A couple of years ago, solely in response to reader demand, I began to research aluminium-free deodorants. Three sticky weeks and umpteen deodorants later, I could find only two I liked and each cost far more than most of us would ever shell out. Without a bargain option I could honestly recommend, I moved on.
But in 2019, I’ve gone aluminium-free. Why? I’m by nature a sceptic and have a particularly low tolerance for the unqualified quacks of the wellness movement. I know the vast majority of their scare stories about cosmetics ingredients to be unproven and irresponsible. Much of the cobblers spoken about “natural” deodorants is absurd. “Transition periods” where one’s body releases excess toxins after decades of antiperspirant? Give me a break. Antiperspirants use aluminium to block sweat ducts, thus blocking sweat. Studies show that aluminium penetrates the skin. It’s also a fact that the majority of breast cancers start in the region where antiperspirant is applied, which has sparked concern; it’s also true that there’s simply more tissue there. It’s important to acknowledge that no causal link has been proven, and scientists and regulators have consistently found aluminium to be safe, and studies suggesting otherwise to be flawed.
But why, when I don’t sweat excessively (if you do, you’ll want antiperspirant), do I have an instinctive aversion to my secretions being “blocked”? Having lost my mother to breast cancer, need I accommodate any residual niggles in order to smell nice? It’s no longer necessary. So, on to those two spendy but very good, non-blocking but odour-neutralising deodorants I decided against covering before. The first is Malin + Goetz’s cruelty-free Eucalyptus deodorant (£12, 28g), which sounds as though it will be overpowering but has a delicate smell, doesn’t clash with perfume and is gentle on skin. Noticeably skin-softening is Aurelia’s luxurious Botanical Cream deodorant (2; a whopping £18 for 50g which, in fairness, lasts ages). The thick, almost grainy cream rubs directly on to underarms, dries fast and is suitable for vegans. The inclusion of kaolin makes it absorbent, too. And at last, I’ve found a very worthy third: Nivea’s new Fresh Clean 0% Aluminium (3; £3.29, 200ml) works brilliantly and is available in supermarkets. It sprays on like antiperspirant, smells great all day and like the other two, leaves no trace on clothing.
• Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure the discussion remains on the topics raised by the article. Please be aware that there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010