25 Sep 2013

Product Review - Weleda Sage Deodorant

I wanted to write a review about this deo as soon as I came across it a couple of months ago, because it is in line with my quest for a simpler back-to-basics chemical-free life and fits right with the less-is-more kind life mantra. Chemical deos have had bad press in recent years as research has demonstrated their possible link to breast cancer, so if like I, you are getting increasingly weary of the chemicals you put into your body, then you are gonna make friends with this deo! 

It wouldn't be an overstatement for me to say (and I bet this applies to you too) that since my teenage years, I've used every deo under the sun, from the cheap run-off-the-mill supermarket products to the pricey packaged-up designer fragrance house labels, via French pharmacy niche brands. Deployed in all sorts of formats too: roll-on applicator, aerosol/ non-aerosol spray, or solid. From the gentle to the “anti-white marks” (did those work for you btw, cos they didn't for me?), via the aluminium-based (i.e. anti-perspirant) and aluminium chloride hexahydrate perspiration blockers that relieve hyperhidrosis, i.e. excessive perspiration (Driclor Solution). Some more natural, plant-based deos, some a pure chemical-based Molotov cocktail backed up by a flurry of technological-sounding ingredients and far-fetched advertising! Meanwhile in my quest for armpit perfection I'd even flirted with the idea of having botox injections in them in order to stop sweating altogether! What a health hazard this would have been! 

First things first. Perspiration is a natural process and shouln't be tampered with. Therefore perspiration blockers may be effective (in the sense of successfully combatting perspiration), yet they are not health-friendly, as we humans do need to sweat in order to regulate the temperature in our bodies, and to release toxins from our system. I only used perspiration blockers briefly, and circumspectly, until my sweat glands became painful to the touch and then I stopped it. Meanwhile none of the other deos did the trick for me. At work I suffered from stress-induced cold sweating, with sweat trickling down my underarms (no matter the weather and time of year), and this in turn triggered an odour which daily showers, lashings of shower gel, monthly salon waxing, constant deo top-ups throughout the day, and cutting down on spicy foods, didn't eradicate – or at least minimise. This undermined my confidence

Then I did two things. I left my deo at home cos I felt that the more I used it during the day, the worst it got. And I embarked upon permanent underarm hair removal sessions. The sweat was no longer trapped around hair follicles and it seemed to me that sweat became less “pungent”, shall we say, as bacteria that causes odour was no longer trapped in those now destroyed hair follicles. This alone increased my confidence. 

I carried on using my usual supermarket brands until that day I went round one of those parapharmacy stores in France and came across the Weleda Sage Deodorant, described as "neutralizing herbal fragrance with pure essential oils". Weleda is a reputed company established in Switzerland and Germany in 1921 as a drugs manufacturer, and in France in 1924. That same year it launched a range of health supplements and skincare products. Since then Weleda has been promoting its no-nonsense natural plant-based offering. I remember my mum buying their sun protection products, and vitamin-rich food supplements that would give us kids a kick in the morning. 

Until recently, I'd been of the opinion that plants are not as efficient as chemicals, and plant-based deos left me perplexed. But now I knew for sure that chemical deos were dangerous and that most didn't work. When I tried Weleda's deo, it completely changed my life! 

For starters we don't need a chemistry degree in order to work out the deo's ingredients list. Listen to this: Alcohol, Water (Aqua), Fragrance (Parfum)*, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root), Limonene* (Fragrance from natural essential oils), Linalool* (Fragrance from natural essential oils), Geraniol* (Fragrance from natural essential oils), Coumarin* (Fragrance from natural essential oils). By the way, do check out Weleda's fabulously illustrated ingredients database.

The smell is fresh, clean, crisp and tonic. Not the kind of adjectives we would use describing those supermarket sprays! The deo is presented in a see-through glass bottle with reusable spray and packaged up in a carton box. I would recommend to either keep the spray in its box or in the bathroom cabinet as direct light might alter essential oils. 

I still sweat, but as we know, sweat is a natural process that needs to be allowed to happen. What I've noticed though is that the astringent properties of sage and tea tree leaf oil + the other essential oils purify (disinfect) the skin and neutralise the smell by a comfortable 85%, I reckon. Much more effectively than your chemical deos out there that get your sweat glands in overdrive!

The Weleda deo is also available as Wild Rose Deodorant (for a floral note) and Citrus Deodorant (for a fresh note). 

  • Unisex deodorant
  • Fresh pleasant smell
  • Non-aerosol spray
  • No chemicals including no parabens, preservatives, stabilisers, colourings, or aluminium salts
  • Doesn't stain clothing and no caking effect on fabrics
  • No powdery marks on skin
  • Economical as a little goes a long way (about 4 months' use out of a 100ml spray)
  • Although more pricey (RRP US$14.00) than an average deo, it isn't as pricey as you would expect from a niche brand!
  • Reputable brand and honest product
  • Simple yet not naff packaging
  • Weleda brand products may not be widely available round the high street, but you can order online! Check out Weleda (USA) and Weleda (UK) for details.

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