Thursday, July 24, 2008

Review: Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant - Calendula

I've spent a long time testing out natural deodorants. It seems like it's my holy grail of personal care products. Now, this is where I must confess that I'm not a true green frugalista, because if I was, I would make my own natural deodorant out of baking soda rubbed on the skin. Or wait, is it baking powder? Anyway, I'm not that good of a frugal gal - I like to buy my products, for the most part, not make them. And I like to spout my opinion - hence the blog. But you can be sure that if I do start trying to make my own, I shall report it here.

Sadly, many of the natural deodorants out there just don't seem to work for me, but I've come to the theory that with natural deodorants there are two factors at play - how well the odor absorbers or inhibitors actually work, and how the scent interacts with the smell of your sweat. Because you will sweat, being as there are no anti-perspirants in the natural deodorants. The smell factor will vary depending on your own body chemistry - for me, alas, lavender makes me stink. Somehow, lavender plus my sweat equals funk. But, after trying the very pricey Dr. Hauschka, and the not so very pricey Aubrey Organic's E Plus High C, both of which were quite good for a few weeks and then just seemed to stop working for me, I think I have final answer. The Tom's of Maine line has been reformulated with hops which seems to keep the odor control going much longer than it used to. I've tried the Apricot scent, which is passable but still at the end of the day leaves a little bit of skank going on. But I'm currently in love with Calendula.

I don't know what calendula is supposed to smell like - it's also known as marigold, and I don't recall marigold having any very memorable scent - a vague floweriness perhaps, mixed with a vague hint of antisepticness. So I can't tell you if this is a good representation of a calendula scent or not. But I can tell you that the deodorant also has lemongrass in it, and that gives it a lovely fresh citrusy-herby scent. It's not a strident lemongrass though - if anything I'd say it was a mixture of lemongrass with some lovely, sugary candied ginger and a hint of marigold. In fact, if they made a matching perfume, I'd happily wear it in the summer to give some welcome refreshment and escape from the heat. Having said that, I also don't think the scent interferes with other perfumes that you may want to wear - it might perhaps give you a bit more of a spicy, herby vibe to whatever you picked, but it certainly doesn't clash. Nor do I think it would freak out the perfume-sensitive. It is fairly subtle, but it is softly noticeable when you lift your arms up - for the first couple of hours after you put it on, that is.

And the main thing? This deodorant works. At least for now - given my previous history with natural deodorants just giving up the ghost on me, I should probably reserve judgment, but I figure I'll just come back and update this post if that happens. So far it's been about 4 weeks and it's still going strong. Four weeks in the middle of summer in the humid and hot south east U.S., I should add.

I give this one 5 stars.

Update: Sorry, I'm knocking this down to 4 stars. A review of the improved, long-lasting version is here


Shelli said...

I've been using Toms for about 10 years now, and I love it. Sometimes I have to re-apply at the end of the day, if we're going out to dinner, or whatever, but I was never a big fan of the anti-persperant, so if I smell, it's a whole body smell, I've really only ever used deodorants.

I wonder if one's body gets stinkier, as it were, the more one uses the chemicals in anti-persperants. Not sure, but interesting theory, anyway!


Solitaire said...

Shelli - I've definitely noticed that I seem to be less stinky and sweaty now than when I first started trying these. I didn't know whether I'd just got used to the feeling, or if maybe getting the chemicals out of my body made a difference. So your theory could be right!