Gleams & Notions

Carrubba Relies on Enzymes to Fight Underarm Odor

By Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant | July 7, 2009

Changes are underway in the development of underarm deodorant formulas. A simple, standard deodorant ingredient label typically includes propylene glycol, water, sodium stearate, fragrance, triclosan and FDC dyes. The active ingredient is triclosan, a bacteriocide that kills the microbe to prevent malodor. Some new stick formulas do not mention an active ingredient, but fragrance is listed. One such commercial product listing is dipropylene glycol, water, propylene glycol, sodium stearate, fragrance, PPG-3 myristyl ether, tetrasodium EDTA and FDC dye. I cannot identify a deodorant chemical in this listing, so this formula does not kill the source of the odor, but it may mask it with the fragrance.

This leads us to a relatively new solution to odor control by neutralization of odors based on a fermentation technology. Carrubba Inc., Milford, CT supplies a natural deodorant material called DeoPlex (INCI: Saccharomyces ferment). It is available in two versions, DeoPlex Clear and DeoPlex Organic which is U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (NOP)-certified organic and comes from a vegetable feedstock. This material contains enzymes such as hydrolases, de-Esterases, reductiveases, and oxidases which are said to promote the conversion of a wide range of malodorous substances to their heavier molecule weight, non-odorous salt forms.

The DeoPlex products are apparently effective on chemicals such as amines, mercaptans, esters, aldehydes, thios and alcohols.

They can also neutralize odors caused by perspiration, human waste, vomit, cigarette smoke, food, mildew, pets and depilatories.

The DeoPlex products are clear to slightly hazy liquids, which are completely water soluble, with a pH of 3-5, but will be effective in formulas with a pH range of 2.5-9.5

DeoPlex is recommended for use in the following products: deodorants, baby and foot care, feminine hygiene, household products, liquid and bar soap, pet care products, depilatories, permanent wave solutions and cosmetic base odor neutralization.Carrubba suggests the following use levels for DeoPlex:

Underarm stick2-3
Liquid soap0.5-1
Bar soap 1
Pet care3-5
Lipstick (castor oil)0.5

Here is a formula for a deodorant stick developed by Carrubba.

Deodorant Stick

Propylene glycol73.5
Sodium stearate8.0

Procedure: Mix glycol and water while heating. When temperature reaches 145-155°F, add the sodium stearate. Continue mixing until batch is clear. Remove from heat and continue mixing. When temperature cools to 135 – 140°F, add the DeoPlex. When thoroughly mixed, pour batch into suitable containers and cool to room temperature.

About the Author
Harvey Fishman has a consulting firm at 34 Chicasaw Drive, Oakland, NJ 07436,, specializing in cosmetic formulations and new product ideas, offering tested finished products. He has more than 30 years of experience and has been director of research at Bonat, Nestlé LeMur and Turner Hall. He welcomes descriptive literature from suppliers and bench chemists and others in the field.
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