In recent years, natural deodorant has enjoyed quite a metamorphosis. What began as a niche product produced by only a few less-than-exciting brands turned into a natural wellness must-have. Now that natural deodorant has branched off from its “crunchy” roots, healthy living devotees have a number of brands, price points, and formulas to choose from.
Why natural deodorant?
Switching from a perfectly effective conventional deodorant that you can find almost anywhere to a natural formula may seem like a crazy idea at first (what if it doesn’t work and I stink?!), but it’s one worth considering.
First, natural deodorants avoid the use of aluminum, which is used to block sweat ducts and keep you dry. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely clear if aluminum is safe for long-term use. Natural beauty expert Sophie Uliano explains: “Aluminum compounds have been a big red flag for many years because when we hear the name aluminum, we automatically think neurotoxin and that we’re going to immediately get Alzheimer’s. The truth is that there are no definitive, substantiated reports.” Until we know more, many people are more comfortable using a deodorant without this ingredient–at least for everyday wear.
Second, (most) natural deodorants are also free of other ingredients on the green beauty no-no list—including synthetic fragrance, parabens, and triclosan. Because armpits are quite porous, it makes sense that we’d want to limit their daily exposure to potentially unwholesome ingredients.
Finally, bodies are meant to sweat! Sweating (even more so than drinking that green juice) is one of the body’s most effective ways to naturally detoxify itself.
This is where natural deodorant comes in. It’s one thing to make peace with sweating for the sake of our health, but no one wants to smell like sweat! Natural deodorant allows you to perspire while masking and absorbing body odour.
Okay, but do they work?
The right natural deodorant for you will depend on your lifestyle and body chemistry. If you tend to sweat more and have a more difficult time concealing body odor, you’ll probably be better off with a natural deodorant that contains aluminum-free baking soda. If you don’t sweat very much—or if you find that your underarm skin is sensitive to baking soda—opt for a baking soda-free formula. (To minimise skin sensitivity to baking soda, do not apply a baking soda deodorant immediately after shaving.) Keep scrolling to learn about five fantastic natural deodorant options.
Five Vegan & Cruelty-Free Natural Deodorants We Love
Twinkle Apothecary deodorant comes in a variety of natural fragrances, so it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking to branch out from ultra-common natural scents like lavender and patchouli. You can also choose from two formulas: with or without baking soda. Read more about vegan indie brand Twinkle Apothecary here.
By fighting odour-causing bacteria, the activated charcoal present in Takesumi Detox Deodorant helps you stay fresh without the use of baking soda. Activated charcoal is charcoal that’s been oxygenated so that it has a more porous surface area. This porous surface acts like a magnet, which chemically binds to bacteria, drawing it out of the skin. Kaia Naturals deodorant may not work immediately, however. The company explains that it takes about 2-4 weeks of using the deodorant every day to purge your underarms of built-up bacteria and toxins.
Leaves of Trees deodorant is specially formulated with kaolin clay and baking soda to protect your favourite white shirts from stains while lightly moisturizing skin. Leaves of Trees latest deodorant, Boisé by KNM, is the result of a collaboration with Kim Newport Mimran, designer and President of Pink Tartan. The fragrance is an intoxicating blend of petitgrain, sandalwood, sweet orange, patchouli, and oud.
Formulated with organic coconut oil, moisture-absorbing arrowroot powder, baking soda, and antibacterial essential oils, the Lil Fox Deep Forest Deodorant has a grounding woodsy fragrance than can be enjoyed by both women and men.
Meow Meow Tweet deodorant is a cult favourite, but for those of us with sensitive skin, this baking soda-free update is a godsend. Instead of baking soda and clay, the deodorant is formulated with dietary magnesium and arrowroot powder to help control moisture and odour. The combination of plant oils, including coconut oil and shea butter, helps moisturise and soothe skin.
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Photos: Mary Hood Luttrell (Twinkle Apothecary, Kaia Naturals) Leaves of Trees, Lil Fox, Meow Meow Tweet