Applying deodorant is an essential part of the modern morning routine, and it has been since early adolescence for most of us. It's one of the many things we've done instinctually for decades without considering the impacts too. For many of us, smelling 'good' has been higher on the priority list than taking the time to research 'triclosan', a common deodorant ingredient and a known carcinogen.
Deodorant is a comfort-product; no-one wants to be that pongy one in the room. We all have our favourite brands that we stick to religiously and rely on, but keeping our pits pong-free can be detrimental to our health. The skin is the body's largest organ, and what we put on it - from the deodorant in our pits to the moisturiser on our palms - matters.
Most off-the-shelf deodorants contain an aluminium-based compound that temporarily blocks the sweat ducts and prevents perspiration, but deodorant doesn't just stop sweat coming out; deodorant also goes in to the body. The aluminium-based compounds that are meant to protect us, actually penetrate the skin, entering our bodies and ending up in our bloodstream. Many of the toxic ingredients used in everyday deodorants can lead to cancerous changes in human cells, or interfere with our hormones, leading to the growth of breast cancer cells.
The potential harmful health impacts of mainstream deodorants are a scary reality that Melanie McVean and Chris Caley are passionate about preventing. They're the founders of No Pong, and their natural deodorants are a healthy and safe solution for pong-free pits. No Pong deodorants are 100% paraben-free, aluminium-free, cruelty-free and plastic-free, and they'll keep your pits safely stench-free too.
Making the world a fresher-smelling place is high on Melanie's to-do list, and so is educating as many pit-owners as possible, so she happily made the time to share a little about her No Pong journey with husband Chris...
How did you first discover ‘natural deodorants’ and what made you want to pursue the development of No Pong?
I first became very aware of questionable ingredients about five years ago when I started to really pay attention to everything that I put on and in my body. It wasn’t that I was perfect, but I wanted to do it consciously, so if I had some sugar, I did it intentionally. I moved away from hidden ingredients and started to make all my own skincare products. About a year after that, we were away on a surfing trip in Java and Chris ran out his regular deodorant, so he had to use my homemade stuff. He was shocked at how well it worked and that was when we knew we had to share it with the rest of the world.
No Pong is wonderfully all-natural, paraben-free, cruelty-free and plastic-free. Why were these qualities of such importance to you?
Great question! The all-natural importance is about knowing what you’re putting on your body, because it all goes in it. In fact, the ingredients are so natural, that you could eat them (not that we recommend that). I am a midwife and lactation consultant as well, so I’m very aware of how important it is to have a balanced system. Parabens can mimic your hormones, but most importantly, if you don’t need to use those ingredients to achieve the end result (i.e, eliminate body odour), then why use them at all?
Chris and I are both animal and ocean lovers too, so having a product that is cruelty-free is essential. We don’t test on animals and we ensure that our suppliers don’t either.
Plastic-free is so important to us. We spend a lot of time in the ocean and see what plastic is doing to our oceans and the animals in it. We are committed to being plastic-free and to be truthful, it is not always easy, but we will never package No Pong in plastic.
What do you wish everyone knew about natural and sustainable products and what would be your advice to someone wanting to make the switch?
It all comes down to priorities. If someone is committed to choosing natural and sustainable products, they might have to get used to doing things differently. For example, when switching to a natural deodorant, if you choose No Pong, we guarantee that it will stop the 'pong', but you may sweat more in the beginning while your body adjusts if you were previously using an antiperspirant. Sweating is natural and so important for our body to be able to regulate your temperature, but you shouldn’t have to worry about the smell.
That said, we spend a lot of time in the tropics and we now actually sweat much less than we used to! How? Over time our bodies have adjusted back to not having our sweat glands clogged up by antiperspirants, so they seem to produce much less sweat overall. We’ve had the same feedback from lots of our long term customers as well.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the development stages of No Pong?
We don’t really have a 'biggest challenge'. We’re learning all the time, and as the business grows we’re constantly faced with new and exciting challenges and we see this as a positive thing. Chris and I are growing together, and along with the team, we’re constantly learning new things and jumping over new hurdles. It is part of the journey and we love every part of it.
What's it like going up against the corporate giants of the deodorant industry? Do you see them as ‘competitors’ or do you consider yourself in a totally different market?
We don’t actually think too much about competitors or the corporate giants of the deodorant category. We very literally focus on running our own race. We have an amazing No Pong community and right now we’re super focused on how we can give them the most amazing No Pong experience that we possibly can.
If you could be granted one magical wish, what would you wish for and why?
One magical wish would be that everyone puts a little 'love' into the interactions we all have in our daily lives. Customer love is our number one value and it just feels so amazing to make people smile all day long. Even though sometimes it may feel hard to spread the love, it doesn’t take that much effort to brighten someone’s day.
It reminds me of a quote about what we could learn if dogs were our teachers...
When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
To make the switch to natural deodorants, shop the range at No Pong and use TFA10 at the checkout for 10% off.
The Fashion Advocate x