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Banish B.O. for Good with These Natural Deodorants That Actually Work

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Thinking about making the switch to natural deodorants? There are many healthy reasons that make it a no-brainer, but finding the right natural deodorant formula can take a bit of trial and error. Some simply don't do enough to curb body odor, while others may not offer enough sweat protection. But with a bit of research, it is possible to find a clean formula that works just right—one that keeps you smelling fresh all day long.

What’s the deal with aluminum-free deodorant?

As you make the switch to natural deodorant, you’ll find that 99.9% of the formulas specifically mention being “aluminum-free”. Board-certified dermatologist Arash Akhavan explains that aluminum salts are the main antiperspirant used in most traditional deodorant formulas. “They’re designed to block the outflow of sweat from pores and follicles in the underarms,” he says.


About the Expert:

Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder and director of The Dermatology & Laser Group in New York City.

Over the past few decades, there has been some controversy surrounding aluminum as a skincare ingredient. “The role of aluminum in breast cancer and dementia—including Alzheimer’s—has been explored,” Dr. Akhavan says. “Aluminum has been found in studies to have higher concentrations in breast tissue of patients with breast cancer, and it is known to alter our bodies response to hormones. Similarly, aluminum was found in higher concentrations in the blood of dementia patients and patients with memory loss."

However, Dr. Akhavan notes that currently, there is no scientific evidence directly linking aluminum exposure with an increased risk of cancer or dementia. That being said, if these connections are worrying to you, nixing the ingredient from your personal care routine is an easy way to do what you can to minimize risk.

What to look for in a natural deodorant

In place of aluminum, natural deodorants often use natural starches like baking soda, cornstarch, arrowroot powder, activated charcoal powder, clay, or tapioca starch to help keep sweat to a minimum. However, these ingredients won’t block sweat completely.

On the odor-blocking side, Dr. Akhavan says, “I look for ingredients that decrease the bacteria in the underarms such as tea tree oil and other antimicrobials.” Zinc, sage, coconut oil, bergamot, rosemary, and lemongrass are also often used in natural deodorant formulations for their odor-blocking abilities—plus, many have a naturally pleasant scent!

Transitioning to natural deodorant

If you decide to go with a natural formula (like one that is free of antiperspirants like aluminum) be aware that your armpits may go through a detox period before the deodorant can start working at its full potential. For the first few weeks, reapply the deodorant a little more often than you usually would and make sure to stay hydrated. To expedite the detox process, you can also try applying a clay detox mask to your underarms.

Below, we've highlighted 20 of the best natural deodorants that anyone can use. These formulas are all aluminum-free and loaded with natural ingredients to provide strong body odor protection that you can count on through heat, stress, and life’s not-so-chill moments.

1. Best for Sensitive Underarms:

REFRESHMENTS Breezy Deodorant

REFRESHMENTS Breezy Deodorant in Pacific Fizz

This natural deodorant is not only aluminum-free but baking soda-free as well (which is a common natural deodorant ingredient that can be irritating to some). Additionally, it steers clear of common irritants like parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, and instead utilizes bergamot extract's natural deodorizing properties to provide clean, 24-hour protection you (and your skin) can count on.

2. Best-Smelling Natural Deodorant:

AĒSOP Déodorant

AĒSOP Déodorant
Courtesy of AĒSOP

Why not infuse a little bit of luxury into your personal care routine? This aluminum-free spray deodorant uses odor-absorbing zinc ricinoleate to neutralize body odor while an addictive blend of lavender, thyme, eucalyptus, and clove essential oils give off a subtle woody, herbaceous aroma.

3. Best Natural Deodorant for All Skin Types:

MALIN+GOETZ Eucalyptus Deodorant

MALIN+GOETZ Eucalyptus Deodorant
Courtesy of MALIN+GOETZ

If you haven't yet experienced MALIN+GOETZ's heavenly scented clean beauty products, you're in for a real treat. With a fresh, eucalyptus scent that lasts all day, this aluminum-free deodorant has become one of the brand's most highly sought-after products. This particular stick is scented with refreshing eucalyptus oil for an earthy scent that will suit anyone. But this formula doesn't just smell great, it's also designed to perform and protect: Eucalyptus oil teams up with citronellyl to naturally neutralize body odor, and because this aluminum-free deodorant steers clear of baking soda and alcohol, it's also a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin.

4. Best Natural Deodorant for Dry Underarms:

MINETAN Positive Vibes Only

MINETAN Positive Vibes Only
Courtesy of MINETAN

This aluminum, alcohol, and paraben-free deodorant uses a blend of baking soda and cornstarch to absorb moisture secreted from underarm sweat glands, while shea butter and moisturizing jojoba oil keep your skin soft and healthy—a great bonus for anyone who tends to get a little dry around the underarm area. It's also scented with essential oils like lavender, grapefruit, and orange peel, which keep you smelling great all day long.

5. Best Natural Deodorant for Frequent Ingrown Hairs:

KOSAS Chemistry Deodorant

KOSAS Chemistry Deodorant
Courtesy of KOSAS

If you tend to shave frequently in the summer months (or year-round), but often suffer from ingrown hairs, you'll love the fact that this unique formula is infused with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). The exfoliating acids keep underarm irritation under control while also evening out dark spots and naturally deodorizing smells (thank you, shikimic acid).

6. Best Natural Deodorant for Eco-Conscious Beauty Lovers:

BEAUTYCOUNTER The Clean Deo

BEAUTYCOUNTER The Clean Deo
Courtesy of BEAUTYCOUNTER

If you're looking for a trusty natural deodorant that's good for you and the planet, reach for this sustainable deodorant that comes in a refillable case. Once you use up a full stick, order a replacement, pop it into the chic container, and keep on swiping. This is also a fun, sustainable way to try multiple scents with minimal environmental impact. Switch off between coconut, lavender, and rose until you find your forever fave.

7. Best Natural Deodorant Cream:

NÉCESSAIRE The Deodorant

NÉCESSAIRE The Deodorant
Courtesy of NÉCESSAIRE

This luxe deodorant does it all: naturally defend against odor, gently exfoliate with AHAs, and keep your armpits dry but hydrated. While some natural deodorants can tug on the skin as you apply, this creamy formula goes on like a dream, nourishing your underarms and adding the perfect invisible layer of protection.

8. Best Fragrance-Free Natural Deodorant:

KOPARI Aluminum-Free Coconut Deodorant

KOPARI Aluminum-Free Coconut Deodorant
Courtesy of KOPARI

If your ideal deodorant scent is nothing at all, swipe on this unscented aluminum-free formula. This award-winning formula works so well it doesn't even need natural fragrances to mask the scent of B.O. Instead, the antimicrobial and antibacterial benefits of its active ingredients (coconut water, coconut oil, and sage oil) keep any unwanted scents totally neutralized.

9. Best Natural Roll-On Deodorant:

FRESH Sugar Roll-On Deodorant Antiperspirant

FRESH Sugar Roll-On Deodorant Antiperspirant
Courtesy of FRESH

Don't want to give up the convenience of your favorite roll-on formula? Now, you don’t have to. This natural alternative to the classic deodorant style goes on in a flash (without using any stinging alcohol). The hero ingredient here is simple: sugar. And yes, it certainly smells great, but it's also a natural moisturizer that inhibits odor-causing bacteria, making this a pretty sweet choice in more ways than one.

10. Best for Sweaty Underarms:

DRUNK ELEPHANT Sweet Pitti™ Deodorant Cream

DRUNK ELEPHANT Sweet Pitti™ Deodorant Cream
Courtesy of DRUNK ELEPHANT

Sweaty pits? No prob. While natural deodorants don't use antiperspirants, they do often include ingredients that can absorb excess moisture. This deodorant stick uses arrowroot powder to do just that. Additionally, mandelic acid (an AHA) keeps hair follicles exfoliated and irritation-free while hydrating shea butter keeps your moisture barrier expertly intact.

11. Best for Natural Deodorant Newbies:

MILK MAKEUP Cooling Water Natural Deodorant

MILK MAKEUP Cooling Water Natural Deodorant
Courtesy of MILK MAKEUP

Here's the real-real: If you’re just now making the transition to natural deodorant from traditional formulas, you'll likely go through a detox period when your underarms get rid of all the toxins. You can use a clay mask on your underarms to help speed up this process—or you can look for a natural deodorant that already has clay built into its formula. Enter: this cooling stick from MILK MAKEUP. As kaolin clay draws out impurities, a natural enzyme complex powerfully neutralizes odor.

12. Best Extra-Strength Natural Deodorant:

TYPE: A Supercharged Deodorant

TYPE: A Supercharged Deodorant
Courtesy of TYPE: A

If you've tried natural deodorants without much success, give this nourishing cream deodorant a chance. The long-lasting formula features TYPE: A's patented sweat-activated protection technology, meaning it kicks into power mode exactly when you need it most. It also combines detoxifying charcoal with odor-protecting spirulina; together, they create the ultimate shield against stubborn B.O.

13. Best Natural Deodorant for Irritation-Prone Pits:

KOPARI CBD Extra Strength Deodorant

KOPARI CBD Extra Strength Deodorant
Courtesy of KOPARI

This natural formula builds off of KOPARI's award-winning deodorant formula to also include full-spectrum CBD. This bonus ingredient is a total gamechanger for anyone with red, often-irritated underarms. While coconut oil, coconut water, and sage keep you odor-free, CBD keeps your underarm skin calm, cool, and super soothed.

14. Best Deodorant Wipes:

PACIFICA Coconut Milk & Essential Oils Underarm Deodorant Wipes

PACIFICA Coconut Milk & Essential Oils Underarm Deodorant Wipes
Courtesy of PACIFICA

Looking for a midday refresh solution you can easily take with you wherever you go? Put down the baby wipes and pick up this clean alternative. Made specifically for your underarms, they quickly neutralize odor using zinc ricinoleate and witch hazel while also leaving behind a subtle coconut scent. Throw a pack in your purse or carry-on to arrive at any destination feeling (and smelling) great.

15. Most Refreshing Natural Deodorant:

MARIO BADESCU Deodorant

MARIO BADESCU Deodorant
Courtesy of MARIO BADESCU

If you often wish your skin could hold onto that freshly showered scent (you know the one), you'll love the bright, refreshing notes in this aluminum and baking soda-free natural deodorant stick. Herbal sage, cooling cucumber, and zesty ginger root oil all leave you smelling super fresh while they do double duty conditioning skin and curbing malodors.

16. Best for Smoothing Underarm Texture:

SOL DE JANEIRO Rio Deo Aluminum-Free Deodorant

SOL DE JANEIRO Rio Deo Aluminum-Free Deodorant
Courtesy of SOL DE JANEIRO

This sweet-scented, aluminum-free formula smells like a luscious blend of vanilla, salted caramel, and pistachio (anyone else suddenly have a sweet tooth?). While these decadent scents keep you smelling great, citric acid acts as a bouncer for body odor, blocking the bad and letting those sweet scents thrive.

This formula also features papaya enzymes, which naturally exfoliate the skin to promote a more even-looking skin tone (so long, ingrown scars) as well as tapioca starch, which absorbs excess moisture so you can stay dry no matter the temp.

17. Best Natural Deodorant for City Dwellers:

FARMACY Freshen Up All-Natural Deodorant

FARMACY Freshen Up All-Natural Deodorant
Courtesy of FARMACY

Do you always need to customize your deodorant choice depending on where you live? Not quite—but this particular formula does feature moringa extract, a special ingredient that anyone living in an urban area will find particularly enticing thanks to its pollution-fighting powers. Keeping your skin protected against these invisible toxins can help to shield this delicate patch of skin from inflammation and discoloration.

18. Best Natural Deodorant with Probiotics:

BLUME Hug Me Probiotic Deodorant

BLUME Hug Me Probiotic Deodorant
Courtesy of BLUME

Are you sleeping on the power of probiotic skincare? This good bacteria works with your skin's microbiome to keep your skin's bacteria levels expertly balanced. And when bacteria is balanced, body odor is too. This natural formula pairs probiotics with anti-microbial coconut oil and hydrating jojoba oil for a complete treatment that keeps you hydrated and protected all day long.

19. Best Spray Natural Deodorant:

URSA MAJOR Sublime Sage Spray Deodorant

URSA MAJOR Sublime Sage Spray Deodorant
Courtesy of URSA MAJOR

Here's a great go-to if you're in need of a midday underarm refresh—or if you simply prefer the contact-free application of spray deodorant. Channeling the natural odor-balancing benefits of ingredients like plants, minerals, and enzymes, this handy little personal care product is proof that sometimes Mother Nature really does know best.

20. Best Deodorant Powder:

LUSH The Greeench Deodorant

LUSH The Greeench Deodorant
Courtesy of LUSH

Prefer the ultra-absorbing benefits of powder deodorant? We got you. This clean formula from LUSH uses a base of micro-fine magnesium and sodium bicarbonate powders to keep those underarms moisture-free. Botanicals like thyme, rosemary, and tea tree also boost these powders' odor-blocking benefits while leaving behind a fresh, herbal aroma.

Want to discover even more natural skincare products? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
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Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated May 24, 2021 12:00 AM