Ok, hang on now. I know you’ve stuck with me through reading about a lot of random shit, and this seems like yet another. But, this is actually not about anything healthy for you as a person, as much as it is about my beloved Merino Wool shirts. You see, most non-natural deodorants tend to clog up the fabric on merino near the arm pits, and thus reduce performance.
So after a lot of reading and research, it seems that using a natural, non-bar, deodorant causes your merino to not only last longer, but perform better. And that’s a way better selling point if you ask me. But I also don’t want to stink, so in the name of science I’ve tried a few natural deodorants which perform well with Merino to see if they can actually — you know — keep the stink at bay.
A quick aside: I normally use whatever anti-perspirant and deodorant that Costco sells. As you might know, anti-perspirants stop you from sweating, and are generally not great for you. Deodorants just stop the smell of the sweat. So this is a big shift for me in that I am moving to only a deodorant, I’ve tried to account for that in how I evaluate these.
Crystal Mineral Salt Stick
Easily the biggest looking marketing bullshit out there. This thing is effectively a salt lick for your armpits. It boasts a one year supply, with no fragrance or bad shit in it. It’s a stick of Potassium Alum, whatever that is.
It’s simple to use: moisten and rub around.
It also doesn’t work. And I don’t mean in the kind of doesn’t work, or doesn’t last a day. I mean I started sweating 20 minutes after applying it and I might have been better off with nothing on me at all. On the plus side, it doesn’t harm the merino wool at all, but neither does wearing nothing, and that’s an infinity supply.
I will note, that it appears people have mixed results with this, that it certainly does work for some people. So this might be more having to do with body chemistry than anything else, but that’s also not how it is marketed.
It averages more than 4 stars on Amazon and I question all 137 reviews except for the one which states:
Doesn’t stick to your skin literally a rock.
But hell, buy a two pack for $10 if you want.
Bali Secrets Natural Deodorant
So one of the things you need to avoid when you are trying to keep stuff from getting on clothing is: sticks. That is, what you are used to. Bali is a roller of clear liquid. The “original essence” smells nice, trending slightly floral, but overall not to bad.
I wore this one for over one month. At first I thought it was working, and then I found myself reapplying it a few times per day. Simply put: it smells great, doesn’t harm my Merino, but it doesn’t last. And that’s a big issue, as it also seemed to cause my Merino shirts to retain a body odor much faster than they should have.
So, it’s like a binding agent for wool and stench. Not sure I would recommend it.
I’d, again, avoid this and luckily it’s no longer for sale.
Schmidts Bergamont and Lime
This is actually the first deodorant I tried, and we need to talk about it a bit because it’s different. You see it comes in a jar with a little plastic spatula to scoop it out. You then have to take this stuff and hold it between your fingers to soften it, and then with your fingers apply it to your arm pits. Sounds terrible, but you get used to it really quickly.
The amazing thing is, it works and it works well. I often went to bed, even after a day of walking around a city, with a hint of the smell still there. I never once, not once, felt like I stunk, or smelled badly. I don’t know what the fuck bergamont is, but if you combine it with lime it smells quite good. It’s not cheap, but it’s effective and it did no harm to my Merino wool shirts.
I thought I had a winner, and I wore this for months. And then my skin started to have a reaction to this, and I must be allergic to something in it. So I had to stop using it.
It’s so good, I am going to try the Schmidts Cedarwood and Juniper scent, in hopes that it was only the oils for the fragrance causing the irritation. So far, no irritation with the new scent, but it took months to appear with the last one. The Cedarwood scent smells like Cedar and overall is not my favorite, but mostly it’s fine.
You can find it here, I kind of love it.
What I Learned
Throughout all of this I quickly learned why “natural” deodorants get a bad wrap: most of them simply do not work. When you are comparing them to chemicals which are decidedly not good for you, they just cannot stand up to the test. However, I only had one goal: to not stink at the end of the day while finding something which is better for my wool shirts.
I found that in Schmidt’s — as weird as the jar application method is. Now it’s a matter of seeing if I can find one which doesn’t irritate my skin. And yes, I know you are skeptical as shit, but I would highly recommend you give Schmidt’s a try.
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