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Product Review: NUUD Natural Deodrant
Last night at dinner with some friends, I decided to inform said mates that it had been three days since I last put deodorant on. In addition, I had gone to the gym that morning, showered and still not put deodorant on. The looks were priceless. I could actually see the girl across from me processing whether I was having her on or whether I was coming out as being part of some new tribe of smelly cats.
The phrase “Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glow" is said to have originated from Victorian etiquette guides. I’ve always loved it, but truth is that a summer in South Africa or after exercising or just plain ‘ol everyday life activities, we’ve all at some point been left in a puddle of our own bodily fluids!
Before I get on to how I have acquired magical sweat- and smell-busting superpowers, let’s dive right into the world of all things deodorant, anti-perspirant, clothes with yellow pits and the dreaded sweat SMELL!
Deodorant vs Anti-Perspirant
Surprisingly, very few people are able to answer the question “What is the difference between deodorant and anti-perspirant?”. Let’s break it down:
- First of all, it is important to understand why we perspire in the first place. It seems like it’s just a nuisance, but it is an important bodily function for internal temperature regulation and detoxification. Your brain tells your sweat glands to perspire when your body is getting too warm. Perspiration evaporates and you cool down. The human body is amazing. It also uses this process to eliminate toxins (like heavy metals) from your body. So, it is so important to get your sweat on and why saunas are so popular of late: we need to sweat to be healthy!
- Secondly, it is important to know that perspiration doesn’t actually smell of anything. Nadda! It’s pretty much odourless fluid secreted by your glands. The reason why we become sweaty-smelly-eeeeuw from perspiring, is because of the bacteria that are so drawn to this fluid. The bacteria literally change this fluid into something called butyric acid. This acid is smellyyyyyy!
To recap: you perspire because it’s healthy and you should in fact be a little concerned if you don’t seem to perspire much at all because you’re not getting rid of toxins. Sweat: good. Bacteria: bad.
The modern-day solution? Anti-perspirants or deodorants or both:
- Anti-perspirants typically contain aluminium salt, such as aluminium chlorohydrate (look out for ingredients like potassium alum, alum or zirconium). These ingredients absorb into your skin and temporarily block your pores from inside, which means that sweat never reaches the surface.
- Deodorants do not contain aluminium salts so they cannot prevent you from perspiring. Its MO is to allow for perspiration, wait for the bacteria to create the butyric acid and then mask / cover up the smell with alcohol and fragrances.
So, we have two options: block the perspiration fluid (which is actually a natural process) or cover/deodorise the smell or use a combination of both. Block your pores and detox ability or try your best to cover the smell? This intuitively does not make sense.
The Problem With Anti-Perspirants
You need to perspire to eliminate toxins and effectively regulate your internal temperature. These are basic human needs. Also, while it sounds like a solution, the aluminium found in most anti-perspirants is a very suspect ingredient and has been linked to notably breast cancer for men and women (it builds up in breast tissue over time) and brain health concerns. More on this below but not something you want to mess with.
The Problem With Deodorants
You also don’t want something that takes stinky bacteria acid and tries to cover the smell, because you’ll inevitably still have embarrassing wet pits and subsequent yellow marks on your favourite white T-shirt. Double eeuw! In addition, the alcohol and chemical laden fragrances are being absorbed into your bloodstream. Endocrine disruptors of note. With all the hand sanitiser already entering our systems, should we be adding even more alcohol to our bloodstream?
It amazes me that this has been the standard approach for decades. Stick with me here, but would it not make more sense to allow the natural perspiration process to occur, but prevent the nasty bacteria from changing your perspiration into butyric acid in the first place? This would literally mean no smell in the first place…
What’s the Big Deal with Aluminium?
Anti-perspirants block your pores when the aluminium salts react with perspiration to form a gel that basically “plugs” your sweat glands. No sweat gets out, but also no toxins get out. What’s worse, the aluminium also can’t get out, so it just builds up under your pits and in breast tissue, causing real havoc to the endocrine system. Scientists still don’t know exactly how aluminium is absorbed through the skin, which is scary in its own right. But aluminium has been found in high concentrations in patients with Alzheimers, Parkinson’s and patients with other neurological diseases. There is no proven link between aluminium and specific brain disorders, but aluminium has been proven to be toxic to the brain.
The most common concern with aluminium is breast cancer. While there is controversy as to whether aluminium-based antiperspirants cause breast cancer, a 2017 study compared 209 women with breast cancer to 209 women without breast cancer on the basis of self-reported usage of antiperspirants. The group with breast cancer repeatedly reported usage several times a day, with the control group (no breast cancer) reporting far lesser use. While both groups had aluminium salts in their breast tissue, the control group had significantly less build-up.
I think it’s safe to say that we’d all prefer not to block all the toxins and metals from exiting our systems in the same way that we’re blocking perspiration. It is just not ideal for the human system and a rather unnatural process. Yes, more research on aluminium in deodorants needs to be done, but I’m more of a “rather-don’t-risk-it” kind of girl when I have better alternatives.
Why Is NUUD Different?
NUUD asked the obvious question: why not just prevent the smelly acid in the first place? With a natural ingredient. The answer is simple: micro silver! Micro silver inhibits the growth of bacteria.
No bacteria = no smell! Toxins can safely leave your body, your pores remain nicely unclogged and there is no smell which needs covering in the first place.
NUUD is called a “pre-deodorant” rather than a deodorant because it prevents the smell from occurring rather than covering it. The best part? It works for a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 7 days (depending on your individual body), which means that you’re irritating your skin less, and it’s kinda convenient!
The truly magical bit that took me a while to wrap my head around: it doesn’t dissolve in water, so even after showering and washing your pits with soap (which the NUUD website says is actually unnecessary but totally personal preference), NUUD just stays on without reducing its effectiveness at all. It was weird at first to not put anything on under my pits after a shower, but now I almost forget to ever put it on! Mind blown.
My Experience with “Going NUUD”
I’ve been well aware of the potential problems of conventional antiperspirants and deodorants for a while, so I’ve been using a crystal bar as a deodorant (it’s less hippie than it sounds). As warned, it’s not an easy transition going towards a more natural deodorant. Your body needs time to get used to it. This means more perspiration, more smell and general discomfort for a couple of days.
The NUUD website explains it nicely because it’s an issue experienced by almost everyone when they switch to NUUD: when you stop using an antiperspirant, your pores start unblocking the gel-like plugs which will eventually allow NUUD to do its thing. This means that for the first few days/weeks (depending on the level of build-up), you might feel like it’s not working.
In addition, the smell of the bacteria won’t be masked anymore, and your microbiome needs time to adapt and inhibit the bacteria. The bottom line: NUUD needs time to work, so be patient and give it a try for at least a month!
That being said, my transition with NUUD was super quick, 3 days at most. I think this is because I was already using a natural alternative, as most people I’ve spoken to needed 1-2 weeks to adapt. During that adaptation period, the perspiration and the smell might get worse before it gets better.
But believe you me: that initial period is totally worth it! In the beginning, I still had a fair amount of perspiration. I couldn’t smell anything, but I wasn’t sure if I’d like this product given all the perspiration fluid from taking a walk. I can now happily report that despite not blocking my pores, I definitely don’t have wet pits and the perspiration fluid is well within control. Dry pits! Sexy right?
NUUD works! Here are the top reasons why I’ll be a lifelong customer of NUUD:
- It works: It needs to be said. All good and well if the product is better for my body, but I refuse to be smelly and walk around with wet pits or yellow stains on my clothes. I can hand on heart say that I have not smelt a hint of “sweat” once I started using NUUD.
- Odourless: NUUD is completely odourless and therefore doesn’t compete with other fragrances you put on your skin (hopefully the chemical-free kind).
- Easy application: A crystal deodorant requires you to wet it before application. The water runs down your arms. A real suckfest, especially in winter. NUUD applies super easily (sorry dudes, apparently it takes some time so adjust to rubbing it onto your hairy armpits; but again, I’m told its totally worth it!).
- Cost effective: the initial price tag is quite steep. But it really lasts a looooong time as you only need a pea-sized application every few days or so. A little truly goes a long way!
- Ingredients: NUUD contains no aluminium and no parabens. No propellants, alcohol, colourings or fragrances (it’s scary how many personal care products contain these ingredients!). People have been wearing silver on their skins for years, so we know that it is safe. The micro silver used in NUUD has the ability to naturally prevent any smell from bacteria and does so without blocking or irritating your skin. Science 101: the silver’s ions bind to the negatively charged components in proteins, which inactivates the life-supporting functions of the bacterial cells. Boom! Dead bacteria. Per the NUUD website, NUUD works for everyone, and I tend to believe them!
- Carbon footprint: The packaging is made from sugarcane, as opposed to petroleum-derived plastic. We all know the latter burdens the environment. Sugarcane is a superior way of making plastic because it only requires a small area of farmland and natural irrigation (rainwater). Petroleum-based plastics emit CO2, plant-based plastics actually absorb CO2!
The Long and the Short
Here is a pre-deodorant that has none of the negative side effects of regular antiperspirants and deodorants, yet in my experience, works more effectively than any other option I have ever tried. I cannot recommend this product enough given how much better it is for you and for the planet relative to other products. If you’ve been on the fence on this one, I’d definitely recommend GOING NUUD!
NUUD is available in the following packs:
- Starter Pack(15ml) - For people just starting their NUUD journey.
- Smarter Pack(2 x 20ml) - For the NUUD lovers.
- Family Pack(4 x 20ml) - For the NUUD family with colour coded bottles.
- Thea is the founder of Neolaia – Biohacking SA and passionate about all things biohacking, functional medicine, holistic and ancestral wellness. She enjoys the occasional triathlon, is fanatic about yoga and the gym and loves n=1 biohacking experiments more than anything else! Learning about the latest in scientific research for health and wellness and applying this knowledge is what makes her happiest!