29 February 2016

The Very Best in Natural Deodorant

Last week I wrote about armpit detox and shared tips and tricks for making the switch to natural deodorant, and today I want to continue on the same topic by sharing some specific product recommendations.  I've tried a lot of natural deodorants over the years and these are my absolute favorites.  I'm not one to fuss with reapplying deodorant multiple times a day and all of these work to keep me smelling fresh all day long.  

BAKING SODA OR NO BAKING SODA?
If you ask me, the first - and perhaps most important - consideration when choosing a natural deodorant is whether or not it contains baking soda.  Baking soda is one of the most effective natural odor fighters out there, but because it's so alkaline, in contrast to the slightly acidic pH of our skin, it can cause reactions and irritation for a lot of people.   

For that reason, I've divided this list into baking soda deodorants, baking soda-free deodorants, and what I like to call baking soda light deodorants.



BAKING SODA LIGHT DEODORANTS

Of the three categories, this is my personal favorite.  These deodorants DO contain baking soda, obviously, but in lower amounts than a standard baking soda formula, and in combination with other ingredients that balance out the baking soda and reduce the likelihood of irritation.  Even if you're sensitive to traditional baking soda formulas, these may work for you.

Ursa Major Hoppin' Fresh - Hoppin' Fresh has the most similar feel/consistency to a conventional product of any natural deodorant I've used.  The stick is very smooth and solid, and the deodorant, which applies clear, feels almost gel-like.  Along with baking soda, Hoppin' Fresh also contains hops extract, plant enzymes, and essential oils to fight odor, and aloe vera and shea butter to cushion and protect delicate skin.  

Blissoma Scentless Stick Deodorant - According to Blissoma, the Scentless Stick contains half the baking soda of your average baking soda deodorant, plus it's balanced out with soothing and nourishing ingredients like zinc oxide, mango seed butter, and sunflower and coconut oils.  Clay, arrowroot powder, and diatomaceous earth also absorb sweat and help fight odor.  

BAKING SODA DEODORANTS
Baking soda formulas are great for odor protection, plus they tend to have the simplest and most basic ingredient lists of the three categories.  

Botanical Babe Deodorant Cream - With a base of organic shea butter and coconut oil, Botanical Babe's deodorant has a great creamy, buttery consistency that rubs into the skin without much effort.  The baking soda is buffered with arrowroot powder for a formula that feels soft and gentle on the skin.  Grapefruit, lemon, sweet orange, and juniper essential oils also help fight odor and give the deodorant a light and fresh citrus scent.


DIY Cream Deodorant - A few years back, the only deodorant I used was my own homemade cream, and while it wasn't an overly luxurious product, it definitely did the trick.  DIY deodorants are inexpensive, easy to make, and with tons of recipes out there, you can inevitably find one that will suit your needs.  The super simple, no-heat recipe I used can be found HERE.


BAKING SODA-FREE DEODORANTS
If you know you're intolerant to baking soda in deodorant, these are the ones for you!  While still effective, with gentle formulas that rely on other odor fighters, the chance of irritation is much lower.  

Weleda Spray Deodorant - The Spray Deodorants are basically just water, alcohol, and essential oils, but for whatever reason, they work better than any homemade spray I've been able to concoct myself.  Alcohol helps the spray dry quickly and works to kill bacteria, while essential oils provide a nice light scent.   The sprays work great both alone and in combination with other products, and I love the tiny travel sizes for on the go too!

Nourish Organic Fresh & Dry Deodorant - The Fresh & Dry deodorant is a moisturizing formula with very similar ingredients to those of a body butter, though it also includes organic corn starch to absorb moisture and plant enzymes to actively digest the bacteria that causes body odor.  The formula is probably the most gentle on the list, but I wouldn't consider its odor protection the strongest.  Your mileage may vary, but for me, this deodorant works great alone in the colder months, but I need to layer it with another product - like the Weleda Spray - during the summer.

Meow Meow Tweet Baking Soda Free Deodorant Cream - The Baking Soda Free Deodorant Cream is scented with grapefruit, bergamot, sweet orange, and lemon essential oils and gets its odor fighting properties from magnesium hydroxide.  Similar to baking soda, this food grade magnesium is an alkaline mineral that works by creating an inhospitable environment for odor-causing bacteria.  Despite its alkalinity, magnesium is not typically irritating to the skin.

Are you sensitive to baking soda?  What are your favorite natural deodorants?  


Contains affiliate links.

26 February 2016

Armpit Detox + 5 Tips for Switching to Natural Deodorant

There's an abundance of information circulating about WHY you should switch to natural deodorant, but not a whole lot of guides for easing through the actual transition.  And, judging by the number of emails and questions I've gotten on this topic in the nearly five years since I launched this blog, it's obviously an information gap that needs filling!  

Natural deodorants DO work, but if you're transitioning from conventional deodorants and antiperspirants, there's a very real detox period that you need to traverse to make them work for you.  


Conventional Antiperspirants + Aluminum

Where deodorants work to kill surface bacteria that causes odor, antiperspirants actually inhibit the body's ability to sweat, usually by means of one of a few different aluminum compounds.  Very simply, when aluminum is absorbed into the sweat ducts, it causes them to swell and squeeze closed. Sweat becomes trapped and is unable to escape.  

Aluminum has been linked to a lot of scary things: breast cancer, Alzheimer's, hormonal imbalances, kidney disease, and liver toxicity - to name just a few.  Although several of these disease claims have been disproven more recently, it's still an ingredient I recommend avoiding in your personal care products. 

Here's my bottom line: Sweating is a natural process.  It's one of the main ways the body detoxifies and regulates temperature, so inhibiting sweat also inhibits the body's ability to perform these basic functions.  

Armpit Detox + Why It Matters

Switching from antiperspirant to deodorant is a process.  If you aren't aware of this, it's easy to assume a new deodorant just isn't working, but the reality is, your body needs to both relearn how to sweat normally and process out any aluminum, toxins, and buildup that may have accumulated while you were using antiperspirant.  

During this process,  it's completely normal to:
- sweat more
- have stronger smelling sweat
- have thicker sweat
- have itchy armpits
- need to reapply deodorant multiple times a day

I do not consider armpit rashes a normal part of this detox period and would reconsider the deodorant product(s) you're using if you start experiencing rashes or serious irritation.  

Beat the Detox: 5 Tips for Switching to Natural Deodorant

1. Consciously Choose WHEN to Make the Switch
Map out a 2-3 week period when you can afford to fuss a little more.  You may end up a little stinky or you may need to reapply your deodorant multiple times during the day, so pick a time when that won't be a serious issue.  You want to avoid flipflopping between antiperspirant and natural deodorant, since that will keep you indefinitely in the detox stage.

2. Get Sweaty
Your body needs to literally push out the aluminum and other toxins that have built up in the sweat ducts, and the only way it can do that is by sweating.  Working up a sweat - be it from exercise, saunas, or hot baths - will help flush these out quicker and shorten the detox period.

3. Drink Extra Water
Staying hydrated is always a good thing, but it's especially vital for any detox.  Water helps your lymph system work more effectively and will help your body expel build up and toxins.  Plus, if you followed number 2, you'll need to replenish the fluids you lost with all that extra sweating!

4. Exfoliate + Mask Your Pits
Just as you exfoliate your face to get rid of dead skin and debris, the same can be helpful for your pits.  Dry brushing pre-shower or using a body scrub or loofah in the shower both work to slough off any of the junk that's being expelled.  Clay masks are also great for opening up and clearing pores, and a simple mask of clay and water (or apple cider vinegar) applied to the underarms a couple times a week during this transition period can do wonders at keeping you smelling better and on track to beating the pit detox!

5. Travel With Your Deodorant
The long term goal is, obviously, to find a deodorant that will keep you smelling great all day long, but realistically, you'll probably need to reapply during the transition period.  Keeping a travel deodorant handy eliminates the stress of smelling midday and not having anything to touch up with. Wipes are another great option for freshening up on the go.

Stay tuned for product recommendations + all my deodorant favorites on Monday!
 

20 February 2016

Unscented Body Lotions: Dueling Mini Reviews

Unscented lotions aren't something you see raved about very often, but they're a staple product for me.  Whether it's because I don't want to deal with anything scented, or because I want a moisturizer that won't interfere with other scents I may be wearing, they're something I reach for on a regular basis.  

I've been pretty dedicated to Acure's Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion for several years, but last fall I discovered that, due to reformulations, it just doesn't cut it anymore.  Around the same time, I conveniently had some iHerb credit saved up and burning a hole in my pocket, so I figured it was a good time to set about finding a replacement.  

With that in mind, I ordered three new lotions to try.   The goal?  Something without any added scent (or a strong unscented smell).  It would need to be rich and hydrating but not greasy, and something that wouldn't need to be reapplied multiple times a day -- because, really, who has time for that?!

The Contenders:
Acure Fragrance Free Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion
Clearly I've already spoiled that this was not what I wanted it to be.  The current formula feels very watery and rubs away to nothing.  If you like your lotions incredibly light, it might suit your purposes.  It certainly won't leave you greasy, and it legitimately has no discernible scent.  

Acure Fragrance Free Bare Baby Lotion
Sorry Acure, it's just not your day!  The Bare Baby Lotion is much better in terms of richness and hydration, but it smells awful - like a combination of feet and stinky cheese.  Yuck!  My tube was sealed and is well within the best before date, so there's no reason why it shouldn't be okay, but I'm wondering if maybe I got a bad bottle, as I can't imagine anyone actually trying to sell a product that smells like this.  We don't have access to Acure in stores here, so I have no way of checking, but if you've used this lotion before, I'd love to know if yours smelled gross like this too!

DeVita Shea Butter Bruleé

I like this one, but I don't love it.  Described as an "ultra rich hand and body bruleé," the Shea Butter Bruleé is surprisingly very lightweight.  It sinks in quickly and moisturizes well in the moment, but it doesn't keep my skin feeling hydrated for as long as I'd like.  It also smells a little like sunscreen, although the scent doesn't linger past application.  

The great thing about this cream, however, is the way it gives the skin a slightly perfected, tauter appearance.  There's no mica or other colorants like in most "perfecting" lotions, but it somehow makes skin look just a little bit better.  I expect it'll be great in the summer!  The Bruleé is made with vitamin K, hyaluronic acid, plant collagen, and peptides to increase circulation and target spider veins and stretch marks.  I haven't used it consistently enough to notice a difference in any of those areas, but I'm guessing these same ingredients are responsible for the instant tightening effect I noticed.  

Savannah Bee Company Unscented Honey Body Lotion
Saving the best for last!   The Honey Body Lotion has a thick, rich consistency without feeling overly heavy or greasy as you work it into the skin.  It has a very slight nutty scent - nothing super noticeable - and leaves my skin moisturized enough that I can go a couple days between uses without any ill effects.  It's obviously not vegan (honey + beeswax), unlike the other three, but it's a great lotion.  Probably the only one of the lot that I'd purchase again.  

The Bottom Line

I wouldn't recommend either of the Acure lotions - one for its scent and one for its performance - but I like both the DeVita and Savannah Bee lotions to varying degrees.  The Savannah Bee Honey Lotion has a great balance between richness and easy absorption and is what I'd opt for on an everyday basis, and the DeVita Shea Butter Bruleé has an interesting tightening effect that leaves skin looking slightly perfected without bronzing or color change and would probably be great in the summer.  It's something I'd reach for before wearing shorts or showing more skin, but it doesn't do the trick through these colder winter months.

What are your favorite body lotions?  

 
Contains affiliate links.

10 February 2016

Batty's Bath Whipped Cream Foundation

I'm usually a year round powder foundation wearer, but once the colder temperatures hit this winter, my regular mineral foundations just weren't doing the trick anymore.  Right around the same time, I was offered the chance to try out a couple products from Batty's Bath, a London, Ontario company I'd seen raved about before and had followed on Instagram for several months previously, and I knew right away I wanted to try out the company's Whipped Cream Foundation*.

The Whipped Cream Foundation ($34 CAD for 0.5 oz) is both vegan and gluten free, and, as the name would suggest, has a creamy, moussy consistency.  The ingredients are super clean and natural, and the formula is free of common allergens and skin sensitizers. 



My skin has reacted negatively to a lot of cream and liquid foundations in the past, so I was cautiously optimistic to try the Whipped Cream Foundation.  My problem with most cream and liquid formulas is twofold: 
1) they often feel heavy, or, at a minimum, noticeable on the skin
2) they leave me with clogged/congested pores if I wear them for more than a couple days in a row.

Happily, I haven't had either problem with the Batty's Bath foundation!  

The foundation is very creamy, but at the same time, it has a drier feel on the skin than other cream products I've used.  It doesn't quite set to a full powder finish, but once it's applied and blended, skin feels basically dry to the touch and not tacky, greasy, or coated in makeup.  This finish also means that - at least in the winter - it isn't a product I absolutely need to set with powder, although I do find that a light dusting helps the foundation wear a few hours longer.  The foundation also feels very lightweight on the skin and isn't makeup that I can feel sitting heavily on my face throughout the day.  

As for the second point, I've been wearing this foundation pretty much exclusively since early January and haven't experienced any skin issues.  I don't wear makeup every single day, but there have been weeks when I've worn it five or six consecutive days and I still haven't had any problems with clogged pores or congested skin, something I credit to the foundation's simple and skin-friendly ingredients.

Instead of the coconut oil frequently found in natural cream products, Batty's Bath relies on a base of organic jojoba and apricot kernel oils and organic shea butter.  All three rank considerably lower on the comedogenic scale than coconut oil, and are suitable for both sensitive and acne-prone skin types.  The formula also includes lavender and rosewood essential oils, great for multiple skin concerns.  The essential oils also give the foundation a delicate herbal scent.  The remainder of the ingredients list is short and excludes unnecessary bulking agents and fillers.

Coverage
The foundation has a good, solid medium/buildable coverage.  A light application evens out skin tone and makes skin look pretty and perfected, but still natural, while fuller coverage can be achieved with a heavier application.  The finish is very natural and skin-like.  It's not overly dewy or glowy, but it's also not a flat matte on the skin.  

The foundation also easily doubles as a concealer.  My undereyes tend to be pretty dark and most days I'll opt just to use a second thin layer of foundation topped with a brightening powder, rather than adding in a separate cream concealer.

Check out the before and after photos! (Click to enlarge.)  Relying on natural sunlight in the middle of winter means the lighting changed a little between photos, but hopefully you can still get a good representation of the foundation.  The first photo is bare faced, second is with just the Whipped Cream Foundation, and the third is the foundation + a setting powder, blush, brow pencil, and lipstick.  I've also posted a couple photos of me wearing the foundation on Instagram this past month.



Application
My favorite way to apply this foundation is with my fingers.  A little bit goes a long way and fingers help the product spread and sheer out easily for a lighter makeup look -- my preference day-to-day.  Because of the foundation's thicker, cream consistency, I find it difficult to get a light application with a brush, but if you're aiming for fuller coverage, a buffing brush and a little more product will easily accomplish that. 

As with any foundation, well-prepped skin is essential.  My skin leans a little dry, and if I haven't moisturized quite enough, the Whipped Cream Foundation can cling to drier patches on my face.  Patting over it with a damp sponge usually does the trick when this happens, so it's not been a big deal.  Batty's Bath also suggests mixing the foundation with a small amount of a hydrating product like their Hydra Healing Rescue Gel for dry skin, but that's not something I've experimented with so far.  

Color Range
The Whipped Cream Foundation comes in seven shades.  I chose Fawn - the second lightest shade in the range - because of its pinker undertones.  My skin is very neutral, but happily Fawn isn't super pink - it's more peachy than anything - so it matches my skin very well. The seven shades offer a good range of both cool and warm shades for light and medium skin tones, but I'd love to see Batty's Bath add a couple darker shades in the future as currently there's only one color suitable for deeper skin tones.  



The Bottom Line
Definitely a big hit!  With wonderful ingredients and great buildable coverage, I think the Whipped Cream Foundation would work well for a lot of people.  The foundation never feels slippery or greasy on the skin, and it wears well throughout the day.  Despite being a cream formula, my skin has been very okay with it - truly, I don't think my skin has ever been this happy with cream or liquid makeup before - and it's a product I see myself using and enjoying for a long time.  If you're in the market for a new foundation, I highly recommend giving this one a try!


*Press sample

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