The Very Best Natural Deodorants That Are Nontoxic, Aluminum-Free and Actually Work

Everything you need to know about making the switch to natural deodorant.

The Very Best Natural Deodorants That Are Nontoxic, Aluminum-Free and Actually Work
These are the best of the best. Julia Cherruault for Observer

After years of contemplating making the switch to natural deodorant, I finally decided to take the plunge in 2020. It was a few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, and with all the time spent at home, I figured that there was no better time to swap out my usual antiperspirant for a clean deodorant, since if you’re going to be sweaty and perhaps not smelling your finest, then it may as well be in the era of social distancing.

Like many others who’ve made the switch over to clean, natural deodorant, I experienced that transition period (for me, it was about three weeks) in which I was sweating far more than normal, but don’t be discouraged if you find yourself in the same situation—it’s just your body detoxing, so try and stay consistent with using your new deodorant. Personally, I found the switch to be so worth it in the end; I have extremely sensitive skin, and my former antiperspirant was causing major irritation and itching.

Subscribe to Observer’s Lifestyle Newsletter

Natural deodorants were once dismissed by many who preferred to use a chemical antiperspirant rather than be smelly, sweaty and covered in a chalky white residue. Luckily, natural, nontoxic deodorants have come a long way since they were first introduced to the market, and there are plenty of options that actually work, keeping you dry and odor-free.

The main difference between deodorant and antiperspirant comes down largely to aluminum. The ingredient is used in the majority of antiperspirants; it physically blocks sweat ducts, which keeps your underarms dry. Deodorants, on the other hand, target the natural bacteria under your arms that leads to odor, using natural ingredients. Aluminum is a rather controversial ingredient in the skincare world; studies over whether the ingredient could be linked to breast cancer have been inconclusive, but many prefer to avoid it anyway, especially because it can be quite irritating for those of us with sensitive skin.

Natural deodorants don’t use aluminum (some do use baking soda, but if you have sensitive skin, consider opting for one without that specific ingredient), and the truth is that for the most part, they don’t entirely stop you from sweating (sweating is normal!), but the good ones *will* prevent any noticeable underarm wetness and prevent body odor.

While there are plenty of great options out there, keep in mind that not every natural deodorant will work for every person; you body chemistry just might not work with certain formulas, but don’t despair, as with some trial and error, you’ll find the right natural deodorant. Over the past two years, I’ve tried a *lot* of different natural deodorants, with several hits and quite a few major fails. Below, see the top five options to try that will convince you it’s time to make the switch to natural deodorant.

  • Megababe.

    Megababe Rosy Pits Deodorant

    Megababe now offers an array of other deodorant formulas, but I usually find myself returning to Rosy Pits, one of my favorite tried and true options. Not only does it glide on like a dream, but it smells absolutely fantastic; I’ve been asked what rose perfume I’m wearing when using this deodorant, when in reality, it’s just the lovely fragrance from this natural formula. Megababe’s non-irritating formula uses natural ingredients, including coconut, green tea, vitamin E, sage and sandalwood, to moisturize, soothe and protect against bacteria and odor.

    $14, Shop Now
  • Kosas.

    Kosas Chemistry Deodorant

    This was the first natural deodorant I ever tried, and it truly spoiled me for nearly every option that came after it. Kosas’s Chemistry Deodorant is free of aluminum and baking soda, and comes in a unique serum formula that rolls right onto your skin, sans any unsightly white stains. It contains a blend of AHAs that not only fight body odor, but also soothe and brighten skin, and even help if you’re suffering from ingrown hairs. It’s also one of the best natural deodorants I’ve ever used, and is one of my mainstays during the summer.

    $15, Shop Now
  • Mutha.

    Mutha Deodorant

    Mutha’s formula is as much skincare as it is deodorant, thanks to ingredients like chia seed oil and hydration powerhouse squalane. It also contains sage oil and arrowroot powder, which work together to keep your pits dry and neutralize odor-causing bacteria. The best part, however, is surely the phenomenal fragrance; the combination of bergamot and mint will have you genuinely excited for the deodorant application part of your morning routine. The deodorant does come with a rather high price tag, but that’s pretty much the only drawback.

    $28, Shop Now
  • Nécessaire.

    Nécessaire The Deodorant Gel

    I am a huge fan of all things Nécessaire (their shampoo, conditioner and bergamot body wash are staples in my routine), and while their original cream deodorant was great, I’m partial to their latest deodorant gel formula. It glides on similarly to the Kosas deodorant, and also uses a combination of AHAs, as well as niacinamide, to fight odor and minimize unsightly razor burn or bumps. It’s a super quick-drying formula, and you won’t have to worry about any potential stains on your clothes.

    $15, Shop Now
  • Corpus.

    Corpus Neroli Natural Deodorant

    Corpus’ Neroli deodorant is such a cult-favorite that it is constantly sold out. The buttery-smooth, water-based vegan formula also has a lovely citrus scent, thanks to a base of neroli oil with summery notes of orange blossom, bergamot and ambrette seed, and it’s super long-lasting.

    $24, Shop Now
The Very Best Natural Deodorants That Are Nontoxic, Aluminum-Free and Actually Work