Once upon a time I went to the shop just down the street from where I lived to pick up a deodorant. There wasn't really that many choices back then. The five inches of shelf space reserved for women's deodorant was mostly taken up by different versions of Nivea or Dove roll-ons, and in a plastic basket there was those cheap perfumed ones. A random collection of lilac, rose and I think what they described as a tropical scent. They had colours that matched their descriptions, as ghastly as the scents which had nothing in common with the names on the outside of the packaging. Needless to say, I choose a Nivea roll-on in its white glass roll-on bottle and called it a day because it was what we all used in my home, back then.
The problem was that I was never really happy with the Nivea. In fact, I often think I would have been better off in my early teens just washing with soap, applying some baby powder and calling it a day. That way, I might have had a chance to at least stay dry during the day. As it was, I took to wearing cardigans for a reason. Thankfully, I live in a cold climate so most of the year this was a perfectly acceptable strategy and for the rest of the year, sleeveless tops and dresses solved the problem nicely enough.
As the years passed, the collection of deodorants grew. Soon, there was two and then three whole shelves of choices. I still remember the first stick deodorants showing up in my store, which admittedly was rather late to get on the bandwagon. It was an improvement over the roll-ons as far as keeping me dry went, but who on earth thought it a good idea to base them on fats and waxes that actually melt upon skin contact? I learnt a lot about stain removal thanks to those solid sticks.
Then, one day, I came across spray on deodorants. Rexona was the first one I tried, I think. My lungs burned for hours after application, even though I held my breath, and my room stunk of a sharp, chemical smell even though I opened my windows wide but for the first time in my life I had found a deodorant that actually worked to keep my dry, without staining my clothes and without reacting overly bad with my body chemistry.
One day they were out of my trusty Rexona, and I decided to try one of the Dove Fresh ones instead. Taking a deep, deep breath I sprayed. Breathing out slowly, letting the air escape, going almost light headed, I had to breathe or faint. One small, scared gulp of air that I expected to burn and make me cough. What? Cautiously breathing a bit deeper, a look of utter surprise meeting me in the mirror. No burning lungs, no chemical smell. Just linger, sweet perfume. From that day I was a Dove girl, through and through. I had found my perfect deodorant and antiperspirant.
Of course, bliss never lasts for long. Not when you are hanging around the internet, and start reading about how bad ordinary deodorants are for you and how at the very least you should find one without parabens in it due to the possible link between said chemical and breast cancer.
I did venture into more natural deodorant alternatives for a while after reading those warnings, the only thing that even remotely worked for me was a coconut based body powder from Lush which they of course promptly discontinued after me finding it.
I tried salt on a stick, I tried my home made body powders, I tried creams and I tried sprays. No go. After much trial and error, defeated, I returned to the store down the street. The shelf had now grown to an entire section of products aimed at keeping you dry and fresh. All of them had parabens in them. I read, and I read, and I gave up turning to the dove spray bottles.
And there it was, in a white, sleek bottle looking very fresh with letters on the front clearly stating no parabens. The Dove Pure Deodorant and Antiperspirant.
Usually I can't do unscented products, but surprisingly the Dove Pure range works for me. The spray version I have keeps me dry all day now in summer, it doesn't clash with my perfume since it is unscented, and somehow it manages to make me smell clean. You know that scent right after washing, before you've put anything on your skin? That's what this range leaves me smelling like. Just a clean me, and nothing else.
Now, you should keep in mind that even though the Pure range is free of fragrance, parabens, colourants and alcohol and so is a good choice for most people either needing a good deodorant when working in environments where a scent is not appropriate or who have allergies, it still contains things like aluminium and other chemicals to help keep you dry and smelling good. It is in no way a natural choice, but it still is a good choice, if you just need a modern, simple, scent free deodorant solution and are fed up with trying all natural like me.
I'm sticking to this deodorant. At least until something purer comes along that actually works.