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 pandemic, and with the endless hours spent at home, I figured that there was no better time to swap out my usual antiperspirant for a cleaner, more natural deodorant. After all, if you’re going to experience excess sweating and the potential to, well, not smell your finest, it might as well be in the midst of social distancing.
In all honesty, it wasn’t a particularly enjoyable few weeks—like many others who’ve made the switch over to natural deodorant after years of using antiperspirants and conventional deodorant options, I experienced that transition period (for me, it was about a month) in which I was sweating far more than usual. Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself in the same situation, though, as it’s just your body detoxing and readjusting, 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. Similarly, I’ve found clean beauty brands to wreak less havoc on my ultra-reactive skin.
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Natural deodorants were once dismissed by many (this writer included) who preferred to use a chemical antiperspirant rather than be smelly, sweaty and covered in a chalky white residue—which, truthfully, sounds fair! 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.
One of the main differences between deodorant and antiperspirant is aluminum, which is at the top of active ingredient lists in the majority of antiperspirants. Aluminum 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 somewhat 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, on the other hand, don’t use aluminum (some do use baking soda, but if you have sensitive skin, consider opting one that’s baking soda-free, to minimize the risk of irritation), 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* reduce any noticeable armpit wetness and provide odor protection.
While there are plenty of great options out there, keep in mind that not every natural deodorant will work for every person. Your body chemistry might not fit with certain formulas, but don’t despair, because while it’ll take some trial and error, you’ll eventually find the right natural deodorant for your needs.
Over the past few years, I’ve tried a *lot* of different natural deodorants, with several hits and quite a few major fails. Below, see the top options to try that will convince you it’s time to make the switch to natural deodorant.
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The Best Natural Deodorants That are Aluminum-Free and Baking Soda-Free
These are the best natural and aluminum-free deodorants
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 this deodorant stick 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. The cruelty-free brand’s non-irritating formula uses natural ingredients, including enzymes and extracts like coconut, green tea, vitamin E, sage and sandalwood, to moisturize, soothe and protect against bacteria and odor, while cornstarch absorbs moisture.
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 roll-on serum formula, sans any unsightly white stains. It contains a blend of exfoliating and brightening AHAs (including mandelic acid and lactic acid) that fight body odor, and even help if you’re suffering from ingrown hairs. It also contains hyaluronic acid and aloe vera juice, which hydrate and soften skin. This is one of my absolute favorites, and remains a mainstay during the summer. This fragrance-free option is especially well-suited for those with super sensitive skin.
Mutha’s formula is as much skincare as it is deodorant, thanks to ingredients like chia seed oil, coconut oil and avocado oil, plus hydration powerhouse squalane. It also contains sage oil and arrowroot powder, which work together to keep your armpits 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.
Nécessaire The Deodorant Gel
Nécessaire’s deodorant gel formula 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. It comes in sandalwood, eucalyptus or an unscented option.
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 is free of talc, parabens and phthalates, and has a lovely citrus scent, thanks to a base of neroli oil with summery notes of orange blossom, bergamot and ambrette seed.
Saltair Black Tide Skincare Deodorant
Saltair debuted their refillable natural deodorants in 2022, and quickly gained a well-deserved following. These deos are made with BHAs, oils and algae, plus salicylic acid and tapioca starch (the latter of which is a good alternative to baking soda), and come in several different fragrances; this particular option features mandarin, marine, jasmine and ocean musk.
Each & Every Lavender & Lemon Natural Deodorant
This Each & Every deodorant smells absolutely lovely, thanks to blend of lavender and lemon essential oils. Other ingredients include Dead Sea natural salts (the magnesium hydroxide help fight the odor-causing bacteria), as well as coconut oil and tapioca starch.
Hume Supernatural Deodorant
Hume’s plant-based natural deodorants are packed with probiotics and prebiotics, which nourish skin while also helping minimize odor.