This summer, I finally found the holy grail of natural beauty products—a chemical-free deodorant that really works. To be clear, it's still a deodorant, so you're still going to break a sweat. But the blend of essential oils and natural clays keep you stink-free. Below, the founder of the Soapwalla Deodorant Cream ($12), Rachel Winard, spills the secrets behind the formula.
OP: This is the only natural deodorant I've found that lasts all day. How did you do it?
RW: I spent several months tweaking the recipe until I felt it was just right. I tried every natural and semi-natural deodorant on the market, and they were all wanting in some area—I swear, some made me smell worse than if I'd gone au natural. I spent about six months researching deodorant properties of essential oils and played with different concentrations of foodgrade powders and clays until I landed on just the right combination of both. Then I took another six months amassing feedback from friends and family until I was hearing 100% satisfaction across the board. Only then did I launch it.
OP: What makes it different from traditional natural deodorants?
RW: The biggest difference is that you apply this deodorant with your fingers. I really adore the manual application because of three reasons: (1) I don't need to add waxes or hardeners to keep the product at a permanently super-solid state; (2) the user has much more control over how much and where they'd like to apply the deodorant. It means you don't get random white streaks on your clothing, and you can cover the entire armpit; and (3) I love the minimalist packaging—I think it's a nicer design and it's super easy to take with me on the go!
OP: What inspired you to start Soapwalla?
RW: I started creating skincare products for myself about 10 years ago when I was going through the painful process of being diagnosed with systemic lupus, an inflammatory chronic autoimmune illness that manifests in a number of ways but often includes very sensitive skin. My first products were my lavender and French clay soap and restorative face serum, as those were the products I desperately needed to calm my skin down. My line grew with me—whatever product I needed, I created. I perfected the line over 7+ years and premiered it November 2009.
OP: Do you have advice for people looking to buy clean beauty products, especially if they have a health condition?
RW: Yes! Don't be afraid to ask questions. Call or write the manufacturer if you're unsure of something. Also, read ingredient lists. My overarching philosophy is "If I wouldn't put it in my body, I shouldn't put it on my body." That's especially important for those of us with immunocompromised systems.
OP: What's up next for Soapwalla? What else are you working on?
RW: Ooh, I have a line of facial care products designed specifically for those with acneic and oily skin coming out next month. And this fall, I'll premier a line of healing balms that are deliciously soothing.
(Photo credit for Rachel's photo, Michael Halsband)