native-unearthed-vegan-deoderant-review
Mum's finds, Reviews

Native Unearthed charcoal deodorant balm review

During lockdown I’ve taken some time to start using a number of products I’d previously received in Birchboxes, partly down to the guilt of not using them and partly to ensure I’m using what I have before I embark on the laborious journey to the shops for what I might already have in a cupboard.

One thing I was really eager to try was Naturally Active’s charcoal deoderant balm. As part of living a more conscious life (something I’ve been trying to do since Travis was born, but ultimately life gets in the way a bit!) I’ve been trying to use products which have less of an impact on the environment. This has admittedly been a bit hit and miss with other things like shampoo bars, so I didn’t really want to try a different deoderant unless I wasn’t really going anywhere and bumping into anyone in case I was a bit smelly or worse, actually sweated on them! In that sense, lockdown has done me a favour enabling me to try an alternative deodorant without offending anyone’s nose.

Worth mentioning at this point that this review is completely my own experience and nobody has paid me or incentivised me to write this.

Native-unearthed-deoderant-balm-glass-jarWhat’s it like?
I have to admit, I’ve always been unsure about balms, ever since the early 2000’s fads of perfume balms and sticks (are they still a thing?) but the actual environment is more important than my feelings towards a certain texture of product so I power through. There’s not really a smell off it so my first worry was how well it would end up protecting against bodily odours. I’d say it was more of a paste than a balm, in that you don’t exactly rub it on directly like lip balm, but rather scoop some out. At first I wasn’t sure a paste was any better than a balm but it’s surprisingly easy to get used to, as long as you’re careful not to get half the tub stuck in your fingernails.

Apparently activated charcoal can absorb up to 1,000 times its own weight in moisture (a fact I learned from researching Native Unearthed) which is absolutely amazing, and better be true based on the amount I sweat after a light jog/workout. There are a few other scents available, coconut and vanilla or sage and lavender, but since I got this in my Birchbox I didn’t have a say in what balm I ended up with.

How to use it
The advice on the label is to scoop out a pea sized amount and work in your fingers until it becomes a smoother paste, then rub on the desired area. So far so easy. It’s not as quick as a skoosh with an aerosol, but it’s just a few extra seconds. A pea sized amount doesn’t seem much but when it mushes up it’s the ideal size for an armpit!

NB: You can probably use it anywhere you sweat, but I just stuck to the underarms.

Packaging and ingredients
All ingredients are, as you can imagine, natural. Bicarbonate of soda is a key ingredient which helps neutralise any odours, with the active charcoal playing its part here too. The only other ingredients are shea butter, coconut oil, arrow root and lavender essential oils, to keep your skin nourished whilst absorbing any moisture.

The size is just 60ml so it’s not the largest item in your bathroom cabinet, but as a little goes a long way, the Native Unearthed deoderant balm still lasts a fair amount of time. I’ve been using it every day since lockdown began (23rd March) and am only beginning to see the bottom of the jar now, over 6 weeks later. It also comes in a recyclable glass jar, another tick for the environment.

The result
Despite all my uncertainties around this product to begin with, I was really impressed with the end results. Whereas I found myself getting a bit hot and sweaty after a workout, my armpits were either dry, or in the case of more intense workouts, sweaty but not smelly. I found the active charcoal deoderant to be very effective in terms of keeping dry on a daily basis so would definitely recommend something like this for anyone looking to make the change away from aerosol.

Whilst I might not always buy this exact product, I know balms (especially ones with those ingredients) will work well for me.

Where can I get it?
Weirdly, whilst researching, I couldn’t find a website or any direct sales platform from Native Unearthed but it is available from health stores like Holland and Barratt and The Nature Shop. It’s sold out on the Birchbox site, and I think has been for some time. It retails for around £6.99 so dearer than your can of Sure or whatever, but worth it for the environment and the fact it actually protects against odours and excessive sweating, rather than try to simply cover with a more overpowering smell.

Native-unearthed-vegan-deoderant-balm-pin

lagom-lifestyle-inspiration
mum life, Mum time

Living a more conscious life – Lagom inspiration

I’m really into books that are all about creating the best lifestyle for you, and particularly loved the Little Book of Hygge I received as a Christmas present last year. The one book that really spoke to me though, was Lagom – the Swedish art of Balanced Living. Lagom is often referred to as the Swedish version of Hygge and is fast becoming the new lifestyle and cultural phenomenon us Brits are adopting.lagom-lifestyle-inspiration

As with the Danes and their Hygge, I related a lot to Lagom, as I think we Scots are not too dissimilar to our Scandinavian neighbours. A lot of what they promote, such as spending time in the great outdoors no matter the season, or offering to help out neighbours, are second nature here.

However as the title of the book suggests, Lagom is all about balance. For instance, you are encouraged to go out and explore the countryside, camp, climb, ski or whatever, so long as you don’t disturb or destroy anything. In essence, it’s all about taking a more conscious and balanced approach in all walks of life.

This is what really drew me into the book and the Lagom lifestyle as a whole. Now that I’m a parent, a whole lot of attitudes and priorities have changed for me. Any parent will tell you that they probably didn’t consider themselves selfish, until they had a child or children. Then you start to realise all the things you did or took for granted which either are no longer appropriate, or which you need or want to sacrifice for your little one(s).

For example, do I really need all those clothes? Or, more specifically, do I really need all those Saturday night clothes, when realistically I’ll get about one night out every couple of months, after a good few weeks of strenuous planning. Or do I really need like 8 pairs of black leggings when I only have one pair of legs?

Not only does Lagom preach about the importance of “just enough,” it helps keep your life organised, whether at home, work or at leisure. If I have just enough clothes for each occasion or eventuality, then I won’t need to buy unnecessary furniture, rooms won’t get clogged, and theoretically, I should always be able to find what I’m looking for. The same goes for paperwork, stationery, DVDs, books – heck, even pots and pans! If you don’t overdo it on the material possessions, you find that your home and your life suddenly become less cluttered.

As an organisational freak (to the point where every client at work has their own labelled folder and specific set of matching documents), I am very much a fan of anything which can keep my life in order (more so than it already is. Just ask Craig about the wee man’s wardrobe). So of course that side of Lagom appealed to me, but in doing this, or living a more practical life, you actually end up benefiting the environment. Think about it; if you’re not buying food you don’t need then you’re not wasting it, and if you’re not buying possessions you don’t need you are reducing your own carbon footprint. The Lagom life goes much deeper than this in terms of being an environmentally responsible person, but even by following just one or two of the practices (it feels weird calling it practices, like it’s some sort of set of cult commandments or something) you automatically start becoming more eco-friendly, and certainly more aware of the impact of your actions on the environment and wider world.

This then leads to more awareness in daily life. Now, when I’m doing things like picking new furniture, I don’t just go for the cheapest or most aesthetically pleasing item, I think about things like durability and longevity, and whether, in fact, it’s really necessary to replace the furniture item in the first place. Is it beyond repair, or could we just paint it/add a mirror/change handles etc to achieve the desired effect without wasting good furniture?

Upcycling and reusing things are part and parcel of the lifestyle, but so is a more conscious approach to even basic things like grocery shopping. Whether it’s changing your shopping habits to minimising food waste through better meal planning or ‘deal’ avoidance, or simply looking at products and choosing those with less packaging or which have travelled less miles before finding their way into your basket, we can all become a little more Lagom and help the planet at the same time.

It’s not all about being an eco-friendly warrior, though, as Lagom is also about balance and togetherness with friendships, family and work life. Their attitude to a work-life balance is something which massively appeals, specifically the Swedes attitude to childcare and spending time with your children as they grow up. Fun things like neighbourhood picnics/BBQs etc where everyone contributes something to the party are hugely appealing too.

Already I’ve found myself following many of the Lagom practices subconsciously, and with a little help and co-operation from friends and family, I’m looking forward to making life a little more Lagom each day.