Deodorant. The twist up stick made of who-knows-what standing in our bathroom cabinet. Middle school is around the age we usually discover this mysterious product, excited to use something ~mature~ for the first time. We’ve all done it at some point—taking that infamous first-deodorant trip to Walmart, Target, or some other drugstore, and grabbing one that looks like it works the best. That deodorant we first chose might not have smelt the best, applied clearly, or even worked, but somehow we keep buying it, or ones like it. We settle. 

Now hold on—can we take a second? Close your eyes and imagine a world without unwanted B.O. No more “cashmere mist,” “sexy intrigue,” or whatever “la la lavender” smells like. Not another moment of sneaking our drugstore antiperspirant at the bottom of our purse because we know we’ll need to reapply again later (but we don’t want others to know). Imagine a moment when we can say bye-bye forever to another unnecessary plastic waste item that doesn’t even work the way want it to. It’s time to ditch our old deodorant habits and get a better product that we won’t be ashamed to use. 

Sounds like a dream, right? Well, it’s not. It’s real. Our new deodorant haven, Paper Cosmetics, aka PĀPR to the in-crowd, has figured out how we can THRIVE in that dream place, with a deodorant formula that is rebelling against all the usual deodorant bullsh**. Its gentle ingredients and beautiful 100% biodegradable packaging are why this deodorant is on our favorite essentials list. 

Kim Eberle and her fiancé, Danial Roescheisen, are the focused team responsible for making the earth-friendly decision to fill the gap in the personal care market with PĀPR. The couple gradually became more aware of the harmful chemicals that can creep their way into our personal care routines. A common place where harmful chemicals can be found, but are often ignored, is in our deodorants. So, the duo developed a formula opting out of using aluminium, parabens, and silicones.

Regular deodorant has been a mindless purchase for so long. Admit it—we all put deodorant on our shopping lists when our last bottle runs empty, but when’s the last time you actually thought about what’s inside the deodorants you use daily? The reality of what we use but are unaware of is scary (and we mean Halloween, Friday the 13th, Jason is chasing you down a dim lit street, kind of scary). 

Aluminium is used in antiperspirants to block the sweat ducts under our arms and minimize B.O by inhibiting the bacteria that feed on our sweat. It’s not a little known fact that research such as Darbre’s shows this harmful metal may increase the risk of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. Yeah, thanks, we’ll pass.

And do you know what a paraben is? A lot of us don’t, but we’ve heard the word everywhere. It wasn’t even until I took a class on cosmetic ingredients in college that I learned that parabens are preservatives used to prevent bacteria growth in many cosmetic products so that they can survive on the shelf for longer. Trace amounts of parabens have also been found in breast tissue. Parabens can penetrate the skin and remain there. When the chemicals are absorbed into the skin, especially over a lifelong amount of time, they begin to function as estrogen, a very important female hormone. High levels of this exposure may increase the risk of breast cancer, says Penn Medicine. Though the link between cosmetic parabens and breast cancer is still being debated scientifically by the FDA and otherwise, it’s pretty clear that some of the common ingredients in our deoderants can end up being doing more harm than good to our bodies. 

Spooked yet? Wishing you were on a date with Jason instead of thinking about what’s inside your deodorant? Us too. 

The real shocker is that harmful ingredients like aluminium and parabens are not necessary ingredients for deodorant to do its job. Gentler ingredients  like baking soda can be used in place of the harsher ones to combat the sweat under our arms. Baking soda, when expertly formulated in a lower concentration, will not cause the irritation it gets a reputation for. The irritation some people see happens because of its natural alkaline pH. Our skin has a more acidic pH, so we don’t want to throw that off by applying too much of an alkaline product, thus causing the reaction. Basically, what we’re saying is, ingredients are always relative and they need to be formulated properly to work well. 

So what do we do now that we’ve disowned our old deodorants? The answer’s pretty simple: try a natural, safe deodorant! The ones by PĀPR are a great option. After using PĀPR deodorant these past few weeks, it’s kept me fresh and dry all day without irritation. The addition of ingredients like castor oil, shea butter, and coconut oil make the deodorant a dream to apply and wear. These oils have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits, along with a whole other list of benefits

PĀPR is made of biodegradable packaging from 99.98% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, responsibly sourced paper. An ultra-thin membrane made of cornstarch is the other 0.02% necessary to protect the formula from deteriorating the outer paper material. You’ll never catch any sneaky ingredients hiding behind “artificial fragrance” in these stink-fighting sticks. The brand’s unique scents are derived from cold-pressed essential oils like grapefruit, cedarwood, and bergamot. 

The good news: there are plenty of effective and synthetic-free solutions to preserving products! The best way to cut down on your paraben intake is to READ YOUR INGREDIENT LABELS. Be wary of products listed with “methylparaben,” “propylparaben,” “butylparaben,” and “benzylparaben.” But this list isn’t exclusive nor universal, so do your research ladies. If the ingredient is at the top of the list, impossible to pronounce, or looks like it belongs in a science experiment book, it’s probably a good sign to investigate further before checking out. Your armpits will surely thank you.