pits, a sub-section of the eco-boom that I don’t think any of us saw coming.
“Boutique/Indie brands are the pioneers of change in the industry because they can ‘afford’ to take risks born from purpose or a need rather than for profit,” says Ed Currie, co-founder of AKT, a company that creates deodorant balms in oh-so-satisfying metal tubes. “Large companies can't take a risk unless it's commercially viable. So, it's the small brands that start the ‘grassroots’ movement with trends.”
Brands such as AKT and Wild taking a chance on a new way of creating and applying deo has paid off. “For us at AKT, we were two west-end performers in London, dancing under hot lights, eight shows a week in the same costumes — we were pretty smelly and sweaty,” notes Ed. “We never set out to start a company. We started making deodorant on the hob and perfected the formula over 3 years, testing it out on our colleagues and friends also in the theatre world.” From AKT’s metal tubes, Neccesaire’s gel to Aurelia’s paste and the infinitely refillable packaging of the likes of Wild, Fussy and Glossier, the beauty market is taking a real punt on making sweat chicer and more sustainable.
The marketing and clever packaging piqued my interest in switching to the natural world. But the even faint possibility of being smelly while I also struggled on my Reformer Pilates bed was far from appealing. As someone that was fully in the antiperspirant gang for decades, I can tell you the mindset shift is not easy and is often the biggest hurdle to climb when making the shift. Because as great as ultra-cool deo is, if you’re used to not sweating it does feel rogue having damp underarms on a random Tuesday when you’re bead dripping on your commute.
Although used interchangeably, deodorant and antiperspirant do very different jobs. Deos will keep you smelling decent as you sweat, while antiperspirant helps you stop sweating altogether. Physically, it can be tough for your body to make the shift, too. “The transition from a traditional antiperspirant to an aluminium-free deodorant takes time,” notes Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe. “It takes about four weeks for your sweat glands to adjust to a new pH, and the glands are no longer blocked by aluminium particles.” It’s known as the ‘purge phase’ and is supercritical to push through for natural deos to work for you. “Remember, sweating isn't a bad thing, it is a natural detoxification process!” notes Dr Ewoma.
Natural deodorants are free from aluminium, which is one of the ingredients that is key to blocking the sweat glands in anti-perspirant products. Some natural deos will have baking soda in them to help you feel drier quicker, but Glossier’s offering leaves that out too. Superfruit elderberry extract and coconut oil keep your skin conditioned and odour-free, while this formula contains potato starch to dry sweat quickly, post-purge process, I got into the swing of my new natural life pretty easily.
One thing that did not feel natural is the cost of going off pits– sorry, piste from mainstream brands. Before switching to my boujee deos, I never spent more than £3 for a roll-on. While I get to test a bunch of them for work, I do also buy my own and for the most part, you are out of pocket over £10 per product, except for refill deos which often work out around £6 each. While the cost of literally everything is creeping up, it does feel strange to start spending more on something as basic as a deodorant. However, I can categorically say that all the non-traditional deodorants I’ve tried have lasted longer than the typical ones I’ve been used to. For instance, I've just started on my Glossier refill after two months of use and I’ve often applied it twice a day after showering at the gym.
After converting to the natural hype, I can totally see this eco-deo boom continuing to spread from agile starter brands to our beauty heavyweights. Gone are the days when natural deodorants only existed on the toiletries shelf in health shops (slight shade). Now, you can pick up your deodorant alongside your Balm Dotcom and Stretch Concealer, and your pits can smell like Glossier’s iconic scent, You, as well. Who doesn’t want that?
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