Finding the best eco-friendly deodorants can be the pits!
To be eco-friendly and free of the not-so-good stuff, natural deodorant omits the very ingredient that prevents body odor (by stopping sweating): aluminum. Aluminium has risen to notoriety in the beauty world for potential health risks - we're not here to make a judgement on that, but if you are concerned why not try aluminum-free, animal cruelty-free, and even zero waste deodorants?
Since natural deodorants don't have aluminum, alternatives have to absorb sweat rather than prevent it. More than any of my other reviews on the site, I have to stress that what worked for me may not work for your body.
It's been said that people might need 30 days to both detox and acclimate to the ingredients of a new deodorant before you can get a true read of whether or not it's working for you. While this might work for the work-from-home recluse, it's a tall ask for the rest of us who would rather not spend a month as the harbinger of "what is that smell?!"
With that caveat out the way, I did find that there are many natural, eco, zero-waste deodorants that worked well for me - so let's jump right in.
If you don't know the by Humankind mission and its range, stop what you're doing and go go go!
Committed to saving the planet from zero-free plastics, by Humankind has created a range of high-performing personal care products as good for your body as they are for the planet. Here's a breakdown of what they do and why.
As for their natural deodorants, they work with fills and refills that you buy with your initial container purchase, which is eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, of course. Its scientifically proven composition (plant and mineral-based) is designed to be 40% more effective in eliminating body odor-causing bacteria than other leading natural deodorants. It does so by acting like an antiperspirant to prevent sweat -minus the risk of harmful chemicals.
Once you've purchased your deodorant container you can choose from one of 5 scent profiles (Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Rosemary-Mint, Lavender-Citrus, and Coconut) or opt for the cool or warm variety packs that include a combination. Another bonus is their claim that it works well for sensitive skin.
While I can imagine some will find the softness and texture of the stick harder to apply than conventional deodorant, but it wasn't a problem for me.
Turns out all you needed to make a Pitti Party fun was a drunk elephant, or two.
Part of Sephora's Clean Range (a collective of products evolving the beauty industry), Sweet Pitti by the endearingly named Drunk Elephant is a clear crowd-pleaser. Available as a cream deodorant, this natural deodorant has dual benefits of both soothing underarm skin and keeping odor at bay.
While the product boasts impressive environmental credentials for the planet (cruelty-free, vegan, and available in recycled packaging), it's the product's natural ingredients that stand out. The deodorant's rich blend of mandelic acid and absorbent arrowroot creates a cream as effective as absorbing odor as it is nourishing for the skin it covers. The inclusion of barrier-supportive plant oils and marulas means your skin will be moisturised with a balanced PH level.
I was really impressed (it didn't clog up my pores, handled workouts, and smells divine) but it took a while to get used to the mixture staying wet for longer than you'd expect and it's not the easiest to apply.
If you're on a natural deodorant journey, your heart (and pits) may be won over by the wonders of Sweet Pitti.
Caudalie's Vinofresh Natural Aluminum-free deodorant sounds too good to be true.
This roll-on is both odor-busting while also soothing underarm skin with benefit-rich ingredients such as Grape Water (known as a natural prebiotic that rebalances the skin's microbiome) and Eucalyptus (responsible for odor control and a naturally fresh scent). When it comes to what Vinofresh is lacking, well, turns out that's impressive too. The roll-on is free of aluminum, baking soda, alcohol, and synthetic fragrance.
You can look forward to 24 hours of odor control without any build-up causing the dreaded sticky or white cast residue. As with all natural deodorants, this product worked for some and not so much for others. Seeking input online I heard that the more active users didn't get to enjoy the long-lasting odor control as much as others did.
It wasn't so bad for me but it definitely didn't stand up to sweaty activity as well as some of the other deodorants I tried. Personally, I wasn't crazy about the Eucalyptus scent either.
That said, for a normal day and people who love Eucalyptus - Vinofresh should give you the comfort of smooth and deliciously fresh armpits.
With a call to action that's "unjunk your funk," Kopari's Natural Aluminum-Free Coconut Deodorant is a fun approach to kicking B.O and environmentally harmful consumerism to the curb. Aluminium-free and naturally-based, this roll-on combats sweat and body odor while simultaneously soothing armpit skin. The unique blend of ingredients is benefit-rich (naturally antimicrobial, antibacterial, and hydrating) and creates a sweet, coconut smell that's not too overpowering.
Kopari did take awhile before it starting working well for me (and initially it irritated my skin a little), but it was the first one I tried. Maybe that detox state of 30 days is especially needed for first-time users. After my pits were primed I experienced long-lasting protection and freshness.
Native's Natural Deodorant is a fuss-free, roll-on stick that is free of harmful toxins and loaded with naturally derived ingredients. Thanks to their rigorous experimenting, Native has only included premium, benefit-rich ingredients that work together to leave your armpits feeling fresh and free from unpleasant odors.
I love that its high-performing, award-winning formula doesn't discriminate and is for hes, shes and theys. I was quite impressed with its odor defense, which seemed to last all day. In doing some research on how it performs for others, some people didn't get immediate benefits - once again, this probably is due to not waiting on the detox phase. Be patient - if, after a month, your natural deodorant isn't doing the trick - then you can bin it and try another.
Though the brand has a host of scents, I enjoyed having a deodorant that simply did its job without me needing to stick to one scent profile. A nifty trick is to add your favorite essential oils to a carrier oil and add it around the pits for a scent of your choosing that you can change out as you please.
Traditional, commercial deodorants often come in plastic packaging and with a host of ingredients that are either toxic or unethically sourced. As a remedy to this, a lot of natural deodorants combat single-plastic use with recycled/or reusable packaging and use ingredients that are naturally derived and sustainably sourced.
The short answer is a resounding: it depends. One's skin and sweat is often a barometer of one's health so someone with an unhealthy diet and lifestyle might be more prone to B.O. and require deodorant to smell good while others with a healthier lifestyle and diet might naturally not smell (or, at least, not as badly). One's genetics also come into play so whether or not somebody needs deodorant is a personal choice but one influenced by the social norm of smelling pleasant and approachable.
It's been said that natural deodorants have a 30-day detox phase where one can expect to pong to the high heavens until the body is free of toxins and normalises. It's also important to do your research and find a natural deodorant that works for you and your skin type. The ingredients and scent can either work with or against your body so it's best to give each product a trial period before making up your mind.
There is a lot of concern - but also studies that play down the impact. I certainly can't make that call, but if you have concerns and you can find aluminum-free deodorants that work well - that seems like the best solution.
Fresh pits are the new black! Especially ones that can smell as such while helping the environment. Though a crossover to natural deodorant can be time-consuming and frustrating, I urge you to remember why we're doing it: healthy body, healthy mind, healthy planet.
I fell in love with by Humankind's customizable, ethical, and highly effective deodorant sticks that come in an impressive range of scents as well as refillable eco-friendly packaging. I also swooned over Sweet Pitti for effectively soothing my armpits while combating odor-causing bacteria for hours without irritation. Finally, I have to mention By Lastly, I love Kopari's unscented deodorant that was a fuss-free high-performing deodorant I could customise with my own essential oils according to my mood and preference.
While choosing your first or next attempt at a natural deodorant is step one, the detox should be next on your list. I'd clear my calendar, take on a lengthy reading list, and commit to 30 days of your new deodorant to rid those pits of harmful chemicals and see if you're won over.
If you enjoyed learning about the best zero waste deodorant - we have a lot more zero waste bathroom products for you to learn about.