From Women’s Health
I made the switch from antiperspirant to deodorant several years ago when I was “cleaning up” my beauty routine. (ICYMI: Antiperspirants use an aluminum-based compound to plug up hair follicles and reduce sweat while deodorants just help mask odor.) And while natural deodorants have come a long way from even then, I still have struggled to find one that didn’t: need warming up before using, clump, leave stains in my clothes, or wear off after just a few hours. I opted for a crystal deodorant for a long time because it took care of a lot of the above but it was cumbersome to travel with and it only really worked if you applied it immediately after the shower.
But as you might’ve suspected—the reason for which I’m writing this story—there’s been a recent breakthrough in the world of clean deodorant and it has been a game-changer for my underarms to say the least. Enter: Kosas Chemistry Deodorant. The liquid formula (No clumps! No heating up before applying! 🙌) goes on with a rollerball applicator (read: no mess) and dries within a matter of seconds for a completely clear, clean finish. But even better than all of this is that it works—like, really really works to prevent the stink. Here’s how.
It uses acids to combat odor.
Rather than using a creamy, scented formula to mask stink, Kosas founder, Sheena Yaitanes—who says she’s always suffered from abnormally stinky BO, was on a mission to not just cover up the problem but to fix it on a deeper level. Her selfish desire led her down a late night Google deep dive of smelly pit solutions where she found a thread on using alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) as a deodorant. She tried it, it worked, so she set out to perfect a formula for her clean beauty brand.
Yaitanes and her team of chemists found that the acids create a happy, healthy pH balance in your pits that makes it less likely for bacteria to brew (aka what causes BO). Because “when your pH balance is off it makes it easier for odor-causing bacteria to grow out of control,” explains Mona Gohara, MD, a professor of dermatology at Yale University and Women’s Health Advisory Board Member.
While also keeping skin clear
The acid combo that Kosas found works best is Shikimic, mandelic, and lactic. Together these three fight bacteria, brighten, and exfoliate your underarm skin. Alongside keeping the pH level balanced, these acids also “loosen the dead skin cells that can build up and trap in smelly bacteria if they’re not exfoliated away,” explains Dr. Gohara. The brightening aspect is especially ideal if, like me, you struggle with hyperpigmentation from shaving under your arms.
I can personally testify to the the exfoliating and brightening bit because I had started getting red bumps from another natural deodorant I had been testing out. Within three days of using Chemistry they were all gone and my skin was completely clear—no dark marks in sight.
It’s also super refreshing.
While the acids get all the attention, there are some other ingredients in the formula that are also worth mentioning. Aloe vera juice, hyaluronic acid, and peptides all help keep skin hydrating, smooth, soothed, and firm. If you’re thinking “this sounds like something I’d put on my face,” you’re not wrong. It’s basically like a skincare product for your armpits. Which, TBH, why haven’t we thought about that before?!
The formula comes in a fragrance-free or “serene clean” scented version that’s made with essential oils. I’ve been using fragrance-free and have no complaints (from myself or from others 😉).
Be careful if you have sensitive skin.
Dr. Gohara says that acids can be irritating if you have really sensitive skin so do a patch test if you’ve had issues with acids in the past. You also won’t want to apply it if you have any knicks from your razor as the acids will burn and could irritate the cut more.
Other than that I suggest giving it a try ASAP—especially if you’re looking to make the switch from an antiperspirant.
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