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I first became aware of the company that is "Tom's of Maine" when I stumbled upon their incredible cinnamon toothpaste. The company was not well represented in my youth but now the products can be found both in health stores and mainstream chemists like Lloyds as well as the internet. Toms of Maine was founded in 1970 by Tom and Kate Chappell who were passionate about living a more natural lifestyle. They created their own natural personal care products after finding that they could not find anything remotely natural in their locality. Their first natural toothpaste was created in 1975 and was soon followed by their deodorant in 1976. The core values of the company have not changed over the years and they declare that "all Tom's products include only natural ingredients". Some do contain a natural gas derivative. Tom's of Maine products are free from artificial colours, flavours, fragrances and animal ingredients. They do not use Ethylene Glycol, parabens, artificial sweeteners and their products are also gluten free. Tom's ethical values extend to using recycled materials in packaging, their employees are expected to commit to 12 days of volunteering per year, and they state that 10% of their profits go towards "human and environmental goodness". Now back to deodorants, specifically anti-persperants.... Antiperspirant deodorants block the production of sweat by using aluminium and even the so called "natural crystal sticks" contain aluminium. This substance has been implicated in many health scares and warnings and blocking a natural function is probably not the best way to deal with body sweat and odour. Tom's use hops to kill the bacteria in sweat which cause odour and yet this does not block up the sweat gland, allowing the natural function of the gland to continue and toxins to escape. Zinc ricinoleate from castor beans is used for odour protection which neutralises any smell from sweat. I have used many versions of natural deodorant over the years and this brand is my favourite. I also own this in stick form which is more solid and somewhat more user friendly but that is down to personal taste. This deodorant is easy to apply and is efficient. It smells delicious but then I do love the smell of calendula ( marigold). Upon application the roll on has a calendula "hit" and a follow through scent of lemongrass which is zingy and fresh. It lasts a long time although on particularly hot days I will reapply it in the afternoon. If you like your pits like hairy hamsters then you would need to apply this in a greater quantity for it to be effective.... The deodorant contains aloe vera (great for skin irritation issues), witch hazel, zinc oxide and castor bean, vegetable oils, chamomile, coriander, lemongrass, and several essential oils. All in all this is the best of the natural deodorants that I have tried, for the reason that many are not effective but this one is. It smells gorgeous and is efficient enough for you to be able to reach for the top shelf in the shop without gassing anybody. And that has to be a good thing. Available from Amazon and pharmacies online from £ 3.50
I bought this deodorant after a lengthy search for an aluminium-free alternative to the mainstream products. It was recommended by someone in the health food store as the most effective natural roll-on deodorant, and at £4.55, it was cheaper than some better known natural brands. However, this is still significantly more than you would expect to pay for the usual aluminium-based deodorants, so you would hope it would be good. The bottle itself differs from many roll-ons as it's long and thin rather than - as is commonly now the case - small and shaped to make it easier to grip. I actually prefer this and it holds a fairly generous 88.7ml going some way towards making up for the price. While the colour is not terribly appealing in my view, it does add to the natural look and feel of the product, so it's a fair choice. The directions tell you to shake the product well before use, which I duly did, but the first thing I noticed when I applied it was that it's quite wet, almost as though it has been diluted with water. Unfortunately, it goes on white, and it does take a little while to dry. The smell, however, is really quite pleasant compared with previous deodorants I have used. Sadly, though, this isn't really enough on its own. The product claims to work in three ways: "zinc ricinoleate absorbs and neutralises odour, while natural botanicals coriander and lemongrass neutralise bacteria. Finally, natural fragrance creates a pleasant aroma." Whether or not this is accurate, I don't get the sense that I am using something that is working on three levels. Whilst the product seems to be effective on the body itself, it does seem to leave a slightly odd smell on clothes, and some fabrics seem to be worse than others. I'm really not sure what to make of this as there is absolutely no such smell on the skin! Perhaps it just takes too long to dry and as a result, you end up with product on your clothes. I cannot think of another explanation, but it is worth considering if you are thinking of purchasing this deodorant. The other thing I have found is that the lid seems to end up rather sticky for some reason, although I'm sure it's just a case of wiping the product off periodically. I think, personally, I am not going to dismiss this brand altogether, but may try the stick version instead in the hope that it will be drier.