Safe, Long Lasting Deodorants – Review
Nobody likes to stink. But is that deodorant you use safe?
Body odor. Like bad breath, it is one of the few mundane things – even when it’s bad, you are often the last to know about it.
Unless you have a good friend or a snarky coworker, you have no clue. Body odor can be elusive. They say, if you can smell your own body odor, then you have been smelling bad to others for quite some time. It’s embarrassing and, frankly, it bothers me that one needs to spend much time or money on the problem. But such is life!
But since this issue cannot be ignored, it was one of the first “projects” I pursued many ages ago…
Smelly locker rooms and stinky feet
I hate the strong, over-scented smell of [all] deodorants. But as much as I hate it, there was one thing I hated even more and that was taking showers with a bunch of other teenage girls. Back in the days of high school locker rooms, I abhorred public showering. I learned to smear on a strongly scented deodorant to cover the stink. It was the lesser of two evils at least till I got home to take a proper shower. But I digress…
Eventually, I found Mitchum which worked like a dream and I used it often. Mitchum is an excellent long lasting unscented antiperspirant that controls odor by keeping you dry with aluminum salts. I used it regularly with great satisfaction that is until I learned its active ingredient was aluminum chlorhydrate. In many studies, aluminum was quickly becoming implicated in many modern diseases: Alzheimer’s and breast cancer being two that come to mind.
Now whether or not this is true, and many think it is not, I wasn’t one to play games with my health. It was time for me to investigate alternatives which do not contain aluminum.
Meanwhile, I am married to a hard-working, sweaty man and a growing family of teens who needed safe-to-use deodorant. Time to go hunting for underarm protection – again! <sigh>
What is the difference between anti-antiperspirant and a deodorant?
Before we take a look at long lasting deodorants, let’s discuss the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant. Most products on the market are a combo of deodorant/antiperspirants. The most often used antiperspirant ingredient is an aluminum salt – aluminum chlorhydrate – that basically soaks up the sweat and the resulting gel-like substance plugs sweat gland more or less causing you to be drier – at least temporarily.
Most antiperspirants are also deodorants. The deodorant aspect contains strong scents to cover body odor.
What am I trying to accomplish with my underarm protection?
Here is where it gets personal. Since I am not super active, and I don’t sweat much anyway, I am not as concerned with perspiration as I am with body odor. I don’t sweat heavily, so I was less interested in the antiperspirant salts. But I don’t like smelling my sweat.
But I also determined that I wasn’t interested in the heavily scented deodorants on the market. The antiperspirant aspect was not a huge concern but I knew that the smell of body odor is caused by the proliferation of bacteria living in the sweat glands and on the skin. If there was a way to control these bacteria I could control the smell.
My first thing to do was to ask if it was really that important for me to plug up my sweat glands. To me, the important thing was to inhibit the body odor, not stop the sweat.
So what ingredients could step in and do what the aluminum chlorhydrate did? After a quick look around the Internet, I discovered that the most widely used substitute is zinc oxide, a safe and common ingredient in sunblocks and diaper rash ointments. (I bet you might be jumping ahead like I did. If it’s safe for babies butts, it’s safe for my armpits!)
Smart and Safe Deodorants
As it happens there are several deodorant products on the market which are zinc oxide-based creams. Most also contain essential oils, which are used for scent as well as natural bacterial inhibitors. Here are just a few:
Lavilin Underarm Deodorant Cream is a zinc-oxide-based deodorant cream that has been around a very long time and has loyal customers. Lavilin works very well. I could even go a week between applications though I hate to admit that I actually went that long between showers but chalk it up to a lazy college kid.
There is a bit of preparation to get the best benefit using it – basically bathing well, applying it, sleeping, bathing well, reapplying it. Most users find this to work blessedly well and “swear by it”. I know I do (did).
But Lavilin is relatively expensive – $14 for .44 oz. That works out to be roughly $30 an ounce.
But it is worth it from the point of view that it works. Even my daughter with persistent bad BO, who had used everything, got two thumbs up from her co-workers after she started using it.
Recently, though, Lavilin Underarm Deodorant Cream appears to have changed its formulation as long-time users aren’t happy with the product – doesn’t last as long.
So. Now it doesn’t work as well and it is still very expensive.
I continued to use the Lavilin until NOW brand came up with their version of a zinc-oxide deodorant, NOW brand Long Lasting Deodorant. This is the second runner-up and the one I used for many years. [Read this article to learn why I don’t use it anymore.]
My kids still use it with superior results. It is talc free. It comes in a light lavender scent which many find pleasing. It costs about $7 a stick for 2.2 oz. Much better price!
is a family owned business that makes a zinc-based cream and it comes in many “flavors”.
Can I make it myself?
I am glad others have come up with more versions of long-lasting deodorants but I am just a dyed-in-the-wool inventor. I just had to find a way to come up with my own similar cream for a reasonable price. So the search continued for a bit when one day I was looking at a tube of diaper rash cream and I noticed the main active ingredient was – zinc oxide.
Could it be that I found a simple, frugal replacement for long lasting deodorant!? What do you think? I share my testing of diaper creams here.