sign up for news and inspiration
  • connect
"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

How to Smell Good and Taste Delicious

I’ll never forget the time Olivia climbed into my lap, took a sniff, and announced, “Aunt Mealey, you smell bad.” This was soon after I’d gone vegan, and I wanted to use a better deodorant than Lady Speed Stick (or whatever I was using back then). Unfortunately, when it comes to deodorant, in my experience “natural” is practically the same as “useless.” Thus the stereotype of the “smelly vegan” became even less stereotypical. (Sigh!)

“But how is deodorant not vegan?” Elliot asked recently.

It’s not vegan if it’s tested on animals, I explained, and besides, who wants to apply aluminum chlorohydrate to their sensitive parts when there’s a potential link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease? Though studies remain inconclusive, you can read this article on the NIH website and pretty much decide for yourself: “Whilst being environmentally abundant, aluminum is not essential for life. On the contrary, aluminum is a widely recognized neurotoxin that inhibits more than 200 biologically important functions and causes various adverse effects in plants, animals, and humans.” (There’s also some hubbub about a breast cancer link as well, but no actual evidence for this according to the doctors interviewed by WebMD. Given the clear and obvious links between cancer of all kinds and the consumption of animal protein—have I mentioned The China Study lately?—it may be that many women would rather blame their antiperspirant than their diet.)

P1110320At any rate, most commercial deodorants are no longer a viable option once you go vegan (and want to live a longer, healthier life in general). Like I said, first I tried some all-natural brand (I forget the name) that was completely ineffective, as poor Olivia can attest; then I tried Tom’s of Maine, which was almost as useless. I love their toothpaste, but their lavender-scented deodorant found me almost as smelly a couple of hours after showering, and it left a pesky residue on my clothing besides. Until recently, I was using Trader Joe’s cotton deodorant finished off with Lush talcum powder, which was somewhat more effective—but not as effective as I’d like.

So where can you find a natural cruelty-free deodorant that actually keeps you smelling good (or at least neutral) for twenty-four hours? Is it even possible? All I can say is, thank Twitter for cluing me in to the vegan magic that is North Coast Organics!

Not only does their Death By Lavender deodorant smell delicious AND keep me odor-free all day, but their customer service is absolutely wonderful. I don’t know about you, but I don’t generally receive a response when I tweet to companies (even small ones)—which, to my mind, rather defeats the purpose of having a corporate Twitter account—but when I tweeted to North Coast Organics that I was excited to try their deodorant, they thanked me for doing business with them, let me know when my order shipped, AND threw in a free travel-size deodorant stick!

Yup. Best customer service EVER.

Granted, it isn’t an antiperspirant (which is why the commercial brands use aluminum—to plug your sweat glands) and I haven’t had a chance to use it at the height of summer, but I think it’s enough to say that I can go to yoga and run around for the rest of the day without showering ’til bedtime, and I still don’t stink. It’s oddly reassuring to know that my deodorant was whipped up by hand—the $8.99 price point seems totally fair, too, given its effectiveness!—and I like to catch a whiff of myself and feel satisfied that I smell like a field of Croatian lavender. (We brought back a bunch of handmade sachets from our visit to Hvar, and six years later they STILL smell good.)

North Coast Organics also makes great lip balms—in my recent post on the Boston Veg Fest, I alluded to how difficult it is to find lip balms without beeswax or petroleum in them. I ordered both kinds, W.M.D. Cinnamon and L.S.Q. Minty, and I really like them. They go on grainy but soften up quickly, and the flavor is lovely. The $2.99 price point is very reasonable, too—the last vegan lip balm I found sold for $4.99 at Whole Foods, and I didn’t like it nearly as much.

There are other deodorant brands out there I haven’t tried yet, but I’m not sure I’ll bother! Which cruelty-free brands do you absolutely love?


4 Comments to How to Smell Good and Taste Delicious

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    November 6, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I find the antiperspirant thing ridiculous. Aren’t you supposed to sweat?!

    I use Tom’s of Maine, and I smell plenty, but no more than I did when using the mainstream brands.

  2. November 7, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Adidas used to make a deodorant that was aluminum-free and contained cotton to absorb the sweat instead of using the antiperspirant. I can’t attest to the vegan-ness, but I haven’t been able to find it for years, anyway. I thought it was a great idea though, and used it for as long as I could find it.

  3. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    November 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this, lady. I stopped using mainstream products due to the aluminum and switched to the deodorant crystal which was useless, then to Toms of Main which worked– but only the one that is made with the olive leaves (which I can’t find anymore)then I tried the normal Toms which was terrible. I’m going to invest in some of this product, I love lavender and not smelling 🙂

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.