Cosmetic Truth of the month: BRUT Antiperspirant Stick

50 ml, 3€

Some cosmetic products have no detailled product presentation, as is the case with BRUT Antiperspirant deodorant, where the manufacturer, Unilever, simply presents the composition of the product on its website. And if we continue along the lines of the brand’s advertising strategy, « Brut » is a raw, no frills, product which cuts to the chase. It’s a deodorant. It’s for guys. And that’s it.

So let’s get down to business: The list of components, BRUT Antiperspirant :

Ingredients/ INCI : Cyclomethicone, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Talc, PEG-8 distearate, Parfum, BHT, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool


Ingredient’s list analyzed with the website’s INCI Search tool

And more information concerning fragrances like Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, etc  can be found on the website, too.


Component Analysis BRUT Antiperspirant :

The formula starts off powerfully with Cyclopentasiloxane in first position, a silicone based substance, suspected of being an endocrine disruptor. Next is an aluminium salt, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, which is particularly problematic.

What’s the problem with aluminium salts in cosmetics?

Aluminum salts are reactive components, partially soluble, that can penetrate the body’s tissues. For some time now aluminium salts have been singled out in various studies, but the two most recent studies have once again revived the debate on the connection between aluminium salts in deodorants and the development of cancer. A 2016 Swiss study* « International Journal of Cancer”, Geneva, considered the implications of aluminium in the development of breast cancer. The study, by André-Pascal Sappino and Stefano Mandriota showed that deodorants containing aluminium salts cause tumours in guinea pigs.

And another study carried out last summer, Innsbruck Austria (July, 2017)*, published in EBioMedicine, particularly linked certain aluminium salts to the risk of developing breast cancer. The findings of this study: For those who, from an early age, have been using an antiperspirant containing aluminium salts several times a day on shaved underarms, the risk of developing breast cancer is doubled. As is often the case, the authorities’ response ( ANSES in France)* which is intended to reassure, proposes concentration restrictions (0.6%) which are not always respected.

« The data analysis proposed a restriction of aluminium concentration to 0.6% in antiperspirant or deodorant products.It should be noted that this restriction doesn’t apply to damaged skin being exposed to it, such as after shaving or micro cuts.Therefore, the Afssaps (French Health Products Safety Agency) recommends not to use antiperspirants containing aluminium on damaged skin.”

But the restriction recommendation remains only a suggestion.

According to information from the BfR* (German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) « amounts of 20% are quite common in antiperspirants ». This would correspond to an aluminium content of about 5%.  The German Federation of Cosmetics and Cleaning Products Professionals’ newsletter (Industrieverbandes Körperpflege- und Waschmittel e.V. (IKW) reports concentrations of aluminium hydrochlorides of up to 30%, in antiperspirant creams for example. (IKW, 2012).

And there are other issues:

Aluminium salts block the sweat glands

Aluminum hydrochlorides and sulphates used in many conventional deodorants prevent sweat from beading on the surface of the skin, so they clog pores. This can lead to itching and skin irritation.

A distinction must be made with regard to aluminium-based components:

However, not all components that are called, or whose names begin, in INCI terms with « Aluminum » or « Alumina », are « aluminium salts ».

It is important to distinguish between aluminium hydrochlorides* and aluminium oxides, hydroxides and silicates** (which are also part of the composition of clays, for example, see « bauxite » or « corundum », naturally present in the earth).

*Aluminium chlorohydrates (among others)

  • Aliminium Chloride
  • Aluminium Chlorhydrate
  • Aluminium Chlorhydrex
  • Aluminium Chlorhydrex PG
  • Aluminium Distearate
  • Aluminium Sesquichlorohydrate
  • Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinnate
  • Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY

**Aluminium oxides/Hydroxides (among others)

+ Alumina (= aluminiumhydroxyde)

+ Aluminium/Magnesium Hyroxide Stearate

+ Aluminium Starch Otenylsuccinate

+ Aluminium Silicate

Aluminium oxides, silicates and hydroxides are chemically inert aluminas, i.e. they are not chemically reactive as they stand.

Aluminum oxides and hydroxides do not release aluminum, but this may be the case with aluminum hydrochlorides, which are considered soluble.

(By the way, avoid cooking food in foil with lemon... it is a sure way to increase aluminium content in food and therefore to absorb it)

And now back to our product, the BRUT Antiperspirant stick :

Analysis of components BRUT Antiperspirant :

 Controversial substances which have crept into the formula:

* Cyclopentasiloxane in first position. A silicone based substance, suspected to be an endocrine disruptor.

  • Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, which is part of the aluminium salts, see issue explained above, restrictions of use (20%) in 2nd position, therefore present in large quantities.
  • PEGs in 3rd and 7th position, PPG-14 Butyl Ether/PEG-8 distearate, are ethoxylated substances. Obtained from extremely reactive and toxic gases, resulting from a chemical process which demands the most stringent safety measures. PEGs are also likely to make the skin barrier more permeable to other substances and are not very biodegradable, therefore polluting.
  •  BHT , studied as an endocrine disruptor and classified as a real problem (possibly carcinogenic) in some countries.

Conclusion BRUT Antiperspirant :

A completely « brute rough and ready » imitation which doesn’t even pretend…. An « impressive amalgam » of controversial and problematic components, not very commendable.




Note; this article is from 2019

Product compositions can change, even an entire product line can change from year to year and choose to remove or add certain ingredients or even remove products, for example. No consumer site or magazine constantly updates these changes, it would be a gigantic job, to do continuously. And the articles are not removed at the simple request of the manufacturers who would explain that the formulas have changed since the test was published. On the other hand, the product test reflects « the exact image of the moment », the tests are clearly dated.