Learn the differences between popular natural deodorant brands – so you can find the non-toxic deodorant that works best for your needs.
Let me guess. Slowly but surely you’ve been switching over your beauty and personal care routine to non-toxic products – but there’s one area that you haven’t quite mastered yet: DEODORANT.
I know exactly why. Deodorant is one thing you’re too scared to mess with. When you leave the house in the morning – whether you are going to the office, running errands or heading to the gym to work out – you need to be sure that you will not end up a stinking mess by the end of the day. No one wants to be that person!
Yet switching to a natural deodorant is totally do-able (and important!). But it’s true – it can be a bit tricky. After doing loads of research, including a reader survey, here’s one thing I know for sure: finding a natural deodorant that works is not a one-size-fits all proposal.
Why You Should Switch to a Natural Deodorant
To start, let’s talk about why you should switch deodorants in the first place. Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain some potentially harmful ingredients. In fact, in my deodorant survey, the primary reason given for switching to a natural deodorant was to avoid toxic chemicals.
Here’s a rundown of what you want to avoid in your deodorant:
- Aluminum – the active ingredient in many antiperspirants* – linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer
- Parabens – hormone disrupting chemicals often used as preservatives
- Phthalates – hormone disrupting chemicals hiding in the fragrance or other ingredients
- Fragrance** – a catch-all term for thousands of chemicals which can cause allergies or worse
- Triclosan – an endocrine disruptor and probable carcinogen
- Propylene glycol – when derived from natural gas (most common form), it is a potential allergen and a non-renewable resource
*A note about antiperspirants: Sweat is our body’s natural way of releasing toxins so stopping sweat should not be the goal at all. Instead, we want to absorb the sweat from our skin – which luckily can be done with natural ingredients.
**A note about fragrance: The term fragrance is a bit tricky. When you see it on a label, it almost always implies artificial fragrance chemicals but a few companies use the term even for essential oils and other natural fragrances. For example, both Native and Every Man Jack list fragrance on the label but both companies assured me that their scents are a mixture of essential oils and contain nothing artificial. I wish it were easier – but when in doubt – ask the company directly!
RELATED: 4 Good Reasons to Buy Natural, Non-Toxic Products for Home & Life
Natural Deodorant Ingredients
Sometimes I wonder why we get so caught up in chemicals when nature creates so many hard-working ingredients. Nature-made substances including minerals, plant powders, butters and oils from nuts and seeds, and essential oils have all the anti-bacterial and sweat absorbing properties that we need to keep wetness and odor at bay.
Here are some of the beneficial ingredients you might find in your natural deodorant:
Odor neutralizing agents
- Baking soda* – raises PH of skin, making it less hospitable to bacteria growth
- Activated charcoal – acts like a magnet, drawing out odor-causing bacteria and other toxins from skin
- Magnesium – minimizes odor and treats skin problems
- Saccharomyces ferment – a vegetable based enzyme that inhibits odor
- Essential oils – naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial
*A note about baking soda: Many people rave about baking soda for odor control, yet a small number find that it causes skin rashes, bumps or other sensitivities. From what I’ve read, this is usually a temporary phase as your skin detoxes from conventional deodorants. Stay tuned for a new blog about doing an armpit detox to help you prepare your skin for natural deodorants!
Wetness absorbing ingredients
- Tapioca starch or cornstarch
- Kaolin clay
Moisturizing / skin soothing ingredients
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
- Plant oils – jojoba, sunflower
- Candelilla wax – a plant-based substitute for beeswax
- Aloe vera
- Propanediol (vegetable derived)
Finding a Natural Deodorant that Works
No doubt you’d love me to tell you about the amazing natural deodorant that works for everyone. I’m sorry to tell you it doesn’t exist.
Each one of us is different – from the amount of sweat and odor we produce, to the level of activity we engage in, to our personal skin sensitivities and fragrance preferences. Many of us prefer the convenience of a stick, but some of us love to slather on a deodorant cream or do a quick spritz of a spray deodorant.
Maybe you are searching for a deodorant that is baking soda free, or one that contains activated charcoal or another specific ingredient. Maybe using a vegan product is important to you.
Your favorite natural deodorant probably won’t be the same as mine – and that’s OK!
Also, keep in mind that switching to a natural deodorant takes time. Your skin will need to detox for a couple of weeks as it gets rid of the toxins from your old deodorant. During this time you may need to apply your deodorant more than once during the day. (Stay tuned for a new post about doing an armpit detox to prep you for a natural deodorant!) Most important – don’t give up!
Favorite Natural Deodorant Brands
I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. Full Disclosure
Here is a list of natural deodorant brands that I have tried over the years. In terms of odor control, everything I’ve tried has worked for me – but truth be told – I’m not a super stinky person (guess I drew the lucky card on that one!)
All of these deodorant brands have raving fans – but you’ll also find some people who say it didn’t work for them. Bottom line: it might take a bit of experimenting to find the brand that works best for you.
- Type: Stick and jar
- Primary ingredients (stick): arrowroot powder, coconut oil, candelilla wax, shea butter, baking soda
- Primary ingredients (cream): shea butter, baking soda, arrowroot powder, cocoa seed butter
- Sensitive Skin formula available that uses magnesium instead of baking soda for odor control
- Activated Charcoal version available
- Scents are a combo of essential oils and natural fragrances (but nothing artificial)
- Price: $9-10
My take: The cream formula is good and I’ve used it for years but once they introduced the stick, I was hooked! Fav scents include: Bergamot + Lime, Rose + Vanilla and Charcoal + Magnesium.
Primal Pit Paste
- Type: Cream, stick, spray
- Primary ingredients (cream): shea butter, arrowroot, baking soda, coconut oil, candelilla wax, essential oils
- Primary ingredients (stick): shea butter, baking soda, coconut oil, beeswax, arrowroot, essential oils
- Primary ingredients (spray): witch hazel, alcohol, safflower oil, aloe vera, essential oils
- 3 strength levels (Level 2 is original and most popular)
- Mini sizes available
- Cream and spray are vegan
- Price: $9 – $11
My take: I’ve only used the cream so far. It went on smoothly and did the job well. This brand was very popular among my survey takers so worth a try!
- Type: Stick
- Primary ingredients: glycerin, saccharomyces ferment, shea butter, aloe vera, arrowroot, activated charcoal
- Non staining
- No baking soda
- Price: $5.99
My take: Goes on clear even though it contains activated charcoal. Love the affordable price and that I can find it at my local co-op.
Pit Putty/Bubble & Bee
- Type: Stick, cream, spray
- Primary ingredients (stick): arrowroot, coconut oil, baking soda, essential oils
- Primary ingredients (cream): arrowroot, shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil, baking soda, essential oils
- Primary ingredients (spray): witch hazel, coconut oil, sunflower oil, rice enzymes, essential oils
- Sensitive skin cream without baking soda or coconut oil available
- USDA Organic certified
- Price: $11
My take: Love the cream! It goes on super smooth and the Geranium Lime scent is the best! The stick is great too. Like the idea of a spray, but the Jasmint scent was not my favorite.
- Type: Cream and stick
- Primary ingredients: tapioca starch, coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, activated charcoal, essential oils
- Formulated for sensitive skin with just enough baking soda to be effective but not cause irritation in most people
- Recently introduced a stick version
- Price: $12 – $17
My take: Don’t be thrown off by the grey color – it goes on clear and does not stain your clothes. Also the blend of 11 essential oils smells fantastic!
- Type: Stick
- Primary ingredients: coconut oil, corn starch, candelilla wax, baking soda, beeswax, magnesium, arrowroot, calendula
- Formulated especially for sensitive skin, pregnancy and breastfeeding, yet effective for everyone
- Perfect blend of baking soda and magnesium makes it fine for extra sensitive skin
- Unscented product available
- Price: $10
My take: Love the subtle scents and soft feel of this deodorant. The mini sizes are great for travel!
- Type: Stick
- Primary ingredients: coconut oil, arrowroot powder, baking soda, shea butter, beeswax
- Sensitive skin version (Cotton & Lily scent) is baking soda free
- Offer fun seasonal scents – get on their mailing list to find out!
- Fragrance listed on label is a proprietary blend of essential oils and extracts
- The most popular brand mentioned in my survey!
- Price: $12 ($10 with subscription)
My take: This deodorant glides on super smooth – I think they found the perfect consistency. Some of the scents are too strong for my liking but Cucumber & Mint is nice.
BUY Native (get 10% off your first order using this link and code Health10 at checkout!)
- Type: Cream
- Primary ingredients: jojoba oil, shea butter, cornstarch, baking soda, kaolin clay, glycerin
- Available in Original (lavender/peppermint/tea tree) or Citrus (bergamot/lime/grapefruit) scents
- Price: $14
My take: This was the first deodorant cream I ever used and I loved the creamy consistency and the essential oil fragrance.
- Type: Stick
- Primary ingredients: propanediol (naturally derived), glycerin, candelilla wax, saccharomyces ferment, magnesium, activated charcoal
- Available in 3 scents: Cold Pressed Rose, Lime Mint and Juicy Bamboo
- Price: $21
My take: Loooove this deodorant! Smells beautiful (especially the rose scent) and goes on so smooth….but it’s a bit more expensive.
- Type: Spray
- Primary ingredients: alcohol and essential oils
- Price: $14
My take: Spray on deodorants are not for everyone. This one works well at odor control (using powerful essential oils) and the Citrus version smells incredible, but is not much of wetness blocker.
Every Man Jack
- Type: Stick
- Primary ingredients: propanediol (vegetable derived), aloe vera, witch hazel
- Fragrance/Parfum on label is actually a proprietary blend of essential oils (nothing artificial)
- Some certified organic ingredients
- Price: $6
My take: This has been my go-to deodorant for my 2 teenage boys. It works! We love the Citrus scent.
Tom’s of Maine
- Type: Stick
- Primary ingredients: Propylene glycol (vegetable derived), aloe vera, hops, sunflower seed oil
- Readily available and affordable
- Price: $4
My take: Tom’s was my deodorant of choice for many years. You can’t beat the price and you can find it everywhere!
Have you found a natural deodorant that works for you? Share your favorite brand in the comments!