Formulating Antiperspirants and Deodorants With Naturals

Feb 1, 2012 | Contact Author | By: Arthur Georgalas, Georgalas Endeavors
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Title: Formulating Antiperspirants and Deodorants With Naturals
antiperspirantsx deodorantsx odorx
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Within the realm of natural and organic personal care products, deodorants and antiperspirants loom large simply because the overall category itself is very large in any retail health and beauty aids planogram. These two related products—i.e., antiperspirants and deodorants (AP/Deo)—are fraternal twins joined at the axilla that perform in this same anatomical arena using some of the same tricks. This sibling rivalry has been dominated in the past few decades by antiperspirants with ever-increasing claims for sweat reduction efficacy and odor reduction.

Lately, however, the industry has seen the proliferation of natural market-targeted deodorant entries. The primary reasons for this are the perceived unnatural blocking of sweat glands and alarmist concerns over the safety of aluminum—concerns that are based on misinformation and the supposition that aluminum has systemic toxicity when applied topically. Also, since in the United States claims for anti- perspirant activity are drug claims, and all approved over-the-counter (OTC) drug actives are aluminum salts, the industry does not see any natural antiperspirant actives. What is seen is the use of potassium alum—interestingly, its full name, potassium aluminum sulfate, is almost never used, most likely to mask this salt; however, this ingredient has been judged ineffective as an antiperspirant under the same OTC monograph.

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Table 1. Natural deodorants and their mode of action

Table 1. Natural deodorants and their mode of action

Mode of action Functional ingredients
Odor mask/counter-odorant Organic fragrance, essential oils, vanillin, menthol, macrocyclic lactones
Odor eliminate/destroy Clays (kaolin, bentonite), corn starch, arrowroot, absorb,sodium bicarbonate, saccharomyces ferment (enzymes)
Odor prevent/antimicrobial, bacteriostat Antimicrobial essentail oils (tea tree, lemongrass, sage, oregano, savory, peppermint) and fragrance compounds (terpinen-4-ol, isoeugenol, hinokitiol); plant extracts (lichen- Usnea, hops-Humulus, witch hazel); metallic salts (alums, zinc salts); sophorose lipids (antimicrobial biosurfactant); lauric, capric, caprylic, undecylenic fatty acid derivatives; and hydrolyzable esters (triethyl citrate, benzyl salicylate) 



Table 2. Natural Deodorant Stick Base Formulation

Table 2. Natural Deodorant Stick Base Formulation

Ingredient  Function  Weight range (%)
 Organic Alcohol/Ethanol  Base vehicle/solvent  0–20 
 Propanediol  Base vehicle/solvent  20–70
 Deionized/Distilled Water  Base vehicle/solvent  5–20
 Sodium Stearate  Gellant  5.0–8.0
 Saccharomyces Ferment  Active odor neutralizer  2.0–3.0
 Sodium Bicarbonate  Odor absorber/neutralizer  0–2.0
 Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil)  Bacteriostat/antimicrobial  0.2–2.0
 Candida Bombicola/Glucose/Methyl Rapeseedate Ferment  Bacteriostat/sophorose lipid  0.5–2.0
 Triethyl Citrate  Bacteriostat/hydrolyzable ester  0.2–2.0
 Zinc Oxide  Bacteriostat/antimicrobial  0.2–0.5
 Glyceryl Caprylate/Undecylenate  Bacteriostat/antimicrobial  1.0–2.0

* Note: Product ranges and compatibility are not warranted; formulation and testing must be performed on individual recipes.


a The Mum deodorant brand, developed in 1888 by a small independent company, is now a product of Kao Corp.

b Sopholiance (INCI: Candida Bombicola/Glucose/Methyl Rapeseedate Ferment) is a product of the Soliance group.

c DeoPlex Organic (INCI: Saccharomyces ferment) is a product of Carrubba.

d Zemea (INCI: Propanediol) is a product of DuPont Tate and Lyle Bio Products, LLC

Bio: Arthur Georgalas

Arthur Georgalas has conducted formulation work and applied research in various product categories at several leading cosmetic manufacturers, and more recently, established his consultancy, Georgalas Endeavors LLC. Georgalas is an active member of the IFSCC, SCC and NYSCC and has presented at many conferences. As an adjunct professor, he instructs two classes in the cosmetic science master’s program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and presents courses in botanicals and formulation for the SCC Continuing Education Program. He also serves as a subject matter expert for the recently launched Cosmetics & Toiletries Complete Cosmetic Chemist course, “Developing Natural Cosmetic Formulations.”

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