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What is Sodium Bicarbonate?

Sodium Bicarbonate, Baking Soda, Bicarbonate of Soda, Baking Powder.

This clever natural ingredient is part of the reasons our deodorants work so well, and it’s not only present in natural deodorant. It’s also a common ingredient in toothpaste (remember the old toothpaste advert “that must be the baking soda!”?) and numerous other cosmetic applications.

We’ll refer to it as Sodium Bicarbonate from here, since that is the name legally required when labelling ingredients. Although it is sometimes referred to as Baking Soda, this is more of an ‘Americanism’.

Baking Powder is an entirely different thing and was designed for use in baking applications (as the name suggests!), and is comprised of sodium bicarbonate and one or more acid salt (such as sodium aluminium sulphate).

Why use Sodium Bicarbonate?

Sodium Bicarbonate is a powerful antibacterial and helps to prevent infections. By eradicating underarm bacteria, it prevents body odour from forming.

What is it and where does it come from?

Sodium Bicarbonate is a salt. It is a white crystalline solid, but often appears as a powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs.

Sodium Bicarbonate comes out of the ground in the form of minerals Nahcolite and Trona. These two minerals are then refined and turned into sodium bicarbonate, among other things. Most of it comes from the United States, which contains the world’s largest Trona deposit.

There is no risk of depletion anytime soon:

“According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Wyoming alone contains 56 million tons of pure layered trona, plus 47 billion more tons mixed with other minerals. We’re only tapping trona at the rate of 15 million tons per year; the Wyoming Mining Association estimates that we have enough on hand to last more than 2,000 years.”

Among the enquiries we receive about our Sodium Bicarbonate, are those asking if aluminium is used during the extraction process. Despite in-depth research into this topic, including conversations with our raw material supplier, I have found nothing to suggest that aluminium is used in the extraction process of any Sodium Bicarbonate. Perhaps this misconception came from the fact that almost all raw materials extracted from the Earths crust contain trace amounts of the minerals found within the ground.

The nine most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust are: oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, and titanium. You would be exposed to these elements during any contact with soil (whilst gardening for example), and they are not harmful to health at these concentrations.

We use medical grade Sodium Bicarbonate in our deodorants. It contains less than 0.5mg per kg Aluminium. The amount of aluminium in our Sodium Bicarbonate is deemed suitable for the haemodialysis (commonly called ‘kidney dialysis’) market and is of no toxicity to humans.

How Much Sodium Bicarbonate Can I Use?

Almost everyone can use Sodium Bicarbonate- but finding a deodorant with the right concentration for you is the key to happy underarms. If you have ever found a red rash has developed after using a cream deodorant, Sodium Bicarbonate could be the culprit. This is not usually caused an ‘allergy’ to Sodium Bicarbonate but is caused by your skins pH being affected by it. You may find that one cream deodorant causes redness, while another (still containing sodium bicarbonate but at a lower percentage) is perfectly fine.

Our skin generally maintains a slightly acidic pH of 5.5. Pure Sodium Bicarbonate sits at a more alkaline pH of 9 on the scale. However, it’s the pH of the whole deodorant that matters- unless you’re putting undiluted Sodium Bicarbonate on your underarms (not advised!). The combination of ingredients in the formula will create its pH, and it will probably be closer to ‘neutral’ on the scale. Sweat tends to be slightly acidic which neutralises the alkaline Sodium Bicarbonate and restores balance. Skin acids are always present, but if your body is trying to balance the alkaline Sodium Bicarbonate it may release a higher concentration of acid and a red rash may be the result.

There’s no clear reason why irritation occurs in some people and not others. Some can use higher concentrations of Sodium Bicarbonate without any problems, others can use it sparingly and occasionally, some not at all. It doesn’t have any correlation with usually ‘sensitive skin’ either. People who consider themselves to have sensitive skin often use it without a hitch. Others who have never had skin sensitivity find irritation appears after just one application. Some people find they wake up with a bit of redness after they have used a natural deodorant for years.

Our bodies are ever-changing. Things such as hormones, stress, alcohol, diet and lifestyle affect our chemistry. It is understandable that the delicate pH balance may shift as well.

If you experienced an unpleasant reaction to Sodium Bicarbonate, you may be wondering whether you will be able to try to use it again.

The good news is that although uncomfortable, the irritation will subside quickly so long as you discontinue use. This is very important, since applying any products to irritated skin can lead to further problems.

Our tips:

  • Wash thoroughly & gently before use. Ensure that you remove all product applied from the previous day and rinse well.
  • Apply as directed, after a bath or shower. This is when your skin will be clean and warm, which allows the product to glide more smoothly across skins surface.
  • Apply sparingly. Experiment with how little you can apply to retain effectiveness against odour.
  • Have patience. Many people find a happy balance with natural deodorant through a little perseverance. Sometimes the only solution is to let a time pass and try again.
  • Buy a sample. This key point so often gets ignored and yet it is the one key way to ensure your new deodorant suits you. Just because you have used one of our formulas, it doesn’t mean the others will suit your skin.

Active Deodorant Balm: Contains our highest concentration of Sodium Bicarbonate. It is best kept for the most demanding days and is a pretty powerful formula. We still have hundreds of people using this on a daily basis, but as we mentioned, sampling is KEY!

Clean Deodorant Balm: Contains a low level of Sodium Bicarbonate and is ideal for daily use. We combined Sodium Bicarbonate with Magnesium Oxide for our more gentle but wonderfully effective daily deodorant. Our constant Best Seller for good reason!

Gentle Deodorant Cream as the name suggests, this deodorant is for anyone who has sensitive skin, or is avoiding Sodium Bicarbonate due to previous irritation. This innovative formula uses the combined power of Magnesium Oxide and Bentonite Clay to offer all day freshness.

Please note that underarm rashes are not always down to Sodium Bicarbonate. It’s important to see your Dr to ensure that it is not down to an allergy, ingrown hairs, or sweat rash. Although they may coincide with using a new deodorant, these conditions tend to appear for other reasons.

Nothing in this post should be used in place of medical advice.

Stick Deodorants

Let’s play a game.

Name five body products that you apply with a stick/roll on in your daily routine…

Would it be fair to say that you could only come up with one- or two at most?

Until recently you may have believed that the ‘normal way’ to apply deodorant was via a stick or spray, and yet we apply plenty of other products with our fingertips on a daily basis.

Foundation, hair serum, face oil and countless other body products would feel odd to apply via a stick. The ingredients wouldn’t sink in and the application would be haphazard. This is also true for deodorant!

Despite the popularity of our cream deodorant, we still sometimes receive questions asking when we’ll be making stick. So I decided to clear up some misconceptions and explain why I’m SO in love with our cream deodorants.

  • Our deodorants are not in a pot because we haven’t made sticks yet. Sticks are easy to make, but they’re in pots because we think cream deodorant is the very best option.
  • We don’t think a stick is as hygienic as a cream. You can’t wash a stick- you can wash your hands.
  • Sticks almost always come in plastic tubes and the cardboard ones we’ve seen didn’t meet our expectations as they got messy quickly. We’re very happy with our beautiful glass pots and wouldn’t consider making something in a plastic tube for environmental reasons.

Your underarms are home to the highest number of sweat and lymph glands on your body and they contain hundreds of hair follicles. With such a lot going on under there, it makes perfect sense that we should get acquainted with this important part of our own body. Cream deodorant allows you to get know your underarms and ensure the product is properly applied.

An unexpected benefit to our cream deodorants came to light shortly after launching The Natural Deodorant Co, when we started to hear from customers who had discovered our product following breast cancer treatment.

“Your deodorant reminds me to check myself everyday!”

We were so happy to have created a product that could be used in this way, and earlier this year we approached CoppaFeel, the UK charity dedicated to encouraging women to check their breasts and raise awareness of how this practice saves lives through early detection. We now proudly display their logo on our homepage and encourage everyone to learn about the important work that CoppaFeel do.

So when people ask us if we’d consider putting our cream deodorants into a stick, the answer is always the same- it’s not our thing. But if you’re willing to try our cream deodorants we’re confident you’ll be a convert in no time.

Laurie xx

How Does Our Natural Deodorant Work?

Every day your body releases sweat from glands under the surface of the skin. At first sweat is odourless and it is made up of proteins, water, potassium & sodium. When sweat interacts with certain bacteria living on the underarm skin it causes ‘body odour’. Depending on why we’re sweating, a different combination of sweat components are released. For example, ‘stressed sweat’ can release different chemicals to ‘heat sweat’.

Deodorant vs Antiperspirant

Antiperspirants are aluminium based and use a gel-like substance to block your sweat ducts, preventing or at least reducing the amount of sweat your body produces. Over time our bodies can become accustomed to whichever antiperspirant we are using, so people are told to change them frequently to avoid becoming to immune to their sweat blocking properties.

Interestingly, research published in the archives of Dermatological Research show that regular use of antiperspirants can actually lead to more body odour.

Deodorants work by eradicating the odour causing bacteria. By killing the bacteria, your sweat has nothing to interact with and no odour is produced. Deodorant does not block pores to inhibit perspiration. Sweat is your body’s in-built air conditioning unit, and is essential for good health. Your 4 million sweat glands enable you to maintain a safe body temperature and sends sodium (salt) back into the blood to maintain salinity in the body.

In most deodorants (natural and otherwise) a key ingredient is alcohol. Alcohol is certainly an effective antibacterial (which is why alcohol gel is on every hospital ward), but applying it to your delicate underarm skin on a daily basis is not advisable. Alcohol kills both good and bad bacteria and leaves skin prone to dryness and irritation. Healthy skin is home to a diverse array of flora and we should not attempt to wipe them out entirely.

How to Deodorise Naturally

So until quite recently the two most commonly used ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants were alcohol or aluminium. No wonder so many people struggled to find a deodorant that didn’t upset the delicate balance of their underarm skin!

A far better (and more effective) approach is to use gentle antibacterial ingredients in combination. This ensures that the natural skin flora remains in balance and your underarms stay healthy and fresh. It’s ideal for a natural deodorant to contain oils or butters, along with some powders to enable the deodorant to be absorbed gently into the skin with our being abrasive. Dry deodorant sticks and powders can leave skin irritated and sore.

In our Clean Deodorant Balm we use the following antibacterial ingredients:

Magnesium Oxide
Sodium Bicarbonate
Essential Oils
Coconut Oil

Each of these ingredients has been proven to effectively kill odour causing bacteria on the skin. Coconut oil also has the added benefit of being able to reach the dermis (deep layers of the skin) allowing the antibacterial action to begin under the surface.

Our deodorants are designed to be applied by hand because this is the most effective way to deliver long lasting deodorising results. Imagine applying a stick of face cream- it wouldn’t be able to do its job very well sitting on the surface of you skin, would it? By using your fingertips the moisturising ingredients are massaged into the skin, keeping it healthy and soft, and the active ingredients such as arrowroot, magnesium oxide and sodium bicarbonate provide effective antibacterial coverage on the surface. Used correctly our deodorant balms and creams absorb instantly into the skin and leave a light powder finish without ever feeling dry or sticky.

Why Doesn’t Natural Deodorant Work For Me?

You haven’t found the right one yet! We offer sample sizes in all of our products because we know how hard it is to find a natural deodorant that works and we’re confident that once you’ve tried them, you won’t want to go back to your old deodorant or antiperspirant but remember to use your samples for 5-6 days to really get familiar with your new product. Our sample sizes last approximately 6 days.

Side note: It can occasionally take a few weeks for natural deodorant to ‘work’.Some people experience a settling period while their body adjusts to being able to perspire naturally. They may sweat slightly more in the first week or so, but this subsides quickly. We find this only happens in about 10% of people. If you have been using antiperspirant it may also be that the aluminium gel is leaving your pores since this is not washed off in the shower like you would expect.

The way sweat smells can also differ from day to day based on diet, skin pH, alcohol consumption, stress and medication. This can make people people worry that their favourite deodorant has stopped working for some reason but this can usually be attributed to one of the factors mentioned above and will return to normal.

The Science Behind Antiperspirants

We’re back! Yesterdays ‘Six Quick Underarm Facts’ went down well so we’re here with the second instalment.

We’re not here to bash antiperspirants. We know that changing to natural deodorant can feel like a big leap. If you’ve tried to switch from your usual antiperspirant to a natural deodorant and found yourself disheartened, don’t worry! It can take time for the body to adjust.

If you have queries about the best natural deodorant for you, send an email to hello@naturaldeoco.com and we will help you find your perfect match!

So, what is antiperspirant and how is it different from deodorant?

  • Traditional antiperspirants work by blocking sweat. They do this by entering through the pores and swelling up in the gland to form a barrier. If the sweat can’t escape, the bacteria can’t get to it.
  • In order to create this pore blocking effect antiperspirants use aluminium compounds such as aluminium chloride, aluminium chlorohydrate and aluminium zirconium chlorohydrate complexes.
  • They may be listed in ingredients as “natural mineral salts”, “natural rock salts”, or “potassium alum” (potassium aluminium sulphate).
  • Deodorants work by killing bacteria living on the skin. They allow you to perspire naturally, but killing the bacteria means the sweat has nothing to interact with.
  • Most deodorants use alcohol to kill bacteria (ours doesn’t), but this process eradicates the good bacteria along with the bad and can lead to imbalances in skin pH. Alcohol can also cause irritation to delicate underarm skin post shave.
  • You cannot wash antiperspirant off. It takes time (sometimes up to two weeks) for the antiperspirant gel that has formed over the sweat glands to be expelled.

When we launched The Natural Deodorant Co. in 2015 we were tired of regular antiperspirant and deodorant. I didn’t like what was in them, and they didn’t even seem to be very effective. This could be because the human body often becomes immune to antiperspirants over time.
Along with the alcohol and aluminium, most antiperspirants and deodorants contained parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrance and propylene glycol and I didn’t want to apply those ingredients to my skin.

With this knowledge we knew that we wanted to create a natural deodorant that allowed good bacteria to remain intact whilst eradicating the bad bacteria and absorb wetness without using pore blocking ingredients.

Tomorrow I will be posting an ingredient glossary so that you can see exactly how we created our amazing deodorants by switching the ingredients found in traditional deodorants for 100% natural, safe alternatives. We will then make the ingredient glossary a permanent feature of the site, so that you can easily refer to it.

You can sample sizes of all of our deodorants in the drop down menu on each product page.

Order here.

Laurie xx

Six Quick Underarm Facts from The Natural Deodorant Co. Experts

Happy Monday!

I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful start to your week.

We receive questions every day about underarm skin, cream deodorants & conventional antiperspirants.

We decided it was high time that we got this information down on ‘virtual’ paper to help you guys make informed decisions.

Keep your eyes peeled over the next three days as we continue our series of quick-read topics and discover the #naturaldeoco difference.

Sweating is an essential bodily function- even though most people are very keen to avoid talking about it. It allows us to cool down when we’re hot, and some scientists believe it was one of the ways in which we attracted a mate (before Tinder).

But wanting a fresh smelling bod is not a new thing. The ancient Egyptians invented the art of scented bathing and also used to spray themselves with perfume so it’s safe to say beautifully fresh underarms are a pretty universal human need!

In the small hollow of your armpit, amazing things are happening.

  • This warm little nook is home to a large number of lymph nodes and sweat glands.
  • Your underarm (axillary) lymph nodes are separated into two clusters. They are an important part of your body’s immune system because they produce a variety of immune cells called lymphocytes that fight infection.
  • The armpit is also home to the highest density of sweat glands – around 500,000!
  • These sweat glands are primarily designed to keep you cool. The idea that we sweat to expel toxins from the body is slightly misguided. A tiny amount of toxins may leave the body via sweat- but detoxifying is the job of the liver and kidneys. So you can’t really ‘sweat out’ last nights bottle of Rioja.
  • Millions of bacteria live on the skin under our arms (the scientific term for this is a ‘microbiome’). In fact, there are approximately 1 million bacteria per square inch of underarm skin. It must be like the Central line on a Friday evening.
  • Sweat in itself is odourless (who knew?!) but when bacteria interacts with sweat, it causes body odour.
  • As you may have noticed we love underarms and we want them to be HAPPY. That’s why we developed our range of skin-loving deodorants. Find them here.

Remember to check out tomorrow’s post with the science behind antiperspirants.

Stay fresh out there!

Laurie xx

If it matters to your wellbeing, it’s in Lifebox

We are incredibly happy to announce we have been chosen to appear in the amazing Marie Claire made by Lifebox collaboration this month!

We are super excited, as you can imagine, and are very much looking forward to seeing your reaction to this lovely little box, which is available right now until stocks last here!

If you haven’t heard of Lifebox, where have you been?! Now is the time to get onboard with this amazing health and wellness subscription service, who we will be working with over the coming weeks!

We are proud to have been handpicked by the Lifebox crew, who work only with brands and producers who share their ethos, and produce the highest quality products, the most nourishing and true health foods out there.

The Lifebox rules are simple enough;




Basically, If it matters to your wellbeing, it’s in Lifebox.

So who is Lifebox for? Literally everyone! Lifebox aims to take everyone, from the health conscious to the beginner, on a journey of discovery, providing boxes of healthy snacks, drinks, ingredients, recipes, and inspiration delivered directly to your home or office desk every month! Perfect!

The Marie Claire made by Lifebox will contain the same Lifebox core values, only slightly enhanced, with each edition having a dedicated theme, with this month being Winter Skin.

The Marie Claire made by Lifebox is just £36 (£80rrp) and features all sorts of lovely goodies to inspire women all over the UK to kick start or enhance a healthier lifestyle.

We will be working with Lifebox in this months Marie Claire range to help champion the fact that healthy food doesn’t have to be bland…it can be ridiculously tasty and ultimately enjoyable!

With Christmas creeping up on us all the Marie Claire made by Lifebox is also a perfect gift idea, Marie Claire made by Lifebox is available to order here with limited stock available be sure to snap yours up now to avoid disappointment!


Website: http://lifeboxfood.com/

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Laurie Loves: Silky Hair

I’ve been meaning to write down my essential products for ages. I personally LOVE reading product reviews (hello 3am beauty blog scrolling) and it gives me a chance to shine a light on brands who are doing great things in the beauty world.

I’m kicking off with one of my longest standing staples: the John Masters Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner. This product has been a total game changer and leaves my hair magically smooth and soft after using. It has a light scent and has a thick gel cream texture. I tend to use this once a week after shampooing, and leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing. I like to ensure every strand is conditioned with this using a fine tooth comb. I have been using this product for around 2 years now and I don’t think I will ever stop because the difference in my hair is so noticeable with this product.

For extra silky-softness I highly recommend using an oil treatment overnight the night before you wash your hair. My favourites are the Tabitha James Kraan Scented Organic Hair Oil and Lani Tropical Hair Treatment. I apply the hair oil from roots to tips as my hair tends towards dryness and tie it in a plait before double cleansing my hair (that’s two shampoos) in the morning and slathering on the highly addictive John Masters Intensive Conditioner.

You can find the John Masters Lavender & Avocado Conditioner here & here.


Laurie Loves: Isla Apothecary

A while ago I met the very lovely Kate, owner of Isla Apothecary. My stand was next to hers at Clean Cult back in July and I instantly fell in love with her beautiful copper packaging!

Fast forward a few months, and I received a package in the post containing both the Isla Apothecary Blood Orange & Vanilla Moisturising Sugar Scrub, and the Beautifying Face Mask. As soon as I used the sugar scrub I knew I had to tell everyone about it.

I have never smelled a scrub like this one before. It is heavenly. Sweet and fruity and actually almost addictive, but not sickly sweet at all. I scoop a handful out of the tub and scrub in slow circular movements before rinsing away and it leaves my skin silky soft. I love using it before I shave my legs too because it seems to be preventing ingrown hairs and allowing for a closer shave.

Another way I have been using this scrub (and I’m not 100% sure if this is suggested, but it is amazing all the same!) is on my lips before I apply my make-up. Oh my. I take a tiny pea-sized amount and very gently buff the lips before wiping away with a soft muslin cloth or a damp cotton pad. Once the scrub is wiped away I slather on some of my favourite lip balm (currently coveting the Skin & Tonic one) and this just creates the perfect base for lipstick. Like…one of those super flawless instagram pouts!

So, suffice to say I have a new beauty essential.

While I was falling in love with her product line, I decided to ask her a few questions to find out more about the brains (and beauty) behind the brand…

So, how did Isla Apothecary begin?

It began in part out of frustration with some of my sensitivities, which led me to experiment with raw, natural ingredients, and partly down to my love of aromatherapy. My curiosity for alternative wellness and healing started me off on the road to DIY-ing with pure and simple ingredients, and therapies, which I found I responded really well to. When I started to give samples out, there was a really positive response, and that came at a time when I was ready to slowly but surely turn it all in to a different being.

Do you have a favourite product in the range?

I definitely have a soft spot for the Coffee + Cinnamon Body Polish, though I have just finalised a new product that I am really so excited about, and I would say is my new favourite. I starting working on it around two years ago and completed it only recently. Inspired by my Greek roots, and nostalgia for summer nights in Greece and Cyprus, I love using it and can’t wait to share it in the coming months.

What does an average day look like for the owner of a growing green beauty business?

No two days are the same, fortunately! It’s a mixed bag everyday and ranges from managing production and inventory, labeling jars, new product development, social media planning, emails, PR, and booking couriers! Rarely do I stick to one task all day long but I love the variety of it; it keeps me on my toes.

Ok, now for some fun ones.

Where’s the last place you went on holiday?

I did an ambitious road trip around Lake Como, Lake Lugano and Lake Bled in the summer and it was beautiful- I saw a totally different part of Europe that I would love to explore more of!

What’s your all time favourite movie?

Anything with Richard Gere! It’s a choice between Primal Fear and An Officer and A Gentleman.

What’s for dinner tonight?

If I can help it, it’s most likely to be a paneer-based dish!

Thank you Kate, it was lovely to get a little peek into the ‘behind the scenes’ at Isla Apothecary.

You can find the whole line at www.islaapothecary.com


Why You Should Switch To Natural Deodorant

You probably already guessed that we believe in the importance of natural deodorant, but why should you make the switch?

  1. The ingredients in ‘regular’ deodorant stay in your pores for longer than you realise. Even after you shower, the aluminium salts can continue to block the ducts for up to 24 hours.
  2. You need to sweat. Sweat is your body’s way of releasing toxins. Our formulations enable your body to do what it needs to do (no pore-blocking ingredients), whilst keeping you totally fresh at the same time. Win/win!
  3. You’ll be more popular. Well, obviously, if you smell gorgeous all the time, people are going to be falling over themselves to hang out with you. Definitely.
  4. Pesky Hormone Disruptors. Mainstream antiperspirants and deodorants tend to contain chemicals that can lead to hormone disruption. These include: triclosan, parabens, propylene glycol and formaldehyde. Let’s be real, hormones can be a nuisance at the best of times, without your deodorant making things more complicated.
  5. Beautiful under arms. Our deodorants will not only keep you as fresh-as-a-daisy all day, but the nourishing ingredients are great for your skin. So, if the mood takes you, you really can ‘throw your hands in the air’. *Disclaimer: Please exercise caution when ‘throwing hands in the air’ to avoid injury to others.
  6. It’s SO easy. No more carrying around your old semi-effective deodorant and secretly reapplying in the work toilets! It’s all-natural, chock-full of skin loving ingredients and it works. All day. It’s really a no-brainer.
  7. Buying from The Natural Deodorant Co. is like a big high-five for the environment. We use organic coconut oil & olive oil & fairly traded shea butter. Also, our pots are glass (recyclable, obvs) and our packing peanuts are made from non-GMO corn and are biodegradable.

We know what you’re thinking…

“Hey, have I seen you somewhere before?”

… Well, actually yes you probably have *sly smile*.

You may have seen us recently in YOU magazine, British Vogue, Veggie Magazine, iNews (The Independent), Hello Magazine on-line, Women’s Fitness, or in wellness guru Calgary Avansino’s Newsletter. Not that we want to toot our own horn…

Check out our ‘Press’ page to see who’s talking about us.