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Sweating Like a Pig?

issue eight : animal instincts

Did everyone here in the UK enjoy the abnormally hot Easter weekend? The mercury’s rising ladies and gents and we will all be doing a lot more sweating (like pigs) in the coming years… I’ve always thought that to be an odd turn of phrase because pigs don’t strike me as big sweaters (that’s the reason they wallow in mud after all). As it happens, the phrase “sweating like a pig” has nothing to do with these highly intelligent creatures at all. According to, the expression dates back to the height of the steel manufacture revolution and refers to pig iron (which has been around since medieval times to be fair) – so-called as it was shaped in moulds that resembled suckling piglets. These offshoots of iron ore production were not ready to move (they would burn anything they touched) until they reached a point where water vapour condensed on them, which was termed “sweating.” And that is where the idiomatic phrase sweating like a pig came from. But, I am sure those factory workers got really hot and sweaty waiting for those “pigs” to cool.

I wonder if more people would find sweating sexier if the term was “I’m sweating like a horse!”? Horses do actually sweat.

So what does steel production have to do with a beauty magazine showcasing untainted alternatives to anti(ish)perspirants and deodorants, you ask? More than you might expect, actually. Firstly, we have seen the carbon emission curve rise dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution. Of course, this increase in CO2 emissions plays a significant part in global warming (and all the implications that come with it). Secondly, one of the key health concerns with regards to commercial antiperspirants is that they contain they also contain the heavy metal aluminium, amongst other things I would avoid. While some medical doctors vehemently deny that aluminium plays a roll in increases in breast cancer, we would rather be safe than sorry.

Besides, what better excuse to do a round-up of natural unisex deodorants that actually keep our sweaty odour at bay (while getting to use the word pig in the title)?


Natural Deodorant Stick

I’ve been hearing about Elsa’s for quite some time now, and happened to pass their stand at the recent Natural & Organics Products Europe expo in London. This award-winning brand just keeps knocking them out of the park! I have been trialling their soon-to-be-released Detox Natural Deodorant. A 4-in-1 deodorant that soothes, detoxifies (with the addition of charcoal), nourishes and, yes, you guessed it…deodorises. It’s been working a treat, particularly as I have been exerting myself a little more recently. It’s free from bicarbonate of soda – a regular in many natural formulations – which tends to leave my pits a little worse for wear. This is a great transitioning deo, for those that are convinced no untainted alternative could touch sides. This particular one comes in a plastic tube, which is easy to recycle once the product is finished. Elsa’s also has cream deodorants that come in a tin, should you prefer to apply it with your fingers. They have some great advice on transitioning to natural deodorants on their blog. Handmade in small batches in the UK.


Deodorant cream

Soapwalla is a stalwart in the natural deodorant department. When reaching out to my clean beauty colleagues for their personal recommendations for untainted alternatives, Soapwalla Original Cream Deodorant got a unanimous, resounding approval as a real workhorse. With one person even commenting this is always the one I go back too, the one I trust for sweatier days!”. The original does, however, contain Sodium Bicarbonate, which as you now know, doesn’t make my pits happy. They do, however, have a sensitive range with two different scents (Lavender-Mint and Citrus) for more delicate skin types. All Soapwalla products are hand made in small batches in NYC. They pay great attention to detail when it comes to the sourcing of their ingredients, using locally sourced, edible, organic ingredients to ensure their commitment to people, the planet and animals are met. Click here for European or USA orders.

While, Sodium Bicarbonate is very effective at nipping those odour causing bacteria in the bud, it can cause irritation for some people because of its high PH of 8.3


Natural Deodorant Co
Clean Deodorant Balm

I got gifted a little travel size pot of Lemon balm & Geranium Clean Deodorant by the lovely Olivia over at Glass House Salon and loved it! A silky creamy texture with a subtle fragrance and a little went a long way. Ironically, this formulation does contain Sodium Bicarbonate and I didn’t have any adverse reactions (but I didn’t use it every day). The Natural Deodorant Co has three ranges and three sizes in their repertoire; clean, sensitive and active. All with a number of different scents to suit all our little snouts. They are actively reducing their reliance on plastic and their 55g container is now plastic-free. The 20g is glass with a plastic lid, but they are working to make this plastic-free very soon. Lovingly made in the UK.


Schmidts Natural Deo
Natural Deodorant stick

Another clear winner among my compadres is Schmidt’s. I, however, have yet to try this brand (but it’s now on my list!) Born in Portland, Oregon, this award-winning brand delivers a wide range of soaps, oral care, and you guessed it…deodorant’s. All their products are powered by plants and minerals, so naturally, they are a perfect fit. They have the widest range of fragrance choices among all the brands I have reviewed. They are all stick deodorants, for easy, on-the-go application. What I love about this brand is that they also believe in #beautyequality, meaning they believe that untainted beauty should be easily and readily available to everybody (within the confines of the actual cost of producing clean, safe and effective product). They are also committed to minimising their carbon footprint in the manufacture of their products and ensuring their ingredients are stewardship sourced. Click here for European, USA or Australian orders.

*Schmidt’s parent company is Unilever, which does still have brands in their stable that don’t adhere to our policies on cruelty-free practices. However, Schmidt’s remains a cruelty-free brand which is why we have included them in this roundup.


Salt of the Earth

I’ve included Salt of the Earth Spray into the mix because it’s the only effective natural spray-on deodorant I have found. It’s also very convenient in the kit bag or while travelling because they come in a handy handbag sized option, and you don’t need to use your fingers to apply. This spray fragrance free spray deodorant does a very acceptable job in the odour neutralising department (it’s what I use when I have my period and get one smelly, sweaty armpit…yes, just the one!) and doesn’t leave any residue on the skin that can potentially stain and mark clothing if you put it on too soon after application. While their packaging is plastic, it is fully and easily recyclable (sans the pump of course) and they now offer a 1-litre refill so you don’t have to keep purchasing new packaging. They are British designed and made (with the exception of their salt sticks), and was developed in partnership with the British Design Council. They are also the most affordable and widely available range in this review, further supporting our #beautyequality campaign.


Aluminum chlorohydrate is used in commercial antiperspirants for its effectiveness to stop our bodies producing sweat, versus a deodorant which simply helps reduce the smell. Some studies have linked this inorganic salt to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer tissue but there doesn’t seem to be enough unanimous evidence of either.

EWGs Skindeep Database gives it a rating of 3 but there is only limited data.

Natural American brand, Tom’s of Maine, use recycled aluminum chlorohydrate in some of their antiperspirants in their commitment to environmental stewardship.

Our stance, however, is that if there isn’t enough evidence to back up the concerns on either side of the fence, we would rather avoid it.

untainted |ˌənˈtān(t)əd| adjective
not contaminated, polluted, or tainted: the paper was untainted by age.

UNTAINTED is a directional beauty platform, pushing the boundaries of clean, sustainable beauty. We are inspired and motivated by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi.

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