1. Schmidt’s / 2. Soapwalla / 3. ThinkSport / 4. Earth Mama / 5. Play Pits / 6. Acure
Let me start with the bad news: even the best natural deodorant isn’t going to work like Secret or any conventional antiperspirant you may be using now.
That said, the longer I’ve used natural deodorant, the better it works, and I actually seem to sweat less (a lot of you say this is the same for you).
My Top Pick for Best Natural Deodorant
Using Soapwalla has been nothing short of revelation for me. The application (with fingers) took a little getting used to, but this stuff really works.
Product on saleSensitive Skin Deodorant Cream from Soapwalla— or subscribe and save up to 5%
The good news is that there are a ton of safe, natural deodorants to choose from. They come in sticks, jars, roll-ons, and sprays–and some are even plastic-free. And, yes, many of them actually work!
I now save my conventional, Bad Stuff antiperspirant for the occasional “emergency” situations when I’ll be nervous or hot and cannot afford to sweat at all. I remember when I was on The Dr. Oz Show talking about the dangers of phthalates in food, and all I could smell was the phthalate-laden fragrance of the Degree I was wearing!
The Best Natural Deodorants for Pregnant People
While all of the deodorants below are safe for to use during pregnancy, a few have been specially formulated with this life stage in mind. My top picks are healthynest and Earth Mama.
What’s Wrong with Conventional Antiperspirant and Deodorant
In general, I’m concerned about deodorant and antiperspirant because of exposure. We tend to apply these products every day and leave them on for long periods of time.
Also, more of the product’s ingredients can penetrate the skin thanks to little nicks left behind from a razor. If you’re a person who shaves your armpits, you should be careful to choose the best natural deodorant.
The Best Refillable Deodorant
I’m a big fan of Beautycounter’s Clean Deo, a refillable deodorant that is great for even the most sensitive skin.
Here are the common ingredients that I’m most worried about in conventional deodorants or antiperspirants:
- Aluminum is the reason that most people are worried about antiperspirants. Aluminum-based compounds prevent us from sweating by temporarily plugging our sweat glands. They may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, although evidence for both is contradictory.
- Fragrance is the ingredient I’m usually most concerned about in deodorants. (This is the case with many other skincare products, too.) Fragrances generally contain hormone-disrupting phthalates, which you won’t see listed on the label. Even “phthalate-free” deodorants often contain synthetic fragrances, which have unknown phthalate replacements in them, some of which may be just as bad. Always opt for unscented products or those made with only 100% natural fragrances (essential oils).
- Triclosan, the antibacterial agent that forms carcinogenic chloroform when it comes in contact with water that contains trace amounts of chlorine, is found in many deodorants.
- Many deodorants contain parabens (preservatives that mimic estrogen) and artificial colors, which may be neurotoxins.
Best Natural Deodorant for Men
For those of you seeking a more traditionally “manly” smell, my husband and brother love ThinkSport in the Bergamont Cedarwood formula.
Product on saleThinkSport Natural Deodorant DISCONTINUED$7.49 – $8.49 — or subscribe and save up to 10%
What’s Wrong with Natural Antiperspirants & Deodorants?
There is a lot of Sneaky Stuff being marketed as natural deodorant and antiperspirant. The most popular sneaky label is “aluminum-free,” because many of these deodorants still have bad stuff in them.
These are the sneaky ingredients that worry me most in natural deodorants:
- Many “aluminum-free” deodorants, such as natural crystal deodorants, contain potassium alum. Potassium alum is natural, but it’s still a type of aluminum and therefore may carry the same risks. I do not recommend these products to women because of possible breast cancer links.
- Even many natural deodorants contain propylene glycol, a softening agent linked to cancer and reproductive damage.
- Concerning fragrances and preservatives are rampant among supposedly natural deodorants.
Best Natural Deodorant for Kids
Play Pits has saved me from having to buy my 12-year-old Old Spice–he’s at an age where everyone is going heavy with deodorants, and these are very scented. Fortunately, what lends them their appealing fragrance is all 100% essential oils.
The Best Natural Deodorant Ingredients
Body odor happens when sweat meets bacteria on the skin. The best natural deodorants combine a variety of ingredients to do one or all of the following:
- Inhibit the growth of bacteria that makes sweat smell bad;
- Absorb some of the moisture from sweat;
- Reduce the amount of sweat by shrinking pores.
Good Stuff products do not act like conventional antiperspirants, which block sweat from leaving the body.
Most Affordable Natural Deodorant
At $2.65 an ounce, ThinkSport makes the most affordable of the best natural deodorants on our list.
Product on saleThinkSport Magnesium Natural Deodorant$6.49 – $8.49 — or subscribe and save up to 10%
Here are some effective ingredients that you’ll find in the best natural deodorant brands:
- Alcohol (sometimes listed as ethanol) inhibits bacteria. Note that alcohol will increase the penetration of other ingredients in the product, so if you’re using deodorant with alcohol, make sure it’s Good Stuff!
- Aloe soothes and conditions skin.
- Arrowroot powder absorbs moisture.
- Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) helps neutralize odors and absorbs moisture.
- Coconut oil and other vegetable oils and butters (shea, cocoa, mango, etc.) moisturize and soothe irritated skin (hello, shaving). Coconut oil is also anti-microbial.
- Cornstarch absorbs moisture.
- Essential oils are added for natural fragrance and other properties (like antimicrobial tea tree, lichen, and rosemary).
- Hops extract (yes, as in hops from brewing beer) is antimicrobial.
- Kaolin clay (aka white cosmetic clay) absorbs moisture.
- Vegetable glycerin and natural waxes (like beeswax and candelilla wax) bind ingredients together and are most common in stick deodorants.
- Vitamin E (tocopherol) is an antioxidant, so it serves as a preservative.
- Witch hazel and other astringent ingredients help shrink pores to reduce sweating.
- Zinc oxide is anti-microbial. Just be sure that it’s non-nano zinc.
The Best of the Worst
If you really need to NOT sweat, Ban is the best of the Bad Stuff. The unscented variety of antiperspirant contains aluminum and the cyclopentasiloxane, but it’s much better than other Bad Stuff. Just save this for when you really need it, and try not to apply to freshly shaven armpits.
Pro Tips for Success with Natural Deodorant
I’ve learned a lot about using natural deodorants from my own trial-and-error and the experiences of my clients and readers. Here are some tips to help you avoid common pitfalls (pun intended!):
- Time: If you’re making a big switch from conventional antiperspirants to natural deodorant, your body might need time to adjust before the natural stuff can be effective. Some even claim that your pits might have some detoxing to do.
- Staining: A common complaint about natural deodorants made with oils like coconut is that they stain clothes. Avoid this by using only a small amount (read the label) and giving the product a couple of minutes to absorb before you put on your clothes.
- Shaving: Some people also report that natural deodorants sting or cause irritation after shaving. An easy(ish) work-around is to shave at night and apply deodorant in the morning.
- Baking soda: Many of the most popular natural deodorants are baking soda-based. Baking soda can irritate some people’s skin, at least at first. Luckily, there are lots of baking soda-free formulas among the Best Stuff.
- Hormones: If you’ve given birth recently and/or are breastfeeding, you might be sweating more than usual—it’s not just your imagination, and you’re not alone! You might need to apply your deodorant more often. I’m a fan of freshening up a couple of times a day with baby wipes.
Are you overwhelmed with the length of the list of Best Stuff and Good Stuff below? If it’s helpful: my favorite cream is Soapwalla, spray is EO, and stick is the Earth Mama.
Acure Charcoal Deodorant
Acure has changed the ingredients in some of their products that makes them less than Good Stuff–but the Acure Charcoal Deodorant features a super clean ingredients list. This formula includes magnesium and charcoal and is free of baking soda for sensitive skin.
Cost per ounce: $4.75
Attitude Deodorant is EWG-verfied and its odor-fighting ingredients include arrowroot, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cost per ounce: $4.66
Beautycounter’s The Clean Deo
Beautycounter’s The Clean Deo skips all toxins while also getting great reviews for its efficacy. It’s also EWG-verified and refillable. One hundred percent of testers said it was non-irritating, so this is a great option for sensitive skin.
Cost per ounce: $9.47, plus $31 for the first stick which includes the case.
Dr. Clark’s Zinc Deo
Dr. Clark’s Zinc Deo is a roll-on deodorant that contains only two ingredients: water and zinc oxide. The zinc is non-nano and non-micronized. I haven’t personally tested this one for effectiveness, but I’m intrigued by the minimalist formula!
Cost per ounce: $1.61
Earth Mama is a great deodorant for anyone (it’s what I am using now), but it is formulated for pregnant and breastfeeding people, and free of aluminum, pthalates, and all hormone disruptors.
Cost per ounce: $3.66
Each & Every
Each & Every is EWG-verified, and contains only natural, safe ingredients in their many formulas.
Cost per ounce: $6.12
EO Organic Deodorant
EO Organic Deodorant is a simple alcohol-based spray formula scented only with pure essential oils.
Cost per ounce: $1.50
Fat and the Moon
Fat and the Moon makes a deodorant cream that I haven’t tried, but that looks similar in ingredients to Soapwalla.
Cost per ounce: $11.00
Green Tidings is highly ranked on Amazon, so lots of you have tried it, though I haven’t. One of my best friends ordered it and wasn’t impressed: “It kept the stink at bay, but was pretty messy to apply.”
Cost per ounce: $5.92
Healthynest is plastic-free, EWG-verified, and formulated specifically for pregnant and nursing people. It contains pre-and probiotics, organic tapioca starch, and manuka honey, and comes in a pleasant calming scent.
Cost per ounce: $6.40
Noniko makes a refillable, plastic-free deodorant stick that contains no concerning ingredients. The deodorant is produced in the United States, although the stainless steel container is manufactured in China.
Cost per ounce: $8.70, plus $40 for the first order, which includes the container.
Peach is the only plastic-free, refillable deodorant that has EWG verification. It contains only natural essentials oils for fragrance, and claims to provide 48 hours of odor protection.
Cost per ounce: $6.74, plus $20 for the first stick which includes the case.
Pretty Frank (formerly Primal Pit Paste) contains only safe ingredients and comes in a tub that you apply with fingers or a standard stick formula.
Cost per ounce: $5.55
Purelygreat deodorant creams are EWG-verified, and contain only a handful of natural ingredients. I haven’t tested any of them so I cannot promise that they work.
Cost per ounce: $6.81
Primally Pure Deodorant
Primally Pure Deodorant is a unique formula because it contains beef tallow–along with other natural ingredients like baking soda, kaolin clay, and zinc oxide.
Cost per ounce: $8.80 to $9.41, depending on which size you choose.
About ten years ago, a friend brought over a tub of Schmidt’s Deodorant for me to check out after she bought it at Urban Outfitters. I was surprised by the legitimately clean ingredients, as Urban Outfitters is FULL of Sneaky products well-packaged to look natural. Schmidt’s is a happy exception! We now sell the sensitive sticks in our store.
Cost per ounce $3.38
Real Purity is another brand that several readers asked about—you say you use it and like it, so good news: I’d call it Best Stuff! They even removed the potassium sorbate since the last time we updated this guide two years ago.
Cost per ounce $6.17
Sam’s Natural is yet another brand that a bunch of you asked about. I haven’t tried it, but with ingredients that include only things like baking soda, shea butter, and a variety of essential oils, it qualifies as Best Stuff.
Cost per ounce $3.32
Soapwalla has quickly developed a cult following, and is my go-to and current favorite. At first it’s a little odd to apply deodorant with your fingers, but I got used to it quickly. I love that Soapwalla is a small operation. They’re located near my home in Brooklyn, so I was able to go meet Rachel (the owner), pick up the products, and see their small-scale production. Soapwalla now offers a sensitive skin formula without baking soda.
Cost per ounce $9.00
Wellnesse Mineral Deodorant
Wellnesse Mineral Deodorant has a squeaky clean ingredients list, including the baking soda and aloe. It gets great reviews from users, and after Wellenesse sent me a sample, I see why! This is one of the best natural deodorants I’ve tried.
Cost per ounce: $5.09
I’m pleased to move Green Beaver from Sneaky to Good Stuff, since they’ve removed most of the yucky ingredients from their formulations. I am not calling this one Best Stuff because it contains conditioning agent glyceryl laurate which is somewhat questionable.
Cost per ounce: $4.94
Lafes Deodorant is is glycerin-based so it goes on clear. Lafe’s old formula contained potassium alum, but this new one gets our thumbs up. The only reason it’s in Good Stuff rather than Best Stuff is because of the grapefruit seed extract, which comes with some contamination concerns.
Cost per ounce: $3.60
Little Seed is the brand you guys ask about all the time, and although EWG doesn’t like a few of the essential oils in these blends, I consider this a safe option.
Cost per ounce: $6.00
LoveFresh is simple and contains only natural ingredients like coconut oil and baking soda. I am keeping LoveFresh in Good Stuff rather than Best Stuff only because they do not disclose the details of their essential oil blend.
Cost per ounce: $6.49
Neal’s Yard produces a line of simple spray deodorants made with natural ingredients. Some of the essential oils in their blends score poorly on EWG, which is why we’ve put them in Good Stuff rather than Best Stuff.
Cost per ounce: $3.99
Poofy’s line of Max Deo deodorants are free of all the Bad Stuff, and many of my readers say they are super effective. Like many Poofy products, these deodorants do contain the non-specific “natural flavors,” but it’s the last ingredient, so it doesn’t concern me. (But that’s why I am keeping them in Good Stuff rather than Best Stuff.) Poofy even makes a deodorant for kids!
Cost per ounce $5.66
Ursa Major is a popular brand that’s basically safe–the only ingredient I don’t love here is sodium benzoate, which is why I am keeping this one in Good Stuff rahter than Best Stuff.
Cost per ounce $6.92
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Dr. Hauschka deodorants are natural, but some of the essential oils they use are questionable. I would feel fine using this deodorant, but it doesn’t quite qualify as Good Stuff.
Cost per ounce $14.12
A lot of you have asked about Lavanila. While many of the ingredients are “naturally-derived” rather than truly natural, nothing in these deodorants scores poorly on EWG’s hazard scale, so I call this Okay Stuff. Just don’t confuse it with Lanvilin, which is Sneaky (see below).
Cost per ounce $5.50
Weleda deodorants contain mostly natural ingredients–EWG just doesn’t like that among these are a few that are potential immunotoxins, including geraniol, linalool, limonene, and coumarin. It also contains benzyl salicylate.
Cost per ounce $5.59
All the obvious ones–Secret, Sure, Soft & Dri, Mitchum, Suave, Degree, etc.–are bad, mostly because of the phthalates/synthetic fragrance they invariably contain.
Butane in aerosol versions is another problem with conventional deodorants, plus a variety of PEG chemicals (organ system toxicants), BHT, talc, and other really Bad Stuff.
As I mentioned above, if you really need a conventional antiperspirant or deodorant, the unscented Ban is your best option.
Arm & Hammer Natural Deodorant contains triclosan, propylene glycol, and synthetic fragrance. This is the Sneakiest of the Sneaky!
I used to love Crystal Essence deodorant and used it for years, but it turns out that it’s so effective because it contains potassium alum. The same is true of those crystal deodorants (as in, the ones that are just an actual rock.)
Every Man Jack deodorants are “naturally derived,” but contain sodium benzoate, phenoxyethanol, and a bunch of other chemicals on my Bad/Sneaky Stuff list.
I long considered Herbal Magic to be Good Stuff, but they recently changed their formula, and the fragrance is now synthetic. However, their unscented deodorant is still Good Stuff.
Jason Natural deodorants contain synthetic fragrance, citral, eugenol, linalool, limonene, and other concerning ingredients.
Kopari is advertised as “coconut deodorant,” and while it does contain coconut oil, it also contains propylene glycol as well as synthetic fragrance.
Kiss My Face deodorants contain propylene glycol, synthetic fragrance, and—in the case of their roll-on deodorants—potassium alum.
Lanvilin deodorants are free of phthalates, but the fragrance is not natural, so I am suspicious of the undisclosed chemicals likely lurking! (Note: Don’t confuse this products with Lavanila, which is Okay Stuff.)
Lume a lot of synthetics ingredients, and some other Bad Stuff, such as phenoxyethanol, PEG chemicals, and polysorbate 60. Note that unscented Lume is the best of the bunch; it scores only a 2 from EWG.
MegaBabe calls itself a “clean deodorant,” but depending on the formula you’ll find propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, and/or fragrance.
Malin & Goetz works well and has the nicest packaging of any deodorant I’ve seen. Unfortunately, it’s got a bunch of problematic ingredients, including phenoxyethanol and propylene glycol.
Native Deodorant is probably the one we are are asked about most, and I know you guys are big fans. Although we previously considered this Good Stuff, Native is now using “a proprietary blend of oils” for their fragrance blend. They specify that they are phthalate-free, but unless they disclose specific oils–and most importantly clarify that only essential oils are used–we will keep Native Deodorant listed as Sneaky Stuff. And for those of you who have asked: the reason that EWG’s Skin Deep gives Native a score of just 1 is because they have an incorrect ingredients list, which doesn’t include “fragrance.”
Naturally Fresh crystal deodorant contains only two ingredients, but both are types of “alum” and should therefore be avoided.
Tisserand does contain tea tree oil and other natural ingredients, but it’s also got loads of synthetics, including benzyl alcohol and methylchloroisothiazolinone.
Maia, Founder & CEO
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