I used conventional drugstore deodorants for years until maybe 2-3 years ago when I made the switch to natural deodorant. To be honest, I never gave deodorant much thought until it seemed like I couldn’t turn a corner without reading about the harmful ramifications of using conventional deodorants. I also know too many women who have had breast cancer (thankfully they have all beat it!) so I just couldn’t bring myself to wear chemicals like aluminum, that have been proven to lead to breast cancer, on a daily basis (yes, there is conflicting research on if aluminum does cause breast cancer). My decision to switch to natural deodorant was swift and I’ve never looked back.
In my opinion, it is an essential step if you’re switching to a clean beauty routine! However, I have played around with and tested out many natural deodorants in the last few years to find the best one for me. I have definitely discovered that not all natural deodorants are created equally. Keep reading for a guide to natural deodorants (that I’ve been working on for quite some time!) that includes everything you need to know about natural deodorants, the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant, tips for choosing the best natural deodorant for you, and more!
A Guide To Natural Deodorants
Natural Deodorants – What You Need To Know
There are a few major things you need to know when it comes to natural, nontoxic deodorants. The first thing you have to know is how to effectively switch from conventional deodorant to natural deodorant. Some people decide to switch to natural deodorant but don’t enjoy the process so they quit their natural deodorant and grab their convention deodorants again before their body has fully adapted to natural deodorant. Thanks to using conventional deodorant for years, your body will need a few weeks to detox. You’ll have toxic buildup from fragrances, aluminum, etc. in conventional deodorant so it is normal to expect a 2-3 week period where you might smell more than normal and feel like the natural deodorant really isn’t working.
In reality, you body is normalizing, your sweat glands are remembering how to function properly, and your body is riding itself of toxins it shouldn’t have in one big balancing act. So, either take a full deodorant break for 2 weeks before starting natural deodorant or start your natural deodorant and expect a 2-3 week transitioning period. You can also exfoliate your armpits and workout regularly (more sweat = more detoxification) to help this process go smoothly.
Secondly, what makes natural deodorants different from conventional deodorants? The biggest different between natural deodorants and conventional deodorants is that natural deodorant won’t stop you from sweating because they don’t contain aluminum…
Keep reading below for my breakdown on deodorants versus antiperspirants for more!
Thirdly, finding a natural deodorant is a personal experience. There are a lot of different options and everyone has different needs when it comes to deodorant. Living in Charleston, I even have different needs at different times of year (hello humid summer!). A little further down in this post I spill my tips on choosing the right natural deodorant for you.
Lastly, it’s important to know that when wearing natural deodorants, you will still sweat (sweating doesn’t mean that natural deodorant isn’t working!). However, you won’t smell. Also, I think that natural deodorant has a cumulative effect so the more and longer you use it, the better it works as your body works with it. Read the next section on deodorant vs. antiperspirant to understand why you’ll still sweat – but not smell – with natural deodorant.
Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant
Most conventional deodorants are antiperspirants. Antiperspirants stop you from sweating. Natural deodorants don’t stop you from sweating. Natural deodorants don’t stop you from sweating because they lack aluminum, which is a key ingredient that allows antiperspirants to plug sweat glands. In essence, antiperspirants stop a natural, normal, and essential bodily function – sweating – from taking place. The skin is our largest organ and helps us detox and get rid of toxins through sweating so why would I want to stop my skin from doing its job? I don’t know about you but usually things that inhibit normal bodily functions freak me out. They aren’t natural.
In contrast to antiperspirants, deodorants don’t stop you from sweating because they are aluminum free. What they do do is work to keep you smelling fresh instead of smelling like body odor. Deodorants do this by using ingredients that soak up bacteria with things like clays, starches, and baking soda (more on baking soda under my ‘Tips for Choosing Natural Deodorants’ section). Even though you might still sweat wearing deodorant (instead of antiperspirant), you won’t smell! As I said above, the longer you use natural deodorant, the better it works and the more your body adapts.
Deodorant doesn’t equal antiperspirant but don’t be scared of that! Sweating is good and essential! The difference between antiperspirants and deodorants is essential to understand with the process.
Tips For Choosing Natural Deodorants
Get Excited About Trial & Error
As I said above, picking the right natural deodorant is a very personal experience. Why is that? Well, people have different body chemistry, different needs, different exercise routines, and live in different climates. One person’s favorite natural deodorant might not be another person’s so trial and error is key to finding the right natural deodorant for you. Do you have a preference between a gel deodorant or a cream deodorant? Do you know what you want the base of your deodorant to be (i.e. charcoal, arrowroot powder, etc.)? Is your skin sensitive? These are all things you’ll figure out with trial and error.
Know your Skin… Is it Sensitive?
If I’m sweating a lot, like in the summer, then I can experience some armpit skin sensitivity. I would call my skin pretty sensitive so I’ve taken this into account when trying different natural deodorants. Something I’ve learned in my research is that a good number of natural deodorants use baking soda as a key ingredient to absorb moisture but too much baking soda can cause skin irritation for some people. There’s so much to consider! If you have sensitive skin, then consider trying out a baking soda free natural deodorant (I include multiple below).
Know your Skin… Is it in Need of a Major Detox?
If you’ve been using conventional deodorants/antiperspirants for years then you may be in need to an extra strong detoxification. Natural deodorants that utilize charcoal as an active ingredient are powerful at detoxification. Below, I chat about Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium Deodorant for this very reason. However you could also research other charcoal based natural deodorants.
You Can’t Go Wrong
Sure, there will be trial and error involved in finding the best natural deodorant for your body needs, odor, and comfort. However, no matter what, you’re doing your body a favor! Remember when you wear natural deodorant, you aren’t applying aluminum (linked to breast cancer and alzheimer’s), fragrances (thousands of chemicals that include hormone disruptors and allergens – the FDA allows them to be classified as “trade secrets” so we don’t know what we’re putting on our bodies), phthalates (banned in the EU because they are endocrine disruptors and linked to birth defects), parabens (estrogen disruptors and linked to reproductive issues), polyethylene glycol (can be contaminated with carcinogens), propylene glycol (skin irritant and can cause damage to the central nervous system, heart, kidney, and liver), carcinogens (linked to cancer), and more to your skin.
Best Natural Deodorants
From the below list, you’ll find that I love the deodorants listed from Primally Pure though Megababe. Unfortunately, I found the deodorants listed from Native through Malin+Geotz not to work effectively for me. I’d love to hear your favorites!
I love my Primally Pure deodorant! My bestie, Allison, suggested I give Primally Pure a try when I was experimenting with different natural deodorants and I quickly because a massive fan of the brand. For starters, their whole philosophy is centered around using fewer effective ingriendents. I often find that the best beauty products have the fewest ingredients because they aren’t loaded with fillers. Also, beauty products that are actually clean have minimal ingredients. So, aluminum isn’t the only harmful ingredient Primally Pure deodorants are free of. Primally Pure deodorants are scented only with essential oils to purify the skin and manage odor. Bottomline, there are no fake, chemical-filled fragrances (not even “natural” ones). I love the Primally Pure ‘Blue Tansy’ scent and would 10/10 recommend this deodorant!
The first thing that drew me to Nala was the pretty branding. Once the branding hooked me, I started to dig a bit more into the deodorant. Nala has three scents as well as a personalized deodorant option, which is what I’ve used. You have options to select the strength and the scent of your deodorant so you can get exactly what you need and want for your body chemistry. When I started to use it, I immediately fell in love with its texture because the deodorant goes on so smoothly (texture is a big component of deodorant for me).
Every single product is 100% free of aluminum, phthalates, parabens, petroleum, carcinogens, and cruelty. I haven’t used this deodorant over the summer but it works wonders during the rest of the year so I would definitely recommend it! I’m excited to wear my Nala deodorant this summer because, based on my experience wearing it thus far, I feel confident that it will work well.
Agent Nateur is perhaps the chicest deodorant. Yes, I just labeled a deodorant as chic, ha! The branding and packing is spot on. The beauty brand has five different deodorants including a sensitive skin deodorant that is baking soda free, a unisex deodorant, and a probiotic deodorant (I’m curious about this one as I haven’t tried it or anything like it!). Agent Nateur only uses wonderful, rich, natural ingredients like coconut oil, avocado butter, castor oil, and rose essential oil. I really love this brand and trust every product they release! I count Agent Nateur deodorant as a natural deodorant that absolutely worked for me. It looks pretty on a vanity too so it makes for a great gift!
The Ursa Major Hoppin Fresh Deodorant has a cult following for very good reason. I happen to agree with everyone who loves the crisp blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary in this deodorant. The ingredients have a cooling effect when you swipe it on that is pretty heavenly (especially in the summer!). The texture of this Ursa Major deodorant gets an A+ from me as it glides on smoothly (instead of rigidly like some natural deodorants). I think the clay base works great at absorbing sweat and bacteria, which probably explains why both men and women love this deodorant. It’s unisex so grab a stick for you and yours!
This was actually the first product I had ever tried from Farmacy. I was aware of the brand but hadn’t ever tried it. The Farmacy Deodorant is a fantastic gateway into the brand because I’m confident you’ll fall in love with it like I did! For starters, it is a baking soda free deodorant so it’s great for sensitive skin. I didn’t even realize this when I first tried it because it was before I ever had an underarm skin irritation issue (see below under Megababe). It also works to detox and neutralize body odor through kaolin clay, moringa, and tea tree oil.
The Farmacy deodorant is maybe the only natural deodorant I’ve found that actively works to reduce underarm skin discoloration thanks to the use of papaya as an ingredient. I love this deodorant in the summer because, like the Ursa Major deodorant, it is cooling when it goes on! I would definitely recommend it.
Schmidt’s has a bunch of different deodorant scent options ranging from ‘Fragrance Free’ to ‘Ylang-Ylang + Calendula’ to ‘Rose + Vanilla’ to the cult favorite ‘Charcoal + Magnesium.’ The Charcoal + Magnesium deodorant is a really great detoxifying deodorant so it can be a wonderful option to start with as you transition from conventional deodorant/antiperspirant to natural deodorant. Why is that? Charcoal binds to toxins so if you are trying to expel heavy metals and things like aluminum from your body, then charcoal can help detoxify the body by essentially pulling them out of your body/armpits. I haven’t used a deodorant from Schmidt’s in awhile but I don’t have a single negative review based on my experience. In fact, as I write this I’m wanting to order another Schmidt’s deodorant!
I got an armpit rash once so I started researching possible causes. I found multiple sources that talked about how baking soda can irritate the skin. As I mentioned above, many natural deodorants use baking soda because it keeps moisture in control. However, for people with sensitive skin, this can be a problem. Other than the one rash, I haven’t had any armpit skin sensitivity so I haven’t abandoned my natural deodorants with baking soda. The experience did lead me to try Megababe’s Rosy Pits deodorant as it is baking soda free. I found it to be smooth and to work all day long so what more could I ask for!
I’d definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a baking soda free deodorant or for anyone who likes cute packaging! Megababe has a few other scents too but i have only tried the Rose Pits one. I am also curious about the baking soda free deodorants from Meow Meow Tweet as I’ve read rave reviews but haven’t tried them myself.
If you’ve ever wondered about natural deodorant or started to research different options, then chances are you’ve discovered Native Deodorant. It is extremely popular and as such was one of the first natural deodorants I ever tried. Native is free of aluminum, parabens, and sulfates and composed of all vegan ingredients, like shea butter and coconut oil, so it’s an easy safe option to choose. I also love their wealth of scent options (usually about 10 options) but found the ‘Coconut & Vanilla’ to be my favorite as it was so delicious and cozy. I used Native for months because it was easy and I wanted to love it.
Sadly, I just didn’t and had to let it go. I found that it just didn’t curb body odor for me and that I was applying it multiple times a day even though so many people say they just apply it in the mornings and are good to go for 24 hours (the excessive application irritated my skin too and I don’t think Native has the smoothest texture of all the natural deodorants out there). So, would I recommend this deodorant? Yes and no. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like but at the end of the day it wasn’t the most effective natural deodorant for me.
I really wanted to love Drunk Elephant Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream because I love most of their other products but this one just didn’t click with me. It’s difficult to regulate the amount of cream dispensed so my first armpit gets very wet, while the second armpit doesn’t get enough coverage. In addition, I never felt like this deodorant made me smell better. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend this deodorant.
I usually love Kopari because I die for all their coconut products. So, I was excited to try their deodorant. Unfortunately, I have to file the Kopari deodorant away as another natural deodorant that didn’t work great for me. I found it to be too wet for me to wear all day long (it gave my armpits a damp feeling). I also didn’t think it had the lasting power of other natural deodorants. Like Native deodorant, I found myself reapplying it frequently, which I didn’t like. The coconut smell is delicious but not worth it if it doesn’t work to keep me smelling fresh.
Other than Native deodorant, Malin+Goetz, is the other earliest natural deodorant I tried. It comes in one scent, ‘Eucalyptus,’ so it definitely appeals to people who prefer a very natural, unassuming scent. Malin+Goetz is such a great well-rounded brand so I had high hopes for this deodorant but it really fell flat for me. It simply did not work at all. I don’t think it neutralized my body odor at all and I wouldn’t call myself a very smelly person. It smells nice right after putting it on but then isn’t effective at all. Everyone is different but, sadly, I wouldn’t recommend the Malin+Goetz deodorant.
P.S. The next natural deodorant brand I want to try is Type: A. Has anyone tried and loved it!? I’m not personally aware of any friends who wear it but I’ve read great things!
For all my natural beauty lovers, I hope you enjoyed this post, A Guide to Natural Deodorants! If you’re natural beauty curious, then definitely lean into this post as a guide when switching to natural deodorant. There are so many beauty products to consider switching when transitioning to a natural beauty routine but deodorant is a very important one!