The search for an aluminum free deodorant goes on, but for the want of anything better I am fairly pleased with Desert Essence Dry By Nature Deodorant ($6.39). For the sedentary, it will likely keep you nearly completely dry. For the more active, it certainly helps. Overall, it is the best aluminum free deodorant I've tried so far.

On the other hand, giving up aluminum may be exposing me to other things that are best avoided. One of these is cocamide DEA. This is made by mixing fatty acids (from coconut oil) with diethanolamine. It crops up in shampoos because it creates a creamy, foaming solution. In 1998, the National Toxicology Program established a link between diethanolamine and cancer in a study on rats. The study didn't establish a link for humans and, in 2006, the FDA said that "for the time being" it saw "no reason for consumers to be alarmed".

The Cancer Prevention Coalition is less sanguine. It says that DEA can react with other ingredients in cosmetics and form NDEA. And this is what the International Agency for Cancer Research has to say about NDEA: "NDEA should be treated as if it were a carcinogen in humans".

Dessert Essence deodorant also contains sodium borate, which isn't that great either (the EPA decided that it can be toxic, particularly to infants). This is all a shame because the rest of the ingredients are better than you will find in a lot of face creams: aloe, neem, chamomile, marigold, witch hazel and lichen. Still, the search goes on.