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Benefits of Copaiba Oil when used in Free-From Deodorant


What is Copaiba Oil?

A powerfully relaxing essential oil, Copaiba comes from a fragrant, large tropical tree native to South America. Traditionally used since the 19th century as a healing and anti-inflammatory agent in Brazilian folk medicine, its pleasant and spicy aroma can be found in our Personalized Woodsy deodorant.

The Science

In recent years, several studies suggest a broad spectrum of benefits from Copaiba oil, including antimicrobial (1) and anxiety reducing tendencies (2). Copaiba oil’s main component is beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which is known as a cannabinoid (3). Let’s get technical for a second: 

  • Cannabinoid refers to any compound that triggers your endocannabinoid system (ECS) by activating its receptors (4). The ECS plays an important role in regulating many functions within your body, including the inflammatory system, immune function, sleep, and hormones. 
  • These endocannabinoids activate your cannabinoid receptors—cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Copaiba oil is a CB2.

Beta-caryophyllene directly activates your CB2 receptor. BCP is also commonly found in CBD oil, and while Copaiba and CBD oil have similar benefits, at this time scientists are able to collect more reliable information about dosage and effects with BCP’s in Copaiba oil than with CBD.

The Benefits 

Because of the effects of BCP on the mood, just smelling Copaiba oil after a long and stressful day can reduce feelings of anxiety. For this reason, Copaiba oil is often used in aromatherapy. The combination of the woody scent and its gentle effects on your hormones can improve your day immediately.

Studies have even found  that low concentrations of Copaiba oil are able to inhibit bacterial growth (5), which makes it the perfect addition to your deodorant routine. Using Copaiba oil topically can significantly speed up any healing processes and protect the area from future infections.

You can feel relaxed and protected with Copaiba oil, found in our Personalized Woodsy deodorant.


  1. Santos, Adriana O., et al. “Effect of Brazilian Copaiba Oils on Leishmania Amazonensis.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Elsevier, 15 Aug. 2008, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874108004480.
  2. Kobayashi, Cristine. “Pharmacological Evaluation of Copaifera Multijuga Oil in Rats.” Taylor & Francis, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13880209.2010.515595.
  3. Bahr, Tyler, et al. “Effects of a Massage-like Essential Oil Application Procedure Using Copaiba and Deep Blue Oils in Individuals with Hand Arthritis.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Churchill Livingstone, 10 Oct. 2018, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388118304079.
  4. Bahr, Tyler, et al. “Effects of a Massage-like Essential Oil Application Procedure Using Copaiba and Deep Blue Oils in Individuals with Hand Arthritis.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Churchill Livingstone, 10 Oct. 2018, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388118304079.
  5. Bahr, Tyler, et al. “Effects of a Massage-like Essential Oil Application Procedure Using Copaiba and Deep Blue Oils in Individuals with Hand Arthritis.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Churchill Livingstone, 10 Oct. 2018, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388118304079.

Our philosophy: deodorant is not made to be one-size-fits all. Like medicine, like skin care, like body care – not only do our needs vary from one person to the next, they also vary day to day, moment to moment.

A guide to choosing your Nala deodorant:

As a baseline, all Nala deodorants are unisex, safe for all ages, and free-from aluminum, known carcinogens, and cruelty.

From there, each formula is unique. In addition to different scents, each Nala deodorant is a different strength to best suit individual needs.

A quick run-down of our three deodorants to help guide the conversation of which deodorant may be best suited to your needs today.

Peppermint-Charcoal Detox Deodorant

The Peppermint-Charcoal deodorant is our most gentle formula, baking soda free. Recommended as a transition deodorant for those new to free-from deodorants, but also great everyday deodorant. Use alone, while detoxing, or in conjunction with one of the other two. The deodorant glides on clear and a little goes a long way. 

Peppermint has naturally cooling properties which can lower your internal temperaturemaking it a great deodorant for the summer time and warm weather. For hot sleepers, apply it before you go to sleep to wake up feeling tingly and refreshed.

Lemon-Myrtle Geranium Deodorant

A light lemony smell, this Lemon-Myrtle Deodorant is an excellent everyday deodorant. With a low percentage of baking soda, it is a more gentle formula than the Sandalwood and offers stronger protection than the Detox. 

Organic Lemon-Myrtle extract not only gives off fresh citrus vibes but it is also a powerful cleansing agent with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties2. Providing light, floral undertones, organic Geranium serves to fight bacteria3 and leave you feeling fresh.

Sandalwood & Bergamot Deodorant

Our strongest deodorant with the highest concentration of baking soda. Great for those days where you’re looking for a little bit of extra protection, or a good everyday deodorant for heavier sweaters. The Sandalwood & Bergamot is our best-seller among men but is enjoyed by all sexes.

Sandalwood has a ceremonial significance in addition to being a strong disinfectant. Its emollient (read: smoothing) properties remove harmful bacteria from the surface of the skin while also soothing any irritations or breakouts4.

Reach for this one on days of big meetings and long shifts. Our co-founder Ada wore this on her wedding day.

Decision time

Take your own personal needs into consideration when purchasing your next deodorant. Start with a deodorant that calls you most, and adapt as your needs evolve. Feel free to rotate, mix them up, and use them in conjunction with each other (detox at night, a baking-soda deodorant during the day is a popular combination). It can require a shift in mindset, but learning about your own individual needs and preferences and how they vary will allow you to best serve your needs. You know you best, honour that.

Still stuck on where to start? Shoot us an e-mail at sayhello@nalacare.com, we’re happy to help.


  1. Aishwarya Balakrishnan /J. Pharm. Sci. & Res. Vol. 7(7), 2015, 474-476. Therapeutic Uses of Peppermint –A Review
  2. Wilkinson, Jenny M., and Heather Cavanagh. “Antibacterial activity of essential oils from Australian native plants.” Phytotherapy Research 19.7 (2005): 643-646.
  3. Prabuseenivasan, Seenivasan, Manickkam Jayakumar, and Savarimuthu Ignacimuthu. “In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 6.1 (2006): 39.
  4. Burdock, George A., and Ioana G. Carabin. “Safety assessment of sandalwood oil (Santalum album L.).” Food and Chemical Toxicology 46.2 (2008): 421-432.

In terms of beauty, our society doesn’t look too kindly on sweat.

We may be beset by advertisements encouraging us to live the sweat life, but those ads are usually accompanied by images of pristine-looking men and women without so much as a touch of glow on their brows.

The beauty industry has even gone so far as to employ chemistry to physically block our sweat glands – in the form of antiperspirant – rather than allow a little moisture to escape our underarms.

We at Nala have a different approach to sweat.

We think sweating is nothing short of a small miracle.

The release of moisture from the pores of your skin is a highly effective, fine-tuned system with significant health benefits – and it’s time we started celebrating it.

How sweat works

Sweat is secreted through the pores of the skin via our sweat glands. We all have between 2 and 4 million sweat glands in our body, although the number doesn’t necessarily dictate how sweaty an individual will be: factors like gender, genetics, environmental conditions, age and fitness level/weight tend to determine sweat more than quantity of glands.

Eccrine sweat glands are spread throughout the body, and their chief role is to regulate the body’s temperature.

When our autonomic nervous system (aka our involuntary body responses) experiences a rise in body temperature, it signals the eccrine glands to emit a mix of water, sodium, and other trace materials in the form of sweat. This sweat then cools to the temperature of the air outside the body, and helps to drop our internal temperature.

This automatic reaction is easiest to notice on a cool day if you’ve been exercising – as soon as you stop moving your sweat cools quickly, as does your overall body temp (sometimes to your detriment). Still, how cool is it that our body intrinsically releases sweat in order to keep our temperature out of the danger zone?

The other kind of sweat gland is the apocrine gland, found only in the underarm and the groin.

While these glands respond to rising body temperature, they’re also triggered to release sweat when we experience anxiety, stress, and/or fluctuating hormones. Unlike eccrine glands, apocrine sweat glands release a bacteria that helps to break down sweat, but is also responsible for body odour.

Regardless of number or kind, our sweat is essential for maintaining a healthy body temperature range.

But that’s not all.


The detoxification, or “detoxing” of our bodies is still an incredibly important process (albeit one that’s often misrepresented).

Our sweat is an essential form of natural bodily detox, which is why practices like steaming, saunas and sweat lodges have existed for centuries.

We’d like to clear a few things up for you, though.

First, our body has another finely tuned system that mostly manages the toxins that enter our bodies: between our liver and kidneys, most of the harmful substances we ingest or absorb are processed, contained and expelled.

Problems start to arise, however, when our bodies are overwhelmed by toxins and the liver and kidneys can no longer process the load. When this happens, excess toxins are stored in our fat, and, from there, secreted through our sweat glands.

The most important thing you can do for detoxification is to support your vital organs by eating well, minimizing drug and alcohol intake, and avoiding chemically-laden cleaning and cosmetic products.

However, given the sheer volume of environmental toxins we come into contact with daily, regular sweating due to exercise or saunas is a great way to detoxify, provided you’re staying hydrated.

Rather than mortification at your sweat, try reminding yourself that sweat is a sign your body is monitoring itself, ensuring all systems are go, and flushing harmful substances.


Everything in moderation

Allow us to restate our position: sweating is awesome, in moderation.

About 3% of the population of North America suffers from a condition called Hyperhydrosis, or excessive sweating.

We’re not talking about the occasional embarrassing sweat stain, either: people with severe hyperhydrosis can have trouble doing everyday things like gripping a steering wheel or writing with a pen, if the condition is localized to their palms (for instance).

If you think your sweating has gone well beyond what’s healthy, talk to a healthcare professional.

If you contend with the occasional sweat stain, rejoice! Your body is functioning beautifully.

Your armpit is the focal point of some pretty intimate conversations.

Sweating, body odour, body hair… the armpit, and what you do with it, has everyone weighing in.

And no conversation is more loaded than the one about the connection between what you put on your pit and what ends up in your baby’s body.

Like so much else to do with deodorant, the public discourse about antiperspirants and deodorants containing aluminium and breastfeeding is raging, and full of contradictory information, advice, and opinions.

We are not doctors. We have not studied child-rearing, breastfeeding, or anything pediatric in an in-depth, professional capacity. But we are a science-based company dedicated to promoting self care and awareness.

So here’s our take on using anti-perspirant when you’re breastfeeding.

What we know about antiperspirant

If you haven’t been following along on our blog, here’s a little re-cap: most commercial antiperspirants use an aluminium chloride compound, which mixes with your sweat and plugs up your sweat glands. This is troublesome for two reasons: one, sweating is natural function of the body to flush our systems of toxin.

Two, when you use aluminium to plug up your pores, they inevitably let a lot of aluminium into your body.

What we know about aluminium

Aluminium is a heavy metal capable of crossing the “blood-brain barrier” – a filtering mechanism of the capillaries that blocks the passage of certain substances into the brain.

This is to say that aluminium can accumulate in your body much more easily than other toxins. When it does, it can cause hormone disruption, potentially cancer, and, some studies suggest, even alzheimer’s disease.

Generally speaking, heavy daily use of an antiperspirant containing aluminium will increase the amount of aluminium in your body, but occasional use isn’t likely to give most adults cancer or other health issues.

But babies work a little differently.

What we know about breast milk & babies

As you may have noticed, babies are quite a bit smaller than adults.

While this makes them universally adorable, it also means that much smaller amounts of chemicals and heavy metals are required for them to experience toxicity in their systems.

Add that to the fact that the high fat and protein content of breastmilk attracts heavy metals and other contaminants, and there’s a good reason to be concerned about introducing excess aluminium into your system while breastfeeding your newborn.

So – antiperspirant while breastfeeding?

Is aluminium potentially bad for you and your newborn child? Absolutely.

Do you need to launch yourself into a frenzied detox, eschew all conventional beauty products, and stress out for the next 9-24 months while breastfeeding? Probably not.

The truth is that we accumulate less aluminium into breast milk through – and here’s the key word – occasional antiperspirant use than we do through the foods that we eat. And if where you apply you aluminium compound has you worried (the armpit is, after all, right next to the breast in question), you can rest a little easier knowing there are natural barriers in place between the underarm and the milk ducts.

We are advocates of free-from products, especially for mothers growing and feeding young children. But we are also advocates for mothers lowering their stress levels and feeling less judgement from the media and their peers.

Every body is different, and each of us will absorb and process aluminium in different ways. If you know you have a sensitivity, it might be best to switch to a free-from deodorant for the foreseeable child-rearing future.

But if you’re heading into public for the first time in three months and it’s 39 degrees outside, and you’re already self-conscious due to exhaustion and baby brain, it’s probably okay to slap on a layer of antiperspirant and call it a day (maybe just try out a little detox deodorant at night, between feedings).

The bottom line is that switching to a free-from deodorant from an antiperspirant will lower the amount of aluminium in your breast milk, which will lower the amount of aluminium that ends up in your baby. Regardless of any debate, that’s probably not a bad thing – for your child, or yourself.

What’s the deal with aluminum?

In an early example of online health trends, in the 1990s a chain email (remember those?) decrying the use of antiperspirant went the 90s version viral, showing up in hundreds of thousands of inboxes over the course of several months.

It was the first time that the debate about deodorants, antiperspirants, and, in particular, aluminium content in these products was brought to mass attention. Rather than having resolved itself in the last 25 years, however, aluminum is still a hotly debated topic in the cosmetics world.

And with good reason.

Below, we break it down for you – the allegations leveled at aluminum in antiperspirants, and why we choose to stay away from them here at Nala.

Plugging up your sweat glands (How antiperspirant works)

Antiperspirant was developed at the turn of the 19th century, and relied on straight aluminum chloride mixed with sweat to form a gel that plugged the user’s sweat gland. Unfortunately a significant portion of the population proved mildly allergic to the aluminum chloride, and developed itchy rashes and inflammation in their underarms when using the product.

Time may have passed, but modern antiperspirant relies on the exact same technology – an aluminum chloride compound that’s less allergenic mixes with sweat to form a gel-like substance. This gel literally plugs up your sweat gland, keeping sweat from escaping the body.

Given that sweating is a natural function our body employs to flush our system of toxins, and, alternately, to keep us cool and free from heat stroke, you can appreciate how stopping the process altogether might be cause for concern.

The “body burden” of aluminum

When fish swim in mercury-heavy waters, they bear what scientists have dubbed the “body burden”: they present with elevated levels of mercury in their systems.

The same is true of the aluminum compound found in antiperspirant – regular users have been found to have highly elevated aluminum levels. The effect of aluminum on our systems is still hotly debated, as you’ll discover in our next two points, but it’s been reliably shown to have a negative impact on our kidneys, at a minimum.

Xenoestrogens and Cancer

Now we move into more contested territory, and the basis of “aluminum-gate” from the early 90s: do elevated levels of aluminum in our system cause cancer, breast cancer in particular?

While there still isn’t 100% conclusive scientific proof of the link between the two, more and more research is tending that way because aluminium has been shown to be a xenoestrogen.

Xenoestrogens are substances that mimic estrogen in the body, plug into our estrogen receptors, and encourage our body to start producing new cells where new cells aren’t needed. The impact is seen in the reproductive centres of the body (because estrogen plays a central role in our reproduction), and includes everything from cysts, to full blown tumours.

While these cysts and tumours are not always linked to cancer, the correlation (and research backing the correlation) is growing.

The threat of Alzheimer’s

The other big conversation to do with aluminium relates to brain health – specifically, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating, fatal disease that causes memory loss and dementia in its sufferers. While there’s, again, not solid proof that aluminium contributes to the onset of the disease, those with dementia due to Alzheimer’s have been shown to have increased levels of aluminium in their brains.

The verdict

So does aluminium cause cancer and Alzheimer’s disease?

The answer is, simply, that we don’t know… yet.

No one can seem to agree whether this ingredient directly causes these conditions, but there’s enough science-based, peer-reviewed research out there for us to know that this metal does end up in our system, and does wreak havoc once there.

And there’s more than enough correlation between these diseases and the metal for us to want to keep it out of daily-use products like deodorant and why Nala and all our products will always be free-from aluminum.

Creating Nala has been a labour of patience, dedication, and – most of all – love.

When we started on our journey we knew we wanted to create a product that supported health & well being at a much deeper level than what we could find on the market.

We chose deodorant as our first venture for that reason – deodorant can be an incredibly personal, oftentimes vulnerable product choice. If you wrestle with excess sweat or body odour, you know how onerous and embarrassing it can be to find a solution.

What’s more, deodorant is one of the worst offenders when it comes to toxic beauty products.

As we dug into the market, we knew for certain we needed to include two elements in our deodorant line: a free-from label/philosophy, and a detoxifying product.

What it means to be free-from

Free-from is a relatively new label in the beauty world, but it’s rock-solid when it comes to defining our product philosophy.

At the most literal level, our products will be free from the laundry list of toxic ingredients found in conventional antiperspirants as well as any free-from ingredients found to have a negative impact on health and well-being. All Nala products, including our Nala Free-From Deodorant will be always free from the worst offenders listed below. This is our promise to you.

Nala free-from deodorant is free from:

  • aluminum – changes your estrogen receptors; linked to liver, kidney and brain issues
  • carcinogens  – substances that can lead to cancer
  • parabens – mimic estrogen in the body; cause cancer
  • phthalates – interfere with, mimic or block hormones
  • propylene glycol – considered a neurotoxin; known to cause liver and kidney damage
  • cruelty – None of our products will ever be tested on animals.

Beyond the literal, however, the free-from label is aspirational. It puts high-quality ingredients at the forefront, and reminds us, every time sit down to talk about a product, that our deepest commitment is to create something free from the negativity and pitfalls of the current beauty industry.

The decision to detox

Now that you know what actually goes into your conventional deodorant, you might better understand the decision to release a detox deodorant alongside our daily use deodorant.

The truth is that using conventional deodorants and antiperspirants over the years has probably left an unfortunate build up of chemicals in your system.

You can read more about what might be going on in your underarm in our Nala Detox Guide, but, suffice it to say, the area could probably do with a clean-up – which is exactly what our detox deodorant provides.

In the spirit of being free-from (at a literal and aspirational level) we couldn’t have you use our deodorant without first going deeper and undoing some of the damage done by past products.

While it’s still a new and growing label, free-from represents a shift in what it means to consume beauty products, take care of ourselves, and what we demand of the beauty industry. We’re excited to see where it takes us next!