There are many natural, vegan, and cruelty-free deodorant and antiperspirants on the market. As a conscientious publication, we are always looking for and testing the best compassionate and cruelty-free alternatives to educate our readers about. Unfortunately, when it came to deodorants, these alternatives never worked well, until we tried vGirls|vGuys deodorizing and absorbent solid created by Melissa Schwartz and Donovan Jenkins.
What it took was for Melissa and Donovan to change the way we use deodorant, by changing its formula, consistency, and the way it’s applied. Like with many other great ideas, sometimes it takes a little imagination and thinking outside the box. Melissa Schwartz sat down with VIVA GLAM and answered all of our questions. Here’s what she had to say.
Q: Tell us a little about why you created this product.
A: We created this product, not only for distribution but for our own personal use as well. Since becoming vegan in 2006, no other traditionally, and almost exclusively, animal-tested product has been harder to replace in our daily regimen. Although there are literally almost no antiperspirant options, there are a number of really amazing animal-friendly companies that I have tried deodorants from, but unfortunately none have satisfied my needs. I would be sweaty and stinky all my life if it would save animals, but luckily I don’t think that will be necessary any longer.
Q:Why does there appear to be such a small number of cruelty-free antiperspirants if there are any at all?
A: While there are some vegan/cruelty-free deodorants already on the market to choose from, almost no antiperspirants are distributed by animal-friendly companies or umbrella companies.
As I have done more research I believe there are two reasons for this.
While antiperspirants are classified as a drug, deodorants are classified as a cosmetic. There are less regulations and therefore expenses involved for distributing a cosmetic, hence the smaller animal-friendly companies that we love and are loyal to tend to have less resources for producing an antiperspirant.
Another big reason, I am hypothesizing, is toxicity. I used to complain to other vegans “I don’t care about aluminum I just don’t want to sweat and I won’t willfully support a company that tests on animals!” But maybe the karmic perks of being vegan run deeper than becoming a healthy eater. There’s copious amounts of damning evidence against widely used antiperspirant ingredients, notably aluminum, parabens and some silicone based ingredients.
Q: Are the ingredients commonly used in traditional deodorants bad for you?
A: The above mentioned ingredients and others that are common in cosmetics are controversial. You can find supported arguments on both sides. Evidence suggests these ingredients are linked to tumors, cancer (specifically breast cancer), endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity (specifically related to Alzheimer’s although according to the Alzeimer’s Society, studies have not convincingly demonstrated causal relationship), organ toxicity, impaired renal function, digestive disorders, allergies and skin irritation.
I can’t tell you for sure if I feel confident they are bad for human health but I can tell you this: as a vegan I have learned to question .≤scientific’ findings much more than I ever have before. Often there is a financial conflict of interest for companies funding research on products they profit from. In light of this, we feel like it is better to be safe than sorry and are steering clear of ingredients that are known to be controversial for toxicity concerns.
Q: How do you classify your deodorizing and absorbent solid? How does it work?
A: Technically we won’t be able to call our product an antiperspirant, it won’t function as a drug, it won’t contain aluminum. In my research on myself however I am excited to tell you that it is as effective or almost as effective as a sweat inhibiting antiperspirant formula. It will not keep you from sweating but in my experience antiperspirants didn’t keep me from sweating completely either. And many health and wellness professionals will argue that sweating is natural and good for you. But what our product does do is it absorbs and suspends wetness away from the skin allowing it to dry more quickly. This keeps you feeling less slippery and cuts down on sweat stains on clothing. Additionally it inhibits bacterial growth, which is what is responsible for body odor. And it smells really good!
Q: How is it applied?
A: This isn’t your traditional deodorant solid. You don’t just apply with a stick which isn’t as convenient maybe but it is necessary for not compromising the effectiveness of our product. You add a small amount of water to a small amount of product (less than the size of a dime) and rub into underarm skin. Be careful not to use too much, it will crumble if you do and leave white marks on clothes. A little goes a long way. Another option is to apply to wet skin just after a shower.
Q: How is it packaged?
A: Because a little goes a long way you are getting a lot of product for your money. Therefore you buy this product less often and less shipping and packaging materials are wasted. The product comes in a recyclable and reusable tin. Please recycle! But even when tin finds its way into a landfill it is often recycled anyway because it is magnetic and sifted out for recycling post waste. That said, we might not stick with tin packaging because it has the potential to rust. We will need to see how it holds up before we decide. Your suggestions are welcome. Additionally we will offer refills to return customers that use even less packaging.
Q: Tell us about the ingredients.
A: We are making an effort to include as many organic, fair trade, sustainable and ethical ingredients as possible. We have already found a few companies that we really like working with because they have similar priorities. Please keep in mind that while we are committed to creating a cruelty-free, vegan, eco-conscious and non-toxic product, the actual ingredients, scent and consistency are subject to change.
Ingredients: (*: certified organic, +: food-grade)
Sodium Bicarbonate+; Corn Starch*+; Arrow Root Powder* Shea Butter; Coconut Oil*+; Cacao Butter*+; Rice Flour*+, Kaolin Clay; Apricot Oil*+; Safflower Oil*+; Sea Salt+; Vegan Glycerin*+; Vegan Emulsifying Wax; Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils
Q: Does it stain clothes?
A: Some of the fragrance oils we are experimenting with have a warm toned color; we do net yet know the potential for staining white clothing. Please be careful with light colored clothes and give us feedback on your findings.
Like their Facebook!