The most effective & safe pure deo ingredients

It makes me dizzy a bit ;-). When I started INDISHA almost ten years ago, the healthy - effective - alternative to aluminum chloride in deodorants was sodium bicarbonate (sodium bicarbonate/baking soda). An ancient remedy to combat unpleasant odors. And a skin-specific substance. Alum or collodial silver was also used as a natural alternative to aluminum chloride. In recent months, one new active ingredient after another has passed by. As a supplement or alternative to sodium bicarbonate. Time for a blog with an update. What are those 'dusts'. And how do they work in a deodorant?

Why not aluminum chloride? What was that again?

Just refresh your memory. Aluminum chloride is an ingredient that squeezes your sweat glands, preventing sweat from coming out. It disrupts your natural body process. In addition, there are studies linking aluminum chloride to breast cancer, as much of this substance was found in breast cancer tissue. Natural alternatives to aluminum chloride do not block the natural functioning of your body, but they do ensure that you do not get an unpleasant smell of sweat. If you switch from a deodorant that blocks your sweat glands, you will first have to apply more often, because your body first has to come back into balance.

Sodium bicarbonate effect & deo pioneers

As far as I know, the Australian MiEssence brand was the first with a deo with this active ingredient. This was followed in the Netherlands - Dutch brands - by The OHM Collection powder deodorant . And a few years after that Loveli with deodorant sticks . New deo brands with this ingredient were also introduced abroad. Sodium bicarbonate is skin's own substance. And an ancient remedy that absorbs unpleasant odors. And makes the skin alkaline - less acidic.

By nature, sweat does not smell!

Fresh sweat does not smell. The smell is caused by a reaction with bacteria on your skin. Two types of bacteria predominate under your armpits (much less than on the rest of your skin). Staphylococci and corynebacteria. The reaction of sweat with staphylococci creates a natural, non-obnoxious smell. A reaction with the corynebacteria for the less pleasant smell of sweat.

Men often smell stronger than women because their armpits contain more corynebacteria. Men secrete more fatty substances - which corynebacteria love. Stress causes your body to secrete a greasy, odorless liquid that produces a strong-smelling odor in reaction with the corynebacteria. Acidification of the body is also a reason that you smell sweat. It is possible that corynebacteria thrive in an acidic environment. Stress and diet (sugars, lots of meat/less vegetables) are both important causes of acidification. Fabrics made of natural fibers such as cotton and linen, absorb sweat and allow it to evaporate without smelling. Synthetic fabrics ensure that you retain moisture on your skin, which is a breeding ground for the corynebacteria. Which makes you smell.

Not everyone can tolerate sodium bicarbonate

For many people, natural deodorants based on sodium bicarbonate are a godsend. However, some people's skin does not react well to sodium bicarbonate. This probably has to do with the hydration, acidity (PH) and / or toxic load of the skin. Sodium bicarbonate also makes basic (alkaline) - it increases the PH value of the skin. Pure sodium bicarbonate has an acidity of around 9. - A higher value means a lower acidity -. Which ensures that your skin stays dry (less sweat moisture). But

The top layer of skin consists of sebum, sweat and dead skin cells and naturally has a PH of approximately 5.5. This layer is also called the natural acid mantle of the skin. This skin barrier layer protects your skin against harmful external influences and moisturizes your skin. The acidity can fluctuate, but normally the body ensures that it is around 5.5 again. As mentioned, many of us have acidified our bodies. As a result, the body has more difficulty retaining the natural PH of 5.5. A deodorant based on sodium bicarbonate removes a bit of acidity, so your sweat smells less.

However, it is also possible that basic products disrupt the natural PH of 5.5 - your skin actually becomes less acidic. For example, tap water has a PH of 8 and factory-produced soaps/shower gels often have a PH of approximately 9. If you use these regularly, it is increasingly difficult for the body to maintain the natural PH of 5.5. Which disrupts the natural skin barrier, makes the skin less hydrated - drier. A basic product such as sodium bicarbonate can then be 'the drop' for your skin. Which can cause dry, itchy, flaky skin. Many deodorants with sodium bicarbonate also contain other - soothing & caring - ingredients! The PH of deos with this ingredient will therefore usually be lower than the PH value of pure sodium bicarbonate!

If you have thin, sensitive skin, test first against a deodorant with sodium bicarbonate.

Alternative natural sweat odor reducers

Magnesium chloride, magnesium milk (hyroxide), zinc oxide and probiotics are ingredients that have passed by in recent months as an alternative to sodium bicarbonate. Coconut oil and alum, just like sodium bicarbonate, are ingredients that have been used for this for some time.

Magnesium chloride and hydroxide

Magnesium chloride occurs naturally in our body. The PH varies from 2-3 in stomach acid to 7.4 in, for example, lymphatic fluid. A shortage of magnesium causes a less pleasant sweat odor. And let about 80% of people have a magnesium deficiency! A high dose of magnesium chloride in a deo is absorbed by your body. Your magnesium level is replenished. And your perspiration odor less! Because magnesium occurs naturally in the body, and we don't easily get too much of it given the deficiency that most of us have, this is a good alternative for people with sensitive skin. The OHM Creme deos are based on magnesium chloride.

Magnesium Milk or magnesium hydroxide is also used as an alternative to sodium bicarbonate. This ingredient absorbs unpleasant odors just like sodium bicarbonate. In deodorants it is often combined with, for example, soothing aloe vera. Although it naturally has a PH of around 10 (so it is strongly alkaline), sensitive skin reacts less strongly to this. Possibly due to the combination with, for example, Aloe Vera that lowers the PH. MiEssence's Magnesium Milk Ultra Sensitive deo is an example of a deo with magnesium hydroxide.

Zinc oxide

As indicated above, the corynebacteria that cause a strong sweat odor love the greasy white fluid produced by stress. Zinc oxide converts these fatty acids into odorless zinc salts before the bacteria can do their job. Zinc oxide is also antibacterial. It inhibits the growth of unwanted bacteria, in this case the corynebacteria. Both The OHM Collection cream deodorants and Loveli's deodorants contain zinc oxide.


A probiotic spray or probiotics in clothing to defeat the 'bad' microbes - which cause an unpleasant odor - with good microbes. That is what the scientific Dr Armpit platform is working on, among other things. Dr Armpit is a scientific, independent institute at the University of Ghent and California that conducts research into underarm microbiology in relation to malodorous perspiration odour. And trying to find solutions. Be sure to visit Dr Armpit's website - it contains very interesting & easily understandable information! Or listen to the Ted Talk by Dr Armpit initiator Chris Callewaert .

coconut oil

Is naturally antibacterial and has an odor neutralizing effect.


Alum stone is found as a natural deposit on rocks. And looks like a crystal. Alum is soluble in water. By rubbing it over the skin, an invisible fine layer of alum adheres to the skin. Alum is antibacterial. It inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause an unpleasant sweat odor. At the same time, waste products can be removed through perspiration and your body is kept at the right temperature. Other names for alum are called alum, potassium alum, potassium aluminum sulfate (quite different from the harmful aluminum chloride!). Whether alum is safe for your health when used daily is not entirely clear from all the literature I can find on it. The salt crystals are so big that they would not enter your body. Moreover, not all aluminum salts are harmful to your body. If you want to avoid anything with aluminum, don't choose alum.

Which natural deodorant should I choose?

That depends on how sensitive your skin is and/or which form of deodorant you like, how high the percentage of organic or 'wild crafted' ingredients should be and the age of the user.

With sensitive skin I would choose The OHM Collection cream deo . This is completely without sodium bicarbonate.

If your skin is less sensitive, choose a deo form that works well for you: a roller, stick, cream or powder. We have good experiences with the rollers from MiEssence and also EcobySonya , the sticks from Loveli , the cream & powder deodorants from OHM.

The deos from OHM, MiEssence and EcobySonya contain a very high percentage of organic, fair trade ingredients. Loveli deos are 100% natural, but contain (even) fewer organic ingredients than the other brands. There are refills from Loveli , so you don't have to buy plastic packaging as often.

Our experience is that many young people find a roller the most comfortable. Or possibly a stick. Preferably an aerosol, if they are just switching from an anti-perspirant ;-), because many not/less pure (anti-perspirant) brands come in an aerosol. Only an aerosol can is less environmentally friendly because of, among other things, the gas it contains. And as far as I know do not exist in a pure variant.

Sources :,,,,, theohmcollection, loveli, skinessence,, beauty journal