As more people are transitioning to a more organic and natural lifestyle, so are their deodorants. If you never walked down the natural personal care aisle before, it can be stressful and overwhelming. From a variety of brands to different scents, it's hard to pick which one works for you. You may find yourself wondering what ingredients you should look for in natural deodorants? Is it safe to use antiperspirants with aluminum? And what natural deodorants actually work?
Lucky for you, my family and I are a big fan of natural deodorant and have tried more than a handful. From deodorant cream to spray, we have tried it all. In this guide, I will teach you everything you need to know about clean beauty and help you find the best natural deodorant that works. Plus, I will highlight some of the best natural deodorants that my family and I love.
What is Natural Deodorant?
Natural deodorant is made using naturally-derived ingredients instead of chemicals and synthetic compounds. Not only are natural deodorants better for the environment, but they're also better for your health. They contain no phthalates, parabens, triclosan, propylene glycol, fragrance, artificial preservatives, or aluminum. Instead, they rely on natural active ingredients that provide odor protection and neutralize odor.
When purchasing natural deodorant, pick the one with shorter ingredient lists. Shopping for deodorants is a bit like shopping for healthy foods in that the longer the ingredient list, the more likely it is to contain obscure unnatural ingredients. And if you have sensitive skin or have allergies, test the deodorant on your skin prior. Here are a few key ingredients in the best natural deodorants:
- Tea tree oil and coconut oil— contain natural disinfectant and antibacterial properties that help provide odor protection.
- Shea butter, beeswax, and witch hazel— help to soothe razor burn and shrink your pores
- Essential oils*— provide a potent scent without perfumes or synthetic fragrances
- Baking soda*, arrowroot, or vegetable powder— absorb wetness and combat moisture
- Mineral salts— a natural alternative to aluminum that contains potassium alum, a mineral salt that offers natural antimicrobial properties
*If you have sensitive skin or have allergies, test the deodorant on your skin prior.
Whether you have been searching for the best natural deodorant for a while or new to clean beauty, here is a list of ingredients you would want to avoid:
- Aluminum- Nearly all antiperspirants have this one ingredient in common, and this ingredient helps keep your underarms dry by blocking your sweat glands and preventing you from sweating. While scientists have found no direct link between aluminum and breast cancer, Alzheimer's, and other serious health problems, many consumers still question its safety. If you're at an increased risk for breast cancer, using a natural deodorant may help to put your mind at ease.
- Alcohol - Many antiperspirants contain alcohol, and its role is to dissolve other ingredients and helps with the quick-dry process after applying. While alcohol will kill some of the bacteria that cause malodor, it can also dry out your skin and cause irritations.
- Parabens- A commonly used synthetic compound used to control bacteria, fungus, and unwanted microbes. However, studies have suggested that parabens can disrupt hormones, harm fertility, and increase cancer risk. While there is no finding on the direct link to cancer or other illness, some people prefer to go paraben-free as a precaution.
- Propylene glycol- a synthetic organic compound used to soften the product's consistency by increasing moisture retention, so it is easier to apply. Sounds harmless, but propylene glycol is a humectant. When it is paired with harmful or toxic ingredients, it will aid the absorption of those ingredients into your skin. It can cause harm and skin irritation.
- Triclosan- an antibacterial and preservative ingredient for water-based formulas, and it is in many cosmetics. Studies have found that triclosan can disrupt hormones and risk of antimicrobial resistance, harm fertility, and affect immune response. Recently FDA has banned triclosan in soap products only. Other cosmetic products, such as toothpaste, still contain this ingredient. For these reasons, many choose to avoid triclosan.
- Phthalates- a group of chemicals that helps dissolve ingredients, but studies have suggested they may increase the chance of birth defects and cause liver, kidneys, and lungs damage. At the same time, there is no evidence directly linked to any disease or illness, but it's worth staying away.
- Parfum or fragrance- a hidden "secret" ingredient contains a mixture of chemicals that is proprietary to the brand. It can be a few chemical ingredients, or it can be hundreds. Because you don't know what is actually in the fragrance, it is impossible to determine how it may impact your health. But what we know is that these chemicals include phthalates, which are used to help the scents last longer. This ingredient itself is an endocrine disruptor and a carcinogen. Some fragrances have been found to contain compounds that are neurotoxicants and are linked with reproductive birth defects.
Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant
Deodorant and antiperspirant both serve the same purpose of reducing body odor, but they use two entirely different methods. Deodorants protect against the bad bacteria that cause an odor in sweat; antiperspirants control sweat itself.
Making The Switch To Natural Deodorant
It's important to remember that natural deodorants will not stop you from sweating. Natural deodorants don't contain aluminum, which is in conventional antiperspirants to plugs up sweat glands and prevent you from sweating. Another thing to note is that finding a natural deodorant that works for you is a very personal process involving trial and error. What works for one person may not work for another. Our bio-individuality makes us different from one another. Some may have more sensitive skin, and some may be a heavier sweater. There are many factors to consider when finding the perfect deodorant, and do not get discouraged if you don't find the perfect one right off the bat.
What no one tells you about making the switch to natural deodorant is that your body needs time to adjust. After first ditching your old antiperspirant, you may feel like you sweat— and unfortunately, smell— more than usual. But don't let this deter you! Your body is simply going into overdrive to clear out the built-up aluminum and gunk trapped in your pores. As your body clears these sweat-preventing compounds, you may experience excessive sweating and bodily moisture. After three to four weeks, your body will regulate itself and adjust to your new deodorant.
To speed up your deodorant detox, try using a face mask on your underarms to cleanse your pores and calm down aggravated skin. Look for masks that use detoxifying ingredients like charcoal, clay, and exfoliating acids that draw toxins and buff away dead skin.
The 10 Best Natural Deodorants to Add to Your Clean Beauty Routine
Humble Brands, Palo Santo & Frankincense
Best Overall Natural deodorant
If you've never tried using a natural deodorant before, Humble Brands' all-natural deodorant sticks are a great place to start. Alongside essential oils, their roll-on sticks contain just four simple ingredients plus essential oil: coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda, and beeswax. They're cruelty-free (available without beeswax) and contain no aluminum, alcohol, dyes, parabens, or artificial fragrances.
Palo Santo & Frankincense scent is mild and smells "clean" with a slight vanilla scent. It has a thick consistency, and it doesn't get melty, crumble, or get pasty. It doesn't stain your cloth nor give you a sticky feel. Because of the thick consistency, they go on smooth, and a little goes a long way.
EWG Score: 1
Native plastic free Deodorant: Citrus & Herbal Musk
Best Zero Waste Natural Deodorant
Plastic-free natural deodorants are the latest trend in zero-waste living. If you're looking to reduce the environmental impact of your personal care routine, switch to Native's Plastic-Free Deodorant. By using paperboard instead of plastic in their packaging, Native will help reduce plastic waste by up to 169 tons each year!
In addition to being eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, Native's natural deodorants contain potent ingredients— including coconut oil, tapioca starch, shea butter, probiotics, and baking soda— that stop odor and keep your underarms feeling smooth. Leaves no residue nor clumpy. The cult-favorite deodorant comes in various scent options, including coconut vanilla, lavender and rose, and cucumber and mint. An aluminum-free deodorant and formulated without parabens and phthalates. It is also vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and partners of 1% for the planet.
EWG: 3 (score based on regular packaging)
EO Lavender Deodorant Wipes
Best Natural deodorant Wipes
EO's Lavender Deodorant wipes are an ideal way to freshen up the pits on the go. The convenient wipes are individually packaged, making them perfect for tossing in your gym bag, handbag, car, or carry-on luggage. EO's deodorant wipes are certified gluten-free, cruelty-free, and USDA organic. If the lavender scent isn't for you, EO also offers the deodorant wipes in a tea tree scent.
The soothing lavender scent comes from organic lavender essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances that can cause breakouts on sensitive skin. Though small in size, these natural deodorant wipes pack a powerful punch using certified organic ingredients, like glycerin and ethanol, that stop odor-causing bacteria at the source. EO deodorant formula is aluminum, synthetic fragrance, propylene glycol, and baking soda free.
Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant for Men, Mountain Spring
Best Natural Deodorant For Men
Tom's of Maine has been a trusted source for clean beauty products for the past 45 years. The Certified B-Corp uses only naturally-derived ingredients in their aluminum-free deodorant stick. While it has the same woodsy scent as mainstream men's deodorants, it doesn't rely on synthetic fragrances to create its Mountain Spring scent.
The product's unique combination of hops and other naturally odor-fighting ingredients would be keeping you smelling fresh for up to 24 hours. Tom's of Maine deodorants are free from aluminum, artificial preservatives, fragrance, parabens, and phthalates. Plus, they're made without animal ingredients and animal testing making them suitable for vegans.
EO Organic Deodorant Spray, Citrus
Best Natural deodorant Spray
EO's deodorant sprays use a blend of naturally-derived ethanol, essential oils, and purified water to keep your underarms smelling fresh. The simple and effective personal care product relies on ethanol to prevent smelly underarms. Just like alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills illness-causing bacteria on your hands, alcohol-based deodorants kill odor-causing bacteria on your underarms. To maximize their effectiveness, it's best to apply alcohol-based natural deodorants immediately after showering or cleaning your armpits.
This citrus deodorant smells amazing and can be long lasting for some. It offers a fresh, light, with sharp sweetness and herbal undertone. It contains only three ingredients, and it is formulated without propylene glycol, aluminum, paraben, synthetic fragrance, or a dye, and it is baking soda free. It is also vegan-friendly and gluten-free, not to mention it is organic certified and GMO-free. The packaging is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. And if you are not a citrus scent fan, the spray comes in various scent options, including French lavender, tea tree, citrus, and vetiver.
Magsol Rose Natural deodorant
Best Baking soda free Natural Deodorant
Magsol's Magnesium Deodorants use only four naturally-soothing ingredients— sweet almond oil, beeswax, magnesium oxide, and essential oils— making them the perfect choice for individuals with sensitive skin and kids. If your underarms are irritated by other natural deodorants, try one of Magsol's many scent options: rose, jasmine, lavender, sweet orange, sandalwood, lemongrass, hunter, or cranberry spice.
Magsol's deodorant sticks are the first to use magnesium oxide to fight odor. The naturally-occurring compound is a safe alternative to aluminum. Plus, it's less irritating to sensitive underarms than traditional aluminum. In addition to being aluminum-free, Magsol's deodorant sticks are also parabens, phthalates, baking soda, and synthetic fragrance-free.
Crystal Mineral Deodorant Roll-On Unscented
Best Unscented natural deodorant
If you're sensitive to perfumes, you can't go wrong with Crystal's unscented mineral deodorant roll-on. Crystal is the only natural deodorant brand to win the Clean Label Project Purity Award— which ensures there are no hidden contaminants, heavy metals, pesticide residues, and other environmental and industrial toxins in products labeled "all-natural" or "clean." It is vegan friendly with no animal testing and cruelty-free.
Unlike most stick deodorants, which can leave streaks and sticky residue on your underarms and clothing, the mineral roll-on deodorant leaves an invisible protective barrier that fights odors for up to 24 hours. The hypo-allergenic deodorant uses natural mineral salts instead of aluminum and harsh chemically-derived ingredients that can easily irritate sensitive underarms.
Thai Deodorant Stone Crystal Mist Body Spray
Best Natural Deodorant For Body
Let's face it; sometimes, you need to use deodorant on more than just your underarms. If you're someone who suffers from excess foot or body sweat, try Thai Deodorant Stone's Crystal Mist Deodorant Spray. The aerosol-free deodorant spray can be used on your underarms, chest, back, and feet to stop odor before it even begins. Because the product is unscented, you won't feel overpowered by an unappealing deodorant scent.
Thai Deodorant Stone's hypo-allergenic odor-fighting spray is made with two simple ingredients: mineral salts and purified water. It's ozone-friendly, cruelty-free, and contains no parabens or propyls. It is also a deodorant that is aluminum-free, free of synthetic oil, alcohol, emulsifiers and solvents, synthetic perfumes, and propellants. Toss one in your desk drawer and gym bag to freshen up throughout the day.
Schmidt Deodorant Stick, Charcoal Magnesium
Best Sweat Activated Natural Deodorant
Schmidt is an award-winning natural deodorant brand on the market. A perfect formula for sensitive skin that is aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, phthalates, fragrance, and baking soda free. They are non-greasy, non-sticky, and come in unique scents like jasmine tea, coconut, pineapple, and more that will keep your smell on point. Plus, the smell is completely unisex, so if you and your partner like to share, these are the perfect sticks for you. And lucky for you, the formula is certified gluten-free and certified vegan.
Schmidt's charcoal deodorant stick is perfect for anyone who sweats excessively or has overactive sweat glands. Charcoal is a new "hot" ingredient that can absorb bacteria and toxins out of your armpits. And most importantly, it can help minimize odor and keep you dry, thanks to its active absorption ability.
Pacifica Coconut Milk & Essential Oils Underarm Deodorant Wipes
Best For Neutralize Odors
If you have a hectic lifestyle, then this Pacifica coconut milk wipe is perfect for you. This odor-neutralizing wipe can help remove odor and excess sweat within seconds. And leaving you feeling fresh and smell pretty, especially when showering, is just not an option.
This wonderfully scented deodorant formula is free of aluminum, parabens, phthalates, SLS, mineral oil, sulfate, and petrolatum. Also, cruelty-free and vegan friendly. Not to mention, the wipes themselves are biodegradable.
Pretty Frank Natural Deodorant cream Coconut Lime
Best Natural Cream Deodorant
Pretty Frank, formally known as Primal Pit, offers a range of natural options from stick to spray to cream deodorants. Pretty Frank got it all. With notes of sweet potato, zesty lime, and sharp citrus, this deodorant will offer anyone a long-lasting tropical smell.
This natural deodorant cream is aluminum, parabens, petroleum, and fragrance-free. It contains non-aluminum baking soda to provide odor protection all day long. Not to mention, this deodorant is made with organic, non-GMO, food-grade ingredients. The deodorant formula features organic shea butter, organic arrowroot powder, organic coconut oil, non-aluminum baking soda, natural essential oils, and non-GMO Vitamin E. This product is cruelty-free and vegan friendly. If you do have sensitive skin, Pretty Frank now offers a baking soda free line.
Rustic MAKA Natural Deodorant, Luna Bliss
Best baking soda free natural deodorant
This Rustic Maka natural deodorant is truly a bliss. Powder-crisp scent combined with a hint of light floral aroma that will keep you smelling fresh all day long. This baking soda free and magnesium-based formula deodorant is made with active charcoal and magnesium, making it effective at neutralizing body odor and absorbing moisture.
This deodorant features formula made with organic and non-GMO ingredients—aluminum, parabens, and synthetic fragrances free. Plus, the deodorant is cruelty-free and vegan certified by PETA and Leaping Bunny. This deodorant is gently on the skin, long-lasting, and perfect for even the hardest workout.
Money saving tip: some of these deodorant is available through Thrive Market, and you can save 25-50% off from retail.