With the rise in demand of people wanting natural alternatives, it is no surprise that there has been an increase in the number of natural deodorant brands arriving onto the market - one of which is Fussy. But what is the difference between Fussy and Proverb Refillable Natural Deodorant? We are being frequently asked this question, so we figured it would be useful to have a comparison.
We hope you can tell we have done our best to be balanced, as Proverb means ‘statements of truth’. Our entire point of being is to be an honest voice within the natural and organic skincare sector. Obviously, all brands develop over time and quite quickly in the e-commerce age so if you believe there is new information then please let us know so this can be updated.
Now, let’s get down to the review!
Who is Fussy and what is their brand message?
Fussy is a natural Refillable Stick Deodorant aiming to reduce single-use plastic, with one lifelong outer case and refills available for purchase. But what is their brand mission? “We are fussy about everything in our mission to bring you fresh smelling, planet-friendly armpits! From sourcing the highest quality ingredients we can to making sure our packaging uses the minimum amount of cardboard. We truly believe that by being fussy we can create a better planet for everybody.”
Now, who does the brand appeal to? Through their photography, colour scheme and Instagram built business subscription model, we would suggest it would appeal to women (generally speaking) as it appears to have a similar look to Wild Refillable Deodorant. The difference with Fussy, is that their case is slightly unusual for natural deodorants, as it is in the shape of a pebble.
Who are Proverb and what is their brand message?
Now, let's have a look at Proverb Natural Refillable Deodorant, a Refillable Stick Deodorant with one lifelong outer case and then all you have to do is buy refills. A natural, aluminium free deodorant, aiming to reduce single-use plastic. But what is their mission?
“Proverb is made for people who take health, PERFORMANCE and the environment around them seriously. We take the understanding & efficacy of elite SPORTS NUTRITION and apply it to your skin. We make products that are better for the person using them, others who need help and the planet.”
It is clear from first impressions that Proverb is reaching the active crowd, with the forefront of their brand messaging surrounding active, sporty men. This is not surprising given that the brand was launched by ex-premiership rugby play and spa skincare expert wife duo, Luke and Kirstie Sheriff. After originally launching their skincare range back in 2018, Proverb soon started crowdfunding for their natural refillable deodorant in June 2019 and finally launched it to the public in December 2019. Their signature deodorant has soon become their best selling product across the natural and organic skincare range.
Natural Deodorant Ingredients
What ingredients does Fussy deodorant use?
The next thing to analyse in this Fussy deodorant review is the ingredients themselves. Fussy is a UK based natural deodorant brand and according to their website, it states that their deodorant is formulated and manufactured by their partner here in the UK, a family-run company with extensive green credentials. However, not all ingredients are homegrown as some of their ingredients are only available abroad - where there are different climates.
All of Fussy’s formulas are natural and vegan - but not organic. They are free from aluminium, parabens, toxins, sulphates, petroleums, propylene gasses, gluten-free and cruelty-free as they are currently in the process of gaining their Leaping Bunny Certification.
Fussy’s natural deodorant is based around sunflower wax, coconut oil, shea butter, caprylic, tapioca, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium hydroxide and then a probiotic called Lactobacillus. Their natural deodorisers and sweat absorbers are tapioca, sodium bicarbonate/ baking soda, magnesium, and a probiotic - lactobacillus (though they do not state which one).
The use of probiotics in Fussy’s deodorant has been heavily publicised in their press pieces. Native, who is the original successful US natural deodorant, have always contained a probiotic too, hence this is not a new concept (despite the claims).
What are they not free from?
Fussy is free from all the ingredients you would expect any natural brand to be free from.
Do Fussy deodorants contain fragrance?
Fussy does not list all their fragrances on their INCI on the website, they list parfum and the allergens, as legally required in the EU. For very sensitive skins it means you can’t see what the fragrance is made from, and can be a potent irritant.
Brands are allowed to do this to shorten the print needed on the pack. It isn’t ideal for the customer if you want to see absolutely everything in the ingredient list, but it is legal. You cannot access a full legal Inci list on their website currently (September 2022).
Does Fussy use sodium bicarbonate in all deodorants?
Sodium Bicarbonate is in all of Fussy’s deodorants. Although this is a brilliant natural deodoriser, people can be allergic to the ingredient - causing the armpit to become inflamed, red and itchy. Also known as Baking soda, it is alkaline and your skin is acidic, hence the issues. The brand states that the amount is so small, it shouldn't cause a problem to the majority of people. If you do have extremely sensitive skin, we would always recommend trialling it first in the inner crease of your elbow.
Does Fussy have different deodorants for sensitivity?
Fussy does not have different levels of sensitivity currently. They do offer an unscented version, which is great for those who may react to fragrances, but only in their main formulation (which contains sodium bicarbonate) so not ideal on very sensitive skins.
What different deodorant flavours does Fussy have?
Fussy currently has 8 flavours within their natural deodorant collection: Unscented, Forest Haze (Woody), Sun Drunk (Tropical), Night Tales (Flora), Wide Eyed (Citrus), Wavy Days (Fresh), Tropic Tonic (Lime) and a limited edition Parma Violets scent (September 2022).
What are the ingredients in Proverb natural deodorant?
Proverb is based in Derbyshire, UK with their formulation process being housed in a lab in Cambridge, UK. Their formulas are all vegan and free from Aluminium, petroleums, parabens, SLS, artificial fragrance, propylene glycol, propylene gases Animal testing GM ingredients and gluten-free.
Proverb’s natural deodorant is based around an oil and powder formulation, but their oil and wax elements differ, coming from Carnauba wax, Candillia wax, Bayberry wax.
Whereas the natural deodorisers and sweat absorbers used are: Tapioca, Cornflower, Sodium Bicarbonate/ baking soda (only in the Active versions), Magnesium, plus an additional deodoriser that Proverb keeps secret as it is different to their competitors. In the Core & Sensitive deodorant ranges, there is no sodium bicarbonate. In the Sensitive deodorant arrowroot swaps in instead of cornflower.
What are they not free from?
Proverb is free from all the ingredients you would expect any certified organic or natural brand to be free from. Free from petroleum, parabens, aluminium, artificial fragrance, PEGs, propylene glycol, GM modified ingredients and animal testing.
Do Proverb deodorants contain fragrance?
Proverb lists all of their fragrances on the INCI lists for each of the deodorants, hence why you might notice that their INCI list is longer, in comparison to Fussy. However, when launching Proverb decided to create a Sensitive & Unfragranced option, specifically for sensitive skins. This has no aroma, but the actual base deodorant is also different making it more suitable for super sensitive skins, plus being baking soda free.
Does Proverb use sodium bicarbonate?
When starting crowdfunding back in 2019, Proverb had 3 levels of deodorant - Active, Core and Sensitive. The Active range is the only one to contain sodium bicarbonate, as it is designed for those that are heavy sweaters and active people who are constantly on the go. The Core and Sensitive ranges do not contain sodium bicarbonate.
Does Proverb have different deodorants for sensitivity?
Yes, they launched with three levels of sensitivity, they explain: “Proverb has 3 levels of deodorant. We have made skincare for years so this is our sweet spot - skincare formulation. Most natural deodorants are made with Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). It works brilliantly, most brands use just it, BUT... some people are irritated by it, as it is alkaline, and skin is acidic. We have a complex of 4 natural deodorisers as we didn't want to be based just on this. Our game was to make sure it worked against Sure/ Mitchum, as opposed to other natural deodorants.
ACTIVE has the original complex, plus some baking soda. This is the strongest deodorant we have, best for heavy BO or changing from a mainstream deodorant. To identify the Active deodorant range, they have a yellow ACTIVE sticker on the box.
CORE is the same, but without the baking soda for people who are irritated by it, also great for people who don't struggle with BO and teens.
SENSITIVE is a different base formula for super sensitive armpits.”
What different deodorant flavours do Proverb have?
Proverb currently has four flavours available, with a fifth launching towards the end of 2022. The current flavours are Wild Mint & Eucalyptus, Coconut & Tonka, Lemongrass & Myrtle and a Sensitive & Unfragranced deodorant.
The scent levels in Proverb are strong. Within any product formulation, the scent is always an expensive part - this is why a lot of brands (where possible) will try to limit it, possibly to reduce allergy risk too. With Proverb coming from a spa expertise background they know just how crucial scent is, especially where natural deodorant is concerned, so there has been no cost-cutting.
Fussy is a classic subscription model predominantly, nevertheless, you can buy the deodorants as a one-time purchase for £20 - this includes a case, plus 3x 43g refills and free shipping or a Scent Pack which is £32 and includes a case, plus 4 x 43g refills and free shipping (July 2021).
If you are wanting to purchase a single deodorant refill with a case as a one-time purchase, you’ll find that this isn’t possible unless it is on subscription as your first month. From then on, you cannot purchase singular refills on subscription, as they are only available in sets of 3’s, 6’s or 9’s. The cost of 3 x 43g refills on a one-time purchase is £18, around £6 per refill.
How much is the subscription from Fussy?
The Fussy unisex refillable deodorant subscription is £13, this includes a Free Case and a single 43g refill, with free postage. After your first month, the cost of refills goes up to £15 per subscription for 3 x 43g refills, which equates to 129g worth of product, plus free postage.
Currently (July 2021), they don't have the option to purchase different coloured cases once you have placed your initial order with a case.
Is the subscription flexible?
The Fussy subscription does have the flexibility for the consumer in terms of cancelling, changing fragrances and skipping a month. However, you must have already subscribed to 3 refills to receive the flexibility.
Does Fussy offer a money-back guarantee?
On Fussy’s website (as of July 2021) it does not state their returns policy or if they offer a money-back guarantee.
Similar to Fussy, Proverb has a subscription model. Even so, Proverb allows for more flexibility when it comes to subscriptions and one-time purchases, with one-off purchases costing £15 for 1 x 70 g Refill to last 2-3 months and a Free Outer Case. You pay £1.95 postage on orders under £29. Or you can purchase a 2 x 70g Refill to last 4-6 months and Free Outer Case for £30 and free postage.
Proverb offers the choice to buy singular and bigger refill deodorant sticks. You can either purchase a Starter Set, the case and one refill as a one-time purchase, or you can always buy a single refill, whether it's a one-time purchase or on subscription.
How much is the subscription from Proverb?
The Proverb natural refillable deodorant subscription is £12, this includes a Free Case and 1 x 70g Refill and £1.95 postage. Then going forward, after receiving the initial starter set with case included, it is just £12 per subscription for a single 70g refill (still £1.95 postage).
If you have had your case for a while and want to switch up the colour, then you can purchase a new case for a reduced price of £5 on the Proverb website.
Is the subscription flexible?
The Proverb subscription has full flexibility with options to cancel at any time, skip a delivery or even change a product or add products to your subscription. There are no restraints on how many refills you have to subscribe to.
Does Proverb have a money-back guarantee?
Yes, they offer a no-quibble 30-day money-back guarantee if the deodorant is not for you. They will refund your product cost excluding the shipping.
Natural Deodorant That Works
The efficiency of Fussy
The Fussy website states that you only need 2-3 swipes of the refill for it to last all day long, with the refill itself lasting 4-6 weeks.
They offer a selection of 5 case colours to choose from, including Ocean Blue, Burnt Orange, Mint Green, Midnight and Blush. However, although the pebble-shaped case is sleek in design, due to the shape it isn't possible to stand the case up - instead, it has to lie flat.
How easy is Fussy to refill?
It is a straightforward process, but you must take out the packaging from the used refill. Then you have to rewind your case to the original starting position. It is then ready to insert the new refill.
What about Fussy’s postage packaging?
Fussy provides consumers with custom made postal boxes, with inner fittings to hold the deodorant and refill in Kraft cardboard.
The efficiency of Proverb
Proverb states that you only need 2-3 swipes per pit and each 70g refill should last 8-12 weeks versus Fussy’s smaller refills. This is currently the largest refill within the UK for natural deodorant, think of this as the Yorkie bar of deodorant!
Proverb’s refillable deodorant case comes in three different colours: grey, white and yellow, and is plastic. But you will only ever need one. Proverb explains there is no elephant in the room when it comes to their packaging choice. They have written a blog that explains their journey through cardboard deodorant tubes, aluminium and bioplastics.
Proverb uses refills wrapped in a special protective paper that can compost or go into the paper stream recycling. The sticker and adhesive sealing is biodegradable and made from sugar cane, hemp and linen.
The bottom of the actual stick of deodorant has a PET plastic wheel on it, this moves the deodorant up and down in the case. They can be recycled but Proverb asks for them to be saved and looped back into production. This is the aspect Proverb is currently attempting to change, given that it means some plastic exists. However, it also means that the refill can live in a very flimsy thin piece of paper that screws up to be only a 10p piece size. It is not printed; there are no dyes on it.
How easy is Proverb to refill?
The Proverb case works on a simple spindle mechanism that the deodorant refill stick travels up and down on when you twist the base of the case.
The great part is that it is very simple to use and you won’t need to wind it back to start again, like with the Fussy case.
What about Proverb’s postage packaging?
Proverb have an eco-friendly approach with their postal packaging. The outer box is a natural kraft box with recycled kraft brown paper inside to hold the product. Not highly branded but the least impactful on the environment. All outer eCommerce boxes start kraft coloured. To make them coloured you have to bleach the box white and then add the dye colours. This uses a huge amount of chemical processes, water and energy.
Fussy’s environmental approach
Fussy partners with Climate Partner to ensure their products are carbon neutral.
Their website also says that they have applied for B Corps accreditation.
According to the Fussy website, their pebble-shaped cases are made with 50% recycled plastic and 50% ABS to help them last a lifetime. Their ambition is to use ocean-bound plastic.
Their refill packaging looks the same as the Wild Refillable Deodorant refills. It is a small bagasse pulp container that can be recycled or composted at home made from sugarcane pulp and entirely plastic-free.
Does Fussy sell any other products?
Yes, They sell a wash bag made from recycled bottles and a deodorant dish that is designed to store your refills in.
Proverb’s environmental approach
Proverb launched their refillable deodorant in partnership with WaterAid and during their crowdfunding, they donated 100% of the profit of every deodorant sold to WaterAid. Now, every year, they donate 10% of their profits to WaterAid.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Proverb partnered with Hygiene Bank, UK and has donated one-for-one for every sanitiser they have sold since April 2020. This campaign is still ongoing. The Hygiene Bank then distributes these to children and families who are living in hygiene poverty.
In addition, Proverb is part of Earthly. The business and products are carbon neutral and are on route to be carbon positive.
Does Proverb sell any other products?
Yes, they have a large range. Proverb is a natural organic skincare brand with a spa treatment concept based on assisted stretch massage for spas and hotel gyms. They have an amazing smelling vegan, Refillable Hand Sanitiser and then skincare products to use at home and an additional 12 spa products. They offer fully compostable product sample sachets for those that want to try before they buy, unlike Fussy, who don't offer this option.
You can buy Proverb online - proverbskin.com and at Proverb Spa and Gym partners in the UK such as Beaverbrook and Scarlet Spa or abroad at the likes of Atlantis and Caesar’s Palace in Dubai.
Fussy vs Proverb: The Winner
So this is the end of our in-depth Fussy deodorant review. We could do a score tally and try to add it up... However, it is important to remember that at their core, both Fussy and Proverb are aiming to reduce single-use plastic and ensure people move away from mainstream aluminium filled deodorants and roll-ons. The common goal is to improve the user’s health and the health of the planet, so there is no competition, only a #teamgame