- November 25, 2021
- Posted by Claire Goldsworthy
- No comments
Cancer-causing chemicals like triclosan, formaldehyde, and synthetic fragrances are three of the most common ingredients in off-the-shelf deodorants. They're added to prevent the pong but they've also been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
Aluminium is another nasty no-no, yet it's the main ingredient in antiperspirant deodorant, added to block the sweat glands and minimise perspiration. It'll help keep you dry all day, but it mimics the effects of estrogen in the body leading to hormone disruptions. It also causes cell mutation which can increase the risk of tumours.
Phthalates, parabens and propylene glycol are the other three red-flag ingredients to look out for; they cause congenital disabilities, reproductive issues and skin irritation. Some countries have even banned parabens in children's products because of the impact on cell growth and development.
Mention any one of these ingredients to Jane Vandermeer, and you'll be met with just as much disdain as you would from me. She's the Founder of Intuitive Whispers, and we share a passion for ethical production and a dream for a better, cleaner beauty industry.
Jane's brain is the best to pick when it comes to all things non-toxic and natural deodorant...
What does being ethical mean to you?
Every area of our business is ethical. The suppliers we use, potential business agreements, stores we stock in or creatives we work with; each business or individual must be ethically aligned. We would rather walk away from a potentially lucrative opportunity than work with a partner whose values aren't aligned.
For example, we use Frankincense in many of our products. It's harvested in Somaliland, where Frankincense trees are passed down through generations, and individual harvesters have access to specific regions by tribal right. Unfortunately, the selling system often takes advantage of the harvesters who are paid the lowest wage for some of the hardest work. Instead, we go directly to the people who harvest and sort the Frankincense resins. We've even contributed significantly to the construction of warehouses built throughout the mountains where these resins are collected, sorted, and stored, again primarily by women, which provides important value-add employment opportunities in these very remote areas. These warehouses function as a cooperative, organising harvesters and shopkeepers into a network. This provides improved transparency, fairness, employment opportunities, and security for those participating in the supply chain and adding the most value. Our Co-Impact Sourcing Initiative for Frankincense resins provides harvesters with fair wages and on-time payments (including food and cash prepayments spread out during the year) by working around the layers of middlemen and instead working directly with those who harvest and sort the Frankincense. This arrangement provides a much more stable and reliable income to Frankincense harvesters.
Although other suppliers would be less expensive and therefore impact the bottom line more positively, we choose to put ethics and purpose above profit. Not compromising on the integrity of our ingredients is a non-negotiable for us.
What does being sustainable mean to you and how do you apply this to your business?
Just like ethics, sustainability is a consideration within every step of our business model, whether it's our supply chain or distribution chain. We generate very little waste in the business and almost everything is recycled. We even repurpose packaging that our suppliers send us. We also produce in small batches so there's is no wastage or excess stock, and we love to support local creatives and small businesses. This is a very conscious decision, particularly Australian made and owned. Another aspect of being sustainable within the business is that each of our suppliers are very considered, and it isn't always about the cheapest prices - it's about the sustainability impact of our suppliers, and the quality of ingredients or services. Positive relationships are important, and we choose to use compostable satchels for our online orders too. They cost us double price of a 'traditional' plastic satchel but we'd prefer to have a positive impact. We've thought about passing on those charges, but instead we absorb the price difference as it is one of our values. Many of our business associates and collaborators are independent, innovative and impressive businesses, and independent creative businesses bring richness, flavour and depth. So supporting other creatives is another way we contribute to other sustainable and ethical business.
Can you share your start up story and how your brand came to be?
Intuitive Whispers is a business that provides help and support for woman to connect to their innate wisdom; to listen to the whispers that we usually dismiss. My first and signature Breast Care Deodorant is a culmination of many years of my personal story, coming together. I was working high stress jobs, reapplying deodorant many times a day, and trying many natural deodorants, but often they left me stinky quickly. I had tried so many natural deodorants that either didn't work properly or upon closer inspection, there were hidden nasty ingredients. I didn't like the long-term affects of the chemicals going into my body. Then, I had a number of breast lump scares so, I began researching and learning.
That's when I created my own deodorant free of nasty hormone disrupters and it didn't upset my compromised lymph system. I actually add goodness, love and care to my body every single day. And most importantly, I'm completely stinky free too. Synthetic parfumes contain so many chemicals, yet, I love and have always worn French parfume. I have always loved beauty, fashion and glamour, as well as health, wellness and spirituality (before it was even a thing). But I kept my worlds separate. On a trip to Paris, whilst immersing myself in the fashion, culture and treats, I was also furthering my studies creating and blending parfumes and aromatherapy. And voila, my two worlds are now one, and my one world is filled with beautiful artisan products that are made with multifaceted, multidimensional, healing ingredients. My range is ethically made for the conscious consumer with carefully considered ingredients, and full of love and care! I am passionate about empowering women in many forms, particularly those within the creative and fashion industries. Whether that be reconnecting and trusting their intuition again, trusting the whispers that we are given who keep us on track, or making decisions and listening to guidance for our greatest good.
Can you share more about the health benefits of natural ingredients and why you use the ingredients you use?
Each of our recipes have been very carefully researched, tested and refined. To be honest, the first product, our Breast Care Deodorant, was sent to a number of different women to test in the initial stages all over the country in various cities, climates and humidity levels. Our Breast Care Deodorant is multi dimensional, so not only is it a natural deodorant that actually works but it contains healing ingredients. A number of my customers are women who have had Breast Cancer and now only use our Deodorant.
Our Young Woman Deodorant has evolved due to a couple of reasons. I have taught Fashion (at a tertiary level) on and off for many years. I've seen the stress and anxiety levels among students so elevated, so we created our Young Woman Deodorant. We are under no illusions that it will 'fix everything' however it is something that we use every day. The carefully selected ingredients have been designed to support feelings of stress and anxiety as well as hormone fluctuations. The feedback we have is that, girls are feeling more supported. Each day is a bit better, more positive, and less challenging. I want to encourage parents to make different decisions; conscious decisions for our girls instead of encouraging the use of traditional deodorants. As a heart-based business, this alone makes it all worthwhile!
The Parfume Oil ranges are clean and ethical yet luxurious. The aim was to design and produce a range that had the longevity of scent so that you could still smell beautiful by the end of the day yet know that you were not putting nasty ingredients onto your body. The packaging is also so beautiful that it can be left out on display. The aim was to be beautiful enough to sit amongst it's French cousins!
You recently won an award at the Australian Non-Toxic Awards. Can you share more about this experience?
This was a fantastic experience. As an independent business, breaking through the noise in a busy market takes courage. I have always believed in ethical business behaviour. We make conscious and strategic decisions to not compromise on the quality of our ingredients knowing that if we did, it would increase our margins and therefore our bottom line. When I read the labels on many products in the body care market, there are so many 'tricky' words used to describe ingredients, and too many brands state that they are natural when they aren't really. So, to be acknowledged and reviewed by independent judges within the Non-Toxic industry was a massive thrill and achievement and something that we are extremely proud of. To be sitting amongst the company of much bigger and more established brands, it was a wonderful compliment and a very proud moment as it really does take a community to support, cheerlead and listen when you are creating a business from scratch.
Smell better, the non-toxic way, and shop the Intuitive Whispers range here.