I thought we'd be in air conditioning for most of the day. I was wrong. And I was in Los Cabos, on the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. It's hot in August, around 33º C during the day. Alarming for a girl wearing deodorant instead of her usual trusty clinical-strength anti-perspirant. More distressing: the deodorant was a natural formula – those aren't known for being super effective. Specifically, I'd used Leaves of Trees Deodorant in Eucalyptus Mint.
leaves of trees natural deodorant: how it works
If you know of Leaves of Trees Deodorant, then maybe you know its fans include actor Jesse Eisenberg, who ordered it after receiving one at George Stromboulopoulos's TIFF 2013 Made in Canada Lounge. Sasha at Lainey Gossip caused a fuss about it last year, and a host of beauty editors and bloggers are talking about it too. (As for the all-natural, cruelty-free brand itself, actress Lisa Ray is a fan, as are Joe Fresh founder Joe Mimran, and his wife and Pink Tartan founder/designer Kimberly Newport.) Still, I hadn't meant to test the deo under extreme conditions when there was a strong chance of bowling people over with bad B.O. That it works for a buncha people including famous types doesn't mean it'll work for all. Or for me.
If you don't know Leaves of Trees Deodorant, let's catch you up. First thing to note is that it's a deodorant, which is designed to combat or mask odour, not wetness (for that you need an antiperspirant). The next thing is this: Leaves of Trees Deodorant doesn't combat or mask odour, "it stops odour before it starts," says Dr. Roohi Qureshi, founder and formulator of Leaves of Trees. (Fun fact: Roohi Qureshi is a medical doctor, has a masters degree in chemical engineering, and is a Cordon-Bleu-accredited pastry chef.)
Sweat itself doesn't really have an offensive odour (unless you've been eating something with a high stink factor). However, when the bacteria that lives on your skin begins to break sweat down, things change, says Dr. Qureshi. "During that process, new compounds are created that do have an unpleasant odour. This deodorant doesn't stop you from sweating, it stops the bacteria from breaking it down, so it stops the smell from occuring in the first place."
The Leaves of Trees Deodorant spins on sodium bicarbonate and a blend of essential oils, such as neem, eucalyptus, peppermint and grapefruit, all of which have potent antibacterial properties. The formula also contains skin-conditioning cocoa seed butter and argan oil (Dr. Qureshi used her popular Argan oil lotion as the springboard), as well as kaolin clay to absorb moisture.
leaves of trees deodorant vs mexico in august
Lovelies, even in the Los Cabos August heat, in the Los Tamarindos open kitchen with a red-hot oven, the Leaves of Trees Deodorant really works. I applied it first thing in the morning, perspired copiously and non-stop through a shade-limited garden tour and amazing hours-long cooking class (I'll tell you about it soon), and further tested it by adding stress to the mix much later that evening by getting myself locked out of the Exclusive Resorts villa we were staying in.
My travel companions – a small group of travel/fashion/beauty writers and bloggers plus Dr. Qureshi – had headed out on our villa-assigned golf carts down to the resort's beach club to take sunset pictures. I'd elected to stay back to get some work done. Except I was outside the gate taking a couple of snaps when everyone left; none of us realized the auto-lock on the door had been activated. And I didn't know how to get to the beach club. Doh! Turns out it doesn't always get cooler when the sun goes down; I was sweating horribly in the dark as I went on foot and uphill in search of some staff assistance.
Eventually someone took me down to find my crew; we met them as they were preparing to return to the villa, so I hitched a ride back with them. (If you're ever told that I could have gone around the back of the house and got in through the balcony doors, just pretend you didn't hear that part.)
Later, as I finally stumbled into my shower before bed that night, I took an extremely tentative sniff of my underarm area. Then I took another. A deeper inhalation. And smelled nothing. Nothing. I'm still marvelling, days later.
Although I'm seriously impressed with how effective Leaves of Trees Deodorant is, I'm not sure I'm a natural-formula convert. I hate underarm wetness; that's why I'm all about the clinical-strength antiperspirant. But I'll definitely use Leaves of Trees deo again, on days I know I'll be in less sweaty environments. And I'll recommend it effusively to anyone looking for an all-natural deodorant. Are you?
Leaves of Trees Deodorant ($15 CAN at leavesoftrees.com and pinktartan.com which ships free in North America) is made in Toronto and comes in two scents, cooling Eucalyptus Mint and a Lavender Tangerine I'm jonesing to try next (tangerine oil also has anti-bacterial properties).
Note: people who have sensitivities to certain essential oils may want to do a patch test before trying this or any other natural skincare product.
Also note: our press trip was courtesy of Leaves of Trees and Exclusive Resorts. One more thing: a trip won't make me like a product I don't or tell you it works if it doesn't.