My light bulb moment: Deodorant pioneer Laurie Hooper reveals the inspiration behind her business 

Laurie Hooper, 36, co-founded The Natural Deodorant Co. with former husband Brett in 2015. She lives in Essex with her new partner Chris, her two children, Tabitha, 12, Seth, nine, and her stepson Ashton, six.

Growing up in Essex, I left school and went to work on the beauty counters for Clarins and Clinique.

Then, in 2008, I got pregnant and became very aware of what I was putting in and on my body, so I switched to organic products.

However, the natural beauty world was a minefield; there weren’t many options. Most deodorants were alcohol-based sprays you had to re-apply during the day. I didn’t trust them for important events, but smelling bad was an absolute no.

Laurie Hooper, 36, (pictured) co-founded The Natural Deodorant Co. with former husband Brett in 2015

Laurie Hooper, 36, (pictured) co-founded The Natural Deodorant Co. with former husband Brett in 2015

I was fed up with spending tons on natural deodorants that didn’t work. So my husband Brett and I decided to try making our own — which went on for seven years.

Initially, we were just doing it for us. But we got more adventurous, and by late 2014, we’d developed a formula that really worked.

It contained anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and detoxifying ingredients (as we’d learned it’s not the sweat that smells, but the bacteria reacting with it): coconut oil, magnesium, sodium bicarbonate, white clay and essential oils, plus shea butter for a creamy base that could be applied by hand.

We tried it on Brett, who was a personal trainer: the ultimate test! And it worked.

The company currently has three product ranges: Active for sports; Clean for daily use; and Gentle for sensitive skin

The company currently has three product ranges: Active for sports; Clean for daily use; and Gentle for sensitive skin

We realised we were on to something. But, with two kids, we only had a £500 budget. Nevertheless, in March 2015 we launched The Natural Deodorant Co. on Instagram. In a week, we had a message from Triyoga (a trendy chain of yoga studios) asking to stock our product. It snowballed from there.

Now we have three product ranges: Active for sports; Clean for daily use; and Gentle for sensitive skin. The packaging is recyclable. We’re sold in Holland & Barrett, Planet Organic, Whole Foods and Selfridges. Celebrity fans include Fearne Cotton and Deliciously Ella.

The pandemic was worrying, but thankfully — as an essential hygiene product rather than a luxury — we’ve not been adversely affected.

Brett and I divorced in 2017, but the brand was doing so well it would have been madness to ruin it. We work together well: he runs operations; I’m the creative. And, our daughter Tabitha is now 12 and using our deodorant. We don’t have any stinky teens in this house! 

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