By Jesse Breeden
This is a loving and positive space, right? A judgement-free zone? A place where we celebrate each other, chemically-induced weaknesses and all? Yay! That’s what I thought.
(Clears throat) Hi, my name is Jesse and I’m a 31-year-old writer, chilaquiles enthusiast, mama of one, and lover of Old Spice—specifically Pure Sport High Endurance (which scores a 6 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database and probably isn’t exactly what I want to be applying to my lymph node-heavy underarm area every day, especially as I continue to breastfeed). Nice to meet you!
I’ll admit I’ve been a little skeptical about clean, non-toxic deodorants in the past. Ever since my mom introduced me to “The Crystal” (you know the one), the mother of all crunchy deos for your B.O., I’ve been scared—convinced that every natural deodorant would make me smell like manicotti, à la “The Crystal”.
Suffice it to say, I do not want to smell like manicotti. But, with age comes evolution. Maybe it was my highschool-aged hormones that caused “The Crystal” to react in such a unsavory way, or maybe after 15 years out of the game, new versions might exist that actually, like, work. I decided to test three buzzy brands and see.
On day one of the CDC (Clean Deodorant Challenge) I gave routine. cream a serious stink test—the unexpected scorcher of a day. The weather in NYC had been consistently low 60’s and rainy, but that morning, after scooping and smearing a jelly bean sized dollop under each arm, I forgot to check the weather and left my house in jeans and a sweatshirt. That afternoon after a walk to lunch in the 87-degree sun, I snuck a sniff...pleasant! Not a total eradicator of scent but it was almost like the cream enhanced “me” (I swear the detoxifying charcoal put my B.O. through some sort of purifier). What was spicy in the jar sweetened on my skin and I surprisingly did not even mind having to apply with my hands. SUCCESS!
So far so good. I had been 80%-ish stink free for 5 days and was feeling excited to try Kaia Naturals’ The Takesumi Detox Deodorant travel assortment—one for every mood. I’m a sucker for anything citrus or minty so Lime Mint was an obvious first choice.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhh” could be heard from my bathroom. So fresh and so clean!
These guys also have charcoal in them (I’m sensing a theme!). Activated, bamboo charcoal to be precise. I was told it could take time for my body to get used to the cleanse and until it did I might sweat...a lot. Spoiler alert: I did.
I probably need to preface this by telling you I decided to try this deoderant on the first solo flight of my life with my 14-month-old son, complete with layover. The underneath of my hair stayed drenched for the duration of the flight so you can imagine how wet my armpits (palms, upper lip, lower back…) were. Sweat I did, but stink I did not. I was so impressed by my portable potpourri of TSA-approved deos I started carrying 2 or 3 in my purse and mixing them to create my own scent. But I had one more clean deodorant to try…
Enter, type A: The Visionary (aptly named I’ll admit). I’m not sure why I saved this one for last? Honestly, I thought the branding for routine. was funny and the packaging and scents for Kaia Naturals were sexy so I felt compelled to use them first. Hey, even in the world of clean deodorant one can be shallow.
type A: is different than the rest in that it is sweat activated (hello, stress funk!), while protecting against odor and wetness sans aluminum of course. The scent is clean, and the buttery cream is easy to spread yet surprisingly dry to the touch. I wanted to give each deodorant a super sweaty scenario to deal with, so I used this one during a vacation in Florida. THIS IS NOT A JOKE: I applied the deodorant before going to the beach (swimming, hot-sun-sandcastle-building…) followed by lunch, more beach and pool and I did not smell at the end of the day. Not one bit.
A week later and I still don’t smell. My mom and aunt have already bought a tube for themselves and at only $10 (!) I will literally be telling everyone. Am I a clean deodorant convert? Oh yeah. I already chucked that Old Spice (in the recycling bin of course).
Thank you Jesse for taking us up on the Clean Deodorant Challenge. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, if you're interested in participating in our upcoming clean beauty experiences.