Interested in other sustainable and ethical products? Read our list of top products here.
Facebook advertising (aka modern day sorcery) has a disconcerting way of emptying my bank account; something that began with a targeted attack on my menstruation cycle.
Over the course of two months, regular adverts for something called Wuka Period Pants and the DAME applicator began to appear on my feed. They looked comfortable and fun, and kept popping up in-between posts from my Mum and UniLad.
Eventually, I relented and bought a pair. Apparently, this purchase triggered some sort of algorithmic epiphany and very quickly, the period pants were replaced with alluring promotions for ‘cervix hugging’ menstrual cups and bamboo toothbrushes.
The Silicone Valley tech giant had me sussed. I was a menstruating, sustainability advocate, who – at 32 – wasn’t going to say no to anything that might make me seem young and relevant.
After trialling my many products (the period pants going down a storm with my uterus), Facebook flashed me a new treat: a natural deodorant.
Confident that any woman willing to purchase something called ‘period panties’ would undoubtedly be unable to resist the lure of au naturel underarms, the adverts for Nuud deodorant came thick and fast.
I managed to ignore the advert for around a week, before deciding to have a quick browse of the reviews. And what reviews they were. This deodorant was making waves in the underarm world, with reviewers enthusiastically claiming it to be some sort of underarm elixir – a body odour saviour.
Coupled with testimonies confirming the sustainability of the product, complete with its bioplastic sugar cane tube and vegan friendly formula, my wannabe activist was stirred.
I could resist no longer – sitting back in satisfaction as my order was confirmed.
Before I start my review of Nuud deodorant, I wanted to quickly touch upon a few questions you might have before making the swap from a chemical-based deodorant to an all natural formula.
The rumours surrounding the (apparent) dangers of deodorants and antiperspirants have been doing the rounds for years. In particular, these claims concern one specific ingredient: aluminium salts.
Whilst deodorants help to protect against ‘odour’ (yet still letting your sweat glands run riot), antiperspirants help to ‘control sweat’ or ‘wetness’ – i.e. stifling your sweat glands. By using ingredients such as aluminium salts, antiperspirants are able to effectively ‘block’ your sweat glands – preventing sweat and with it, any unpleasant odour.
It’s this ‘blocking’ of the sweat glands that has raised concerns.
Firstly: is it healthy to block glands that, very importantly, help to keep you cool and regulate your body temperature? Did Mother Nature not install our very own air-conditioning unit for a reason?
A regular user of antiperspirants, I had begun to wonder the same – although perhaps for different reasons. A few years ago, I went super strength with my antiperspirant and opted to use a ’48 hour sweat protection’ formula. The result was eerily dry armpits. Sahara-like, in fact. I could head to the gym, run a 5k – perhaps even walk the surface of the sun – and not one iota of sweat would leak from my eccrine glands.
On the face of it, this was fantastic. Dry armpits whatever the weather, whatever the situation.
However, in clogging up my underarm sprinkler system, it seemed that my body reacted by simply diverting the torrents of sweat elsewhere – anywhere, in fact.
As a result, I regularly found that whilst my underarms were continuing to operate in sub-zero conditions, the rest of me was a damp, sweaty mess. The back of my neck, the creases of my elbow – other areas we won’t dwell upon – were frantically pumping out water and salt in order to compensate for my blockaded armpits.
It was like blocking a dam – only to find that I’d flooded the village down the road.
Of course, this is far from ideal and definitely made me rethink whether aggressively blocking my armpits with super strength antiperspirant was healthy. Surely I should just let my armpits do their job?
Secondly, and here comes the controversy, it’s suggested that one of the main ingredients used in antiperspirants – aluminium salts – is harmful to the human body. These claims have gone as far as to suggest that they can actually cause cancer (specifically breast cancer) and Alzheimer’s.
Now, I spent a long time researching these claims, particularly as I noticed that Nuud deodorant advertise that their product is aluminium and chemical free. Why advertise this, if it’s not considered a negative ingredient?
The result of my research, however, proved annoyingly inconclusive. Whilst some early studies did suggest a link between aluminium salts and the two diseases, most recently, studies have concluded that there is no evidence to suggest that aluminium (in the doses that it’s found in antiperspirants) does any harm at all.
In fact, and given that our pores are sealed, it’s unlikely that the aluminium is even able to access our blood or lymphatic systems.
Thirdly, a common narrative around antiperspirants seems to be that in blocking your sweat glands, you are preventing your body from detoxifying and getting rid of the bad.
As a result, antiperspirants are trapping inside you an ever-growing mountain of nasty toxins that might – or could – cause an imbalance or illness.
Again, after a little digging around, the conclusion on this was, well – again inconclusive. Whilst many medical professionals stressed that our sweat glands do not offer a ‘detoxifying’ function (like the liver or kidneys, perhaps) and release only salt and water, others were adamant that sweating was an important rite of passage when it came to our bodily nasties.
Again, the jury appears to be out on this one. However, having experienced the odd instance in which the lymph nodes under my armpits have suddenly become painful and swollen (often after using a new antiperspirant), it makes sense that I might have been trapping an accumulation of – well, something.
As a result of my (Dr. Google) research, I ultimately decided to err on the side of caution when it came to my underarms and ditch the aluminium deodorants altogether.
Indeed, I was ready to let my sweat rivers flow and give Nuud deodorant a run for its money.
Nuud deodorant is sold (mainly) online and is shipped from the Netherlands. The company ships worldwide and I’d estimate that it took around seven days to arrive.
Shipping is entirely free, which is perhaps a blessing given that this little tube of deodorant doesn’t come cheap. Costing £12.95 for a ‘starter kit’, it’s six times the price of my usual roll-on deodorant. However, as it claims to last seven weeks, the cost eventually balances itself out.
Nuud deodorant is, according to the brand’s own words, starting a ‘deo revolution’.
Fed up with deodorants filled with unknown chemicals, parabens and salts (or ‘crap’ as Nuud like to call it), the brand is also making a stand against the (petro) chemical industry: one that throws out billions of empty canisters a year and is the cause of extensive pollution.
Instead, this deodorant is 100% natural and is housed within a bioplastic sugar cane tube and a biodegradable cardboard box. It is also vegan friendly and has never been tested on animals.
So far, so good.
Nuud deodorant is (as perhaps is obvious) not an antiperspirant. So, if you’re using it and find yourself a little warm, you will sweat. As someone who has had ice queens for armpits for the last few years, this was something I had almost forgotten might happen.
However, despite the fact that you’ll find your armpits flood like a dry valley when the monsoon hits, Nuud deodorant claims (something supported by its many reviews), to effectively and swiftly neutralise the bacteria that would later cause this sweat to smell.
And its special ingredient? Micro silver.
Body odour’s kryptonite, Nuud claim that by applying a small amount of micro silver to your under arms, you can effectively keep any nasty bacterial smells at bay for up to 3-7 days.
That’s right, 3-7 days.
The other ingredients that make up Nuud’s magic formula are also entirely natural, including: coconut oil, castor oil, zinc oxide, almond oil, mineral clay, vegetable emulsifier, castor oil extract, vegetable mix-enhancer (known as propylene carbonate) and carnauba wax.
Their website lists each ingredient individually and provides a little explanation of each – something I really liked.
A super concentrated formula, the deodorant comes in the form of a cream or paste – something that initially caught me by surprise. I’d liken it to a particularly thick, waterproof sun lotion. Taking a very small amount (they suggest a pea-sized amount) you then rub the formula into your skin et voilà – you are, apparently, stench free.
Initially, I was a bit dubious about this paste format. I’m perhaps so used to deodorants being rolled or sprayed on, it felt a little odd rubbing a relatively rich cream under my armpits.
Happily, however, once applied it settled on my skin almost instantly, a little like a moisturiser. With no fragrance at all, I almost forgot I’d applied it.
The brand is also keen to stress that their formula causes no staining to clothes – something that I can vouch for. Even when putting on a black top (something that usually results in a deodorant mark bonanza), there was no hint of the micro silver to be seen.
‘Cut to the chase, Laura’, I hear you scream. ‘Does this stuff actually work?’
Now, I should say that before starting to use this product, I spent a long time reading endless reviews of Nuud deodorant. Browsing through the pages of comments and testimonies, there didn’t seem to be any negative reviews at all. In fact, this deodorant was being heralded as a modern-day miracle.
Naturally, I got excited. I couldn’t help but get caught up in the body odour zeitgeist. I decided that from hereon in, my armpits would smell only like a summer’s day, or freshly washed cotton towels.
Except, that wasn’t exactly the case.
When I first opened my (beautifully packaged) Nuud deodorant, I noticed a small piece of text that mentioned an initial detoxifying period; a period during which me and my new armpit friend would get to know each other.
The package directed me to an online video to learn more about this important phase of our relationship – which I watched, diligently.
Nuud deodorant claim that anyone who has been regularly smearing their armpits with aluminium may find that the formula takes a while to work. Their reasoning behind this is that for a few weeks, all the toxins that have been mercilessly trapped inside the murky depths of your armpits will be liberated: stampeding out of you like a prison riot.
The result, they suggest, might be, well – a smell.
Reading up on this (by this point I’d surrendered hours of my life to reading about armpit sweat), I discovered that whilst the ending of this story might be true (e.g. the toxins eventually disappear and so does the smell), I found that the reason for why this happens might be a little different.
One study suggests that people who refrain from regularly using antiperspirants actually produce less of the worst smelling bacteria found under our arms. With less of this ‘odorous’ strain of bacteria under their armpits, they simply tend to smell less. It seems that this has nothing to do with escapee toxins, but instead refers to the microbes that live on our skin.
As such, I’m not entirely sure if Nuud’s narrative around blocked toxins and a subsequent ‘detoxifying period’ is accurate, but I guess the ending is the same: eventually, one way or another, you’ll stop smelling as bad as you once did.
As someone who is used to using heavily fragranced products that ensure my armpits rarely sweat, I’ll admit that I found this period a bit uncomfortable.
Firstly, and as bizarre as it sounds, I just wasn’t used to sweating. I had forgotten about the risk of sweat patches under my arms and what it feels like to have wet armpits. It all felt a bit weird, dirty – embarrassing.
However, reassured that I was at least letting Mother Nature take her course, I sweated in confidence – knowing that the micro silver would save the day.
Except it didn’t – and not for a while.
For the first three weeks of using Nuud deodorant, I smelt. Now, I should stress that the smell wasn’t so awful that people were visibly smarting when they came near me – it wasn’t that bad. But it was noticeable to me. If I went to the gym, ran for a train, or (as I did over the weekend), paint my hallway, I knew I’d need to shower later that day.
It wasn’t a hugely unpleasant smell, but definitely noticeable.
Now, for many, this won’t be an issue. I’m well aware that I am (or was) one of those hyper-sanitised people who is so used to being coated in artificial fragrances that any hint of ‘mustiness’ sets alarm bells ringing.
I’ll also add that I regularly, and not entirely subtly, buried my face into my armpit to check how things were going. It was only when I was ‘that close’ that I could smell anything. To the average Joe stood next to me, I’m sure I smelt fine.
However, I thought it was important to mention in this review of Nuud deodorant that it’s not all roses initially – and you definitely won’t smell like one either.
Three weeks into my review of Nuud deodorant and I was starting to get paranoid. Surely my ‘detox period’ should be over by now? What if I was like that one, lone reviewer, who declared the product a failure as it hadn’t suited their ‘body chemistry’? Did I have that chemistry? And if so, what chemistry was it? The chemistry of an inherently smelly person?
Eventually however, and around the month mark, Nuud deodorant decided – quietly – to start working.
I was finding that with each passing day (and despite sweating) I smelt of – well, nothing. Nothing at all. It was as though mountain spring water was flowing from my pits. It was unnerving, unexpected and entirely glorious.
Funnily enough, what I found helped was actually applying less of the stuff. On their website, Nuud deodorant suggest that you only need to reapply every three days; something I initially ignored. In fact, I was manically applying that micro silver daily – sometimes twice a day – in the hope that it would work.
However, once I decided to embrace life on the sweaty side, giving myself two days break in between applications, Nuud deodorant suddenly seemed to start working. Perhaps I had underestimated it, not trusted this ‘entirely innocent’ tube of cream, but I really didn’t need to use it every day.
In fact, I only needed to apply it a couple of times a week.
I’ve now been using Nuud deodorant for over a month and despite our tense start, things are beginning to settle down. For a vegan deodorant, containing nothing but natural ingredients, I’d say that Nuud deodorant is incredible. It works brilliantly and knowing that it’s not polluting my body or the world is a huge bonus.
However, it would be wrong to say this is a perfect product. If you’re going to work out in the gym, dance all night, or travel on busy trains – you will still experience some degree of ‘smell’. As the saying goes, you can drag your armpits to water – but you can’t, erm, make them swim.
Armpits will be armpits.
However, and maybe what I’ve learnt from transitioning from a life of aluminium to a life of micro silver, is that a little bit of sweat is normal. A little bit of ‘aroma’ is normal. In fact, and on the flip side, staying permanently bone dry under your armpits is inherently abnormal. It’s weird.
Ultimately, I’d say that Nuud deodorant is a brilliant and smart little product. It’s incredibly effective and although it may take some time to start working, it will eventually pull through. Teaching me that ‘it’s ok to sweat’ (my new mantra) and maybe it’s even OK not to smell like ‘fresh linen’ all the live long day, Nuud deodorant is a product that has changed me and my armpits for the better.