I Didn’t Think This Natural Deodorant Would Work (But I Was Wrong)
It's hard to explain the way I feel about natural beauty. On one hand, I believe that if a natural product can do a certain job well (like soften and nourish skin), I'd be silly to opt for anything else. On the other, I don't necessarily think all synthetic ingredients are bad. There are substances I choose to steer clear of (anything shown to have hormonal-disrupting activity), and that decision is rooted in the fact that I have PCOS. That said, I trial beauty products for a living. This makes being picky about what goes on my body semi-impossible. Plus, there are beauty products I adore that aren't natural. I have been fascinated by perfume since forever, so that's an especially hard one. (Lucky for me, Venustus is constantly creating water-based organic scents that smell dreamy.) For me, there is definitely a sense of being pulled in two directions—and it's not an easy struggle. Maybe I'm just not ready to go 100% natural...yet.
One thing I've struggled with for the longest time is finding a natural deodorant that actually works. Personally, (and even though research is mixed) I am iffy about parabens and aluminium, which means most supermarket deodorants are out. I've tried a multitude of natural versions, but they've never done what they're supposed to—keep me fresh. Considering I work out four times a week, I need an odour-fighter with guts. A dusting of cornflour is never going to cut it—and I don't fancy being "B.O. girl" at the gym.
You can imagine my skepticism when a brand called Agent Nateur kept popping up in my research, always, always, alongside a glowing review. A deodorant so pure you could eat it, that is actually effective? No way. I first read about it on Vogue.com, then caught a write-up in InStyle. Suddenly, it was everywhere. Was this a sign from the universe? Next, it was featured on The Coveteur, Well+Good and Mind Body Green. Once it got the Gwyneth tick of approval via Goop I was convinced. I knew I needed to give it a go.
Agent Nateur No.3 Deodorant ($18)
Before we get to the review, a little bit of background: Agent Nateur's No3. Deodorant was created by Jena Covello, a celebrity stylist living in L.A. who also happens to deal with hormone-related problems. (Covello created the deodorant in her kitchen because she couldn't find an aluminium-free version that actually did the job.) It took her over 100 attempts at perfecting the formula before she got there, but the result—a solid stick made from food-grade ingredients—is a game-changer. The product itself is beautiful (and smells incredible thanks to lavender and eucalyptus essential oils) as is the packaging, but despite so much good press I still refused to believe it would work for me. Nothing else had, why would this be any different?
Enter a particularly sweaty CrossFit class. I had been wearing the deodorant for a few days before I decided to test it against the gym. So far, things were smelling good; the combo of absorbent baking soda and antibacterial honey seemed to be working. Unlike other natural formulas that require digging out of a tub, the stick format also made it easy to apply. Still, I just knew it wasn't going to stack up against a heavy-duty workout. So off to class I went, making sure to situate myself as far away from everyone else as possible. The workout was hard—it culminated in 15 rounds of 20 kettlebell swings followed by sled runs on the minute—and I was pretty drenched by the time it was done. Afterwards, in the change rooms, I discreetly sniffed my underarms. They were suspiciously fresh. What was this magic? 'I'm sure the effects will have worn off by the time I get home,' I thought. 'The sweat needs time to react with the air to create an odour,' I told myself in my best faux-scientist tone. Except, after walking a further 45 minutes home, I still didn't smell. I was happy, yes, but I was also confused.
Since then, I've worn No.3 daily and I can honestly say, it's the best natural deodorant I've ever used. (And I've tried a few.) That it can stack up to a full-on workout says a lot about the efficacy of its natural ingredients, although I won't pretend it has the power to protect you against odour for days on end as some supermarket deodorants claim to. (When was the last time you needed a deodorant to work for 48 hours anyway?) The sunflower and avocado butter formula doesn't come with the promise of no white marks either (although I haven't had an issue with that personally—and I wear a lot of black). The only downside I've experienced was a few clogged pores under my arms when I first switched over. I've since begun exfoliating the area twice weekly and haven't had any further issues. There's also the cost; $18 is a lot of money for one stick of deodorant. That said, I've been using a single stick for the past two months and in that time I haven't even used half. You only need a smidge so resist layering it on and you should get a fair few months usage out of it. All in all, I'm thrilled with my new discovery and I can't see myself going back anytime soon.
Do you use natural deodorant? What's your go-to brand? Share it with us in the comments below!