Hello dear friends!
I’ve always wondered if my heightened sense of smell is a blessing or a curse. Because when it comes to certain human odors, it’s always been more of the latter. Hence, my (previous) use of hard-core, commercial-grade deodorants. Those things would blast any wisp of natural scent and replace them with synthetic flowery perfumes, making me feel like a fairy goddess. But after I got sick, and began exploring the dangers of modern bath and body products, I definitely didn’t feel like a goddess anymore.
The truth is, conventional deodorants are chock full of nasties that I no longer want on my body or in my home. Your armpit is a very sensitive area, with relatively thin skin and a delicate ecological balance. Plus, there is a whole network of lymph glands in your pits, which are the body’s detox highway- and if you’re putting toxins in there, they’re getting shuttled all over the place. Armpit anatomy aside, let’s have a little run through of the most common ingredients in conventional deodorant, and you can decide for yourself if you want to be putting them on your gorgeous bod!
· Aluminum or aluminum-based compounds
- o Known neurotoxin
- o Block sweat gland production, aka “antiperspirant”
- o Causes changes in estrogen receptors, especially in breast tissue
- o Linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, kidney problems, and bone disease
- o Class of artificial preservatives
- o Mimic the action of estrogen in the body
· Propylene glycol
- o Originally developed as an anti-freeze
- o Used to retain moisture
- o Known neurotoxin
- o Linked to kidney and liver damage, contact dermatitis, and CNS depression
- o Antibacterial that is found in everything from toothpaste to hand soap
- o Major contributor to antibiotic resistance
- o Linked to thyroid dysfunction, skin irritation, and the rise of MRSA
- o Reproductive and endocrine disruptors
- o Irritating to mucous membranes
- o Attach to parabens and allow greater absorbance by the body
- o "Probable carcinogens", according to the EPA
Doesn’t sound like such a pretty picture, does it? Especially when all you want is to feel (and smell) clean and fresh. Years ago, not smelling like a dirty hippie (nothing wrong with that either, by the way) was quite a gamble, and people were slathering these chemicals on their bodies without a second thought. Luckily, we are much more conscious and concerned consumers now, and we are looking for natural and healthy solutions that we can count on.
Enter brands like ZAK Body.
I am extremely passionate about helping people find the safe, natural products that are out there, so we all feel empowered to take care of ourselves and the planet. So when I was contacted by ZAK about giving their natural, locally-made (Colorado proud!) deodorant a test run, I jumped at the chance. Now, I have tried literally dozens of different natural deodorants over the years, and most didn’t work for me. I have super sensitive skin, so things like baking soda were irritating, and I noticed that some formulas still had corn and petroleum-derived ingredients in them. Needless to say, it’s been a long road to finally finding a handful of natural deodorants that work, and that aren’t wrecking the planet (don’t even get me started on animal testing) either. But back to Zak…
I wanted to give the Women’s Elevate Super Smooth formula a try, so that’s what I’ll be reviewing here. Here are the ingredients:
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Non-GMO Propanediol, Sodium Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Organic Essential Oils (Rose Geranium, Sage, Vanilla), Parsley Extract, Chamomile Flower Extract, MyrrhExtract, Cucumber Oil (Virgin, Cold-Pressed), Sage Leaf Extract, Grape Seed Extract
I have to admit, given my disappointing experiences with natural deodorants in the past, I honestly expected that this one wouldn’t work. But…drum roll please…it actually worked great for me! And no, they didn’t pay me to say that.
Let’s rewind to day 1:
Popping this beauty out of the mail and giving it a big ol’ whiff was the first step. I like the scent- it’s soft and herbaceous, like being out in a spring garden, but it wasn’t super strong or overwhelming. I may like the smell of their men’s formula a bit better, since I’m a woodsy kind of gal (it’s scented with EO’s of pine, vetiver, and fir balsam), so perhaps I’ll put in an order for that in the future. But honestly, I would wear the women’s scent just as well!
I slathered it on my afternoon pits, generally when stink potential is at its height, and loved how smooth it went on. The formula is very soft, not dry or crumbly, and didn’t need more than a swipe or two to get the job done. Some people may find it a little too soft for their liking, but I just took my finger to the little bit of spillover and rubbed it into my skin for an extra deodorizing boost. (Boob sweat, am I right, ladies?)
Went to take my nightly shower, still smelling fresh, but curious as to how it would hold up for a full day.
Put on my ZAK first thing in the a.m. and went about my day. Now, I’ve had a few bad run-ins with natural deodorants staining my clothes, so I admit that I was obsessively checking my t-shirt all day long. Not once did I notice a stain forming- from sweat or otherwise. Whew!
I put in a full day of writing, running errands, doing yoga, and playing with my dog, and never detected any of my, shall we say, natural musk. Success!
This is usually about the time that irritation will show up with a new product, but I was pleased to see that my armpits hadn’t broken out into a giant rash. My skin was still smooth and clear, so that was a real win in my book. Wore my new deodorant all day long, and realized I was starting to form a bit of a crush on it…
ZAK and I had finally settled into a routine, once I figured out that he wasn’t about to ruin my clothes or embarrass me in public. I wore the deodorant again, all day long, and only felt like I needed to reapply after a particularly long, sweaty afternoon spent in the sun.
I woke up noticing a bit more body odor than usual, but realized that it could be from the garlicky pizza I’d had the night before (yes, peeps, what you eat does affect how you smell!). It’s also normal to have your own flora adjust when confronted with a new deodorant, so that may have contributed as well. But I ignored my thought to go back to my usual stuff, and put on the ZAK for the day. I immediately felt better, with the fresh scent, and wasn’t overly self-conscious of my armpit smell during the day.
After about a week of gosh darned near perfect success with the ZAK Super Smooth Women’s formula, I felt comfortable enough to write this review, and to say “yes” to sharing this with my readers! I would absolutely recommend this deodorant to all my friends, and say, for those needing perhaps a bit more odor-fighting power, to check out their Original formula. I only abstained from it because of the baking soda, but I know lots of people who can tolerate it just fine!
Cleaning out your toiletries and ditching the toxic chemicals can be quite a process, but one that I firmly believe is worth it. Your body is worth treating with love and respect, and if you are trying to heal from any kind of chronic illness, going natural is crucial to achieving wellness. So, it’s always awesome to find a brand that makes great products that actually work, while going easy on the environment too.
If you are ready to make the switch to natural, healthy, detoxifying deodorant, please head over and support these great people! And because we love you all so much, we’ve teamed up to offer you a kick-butt 20% OFF your order- just use the following coupon code upon checkout:
In the meantime, you can enter our giveaway below! Don’t worry- ZAK is on the up and up, and won’t ever sell or share your info…
Have questions about making the switch to a toxin-free deodorant? Leave me a comment! And as always, my friends...
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~