A Brief History of Deodorant

In many ancient societies, body odor was not considered offensive. Others, like the Romans, were constantly bathing and saturating themselves and their clothing with perfume. Some would carry sachets filled with aromatic herbs to help combat odor. 

Greek poet Homer said that good hosts should offer their guests baths with aromatic oils. Maybe we could start a new trend!!

"Mum," the first trademarked deodorant, was created in Philadelphia by an unknown inventor, in 1888. It was a waxy paste cream applied to the underarms made with zinc oxide.

Magazines ads, like the one on the right (Smithsonianmag.com), from the 1930's, cautioned women that if they did not use Mum deodorant, they would become social outcasts. The ad contains the following words,

“…men sidestep her. The other girls ignore her. For the best reason in the world! It is unpardonable, these days, for any girl to carry the odor of underarm perspiration on her person and her clothing…Don’t risk letting this fault shut you out of popularity.”


The first Antiperspirant, EverDry, was introduced in 1903. EverDry, an aluminum chloride solution applied with a cotton swab, was so acidic that it actually ate through clothing. In the 1950’s the manufacturers of MUM invented Ban, a deodorant with a roll-on applicator inspired by the ball-point pen.

In the early 1950's two physicians presented evidence for the role that bacteria played in underarm odor. At that time many manufacturers began using hexachlorophene, a powerful antimicrobial agent, in their deodorants and body soaps. In 1972, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of products containing more than 1% of hexachlorophene for the general public after reports of deaths in the United States and France from brain damage caused by hexachlorophene.

Ban TriclosanIn the 1960's many deodorant companies began using Triclosan to kill odor-causing bacteria. We now believe that wide use of Triclosan may also be promoting drug resistant bacteria. Triclosan, extremely toxic to aquatic wildlife, has been detected in many U.S. waterways.

Also in the 1960's, the Gillette Company introduced Right Guard, the first aerosol antiperspirant. In the late 1970's countries began banning aerosol sprays containing chlorofluorocarbons as the propelling agent.  


Why Use A Natural Deodorant?

The best answer is--Why Not?

If you are a regular reader of “Ida’s Soapbox,” there is one comment that keeps popping up.
It's What We Don't Know That Worries Me!” and it is worth repeating.

In June 2010 CNN aired “Toxic America,” a special investigative report detailing the pervasiveness of hazardous chemicals we are exposed to in our everyday lives.


Dr.Phil Landrigan, a pediatrician and director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine stated that, "For 80 percent of the common chemicals in everyday use in this country we know almost nothing about whether or not they can damage the brains of children, the immune system, the reproductive system, and the other developing organs. It's really a terrible mess we've gotten ourselves into."


Making sense of the myriad of ingredients in skin care products is challenging and confusing. One study reports that an ingredient is safe and another reports the complete opposite. There are many ingredients that are "considered safe in the small doses used in skin care products."

But when I think of the various products I use on my skin each and every day, I can’t help but wonder how much is "a safe small dose" after 62 years. The fact is, that although some chemicals, like Phthalates (found in artificial fragrances) have known dangers, no one really knows how these synthetic chemicals will affect us over time, and that is what worries me. 

The fact is, that although some chemicals, like Phthalates (found in artificial fragrances) have known dangers, no one really knows how these synthetic chemicals will affect us over time, and that is what worries me. 


We want to change the way you think about underarm deodorant!

Using deodorant for most people today is as important to their daily routine as brushing their teeth. When I was a teenager I was very sensitive to commercial deodorants and antiperspirants. They made me itch and gave me rashes. I finally decided that my body was trying to tell me something so I stopped using them. There were no natural deodorants in those days so I used rubbing alcohol and baby powder. While I now shudder at the thought, it was somewhat effective.

Later, I was able to tolerate some commercial deodorants, but after recovering from breast cancer I decided to give up the chemical laden deodorants. Yes, I will admit that all of the misguided scare tactics worked. I tried many of the natural deodorants on that were available, but they were not only ineffective, many still contained questionable ingredients. Since deodorants are formulated to be used daily and absorb into the skin, I was determined to formulate a safe, effective natural organic deodorant.

If you have read the previous blogs on Antiperspirant and Breast Cancer you know that sweat itself is almost odorless, it is the bacteria feeding on the sweat that causes the odor.

Our organic deodorants use ingredients with natural antibacterial properties to help combat odor and organic ingredients like cornstarch and arrowroot powder or natural clay to help absorb perspiration.

Read "The Science of Sweat"


I am not going to get into all of the “evils” of the ingredients in commercial deodorants or antiperspirants--because we really don't know the long-term effects! All I ask is that you read the ingredient comparison below and ask yourself one question, “What do you want to put on your skin?”


Ingredients in a popular commercial antiperspirant:

Active Ingredient: Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY (18.5%).
Other Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, C18-36 acid triglyceride, microcrystalline wax, silica, glycerin, fragrance (parfum), dimethicone cross polymer, sunflower oil, vegetable oil (olus), glyceryl oleate, propylene glycol, BHT, t-butyl hydroquinone, citric acid.


Ingredients in a Chagrin Valley Organic Stick Deodorant:


Organic Virgin Coconut Oil; Organic Virgin Shea Butter; Organic Cornstarch; Organic Beeswax; Organic Jojoba Oil; Baking Soda; Organic Essential Oils: Lemongrass and Tea Tree; Organic Rosemary Oil Extract 


We want to change the way you think about underarm deodorant!

Please check out our safe, effective natural organic deodorants.




What's in YOUR deodorant?