Like many consumers, I have long wanted to want to replace my conventional deodorant with a natural option. And in my many years as a beauty editor, I’ve had the opportunity to try a variety of natural deodorant brands, but I couldn’t find one that worked, so I became disheartened and returned to conventional brands. Still, I persisted, and in the LA heat in 2014—California’s hottest year in 120 years—I recruited my husband to help me try out a bunch of natural options. Finally I found some that actually work! (Just keep in mind that after years of exposure to the toxins in conventional deodorants, your body can take up to a week to adjust to a natural deodorant.)
Remember that these are deodorants, not antiperspirants (there are no aluminum-free antiperspirants). While some of these products contain ingredients that help fight wetness to a degree, you’re still likely to sweat. But at least you won’t smell!
Another upside: Non-aluminum natural deodorants won’t stain your shirts like conventional aluminum-based brands.
When reading the ingredients below, note that * = certified organic and + = food grade.
Tip: In a pinch, you can use hand sanitizer to do away with armpit odor. The Honest Company Spray Sanitizer works great for this.
(Some of the other brands I tried that didn’t make the cut were Tom’s, La Vanilla, Crystal Fresh, Desert Essence and Jason’s. I have yet to try Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant but I’m hearing good things. Let us know if you find other options!)
Soapwalla Deodorant Cream
The Details: This cream deodorant from Brooklyn-based Soapwalla is is made with high-quality organic ingredients that are all food grade and vegan. It uses fine vegetable powder and clay to absorb excess moisture (but it doesn’t contain aluminum zirconium, so it’s not an antiperspirant).
Our Take: This is one of the first deodorant creams I tried, and I really liked it. It has a frosty consistency and smells a little bit like peppermint. Applying a cream deodorant takes a little getting used to, but if you stick with it, it works well. I did find that if I exercised or it was a little hotter than normal out, I needed to reapply the product. But I didn’t mind, since it works really well in general and has the best Environmental Working Group rating of all the deodorants we tested.
Ingredients: Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*; Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*; Rosehip Seed Oil*; Butyrospermun parkii (Shea) Butter; Corn Starch*+; Sodium Bicarbonate+; Kaolin Clay; Vegan Kosher Glycerin*+; a custom blend of essential oils, including: Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender)*; Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree)*; Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange); Mentha Piperita (Peppermint)*; Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergaptene-free Bergamot)*; Non-GMO Soy lecithin*+; Non-GMO Vitamin E*+
EWG Rating: 0. This is the best rating of all the deodorants we tried.
Lavilin 72-Hour Roll-On Deodorant
The Details: Winner of New York Magazine’s aluminum-free deodorant competition. They say it provides up to 72 hours of protection.
Our Take: I really like this product and consider it one of the best I’ve tried. As for its staying power, I left it on for 24 hours, but its effects did seem to diminish. In the end, I wasn’t brave enough to rely on it alone for 72 hours. Lavilin does say you have to work up to making it last that long, so maybe in the future I’ll give it more time. Note: You need to let it dry a little bit after applying it.
To Buy: Lavilin
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Zinc Oxide, Lactose, Milk Protein, Bifica Ferment Lysate, Capryloyl Glycine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cocoyl Proline, Sodium Acrylate/Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Maltodextrin, Hyssopus Officinalis Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum (Fragrance), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Allantoin
EWG Rating: 4 due to the fragrance
Le Couvent de Minimes Everyday Deodorant
The Details: This clear roll-on neutralizes body odors while allowing skin to breathe. This brand combines astringent alum stone with essential oils. Its formula is alcohol- and aluminum chlorohydrate-free.
Our Take: If I had to pick a favorite, this would be it. The essential oils impart a soft lavender-citrus scent, and it dries quickly and leaves no residue on my clothing. Plus it’s unisex, and my husband really liked it. I do find that if I’m running around a lot during the day, I’ll need to reapply it once.
Ingredients: Alum stone (to combat odor); essential oils of blood orange, lemon and mandarin (to refresh and combat odor); essential oil of rosemary (to purify)
EWG Rating: 4 due to the fragrance
Every Man Jack Deodorant Stick in Cedarwood
The Details: This deodorant stick uses cotton extract and witch hazel to absorb wetness and lichen extract to help control odor-causing bacteria. It also contains essential oils.
Review: Firstly, the price point is excellent. Secondly, this is my husband’s favorite natural deodorant. He likes the more masculine look and feel of this product. It leaves you smelling fresh, and it doesn’t stain those beautiful button-downs!
Ingredients: Water, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Sodium Stearate, Witch Hazel Distillate, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Extract, Calendula Extract*, Myrrh Gum Extract, Alpine Lichen Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Chamomile Extract*, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Juniperus Virginiana Wood Extract, Fragrance/Parfum
EWG Rating: 3 for the fragrance
Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream in Tea Tree
The Details: From Brooklyn-based Meow Meow Tweet, this deodorant cream uses baking soda, arrowroot and clay to keep you dry and control odor. Organic plant oils and shea butter moisturize and sooth sensitive underarm skin, while essential oils combat bacteria and odor.
Our Take: I found this to be an effective, high-quality deodorant cream. Plus, if you have super-sensitive skin, they have a baking soda-free version. I like that they offer mini sizes so you can give the different scents a whirl before buying a large amount (the tea tree scent works well for both men and women). Keep in mind that if you travel with this product, its consistency may change due to climate, as with many products made of natural ingredients.
Ingredients: *Maranta arudinacea (arrowroot) powder, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), *cocos nucifera (virgin coconut) oil, *butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, kaolin clay, *simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, *lavandula officinalis (lavender) essential oil OR *melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) essential oil (depending on the scent you choose)
EWG Rating: Not yet rated