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  • Oars + Alps

When walking down the grooming aisle, in person or online, you can’t help but notice the growing array of aluminum-free deodorant options. Why do people like them so much? And can switching to aluminum-free deodorant be a healthy alternative to your current routine? Let’s cover the basics first. 

Antiperspirant vs. Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Antiperspirants are the aluminum-laced products that aluminum-free deodorants aim to replace. Antiperspirants trap sweat inside your sweat glands before it’s released, so it never mixes with underarm bacteria to create body odor. Typically, these products use aluminum (yes, like the foil) ground up very finely and incorporate it into a paste. Once it’s applied, body heat and moisture emulsify the mixture. As the area dries, the mixture gets sucked up into the sweat gland and forms a physical plug, which keeps sweat from escaping. Hence the public’s health concerns and why aluminum-free deodorant is becoming so popular.

Deodorants, on the other hand, are products that fight odor. Since they don't claim to prevent sweat, they are generally aluminum-free. Some conventional deodorants still use harsh chemicals that can cause your skin to react or become irritated. Examples of these harsh chemicals are: sulfates that strip moisture and oils from your skin, irritating fragrances that can cause reactions, estrogen-mimicking preservatives like parabens, and, especially in products that act as deodorants and antiperspirants, pore-clogging metals. 

Other deodorants leave out aluminum as well as these other chemicals. Sometimes colloquially referred to as "natural deodorants", these products fight odor with clean ingredients. Some (like ours) are formulated to absorb sweat as it is released as well.

With so much information available, and much of it conflicting, it’s hard to know if switching to aluminum-free deodorant is right for you. Here’s what to consider. 

5 Benefits of Switching to Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Man holding aluminum free deodorant outside on a beach

1. It’s Gentle on Skin

If you’ve ever had skin issues like rashes and inflammation, you might find relief by switching to an aluminum-free deodorant. A recent study showed that antiperspirants—but not deodorants—have a clear negative effect on the human microbiome, the naturally occurring microbes that keep our skin healthy. 

Switching to an aluminum-free deodorant can certainly be a good first step to prevent irritation. However, some aluminum-free deodorants contain astringents like alcohol that kill all the bacteria on your skin to prevent odor. Alcohol is very drying for skin, and over time can lead to skin issues like rashes and inflammation. That’s why our aluminum-free deodorants use botanicals to control odor-causing bacteria without alcohol or other drying chemicals. It also has corn starch to control sweat quickly without pore-clogging metals—plus aloe vera to soothe your skin. 

2. For Peace of Mind

More people are being mindful of the ingredients that go into their everyday products like deodorants. Although the American Cancer Association has said there’s no concrete scientific link between aluminum-based products and cancer, for many using an aluminum-free deodorant simply puts their mind at ease by avoiding that risk altogether.

For others, aluminum-free deodorants can be a gentler alternative than anti-perspirants. Of course it’s worth noting that no product is guaranteed to be compatible with all skin, even aluminum-free deodorants. Be sure to spot test products on a small patch of skin before fully applying.

Ultimately it’s a personal choice, and there’s no bad reason for wanting to try aluminum-free deodorant. 


3. No More Pit Stains 

Did you know it’s the aluminum in antiperspirant that causes dark or yellow stains on your shirts? When aluminum mixes with your sweat and rubs off onto your clothing, over time it leaves behind stains that are nearly impossible to get out. Aluminum-free deodorant by definition doesn’t contain aluminum, so it won't leave behind unsightly stains. 

But some aluminum-free deodorants will still leave behind white marks on your clothes. To avoid them, look for deodorants without ingredients that tend to cake under your arm like talc and baking soda. Our aluminum-free deodorants have no baking soda or talc and go on clear—with no sticky or tacky texture under your arms. They also dry clear to create an invisible line of defense against odor and excess sweat. 

4. You Can Still Control Sweat

Most deodorants don’t have aluminum and don’t claim to combat sweat. But there are a few clean ingredients that let you keep sweat in check without the use of metals. 

Man putting Oars + Alps Aluminum-Free Deodorant into backpack

Our aluminum-free deodorants use corn starch to absorb excess moisture without clumping. Our unscented deodorant has a unique formula that uses a different sweat-absorbing starch, arrowroot powder. They both provide powerful sweat control. Of course they aren’t clogging your sweat glands, so you may still sweat a little—but significantly less than deodorants that don't have sweat-controlling ingredients. Many people actually tend to sweat less over time after they switch to an aluminum-free deodorant.

5. Because Clean Ingredients Work

Odor and sweat are nothing that our clean ingredients can’t handle. From the cornstarch that absorbs sweat to the botanicals that help control odor-causing bacteria to the Aloe Vera that will soothe your skin, our ingredients are effective but still gentle on skin. 

If you’ve used antiperspirants with aluminum for years, try an aluminum-free deodorant for a few weeks. During this detox period, your body will purge all of the aluminum from your sweat glands. Be patient while your skin adjusts to the product and soon you’ll get the full benefits of using aluminum-free deodorant. 

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