Save for a small hiatus,
I’ve used natural deodorants for most of my life. I happily use them now by choice, but at first, way back when, it was because my Mom didn’t want me using products with chemicals, and trust me, I was less than thrilled about it. In my 13-year-old mind, I could totally justify slathering my body with chemicals to avoid being made fun of at all costs. I mean, obviously, no one wants to be the smelly kid at a school function because your parents don’t let you wear “normal” deodorant. To make matters worse, there were only a handful of natural deodorant options available up until a few years ago. And the ones that were available weren’t all that great. Suffice it to say, I’m glad to see that natural deodorants have come a long way since the crystal rock days (and be very thankful if you have no idea what I’m referring to when I day “crystal rock deodorant).
Having used natural deodorant for most of my life, I’ve tried my fair share of them, and let me just say that a lot of them still have a long way to go. Also, this is very much a case of what works for one person will definitely not work for everyone. However, once you find the one that does work for you, I promise you will never want to go back to regular deodorant. Natural deodorant allows your body to do exactly what it needs to do and to do it well, simply being there as an aid, versus regular deodorant that just masks scent and sweat with chemicals to the point that your armpits can’t survive without it. In a way, it’s almost like a drug that you have to wean your armpits off of (hence, armpit detoxes…more on that below).
These days, I barely ever deal with excessive sweat, or break out in rashes under my armpits. In fact, somedays I forget to put deodorant on and I don’t even notice (and that’s saying something since I used to be a very sweaty person). If you’re thinking of making the switch, know that it takes a little time, patience, trial and error, but it’s definitely worth it for you and your body.
A few things to keep in mind
My definition of natural deodorants is one that is non-toxic and formulated without chemicals, parabens (clogs pores, can cause hormonal issues) and aluminum (which has been linked to alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer).
Because I have used natural deodorant for most of my life, I’ve never had to deal with a transition period. However, if you are making the switch for the first time, don’t expect the natural product to work the same as traditional deodorant right off the bat. Your body needs time to not only adjust, but also to detox the chemicals from regular deodorant that have been clogging up your sweat glands. To help the process along, you can try an armpit detox.
If you’re worried about excessive sweating, don’t be. Sweat is your bodies way of getting rid of toxins, which is something we all want. Again, keep in mind that it may take some time for your body to adjust, which may mean temporarily sweating more than usual. Natural deodorants do not all work the same, so while one option may work well for me (or someone else), it may not work best for you. So, if you’ve been using natural deodorant for a while, and you’re still sweating more than normal, try a different brand of natural deodorant.
If you’re worried about smelling, don’t be. There are several things that affect your body odor, including what you eat, stress and even the chemicals found in regular deodorant. Also, keep in mind that chemicals, scents, ingredients, etc. can all have a different reaction once they’re mixed with the bacteria found in the sweat of your armpit. So, like I mentioned above, you not only want to give your body time to detox and adjust, you also may need to try different brands or scents to find the one that works best for you.
Sometimes I use different deodorants depending on the season or occasion, i.e. if I need something clear because I’m wearing a black dress, or I need something heavier because it’s summertime. Also, in the past, I noticed my body would get used to the deodorant I was using and it would consequently stop working as well for me, so now I try to rotate my products every once in a while to make sure that doesn’t happen.
If you also have sensitive skin, and you’re worried about having a reaction to natural deodorants, I’d suggest a few things. First, try a different scent option, or better yet, only use unscented options and beware of hidden trigger ingredients such as tea tree oil, vitamin e and lavender. Native even takes it a step further with their sensitive skin formula, which is a great option, as well. Secondly, don’t put on deodorant right after shaving. Try shaving at night instead.
I have extremely sensitive skin and I’m allergic to lavender, so I’ve only ever tried options that are available sans lavender (not an easy feat in the realm of natural beauty), or that are unscented. My reviews below are based only on the scents I have personally tried.
First up in the list is, by far, the best natural deodorant I’ve ever tried. It’s formulated without parabens and aluminum, it comes in lots of great scents (and even a sensitive skin option), I can easily pick it up at Target (or order it on-line), I never have to worry about it rubbing off and showing on my clothes, my armpits stay dry even during workouts, and since I’ve started using it, I swear I sweat/smell less than I ever have before. In fact, I can now even skip wearing deodorant on some days without a single issue. I mean, what doesn’t this deodorant do?! It literally checks every box and then some. I’m already on my second bottle of this product and I have yet to find an issue with it (or the need for a different brand of deodorant).
A good option that is both affordable and readily available if you don’t need something super strong. I personally needed something that held up just a bit stronger. Plus, I did have issues with it leaving white residue on darker clothes, which was a bit frustrating.
This deodorant had a few issues (for me). First, I felt like the magnesium scent was too strong. Secondly, I felt like the formula was too liquid-y and never really dried, but instead just stayed wet on armpits (not a comfortable feeling). I only used it a few times before realizing it just wasn’t going to work for me.
This product comes in several lovely, very natural and not overpowering scents. I also love that it is a spray-on deodorant (the only one on my list) as it makes it super convenient for on-the-go refreshing (i.e. at the beach or after a hike). However, I also feel like that’s what it’s best for- refreshing. I didn’t find it strong enough to be my full-time, all-day deodorant option. It’s also definitely not strong enough in the middle of summer or during a workout. As much as I love the spray option and the scent, at the super high price point, it’s not worth a re-purchase for me.
This is another affordable and accessible option if you don’t need something super strong. For me, I felt like for it to be truly effective I would need to reapply it throughout the day, so, while it isn’t my go-to, if I need something in a pinch, this would be one of the other natural deodorants I would grab.
This deodorant seemed really promising, but just didn’t deliver on results the way I needed it to. I tried it for several weeks, but felt like, even after that, it didn’t hold up when it came to helping control my sweat and helping underarm odors. I didn’t even finish the bottle before switching to another brand, but sometimes I wonder if it was just the scent I chose.
Second to Native, this is my favorite deodorant on this list, and it’s the one I used for several years before switching recently. Until I discovered Native, I found this to be the best and most helpful natural deodorant. It’s easy to swipe on, it never caused me to get a rash, it’s clear so there’s no need to worry about staining, and, even though it’s a liquid, it dries so you don’t have to worry about walking around with wet pits (gross!). It’s also really affordable, and you can find it everywhere from grocery stores to Target to Amazon and even Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx. Unfortunately, I felt like it stopped working for me (I think because I used it for so many years), so that’s why I made the switch, but I still use to off and on, for times when I need something lighter, or I want something that is clear.