We’ve already been schooled on the six scary skincare ingredients to avoid in our beauty products, and now, we finally have our natural summer beauty routine on lock. So when it comes to natural skincare, we’re feeling pretty confident. And while we’ve experimented with natural deodorant (and learned that after a brief detox period, it actually works!), we haven’t yet fully committed to that all-natural deodorant life. To conquer this last battle for clean beauty, we decided to chat with Schmidt’s Naturals founder, Jaime Schmidt, to find out exactly how natural deodorant works — and why we need to use it.

Makers gonna make

A DIYer becomes an entrepreneur. Schmidt says she was inspired by the “Portland Maker’s Movement in 2010, [when] everyone was making something — art, craft beer, artisanal food, you name it.” She knew she wanted to “participate and lead in the space” and decided to start in her bathroom cabinet, “where some of my natural beauty products didn’t perform as well as the conventional ones I grew up with.” It didn’t take long for Schmidt to feel “that fire inside me. Nobody could stop me from cracking the deodorant code, and I went through hundreds of test batches with different variations of the ingredients that research favored most. Over time, I found myself making incremental improvements on the formula that made it fundamentally better; the right skin-feel, glide, absorbency, stability, emulsion, scent. All those core elements you want to nail in a beauty product.” We’re sold!

keep it natural, keep it safe

Health comes before profit. “A key driver of the conventional deodorant industry is profit, and when it becomes about how many units you can sell at the greatest margin, you’re bound to sacrifice some quality for quantity,” Schmidt says about the current market. She believes that “nobody would disagree with me that corners shouldn’t be cut on ingredients that might be harmful to your health, but there are still a lot of deodorants out there formulated with controversial ingredients like aluminum, propylene glycol, and triclosan.” We’re totally here for this and love that we now have so many options when it comes to natural (and effective!) beauty products. As Schmidt so succinctly puts it, “I’d rather use ingredients you can find in soil than ones that are born in a lab.”

Be a label-reading warrior. Parabens, SLS, aluminum, phalates — reading beauty product labels for those no-no ingredients can be confusing (although the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database is a lifesaver!). Thankfully, Schmidt’s advice on staying vigilant is pretty simple. “The key thing is actually just reading the label in the first place. The studies we’ve seen really show that people are ignoring labels, directions, warnings, and ingredients.” The more you read, the more familiar you’ll be with the ingredients you’re okay with (and the ones you’re not). We try and stick to products with a short list of ingredients that we recognize. To make educating ourselves even easier, Schmidt says, “We’re excited about some fun new labeling practices rolling out at Schmidt’s that take a more engaging and educational approach to ingredient labels. Stay tuned!”

wonder ingredients

Always keeping it real. Of course, we already know Schmidt’s uses natural ingredients — but what are they, exactly? Schmidt says that she’s “all about demystifying plant-based materials and underutilized minerals like magnesium, essential oils, sodium bicarbonate, and charcoal. They’re basically the heroes of our products when it comes to neutralizing odor-causing bacteria, helping to absorb wetness, and smelling amazing.”

It’s all about charcoal. We’re no strangers to using activated charcoal in our beauty products — we’ve even used it in our toothpaste! So it comes as no surprise that Schmidt also loves it for her deodorant. She sings its praises, saying it’s so effective “due to its absorbent qualities and ability to trap liquid. It’s been used in medicine for thousands of years, back to ancient Egypt.” In fact, in the charcoal and magnesium deodorant formula, Schmidt says she addresses “some common problems customers have with other natural deodorants: odor and wetness control, smooth skin feel, stickiness, and absorbability.” Check, check, and check.

Sensitive skin is covered. If you’ve got sensitive skin that doesn’t take kindly to even some natural deodorant ingredients, Schmidt says, “The magnesium and arrowroot powders and their ratios to the other ingredients in the [sensitive skin] formulas just make it super rich and creamy.” They’re gentle and super moisturizing to help alleviate those ubiquitous red bumps and irritated patches.

the nose has it

Slaying the scent game. With scent combinations that would feel at home at the hippest cocktail bar in the city (coconut pineapple, anyone?), Schmidt’s Naturals delivers an unusually difficult task — deciding which scent of deodorant to choose. Schmidt says before starting her company, she was obsessed with essential oils and “not just on a scent level. I’m obsessed with where they come from, what distillation practices are used, the availability of crops, detail-oriented stuff like that.” This interest in naturally derived scents and how they affect us has obviously come into play in her product, as Schmidt’s Naturals carries deodorant scents like lavender tips, rose and vanilla, geranium, and Schmidt’s current personal favorite, jasmine tea. She says of the bright, clean stick, “The scent just gives me a rise, and it feels great whenever I put it on. I have 10 different deodorants on my counter, but I’ve been calling it my lucky stick.”

Schmidt’s beauty tips

Apply deodorant like a pro. While powdery, chalk white deodorants are notorious for leaving those tell-tale streaks on your fave LBD, Schmidt’s formulas are “designed to absorb into the skin and be applied in small quantities to prevent things like staining or stickiness in the first place, so you should be good to go!”

All floral everything. When it comes to other beauty products Schmidt can’t get enough of, it’s all about those florals, baby. She says, “I’m a sucker for natural drinks that are super floral, like exotic jasmine teas and rose lattes. Same goes for beauty products, like the Herbivore’s Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist. Anything infused with sharp but delicate florals.”

Have you made the switch to natural deodorant? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us your current favorite!

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(Photos via Schmidt’s Naturals)